Jim Worden's first game as the head coach for the Whetstone High School football team resulted in a 41-6 victory over Briggs last year.

Jim Worden's first game as the head coach for the Whetstone High School football team resulted in a 41-6 victory over Briggs last year.

"We just had really good two-a-days (last summer)," Worden said. " I just felt like we were real prepared going into that game and it was a good way to start my coaching career."

Whetstone has beaten Briggs in each of the past six seasons, but Worden isn't expecting such a wide margin of victory on Friday when the Braves play host to the Bruins.

While the Braves won all of their non-league games and ended up 7-3 a year ago, the Bruins lost their first five of last season but won four of their final five to finish 4-6.

It was the best finish for Briggs in three seasons under Joe Coplan, who was replaced in the offseason by former Ready player and Grove City assistant Derek Katris.

Michael Haynes, a 2009 graduate, rushed for 185 yards and three touchdowns in the matchup last year.

The Braves hope senior Marcus Penn, who verbally committed to Eastern Michigan after finishing with more than 1,000 all-purpose yards last season, can take on a similar load offensively. Senior running back Joe Tuttle and junior quarterback Quinten Wright also will play key roles.

Senior Matt Harrington, a transfer from DeSales who also is expected to be a contributor at running back, is questionable after suffering a preseason knee injury.

Last season, Briggs allowed 27 or more points in each of its losses but held its opponents to a combined 32 points in its four victories.

"We're still evaluating personnel, but I think we're getting better and getting people in the right spots," Worden said. "We have so many new guys playing new positions."

Briggs can say the same thing, particularly on defense where it is replacing nine starters.

One positive for the Bruins is that they picked up 10 players who had been at either Franklin Heights or Westland after the recent levy failure of South-Western City Schools.

One of those is junior Mike Taylor (5-foot-8, 150 pounds), who battled during the preseason with sophomore Isaiah Campbell (6-0, 160) for the quarterback job after transferring from Franklin Heights.

Several of Briggs' top athletes are expected to be on defense, including senior lineman Brandon Germany (6-1, 240), senior linebacker Anthony Watson (5-10, 195) and junior linebacker Bronde Scales (6-3, 215).

Offensively, Briggs is expected to be a running spread team and has five returning starters including Watson, who has moved from quarterback to running back.

"Their front seven (on defense) is really good," Worden said. "They're very active and they run to the ball well. They're hard-hitting and real physical. I think they've definitely upgraded from last year and they've gotten in (several) transfers. Offensively, they run the shotgun with a four-wide spread and have a couple good receivers. It always makes you nervous when you're facing a quarterback who's elusive like theirs is."

•Featuring the City League's best player -- 2009 graduate Zach McGuire -- the boys golf team finished 35-1 (70 points) to edge Centennial (34-2, 68) for the championship a year ago.

Only two players are back from that team, and the Braves have a new coach after Todd Norman stepped down following his fifth season.

The Braves open City play Sept. 8 at Raymond Memorial against Eastmoor and Columbus South.

"We're very, very young this year," said first-year coach Tom Philip, who works at Champion Golf Course and had been an assistant under Norman.

Senior Kelly Norris, who shot a 43 at the City tournament last year to earn second-team all-league honors as the Braves won the 13-team event ahead of Centennial (175), is the lone returning regular. Junior Kevin Blann also lettered last season.

Also expected to be among the top five are seniors Tom Fellure and Cory Poulton, while junior Haley Buskirk and sophomores Marcus Blann, Jackson Peck, Gabe Reece and Greg Rogers also are on the team.

Last season, McGuire shot 35 at the City tournament to earn medalist honors. He was a Division I district qualifier as a junior but failed to advance to district last year after shooting an 82 as the Braves finished 12th (418) in the 13-team Granville sectional. Also competing at the sectional last year were 2009 graduates Jack Manofsky (108), Richard Ansley (111) and Will Homan (117).

Buskirk shot 111 at the Division I girls sectional at Mill Creek.

"I basically have a set first four (with Norris, Kevin Blann, Fellure and Poulton), and after that we'll probably rotate everybody else in," Philip said. "I think we're going to be very competitive in the City League."

•Bucky Walters has taken over the girls tennis program after Sue Kiser stepped down in the offseason. He also is the boys tennis coach.

The Braves have just enough players for varsity and junior varsity teams and return four regulars from a year ago. They opened last Tuesday against Hartley and play today against visiting Marysville, Monday at Bloom-Carroll and Tuesday at Eastmoor Academy.

Seniors Caroline Block-Wilkins and Melissa Tewart-Darwin, who comprised Whetstone's second doubles team last year, and sophomores Ciera Auddino and Katie Dozer, who played second and third singles, respectively, are back.

Also in the program are senior Natasha Krystofik and sophomores Rachel Murphy, Maryanne Murray, Kate Powers, Rachel Renick, Megan Sinclair, Jenna Sprouse, Anna Tran and Nina Tran.

Kate Gordon and the first-doubles team of Lucie McMahon and Allie Webb -- each of whom is a 2009 graduate -- won championships at the City Coaches Tournament last season. They also helped the Braves go 6-0 to win the City League-North Division ahead of Centennial (5-1) and Northland (4-2) and beat Briggs 4-1 to capture a third consecutive league title.

"We're really a pretty young team," Walters said. "I'm real pleased with their attitudes and effort. These girls are really connected well together."