The Whetstone and Centennial high school football teams aren't in contention for the City League-North Division championship or a playoff spot, but that doesn't diminish their annual grudge match.

The Whetstone and Centennial high school football teams aren't in contention for the City League-North Division championship or a playoff spot, but that doesn't diminish their annual grudge match.

"It's a very important game for both teams, schools, communities and student bodies," Whetstone coach Don Poff said. "It's about pride and a springboard into the offseason and next season. It's a rivalry game and, like in any rivalry, records don't really matter when you take the field."

The rivalry has been one-sided over the past decade, as the Braves have won the past 10 meetings, having outscored Centennial 405-79 in those games. The Stars' last win in the series came in 2002 (13-11).

But pride won't be the only thing on the line Friday, Nov. 1, when Whetstone plays host to Centennial in the season finale for both teams. The Braves enter the contest 5-4 overall and 3-3 in the City-North and the Stars are 4-5 and 2-4.

The Stars are looking to avoid their 12th consecutive losing season. They have not finished .500 or better since 2001, when they went 6-4, and won a total of six games during a seven-year stretch from 2003-09.

Centennial was in position to finish .500 in 2010, but lost to Whetstone 53-19 in the regular-season finale to finish 4-6.

"There's a big difference between being 5-5 or 4-6," Centennial coach Donte Goosby said. "We haven't finished .500 or better in such a long time and it would really give us a sense of pride and motivation going into the offseason if we did. In order to do that, we've got to beat our rival for the first time in (11) years."

Whetstone is seeking its first winning season since going 6-4 in 2009.

"We want to win this one bad because we've got a number of great and talented seniors that need to go out in a winning style," Poff said. "I know we'll have great support there because it's a game that impacts the student body. They're talking about a whiteout or blackout night. The kids in our school are vested in something we've called 'All In.' We've got wristbands and the student body is involved. It's a Braves' thing and anytime you can get young kids involved in good things and support each other, it's a positive to the school and the teachers."

Goosby, who is in his first season as head coach after serving on the Stars' coaching staff for seven seasons, understands the importance of a strong finish.

"We want to finish with a surge," he said. "None of these kids have finished .500 or better ever. They've embraced the changes we've made and we want them to be rewarded and be hungry for next year. A 5-5 season for us is the equivalent of climbing the mountain."

On Oct. 25, Whetstone defeated Mifflin 21-14, its third win in four games, and Centennial lost to Beechcroft 36-7.

The Braves never trailed Mifflin, but needed a late score -- a 2-yard run by running back Melek White to cap a 55-yard drive with less than a minute remaining -- to a break a 14-all tie. White, who had a 23-yard run on the drive to help set up the game's final touchdown, also scored on a 20-yard run to give Whetstone a 14-7 lead in the third quarter.

Running back Austin Davy scored the Braves' first touchdown against Mifflin on a 39-yard run in the first quarter. Quarterback Ramroth Finnegan was 15-for-22 passing for 202 yards and wide receiver David Simmons had six receptions for 126 yards.

Against the Cougars, the Stars' Jeremy Johnson scored on a 1-yard run in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 9-7. Landers Cox had three touchdowns for Beechcroft and Mike Power ran for one score and threw for another.

Girls soccer teamlosing nine seniors

The girls soccer team produced one of its best seasons in program history, finishing 13-1-2 overall and 9-0 in the City League and winning the City championship for the second year in a row.

The season ended with a 1-0 (4-3 shootout) loss to 21st-seeded Dublin Scioto in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 17. Whetstone, which was seeking its first postseason win since 2002, was seeded 24th and had a first-round bye.

"This was definitely the best team I've had all-around, from top to bottom," said coach Phil Labuhn, who completed his 15th season leading the program. "We outscored our opponents 85-2. The girls were friends and trusted each other on and off the field, and that was probably the biggest determining factor to our success."

Whetstone defeated Centennial 5-0 in the City final Oct. 7 at Crew Stadium. Its only blemishes during the regular season were consecutive scoreless ties against Grandview (Sept. 14) and Coshocton (Sept. 18).

The Braves lose nine seniors in Marlee Christian (forward), Katelynn Cisco (forward), Liz Jackson (midfielder), Alex Kohler (midfielder), Kalie Mascarello (defender), Haley Oliver (forward), Hannah Shook (defender), Maddy O'Malley (defender) and Emma Van Dommelen (midfielder).

Christian led the team in goals (13) and assists (9). Oliver had nine goals and O'Malley and Shook both scored seven.

