Football team eager to dim Stars
Whetstone High School football coach Don Poff knows his players will be ready to play when they take the field for their season finale Friday, Oct. 26, at Centennial.
"The kids are certainly pumped up," he said. "The last several weeks, the kids have really come out (strong) and I'm sure it will be more so this week."
The rivalry between Whetstone and Centennial has been one-sided of late, as the Braves have won the past nine meetings, outscoring the Stars 379-59 in those contests. The Stars' last win in the series came in 2002, when they won 13-11.
"Our game plan will be the same (as other games this season)," Poff said. "We throw the ball and we're going to keep throwing the ball."
Whetstone fell to 3-6 overall and 2-4 in the City League-North Division with a 34-28 loss to visiting Northland on Oct. 19. That same night, Centennial dropped to 1-8 and 1-5 with a 55-0 loss to Columbus East.
"Any loss is disappointing," Poff said. "But you look at things (later) and you ask yourself what could have been changed or what could have been done differently by the players or the coaching staff.
"Looking at it that way, there's not a whole lot that could have been changed. We had a game plan and we stuck to it."
Whetstone opened the scoring against Northland with a 29-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Ramroth Finnegan to senior running back Damon Rosemond in the first quarter. The Braves went for the two-point conversion, but the pass failed.
Northland responded with a 42-yard touchdown run by running back Abu Turay, who also ran in the two-point conversion to give the Vikings an 8-6 lead after the opening quarter.
The Braves controlled the second quarter, sacking Northland quarterback Glenn Smith twice for a combined loss of 17 yards and forcing a pair of fumbles that were recovered by Dezwan Polk and Nathan Huffman.
Whetstone capitalized on both turnovers, with Finnegan throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Yusef Conteh and Rosemond scoring on a 14-yard run with 52 seconds left in the first half. The Braves were successful on their two-point conversion attempts after each score, as Finnegan completed a pass to junior receiver Trent Harper for one conversion and ran for the other.
Whetstone took a 22-8 lead into halftime.
"The kids were up," Poff said. "We told them not to get complacent. We came out a little flatter (in the second half) than I wanted to."
Northland, which improved to 5-4 and 4-2, outscored the Braves 26-6 in the second half, scoring the winning points on an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown by Jhustus Cornley in the fourth quarter.
Whetstone began its final possession with a little more than two minutes left. But the Braves turned the ball over on downs, as a pass from Finnegan to freshman wide receiver Aiden Tuttle on fourth-and-10 from their own 46-yard line came up about a foot short of the first down with 52.2 seconds left.
Northland ran out the clock to preserve the win.
"I don't know I that would have changed the balance of the game or not, but it certainly didn't help any," Poff said.
Finnegan finished 21-for-34 passing for 271 yards and three touchdowns and carried 10 times for 19 yards. Conteh caught six passes for 102 yards and two scores, and Rosemond rushed for 45 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and had two catches for 38 yards and a score.
Cross country teams end season at district
The boys country team scored 368 points to finish 13th in the 18-team Division I, district 3 meet Oct. 20 at Watkins Memorial, as the top six teams advanced to the regional meet Saturday, Oct. 27, at Pickerington North.
Qualifying for regional were Dublin Jerome (51), New Albany (53), Olentangy Liberty (55), Newark (143), Gahanna (149) and Upper Arlington (183).
Sophomore Ike Boatneg led the Braves, placing 57th in 19 minutes, 41.3 seconds. Also scoring were senior Kellen Kincaid (62nd, 19:58.9), junior Evan Myers (71st, 20:33.92), junior Kevin McCoy (88th, 22:12.98) and sophomore Alec Waitkus (90th, 22:42.23).
The top 24 individuals advanced to regional.
The girls team finished 11th (321) in the 15-team Division I, district 2 meet, as the top five teams -- Dublin Coffman (31), Hilliard Bradley (86), Gahanna (95), Pickerington North (106) and Liberty (111) -- advanced to regional.
Freshman Elli Schwartz led the Braves, finishing 51st in 22:30.59. Also scoring were sophomores Bianca McLemore (52nd, 22:30.8), Liz Khoury (71st, 23:42.76) and Karina Spulgis (72nd, 23:45.82) and freshman Cassie Chenolveth (75th, 23:56.22).
The top 20 individuals advanced to regional.