It's been an exciting two weeks for longtime Centennial High School coach and teacher Mark Shaffer.

It's been an exciting two weeks for longtime Centennial High School coach and teacher Mark Shaffer.

Already with 22 years of experience as an assistant football coach, Shaffer will be a head coach for the first time after taking over the Stars' program Feb. 17.

Then last weekend, Shaffer, who also has been Centennial's wrestling coach for most of the past 30 years, watched the school undergo another historical change when senior wrestler Stanley Hendricks advanced to the Division II state tournament.

Shaffer believes the program's only other state qualifier came just before he took over as coach in 1982.

Hendricks went 3-1 and placed second at 132 pounds in the district tournament Feb. 24 and 25 at Uhrichsville Claymont and is 32-2. The top four finishers in each weight class at district advanced to the state tournament, which runs Thursday, March 1, through Saturday, March 3, at Ohio State.

Hendricks opens state against Toledo Central Catholic sophomore Alex Mossing, who is 45-11.

"Stanley is a great kid," Shaffer said. "We took four kids (to district) and they actually all wrestled well."

Finishing 2-2 at district and coming up short of advancing for Centennial were Jeff Seymor (126), Joel Waits (145) and Michael Jamison (152).

In addition to coaching Hendricks at state, Shaffer is attempting to put together a football coaching staff.

His son, Brett, has served as a volunteer assistant in past years and could do so again next fall.

Mark Shaffer did not coach football last season but was the offensive coordinator in 2010 when the Stars went 4-6. Their 31-7 win over Columbus South on Sept. 10, 2010, snapped a 34-game losing streak.

Donte Goosby is another former Stars assistant and a 1998 Centennial graduate who is returning. He's expected to be defensive coordinator.

"I'm looking forward to it," Shaffer said. "I've been there off and on over the years. I found out Pat (Sergio) was resigning, and being a head coach has always been one of my goals, so I took a chance. I'm 55 years old and decided I wanted to try it."

Under Sergio, who retired in January, the Stars went 54-196 in 25 seasons. They had just two winning seasons.

"We've been pretty successful with the wrestling program," Shaffer said. "My goal is to change the attitude and perception of football. We've had 30 to 35 kids out for wrestling and hopefully we can get more kids out for football. Change is always good."

•ALSO IN WRESTLING - Also advancing to state from the City League were Northland's Anthony Alexander (138) in Division I and Walnut Ridge's Travis Gusan (heavyweight) in Division II.

Winning one district match in Division I on Feb. 24 and 25 at Hilliard Darby were Briggs' Wehsey Juty (195), West's Thomas Johnson (113), Santiago Farias (152) and David Stockton (195) and Whetstone's N.D. Mattson (195).

In Division II at Uhrichsville Claymont, Marion-Franklin's Charles Parkham (138) won two matches and Kyle Messer (120), Jhulyis Monroe (182) and Deante Gray (heavyweight) all won one match.

Mifflin's Alec Mills (138) won three matches and took sixth. Brookhaven's Devin Williams (160) and Walnut Ridge's Jordan Shimbrei (145) both won two matches, while Brookhaven's Righteous Bridges (106), East's Bashir Ali (106) and South's Stephen Richburg (195) each won one match.

•REMATCH IN BOYS HOOPS - Last season, the Mifflin boys basketball team beat Eastmoor Academy 65-61 in overtime in a Division II district final.

The teams will meet again in the second round of the district tournament at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 1, at Heath.

Eastmoor is the seventh seed and takes a four-game winning streak and 14-7 record into the matchup under Jim Miranda, who took over as coach in the offseason.

The Warriors opened the postseason with a 55-31 win over Linden-McKinley on Feb. 21.

Mifflin, which had a first-round bye, has lost four in a row and is 7-13.

The Eastmoor-Mifflin winner plays fifth-seeded Licking Heights or DeSales in a district semifinal at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, at Heath.

Junior John Draper, who made first-team all-district for the Warriors, is averaging 16 points and four assists. Senior Bryan Booker also is a key player.

Mifflin is led by J Murrell, who is averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds.

"We played them in (a district final) last year and they came right at us this year," Miranda said. "There's still a Northside vs. Southside thing that goes on in the City where one side wants to prove that their side is better. I watched (Mifflin earlier this season) and they have a pretty decent post player. John Draper has been tremendous for us."

Also advancing in Division II were second-seeded Brook-haven, ninth-seeded Marion-Franklin and Beechcroft. The Red Devils play the Cougars in the second round at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at Dublin Scioto, and the Bearcats face Bexley in a second-round game at 7:45 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at Scioto.

In Division I second-round games, top-seeded Northland played West on Feb. 29 and second-seeded Walnut Ridge played Worthington Kilbourne on Feb. 29.

The Walnut Ridge-Kilbourne winner plays seventh-seeded Upper Arlington or 12th-seeded Mount Vernon in a district semifinal at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, at Reynoldsburg.

In Division IV, top-seeded Africentric played Gilead Christian in a second-round game Feb. 28, with the winner to meet Northside Christian or Marion Catholic in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. Monday, March 5, at Hilliard Bradley. The semifinal winner will play fourth-seeded Tree of Life or sixth-seeded Millersport in a district final at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

•IN GIRLS HOOPS - Northland (Division I), Eastmoor (Division II), Centennial (Division II), Mifflin (Division II) and Africentric (Division III) all advanced to district semifinals.

Eighth-seeded Mifflin played second-seeded Hartley on Feb. 29 and third-seeded Centennial faced top-seeded Jonathan Alder on Feb. 29, with the winners of those games meeting for a district title at 7 p.m. Friday, March 2, at Pickerington North.

The Punchers advanced by beating 10th-seeded Independence 36-32 in the second round on Feb. 25. Amber Pruitt had 16 points and 18 rebounds.

"I still don't know how we (beat the 76ers), to be honest," Mifflin coach Allen Jarrett said. "We started making shots in the fourth quarter and we won the free-throw shooting contest."

Top-seeded Africentric played Mount Gilead on Feb. 28, with the winner playing fifth-seeded Johnstown or Madison Plains in a district final at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at New Albany.

The Nubians have won seven consecutive district titles.

•MAHARRY TAKES 20TH - Centennial junior Aaron Maharry entered the Division II state swimming and diving meet Feb. 24 in Canton as the 20th seed in the 100-yard breaststroke and ended up finishing 20th in 1 minute, 2 seconds.

It was the second state appearance for Maharry, who placed 23rd (1:03.51) in the same event a year ago.