Christian, O'Malley, Shook and Jackson were named first-team all-City. Koehler and Mascarello were second-team all-league and Van Dommelen was honorable mention.

O'Malley and Shook were second-team and third-team all-district, respectively.

"It was a great group of seniors with great leadership," said Labuhn, who was named district Coach of the Year in Division I. "Christian, Jackson, O'Malley and Van Dommelen were fourth-year players and we're going to miss all of them and what they've helped us accomplish."

The Braves expect to return four starters in junior Rita Knasel (midfielder), sophomores Cecilia Bulgrin (goalkeeper) and Hannah Davey (defender) and freshman Bailey Waitkus (forward). Knasel and Waitkus both scored nine goals. Bulgrin and Knasel were second-team all-league and Davey was honorable mention all-league.

"We've got four strong starters (coming) back and we have a few others who started two years ago that came off the bench this season," Labuhn said. "We have a big sophomore class, so the future is exciting for the next two years. We had strong contributions from several off the bench who we expect to play major roles next year."

Also expected to return are sophomores Olivia Brown (midfielder), Sydney Carroll (defender), Julia Galdamez (midfielder), Tovey Nederveld (midfielder), Elena Sanders (midfielder) and Lauren Taylor (forward) and freshman Callie Umbarger (forward).

Cross country coachpleased with season

Although the cross country teams did not have any Division I regional qualifiers, coach Joe Monda was pleased with the season.

Whetstone finished the season in the district meet Oct. 19 at Watkins Memorial.

"Both (the boys and girls) teams gave their best effort at district, but the weather conditions were not conducive to producing (personal records), which is a shame because that's always the way you want to go out," Monda said. "You feel like if you don't advance, you at least want to have your best times. But with the temperature in the high 40s, the wind, rain and mud made those times near impossible of achieving."

The boys team finished 11th (310 points) in the district 2 meet behind champion Dublin Jerome (23) as 14 teams scored. Westerville South (129) secured the fifth and final qualifying berth for the regional meet, which was held Oct. 26 at Pickerington North.

Senior Hayden Palmer led the Braves, finishing 41st in 17 minutes, 41.81 seconds as the top 20 individuals advanced to regional.

Also competing were junior Isaac Boateng (51st, 17:57.29), senior Evan Myers (66th, 18:53.12), junior Idiris Ibriham (74th, 19:09.24), freshman Matt Hausman (78th, 19:30.24), junior Ray Zeliadt (86th, 20:01.62) and senior Kevin McCoy (90th, 20:24.57).

Palmer and Boateng led the team throughout season and made first-team all-City as the Braves won the nine-team City meet Oct. 9 at home, scoring 33 points to finish well ahead of runner-up Centennial (74).

Boateng was City runner-up (17:10) behind Centennial's Kevin Adams (16:54) and Palmer (17:51) placed third. Making second-team all-City were Ibriham (ninth, 18:40), Myers (11th, 18:51) and Hausman (12th, 19:17).

The Braves lose three seniors in Palmer, McCoy and Myers.

"We'll miss those guys," Monda said.

"Palmer was our top runner and Myers was our No. 3 runner, so that'll be tough to replace. They did a great job and everyone stepped up behind them to help us have a fantastic season."

The girls team finished 13th (358) in the district 3 meet behind champion Upper Arlington (64) as 17 teams scored. Dublin Coffman (148) secured the sixth and final regional-qualifying berth.

The Braves were led by senior Julianna Hausman, who finished 48th (21:16.17) as the top 24 individuals qualified for regional.

Also competing were sophomore Elli Schwartz (68th, 22:20.84), junior Bianca McLe-more (77th, 23:01.58), junior Liz Khoury (80th, 23:05.33), junior Claire O'Grady (85th, 23:28.77), sophomore Cassie Chenoweth (91st, 23:57.77) and senior Kellie Chin (93rd, 24:04.29).

The Braves lose two seniors in Hausman and Chin.

"Julianna was one of our top runners all season and she and Kellie were great leaders for us and kept everyone motivated," Monda said. "They will be missed, without a doubt."

Whetstone was runner-up (41) in the six-team City meet behind Centennial (33).

Hausman (fifth, 21:39) and Schwartz (seventh, 22:10) made first-team all-City and McLemore (eighth, 22:11), Khoury (ninth, 22:23) and Chenoweth (12th, 22:44) were second-team all-league.

"We had a good year, but not overtaking Centennial in the league meet was a little disappointing," Monda said. "But Centennial ran great and we ran well and that was the difference.

"But we have good talent coming back on both teams and we'll get them ready to go and maybe make another run at the league championship next season."