Welcome back, Grove City High School football team. Need an opponent for your first game in two years at the Dawghouse? How about the defending Division I state champions, Hilliard Davidson.

Welcome back, Grove City High School football team. Need an opponent for your first game in two years at the Dawghouse? How about the defending Division I state champions, Hilliard Davidson.

"We're doing the best job to get our guys ready," Grove City coach Matt Jordan said. "A lot of our guys haven't played football before, and now they're starting on both sides of the ball going up against Davidson."

The Dawgs feature an unprecedented mix of players who did not play football last season coupled with those who played with teams, but at a lower level than Division I. Rust ran rampant during the preseason practices at Grove City.

"We've gotten better, but we still have a long way to go," Jordan said. "Each time you're out there it's another opportunity to knock that rust off and keep going. We have a long way to go in regards of the type of schedule and caliber of teams we play."

Grove City's last game was a 38-7 loss to Davidson in the first round of the Division I, Region 3 playoffs in 2008. A season later, Davidson defeated Cleveland Glenville 16-15 for the programs second Division I state title in four seasons.

"Starting back in February, the guys who are going to be seniors, juniors and sophomores we didnt encourage them to continue to celebrate," Davidson coach Brian White said. "This years senior class has to establish their own reputations."

Davidson lost 19 players to graduation, including quarterback Jake Trubiano. In addition, the Wildcats are without one of their top offensive weapons last season in Rico Butler, who died May 25 in a drowning accident.

Still, Davidson's triple-option offense remains intact, only the players have changed with senior Jimmy Curtis (6-foot, 176 pounds) at quarterback, senior running back Nick Sieffert (5-7, 167), junior running back Tyler Talbott (5-9, 160), sophomore fullback E.J. Jennings (5-10, 198) and senior Nolan Gill (5-9, 170) at slotback.

"A lot of people think we play a boring style of football," White said. "If we can establish the run on Friday and our defense can limit Grove City's offense, you always hear the clich' of taking the crowd out of the game. It's what we'd like to do."

Among the preseason question marks for Grove City centered on the quarterback position. Senior Luke Smurthwaite beat out junior Nick Davis for the starting job.

Smurthwaite (6-1, 195) was apart of the Grove City Christian team that reached a Division VI state semifinal game last season, but the atmosphere Friday is expected to be even more intense, according to Jordan. The Dawgs second-year coach expects a large, enthusiastic and loud crowd Friday night at Grove City to welcome back their Dawgs.

"I hope we're able to feed off the energy from our crowd," Jordan said. "Emotions will be flying around and we want huge crowds, but as a coach you get concerned with all the hype and distraction going into Friday's game.

"I hope we can feed off that, but I'm also concerned well have that deer-in-headlights look."