Big Walnut will be looking to bounce back from its first opening loss in nine years when it travels to Chillicothe on Friday, Sept. 2.

Big Walnut will be looking to bounce back from its first opening loss in nine years when it travels to Chillicothe on Friday, Sept. 2.

The Golden Eagles lost to Westerville Central 27-16 on Aug. 26, their first loss to the Warhawks in nine games.

Big Walnut, which had won its previous eight openers since losing to Walnut Ridge 38-0 in 2002, was outgained by Central 414-259 in total yards and struggled to sustain drives. Both of the Eagles' touchdowns came on three-play drives, with quarterback Tyler Beam scoring on a 52-yard run in the first quarter and Beam connecting with wide receiver Jordan Stimmel on a 60-yard pass in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles' defense forced three turnovers against Central, with safety Seth Myers intercepting quarterback Cody Kondas and lineman Dylan McCarrell and linebacker Nick Shryock each recovering a fumble.

However, Big Walnut allowed 11 plays of 15 yards or more, including six on the ground.

"It's Week 1," Eagles coach Joe Weaver said after the game. "We've got a lot of football left to play. We're not going to pack our bags and head for shop. We're going to go back to work and get after it. The good news is we can play better."

Chillicothe opened with a 27-23 loss to Hamilton Township on Aug. 26. The Cavaliers led 23-0 at halftime but were held to one first down in the second half. Hamilton Township's second-half rally included two punt returns for touchdowns.

Running backs Timmy Beard and Julius Lee each scored a touchdown for the Cavaliers, who were 6-4 last season. Luke Barnes is a first-year starter at quarterback and wide receivers Jalen Jones and Zach Johnson are his primary targets.

Big Walnut defeated Chillicothe 28-7 last season, as running back Lucas Garcia ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.

Eagles safety Grant Beam, who missed last season with a shoulder injury, injured his right foot in the second quarter against Central and did not return. His status for the Chillicothe game was questionable, Weaver said.