Two years ago, Delaware Hayes High School's Dalton Hartley didn't make a big first impression with defensive coordinator Michael Freado when the football team began two-a-days.

Two years ago, Delaware Hayes High School's Dalton Hartley didn't make a big first impression with defensive coordinator Michael Freado when the football team began two-a-days.

"I didn't have a positive opinion of him immediately," Freado said of Hartley, then a sophomore. "He was a defensive lineman, and I didn't think much of his work ethic. I'm sure he didn't have a positive opinion of me right away either, because I let him know how I felt."

What started as a rocky relationship now appears to be paying dividends as the 6-foot-2, 287-pound senior center and nose guard is being recruited by most MAC schools, as well as Indiana, Cincinnati and others.

"He's physical, has the right football mentality, and he responded extremely well in working to get better," Freado said. "He tops our charts in the weightroom and has football intelligence. He's the first in to watch films, he takes notes and he asks good questions. He has really put himself in position to continue to play football at the next level, and by that I mean in the classroom as well as the weightroom."

Hartley began playing football when he was 7 and has played nose guard every year. Through his freshman season, he also was an offensive lineman, usually playing tackle or center. But as a sophomore, he played only on defense.

"I always enjoyed playing both ways and I've always loved the game," said Hartley, whose team was 2-2 overall before playing Mount Vernon last Friday. "I think it comes from my dad, Allen. He was first-team all-state as an offensive tackle for Delaware in 1983."

Last season when the offensive line struggled early in the season, coach Mike Loparo moved Hartley to center. He made an immediate impact and graded out with the team's highest score on the offensive line the first week.

"It was easy to see that he did a great job that first game, but then we watched on film and he graded out, I think, close to perfect and he hadn't played on the line since his freshman year," Loparo said. "That was impressive."

Loparo said Hartley is being recruited mostly for offense, although Toledo has shown interest in him defensively.

"I think he could play either, but in college football, they think he's a little short to be on the defensive line," Loparo said. "I think he could play any position on the offensive line. At center, he has a quick snap and explosive release. He is controlling the nose guards with technique, footwork and power. He generally doesn't need help, so we don't have to use combo blocks.

"I think he also would be a great guard because he gets out fast. He can run very well when he gets moving and is a violent blocker. I wouldn't want to be on defense and see a pulling guard like him coming at me. He's also a great trap-blocker and blows holes open."

Hartley doesn't care which side of the ball he plays on.

"It really makes no difference to me," he said. "I just want to do what my teammates need me to do. I take as much pride in blocking for a teammate to score as I do on defense. On defense, if I make a tackle, or tie up blockers so that our linebackers make the tackle, I'm doing my job. Honestly, the only difference is that I do like hearing my name called (on the public address system) and you don't get that when you make a key block."

Cincinnati showed interest in Hartley last season before coach Brian Kelly left to take over at Notre Dame, according to Loparo.

"Dalton was rated one of the top 25 prospects in Ohio by some scouting services," said Loparo, whose Pacers beat Franklin Heights 28-13 in the OCC-Capital opener on Sept. 17 and will play host to Watkins Memorial on Friday. "We didn't finish strong last year and got off to a slow start this year and that can impact some things. But that's why senior game film is so important. I expect his opportunities to increase.

"He rose to the challenge two years ago, bought into what we were doing and became a leader. His work ethic and progress have been tremendous and he's very coachable. I think he is a great example for all athletes out there."

•The girls soccer team stayed unbeaten in league play by topping Big Walnut 3-2 last Tuesday, but has its three toughest tests remaining.

The Pacers share the league lead with New Albany at 4-0. Hilliard Bradley and Olentangy Orange are both 3-1.

Delaware will play Tuesday at Bradley, then travel to play New Albany on Oct. 5 and close the league schedule Oct. 12 as host to Orange. New Albany beat Bradley 1-0 on Aug. 31 and beat Orange 5-2 on Sept. 14.

