Over the past three seasons, the Hartley High School football team has won by an average of 26.7 points while going 4-0 against Amanda-Clearcreek.
While one of those wins was 40-21 in the first round of the 2010 Division IV playoffs, another that sticks out to coach Brad Burchfield is the Hawks' 30-22 victory to open the 2011 season.
"It's always a key at Amanda to limit your turnovers and penalties," said Burchfield, whose team opens Friday, Aug. 30, at the Fairfield County school. "Two years ago we had a lot of penalties. They have a typical Amanda team in that they'll run the ball well. They're much improved from a year ago."
Hartley, which won last year's matchup 42-0 en route to its second consecutive perfect regular season and 13-1 finish, would seem to have a leg up in experience heading into this year's meeting.
Senior Kalil Morris (TE/DL) has verbally committed to Kent State while classmate Alonzo Saxton (WR/DB) has committed to Duke.
Saxton, who was used sparingly on offense in past years, didn't play throughout the preseason because of what Burchfield called "muscle pulls," but he is expected to be on the field against the Aces.
Also back for the Hawks are senior quarterback Jared Brandewie, senior running back Sam Mackowiak and senior offensive linemen Nick Boeriu (6-foot-3, 225 pounds), Austin Kirkbride (5-11, 200) and Max Steele (5-11, 250).
The Aces battled injuries last season and went 3-7. Back on defense are senior cornerback Dusty Riffle and junior end Brayden Cordle.
"The first thing we've got to do is contain their speed," Aces coach Dale Olney said of the Hawks. "They've obviously been well-coached for years and they've got a lot of athletes."
Morris and Saxton are expected to lead a Hartley defense that also features junior linebackers Patrick Heinmiller and Jack Zang and junior defensive back Mateo Saxton, who is Alonzo's brother.
Amanda is led offensively by senior center Mack White (5-11, 190) and senior tackle Seth Hollett (6-2, 280).
Junior Riley Landrum is the new quarterback, with Riffle, seniors Maurice Harris and Steven Fearnow and sophomore Jordan Leasure at running back. Senior Steven Templeton is a returnee at wide receiver.
Girls volleyball team features new look
The girls volleyball team has a new coach in Mike Rahe after Max Miller left to take over at Watterson.
Under Miller, the Hawks went 250-104 in 13 seasons and won the Division II state title in 2011.
Rahe takes over a program that was 16-9 overall a year ago and had a run of seven consecutive district titles snapped when it lost to DeSales 25-20, 25-22, 37-35 in a district final.
Hartley also finished second (6-2) in the CCL behind DeSales (7-1).
The Hawks opened Aug. 20 by beating Pickerington North 25-17, 25-15, 25-17.
"We have seven seniors, but we're relatively young when you consider only about four of (the seniors) saw quality minutes last year," said Rahe, a 1985 Hartley graduate who assisted Miller the last two years and also coaches at the club level. "The program still is strong and expectations are high."
Rahe's top player could be his junior daughter, Emily Rahe, a setter who was first-team all-district last season.
Also back is junior Madeline Brandewie, a 6-1 middle hitter who has scholarship offers from Akron and Kent State.
Others looking to contribute are seniors Erin Chatman (right-side hitter), Becca Groner (libero) and D'Asia Simmons (outside hitter), junior Shelby Chesko (middle hitter), sophomore Bethany Matuska (middle hitter) and freshman Kristen Chatman (outside hitter).
Field hockey team expects to be better
With just four seniors a year ago, the field hockey team struggled to a 3-11-2 record.
The Hawks aren't expecting to go through similar growing pains considering most of their team has returned.
Hartley opened by tying Olentangy at 2 on Aug. 19 and beat Olentangy Orange 3-1 on Aug. 21.
"We're still a young team, but they're way more mature this year," coach Molly Gilbert said. "We're still dominated by our junior and sophomore classes. They just need more game experience."
Sara Krivicich (defender) and Sarah Smith (midfielder) are the only seniors.
Colleen Feeney (forward/midfielder), who was the leading scorer a year ago, is back to lead the juniors. Others include Emily Hetterscheidt (defender), Maddy Montgomery (forward/midfielder), Victoria Pasini (forward), Rebekah Selid (midfielder/defender) and Alli Servick (midfielder/defender).
Junior Maria Taylor is expected to be the goalkeeper, but freshman Katie Price also is a key player at the position.
Also looking to contribute are junior Anna Burkhart (forward) and sophomores Dorothy Allwein (forward/midfielder), Rebecca Barlay (defender), Talia Caridi (midfielder/defender), Emily Hernon (forward/midfielder) and Abbey Schmitz (forward/midfielder).
Last season, Hartley went 3-6-2 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League as Columbus Academy (10-0-1) won the title. The COFHL now is comprised of East and West divisions, with Hartley being placed in the East with Academy, Watterson, Bexley, Worthington Kilbourne, Granville, Columbus School for Girls, New Albany and Lancaster.