For the first time since 2010, the St. Charles Preparatory School football team is back in the postseason.
The Cardinals finished sixth in Division II, Region 5 and will play at third-seeded Zanesville on Friday, Nov. 8, in the first round. The winner plays Worthington Kilbourne or Dublin Scioto on Nov. 15.
St. Charles finished the regular season 8-2, its best record since it also went 8-2 in 1983. Zanesville, ranked No. 1 in the state, is 10-0.
"(The Blue Devils) are a passing team with a good quarterback (senior Thomas Wibbeler)," coach Jeff Pharion said. "They like to throw the ball around and put up a lot of points (52.7 per game). They also they have a pretty decent defense."
Wibbeler has completed 147 of 224 passes for 2,664 yards with 37 touchdowns and six interceptions. His top targets are senior wide receivers Dar Stanford (48 catches, 862 yards, 10 touchdowns), J.T. McFarland (35 catches, 643 yards, 7 touchdowns) and Granger Long (26 catches, 510 yards, 13 touchdowns).
Senior running back Jamal Gladden has rushed for 1,010 yards and 17 touchdowns on 122 carries.
"We want to play great defense, run the ball and win the battle of field position," Pharion said. "We have been using a running-back-by-committee, lining up and getting three to five yards per carry. Then we line up and do it again. If we can have six- to eight-minute drives, we'll be right there in the fourth quarter."
St. Charles won its regular-season finale, defeating visiting Marion Harding 53-21 on Nov. 1 as senior running back Michael Hamrock rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries.
"We had five people score our seven touchdowns, so that's pretty balanced," Pharion said. "I thought we had a good, solid effort."
Senior quarterback Ryan Bailey had a 12-yard touchdown run and threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Sean Hennessey. Sophomore running back Jacob Nowell had touchdowns runs of 15 and 11 yards, and junior quarterback Jacob Moehrman scored on a 9-yard run.
Soccer team makes first final since 2004
The soccer team finished 10-5-4, losing to top-seeded Olentangy Liberty 1-0 on Oct. 26 at Westerville Central in its first Division I district final since 2004.
The 12th-seeded Cardinals had a first-round bye before defeating 27th-seeded Zanes-ville 5-0 on Oct. 19 and eighth-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 1-0 in overtime in a district semifinal Oct. 23.
St. Charles won its third consecutive CCL title, tying Watterson for first at 3-1. DeSales (2-1-1) was third, followed by Hartley (1-2-1) and Ready (0-4).
Junior forward Jack Engert led the team with nine goals and senior forward Will Walther had eight goals and four assists. Senior defender Drew Hicks had eight goals and senior forward Alex Macias had five goals.
Senior midfielder Jack Rademacher scored four times, with other leaders in assists being senior defender Nik Weislogel (7), freshman midfielder Kristo Strickler (5) and senior midfielder Connor Colvin (4).
Junior goalkeeper Josh Zebula had 74 saves with 10 shutouts and did not allow a goal in the postseason until the second half of the district final.
"We lost a good senior class last year and I was not sure (what to expect), but then once the summer started and we had some preseason tournaments, we were tough from the get-go," said coach Rick Ey, who completed his seventh season. "I thought we wouldn't have the size to compete with other teams, just physically. These are the toughest kids I've ever coached. A lot of teams don't expect us to be this tough, and we really were."
Also expected to return are juniors Isaac Flemming (forward), Bryan Ross (goalie), Michael Skorupski (defender) and Niko Strickler (midfielder) and sophomores Rafe Rodri-guez (defender) and Andrew Weislogel (defender).
Runners improve at regional meet
The cross country team finished eighth (239) of 16 teams, behind champion Dublin Jerome (66), in the Division I regional meet Oct. 26 at Pickerington North. It was the fourth consecutive regional appearance for the Cardinals, who finished 14th last season.
The top four teams and top 16 individuals advanced to state Nov. 2 at National Trail Raceway. Freshman Kevin Hennessey finished 21st (16 minutes, 41.48 seconds) to lead St. Charles at regional, followed by junior Brendan Harty (30th, 16:52.01), junior Nick Marino (62nd, 17:20.6), junior Nathan Herriman (68th, 17:26.69), senior Anthony Schneider (87th, 17:47.82), senior Angelo Rivera (97th, 17:55.5) and senior Eric Taylor (101st, 18:00.32).
The Cardinals finished fourth (111) in the district 3 race Oct. 19 at Watkins Memorial behind champion Lancaster (36) as the top six teams and top 24 individuals advanced to regional. Hennessey (eighth, 16:40.28) led the Cardinals.
On Oct. 12 at Westerville Community Center, St. Charles won its seventh consecutive CCL title and 14th in 15 seasons, and Harty won the individual title in 16:52.1. The Cardinals (17) finished ahead of Watterson (62), DeSales (68), Hartley (111) and Ready (116).
Coach Damien Brandon completed his fifth season.
Golfers win sixth CCL title in a row
The golf team won its sixth consecutive CCL title and had a Division I state qualifier in junior Eddie O'Brien.
O'Brien carded a 172 to tie for 44th among 72 competitors in the state tournament Oct. 18 and 19 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course. Dublin Coffman's Nick Sparling (146) was medalist.
In the district tournament Oct. 8 at Apple Valley, O'Brien shot a 73 to advance to state as the Cardinals finished fifth (314) behind state-qualifiers Jerome (299), Pickerington North (305) and New Albany (308).
In a sectional Oct. 1 at Granville Golf Course, the Cardinals finished second (301), one stroke behind Jerome (300), and junior Connor Yakubov led St. Charles with a 73.
The Cardinals shot a 304 on Sept. 21 at Cooks Creek to win the CCL title ahead of DeSales (318), Hartley (328), Watterson (330) and Ready (448). O'Brien led the way with a 74, followed by freshman Evan Yakubov (75), senior Tanner Plewa (76), senior Corey McCullers (79), senior Sam Schmelzer (81) and senior Connor Huelsman (86).
Coach John Croswell completed his first season.