The Hartley High School football team will have its first big challenge Friday when the Hawks travel to Columbus Academy.

The Hartley High School football team will have its first big challenge Friday when the Hawks travel to Columbus Academy.

Academy defeated Linden-McKinley 48-0 in its opener. Hartley downed the Vikings 32-12 last year.

Injuries derailed the Vikings last season but they will enter Friday's game healthy and with a lot of experienced returning players. Leading the way on offense will be running back Gus Sessley and quarterback Anthony Ciminello.

"They're very athletic and they've got great speed," coach Brad Burchfield said. "I also think they're very physical and they're going to present a great challenge for us."

The Vikings have traditionally run a wing-T offense though the team has added some new wrinkles this year. Injuries to its top running back and offensive lineman last year forced Academy to pass more and they have since added some shotgun spread formations.

"They're a wing-T offense, but they distribute the ball really well," Burchfield said. "They're going to spread it out more and throw it some more than they have in the past. But we feel like we're as fast and athletic as they are."

Academy and Hartley use similar defensive schemes as well, bringing as many as eight guys in the box to stack up against the run.

Both also blitz often.

Since the teams are so similar, Burchfield thinks the game will likely be determined by turnovers and special teams. If there was a concern for the Hawks, Burchfield said it would be conditioning. Though it was not an issue in the team's 63-6 win over Centennial last Friday, Burchfield said he will place an emphasis on it in practice this week.

"I think conditioning for this game will be an issue, so we'll work on that this week and make sure we're strong through the fourth quarter," he said.

The girls volleyball team is hoping for a return to the state tournament after finishing runner-up in Division II last year. It was the first trip to state in program history.

The Hawks fell to Toledo Central Catholic 25-19, 26-24, 25-17 in the championship to finish 23-6 overall.

Hartley lost four starters from a team which went 8-2 in the CCL to finish second behind Watterson (10-0) and ahead of Ready (5-5), Worthington Christian (3-7), DeSales (2-8) and CSG (2-8).

However, five of the seven seniors that return received significant varsity playing time.

"The last four years our first goal has been to win the league and that's our goal again," coach Max Miller said. "Another goal is to win the fourth district title in a row and the kids feel like we can get back to state. But it all depends."

The Hawks will be led by seniors Lindsay Gaughan (setter), Giana D'Andrea (outside hitter), Abby Weisenberger (libero), Allison Hagans (hitter/right side blocker) and Loren Fallert (hitter/right side blocker).

Other players on the roster hoping to contribute include seniors Michelle Briggs (outside hitter/defensive specialist) and Katie Ludwig (defensive specialist), juniors Allison Holehouse (outside hitter/middle blocker) and Shelby Sagle (setter/outside hitter) and sophomore Lauren Hughes (outside hitter).

Miller thinks the team has a quickness advantage against most teams, which helps offset the Hawks' lack of height.

"I don't think there's anybody in our area as fast as we are," Miller said. "We're looking forward to seeing how fast we can push things because we aren't that big. We made the state finals last year with nobody taller than six feet."

Miller adjusted the schedule to give his team more challenges in the beginning of the season than in the end.

"We've had a great preseason schedule and we're already a little ahead of where we thought we'd be," Miller said. "We set up our schedule where we play a lot early on, then do a lot of training near the end of the regular season. We like to play a lot of matches early and get our feet wet.

"We've always said that we want to play the best. If the kids buy into it, then come tournament time we'll be a tough team to beat."

The boys soccer team opened with consecutive shutout wins for first-year coach Ricky Thaboune, whose team played Whetsone last Tuesday.

Last year the Hawks lost to Granville 3-1 in the second round of the Division II district tournament to finish 8-9-1 overall and 1-4 in the CCL.

Thaboune served as an assistant at Bexley from 2003-2005. He will have his work cut out, as he has a young group which is replacing eight graduates.

"We're young on experience and most of them are freshmen and sophomores and I don't know what to expect from them," Thaboune said. "As training goes by, they're improving but there's a lot of work to do.

"But they work hard, they pay attention and they want to learn and that helps."

Hartley will be led by senior Kevin Clark and junior John Friday. In the team's 8-0 win over Madison Plains on Aug. 21, Friday had two goals while Clark added one.

"Our strong point right now is that we work well together," Thaboune. "But our weak point is injuries. We only have 16 players on varsity and four of them are injured.

"My goal is to go to district with the team. I think we can go far. Going in the right direction at the start of the season, it was good to come away with two wins for our young team."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Hartley boys and girls cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls tennis teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Last Saturday -- Competed at Newark Catholic Invitational at Bryn Du Mansion Saturday --At Lebanon Warrior Invitational

BOYS SOCCER

Aug. 19 -- Defeated Centennial 3-0 Aug. 21 --Def. Madison Plains 8-0 Last Tuesday --Played Whetstone Today -- At Columbus Academy Tuesday -- At Watterson

GIRLS SOCCER

Aug. 19 -- Tied Lancaster 1-all Last Saturday --Def. Chillicothe Zane Trace 7-0 Saturday --Home vs. Reynoldsburg Monday -- At River View vs. Coshocton

TENNIS

Aug. 13 --Defeated Briggs 5-0 Aug. 19 -- Lost to Teays Valley 3-2 Aug. 20 -- Def. Central Crossing 5-0 Aug. 21 -- Def. Grandview 5-0 Last Saturday -- Participated in seven-team Viking Invitational at Teays Valley. No team scores were kept. Last Monday --At Whetstone *Last Tuesday -- At Ready Last Wednesday -- At Whitehall *CCL-Gold contest