Canal Winchester Roundup
Football team needs win for playoff berth
Having already clinched the MSL-Buckeye Division title, the Canal Winchester High School football team will be looking to secure a playoff berth when it concludes the regular season Friday, Oct. 26, at Circleville.
The Indians were eighth in the Division II, Region 7 computer ratings through eight games and were expected to move up to seventh after beating Teays Valley 24-0 on Oct. 19 to improve to 7-2 overall and 6-0 in the MSL-Buckeye. The top eight teams in each region qualify for the playoffs.
"From what we understand, we have to beat Circleville to make it into the playoffs, so this is a do-or-die situation," coach Shawn Hinkle said. "Basically, this is a lot like a playoff game for us because we have to win to keep our season going."
Canal Winchester clinched the MSL-Buckeye championship outright with its win over Teays Valley and Circleville's 31-0 loss to Logan Elm on Oct. 19. The Tigers dropped to 6-3 overall and 4-2 in the MSL-Buckeye and are tied with Hamilton Township for second in the league.
Circleville's wing-T offense turned the ball over five times and was limited to 105 total yards against Logan Elm, which is tied with Teays Valley for fourth in the MSL-Buckeye at 3-3.
Circleville quarterback David Burroughs was sacked three times and rushed for only 11 yards after averaging 151 yards rushing through eight games. Other key members of the Tigers' offense include slotbacks Rusty Shull and Soloman Williams.
"Circleville has real good size up front and their quarterback is a real good runner," Hinkle said. "Their offense has struggled the last few weeks, but prior to that they were gaining a lot of yards and scoring well, so we'll do our best to hold them down one more week."
The Indians' 3-5 defense limited Teays Valley to 137 total yards. Nose guard DeOntaye Cosby led the way with 11 tackles and a sack. Outside linebacker Skylar Scott and inside linebacker Ian Jones each had seven tackles and inside linebacker Nick Toledo had six tackles, a sack and two fumble recoveries.
"Circleville's offense mimics Teays Valley's offense, so we just need to keep doing what we've been doing on defense," said Hinkle, whose team defeated Circleville 44-34 last season. "We need to make tackles and make sure we don't overplay things."
Hinkle said his spread offense will need to be ready to utilize a balanced attack against Circleville's 4-3 defense.
Against Teays Valley, running back John Franklin rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, running back Jaquan Ransome ran for 62 yards and a score on 13 carries and quarterback Isaac Pifer was 8-for-20 passing for 90 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown pass to Scott.
"Our running game wasn't as strong as it has been recently, but we had some success in the air as we continue to work toward having a more balanced offense," Hinkle said. "We want to establish our running game early while we continue to improve our passing offense. But we'll take whatever Circleville gives us. If they force us to throw more, that's what we'll do. If they're playing well in their secondary, then we'll run more."
After Canal Winchester clinched its first league title since 2010 by beating Teays Valley, the seniors took turns ringing the school's victory bell and posed for pictures together on the field.
The championship will be the Indians' last in the MSL, as they move into the OCC next season.
"It was a good win, and winning the MSL meant a lot to the kids and everyone involved in the program," Hinkle said. "They were really excited and it took about an hour and a half to get everyone into the locker room after the game because of all the celebrating that was going on out there with their family and friends."
Runner for boys team advances to regional
The boys cross country team scored 255 points to place ninth in the 13-team Division I, district 1 meet Oct. 20 at Watkins Memorial behind regional-qualifiers Westerville North (45), Pickerington North (48), Olentangy (97), St. Charles (132) and Pickerington Central (152).
Wyatt Gardner led the way for Canal Winchester, placing 12th in 17 minutes, 27.3 seconds to secure an individual regional berth. The top five teams and top 20 individuals from the boys and girls district 1 meets advanced to the regional meet on Saturday, Oct. 27, at Pickerington North.
Also competing for the Indians were Jason Appel (32nd, 18:09.45), Bryce Carroll (67th, 19:07.04), Robert Moore (70th, 19:16.3), Riley Collins (74th, 19:23.45), Imani Daniels (78th, 19:33.84) and Jamihran Jackson (82nd, 19:57.82).
"As a team, we did about as well as I thought we would do," coach John Bender said. "Wyatt ran a good race to qualify for regional, and on Saturday I want him to get the experience of running a fast race at Pickerington North."
The top 16 individuals at regional advance to the state meet Nov. 3 at National Trail Raceway.
The girls team scored 143 points to finish sixth in the 14-team Division I, district 1 meet behind regional-qualifiers Hilliard Davidson (35), New Albany (84), Westerville North (98), Teays Valley (103) and Pickerington Central (135).
Cassidy Long finished one spot shy of qualifying for regional, as she placed 21st in 20:53.38. Also competing were Megan Tamasovich (22nd, 21:03.08), Chloe Palmer (24th, 21:08.81), Elizabeth Kifer (34th, 21:30.7), Taryn Meidl (42nd, 21:49.55), Julia Cook (44th, 21:51.91) and Julie Tennison (49th, 22:17.78).
"Our girls ran their best race of the year and barely missed making it to regional," Bender said. "Cassidy's time was a (personal record) even though the conditions weren't that great with all of the mud on the course, and our first-through-fifth runners were less than a minute apart, which is the shortest gap we've had in several years."