Canal Winchester Roundup
Offense key for boys in tournament
The Canal Winchester High School boys soccer team's biggest strength this season has been its defense.
With goalkeeper Matt Appel and defenders Daltyn Colley, Blake Horne, Jeremy Knightstep and Ryan Miller leading the way, the Indians have produced seven shutout victories and have allowed only 13 goals in 16 regular season games.
But when it comes to the Division I district tournament, coach Erik Feinstein said his team will advance as far as his offense will take it.
The Indians, who are 9-6-1 overall, are seeded 16th in the district and have a first-round bye. They open in the second round on Saturday, Oct. 20, by playing host to either New Albany or Upper Arlington.
"Our defense has been our strength all year, so it's really been our offense that's decided whether we won or lost most of our games," Feinstein said. "You have to score to win games and, with the way we play defense, two goals is usually what we need to win. We'll need to do a good job of controlling the midfield and creating chances in the tournament like we've done in our last four games."
The Indians enter the postseason on a three-game winning streak, having scored 14 goals in those contests.
Canal Winchester defeated Whetstone 7-0 on Oct. 1, as Bailey Butler scored two goals, Zach Barwick, Cory Cruikshank, Joe Nichols, Jamie Robson and Luciano Thaboune each scored one and Appel had five saves.
The Indians then beat Hamilton Township 1-0 in an MSL-Buckeye Division game Oct. 4 behind a goal by Thaboune and four saves by Appel before defeating Fairfield Union 6-0 in a league game Oct. 11, with Butler scoring two goals, Colley, Nichols, Jacob Mullenbach and Kyler Splunge each scoring one and Appel making three saves.
The Indians finished third in the MSL-Buckeye at 4-2, behind Teays Valley (5-1) and Bloom-Carroll (4-0-2) and ahead of Fairfield Union (2-3-1), Hamilton Township (2-3-1), Circleville (2-4) and Logan Elm (0-6).
"When we've scored well, our offense has been spread out among several players," Feinstein said. "We had a period in the middle of the season where we didn't put the ball in the net and that cost us the league title. But we're playing better in the midfield recently and we've got a lot of guys creating chances and scoring."
If Canal Winchester advances to a district semifinal on Wednesday, Oct. 24, it would play at second-seeded Gahanna or play host to Columbus West.
The Indians went 5-4-1 against Division I opponents during the regular season but did not play New Albany, UA, Gahanna or West.
"I think we match up with UA, New Albany and Gahanna pretty well because we were competitive against all of the Division I teams that we played during the regular season," Feinstein said. "We played a Division I non-league schedule to get ready for the tournament and I think we found out that there isn't a Division I team that we can't compete with. We don't give up many goals and, if we go to a shootout, I'll take my chances with Matt Appel because I think he's the best goalie in the district."
Football team looking for sixth straight win
The football team has the opportunity to clinch at least a share of the MSL-Buckeye title when it plays host to Teays Valley on Friday, Oct. 19.
Canal Winchester beat Logan Elm 45-10 on Oct. 12 for its fifth consecutive win and improved to 6-2 overall and 5-0 in the MSL-Buckeye. That same night, Teays Valley lost to Hamilton Township 49-34 to drop to 4-4 and 3-2.
Last season, the Indians beat Teays Valley 38-31 in overtime.
"This is another important game for us, but we're not talking about winning our league or (qualifying for) the (Division II, Region 7) playoffs right now," coach Shawn Hinkle said. "The only thing we're focused on is this game."
Against Hamilton Township, Teays Valley amassed 429 total yards with its wing-T offense and had possession of the ball for 28 minutes. Quarterback Corey Mullens led the Vikings, throwing three touchdown passes and running for a score.
Also for the Vikings, running back Jacob Betts rushed for 101 yards on 12 carries and wide receiver Tyler Primmer had 10 catches for three touchdowns and 133 yards.
Leading Canal Winchester's defense against Logan Elm were linebacker Ian Jones (12 tackles), lineman DeOntaye Cosby (10 tackles, 2 sacks) and defensive back Khari Golden (9 tackles, 1 interception). The Indians forced four turnovers.
"Our defense has done well against wing-T offenses this year, but we're going to need to be disciplined against Teays Valley because they have a lot of little trick plays," Hinkle said. "It's important that our defenders stay at home and don't bite on any fakes."
The Indians' offense amassed 558 total yards, including 460 yards rushing on 24 carries, against Logan Elm.
Jaquan Ransome rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, John Franklin ran for 134 yards and two scores on eight carries and Edosa Omoruyi rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns on three carries.
Quarterback Isaac Pifer was 6-for-14 passing for 98 yards.
"We want to maintain our running game while we get our passing game back up to par," Hinkle said. "Our offensive line is run-blocking really well and giving our quarterback plenty of time to throw, so we'd like to see them keep that up."