Against Big Walnut, Anna Burns scored two goals and Tori Bias scored the other. Taylor Franklin made eight saves. Burns' first goal broke a 1-all halftime tie 57 seconds into the second half. She made it 3-1 with 30 minutes, 33 seconds remaining by converting a shot from about 25 yards.

Franklin made a nice stop on a free kick with just less than 16 minutes remaining, although Big Walnut did score the last goal with just under 10 minutes left.

Bias scored on a free kick with 31:34 left in the first half to tie the game at 1.

•The girls tennis team finished 3-4 in OCC-Capital duals after losing to Olentangy Orange 5-0 last Tuesday.

The Pacers will complete league play on Saturday during the OCC-Capital tournament at Bradley. They are fifth in the standings entering the tournament. New Albany is 7-0, followed by Bradley (6-1), Orange (5-2) and Big Walnut (4-3). Mount Vernon (2-5), Watkins Memorial (1-6) and Franklin Heights (0-7) round out the standings.

"Libby Gardner is playing real well for us at second singles and Abby Hoovler has bounced back after a rough stretch at third singles," said coach Bob Claymier, whose team had lost four consecutive matches and is 7-8 entering Monday's home match against Marion Harding. "Becky Schmitthenner has been competing well, fighting for every point and staying mentally focused despite playing tough matches for us at No. 1 singles."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Delaware Hayes boys and girls cross country, boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Sept. 18 - Boys: Finished 21st (522) of 29 teams in Division I race in Cross Country Festival in Galion as Cincinnati Elder (74) won. Competing for the Pacers were Steve Swisher (52nd, 17:06.74), Zach Flint (75th, 17:34.75), Tommy Peterson (112th, 17:56.76), Justin Sistrunk (139th, 18:28.27), Jacob Rumbalski (144th, 18:36.30), Zach Reed (159th, 19:25.39) and Kyle Edwards (176th, 20:46.21). Girls: Finished 23rd (609) of 28 teams in Division I race as Toledo Notre Dame Academy (102) won. Harlee Mollenkopf (58th, 20:50.52), Sierra Mollenkopf (92nd, 21:34.74), Christiana Binkley (140th, 22:45.05), Kathleen Jackson (149th, 23:08.10), Alanna Sturgill (170th, 24:36.62), Alaina Manor (174th, 25:57.40) and Shelby Brown (177th, 25:37.80) competed. Last Saturday - Competed in Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster Saturday - At Erin Nance Fall Distance Classic at London

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 17 - Finished second (337) in eight-team Marion Harding Invitational behind champion Buckeye Valley (318) Last Monday - Finished 10th (352) in 16-team OCC Fall Classic at New Albany Country Club behind champion Pickerington North (310) Last Friday - Competed in Hilliard Invitational at Heritage Tuesday - At Marysville County Club vs. Marysville Thursday - At Royal American vs. Westerville South

Of note: The Pacers will compete in the Division I sectional Oct. 5 at The Players Club.

BOYS SOCCER

Sept. 18 - Lost to Westerville South 1-0 *Last Tuesday - Lost to Big Walnut 4-1. Jamey Hackett scored. Jeff Mengerink had seven saves. Last Saturday - Played Reynoldsburg *Tuesday - Home vs. Hilliard Bradley Thursday - Home vs. Buckeye Valley

Of note: The Pacers were 1-7 overall before last Saturday and are 1-3 in the OCC-Capital.

GIRLS SOCCER

Sept. 18 - Lost to Pickerington Central 3-2. Tori Bias and Susan Thomson scored and Taylor Franklin made 10 saves. *Last Tuesday - Def. Big Walnut 3-2. Anna Burns scored two goals and Bias had the other. Franklin had eight saves. *Tuesday - At Hilliard Bradley Thursday - At Buckeye Valley

Of note: The Pacers are 7-3 overall and 4-0 in OCC-Capital.

GIRLS TENNIS

*Sept. 17 - Lost to Hilliard Bradley 5-0 in match rescheduled from Sept. 7 Last Monday - Lost to Hartley 4-1 *Last Tuesday - Lost to Olentangy Orange 5-0 Monday - Home vs. Marion Harding Tuesday - At Hilliard Darby Saturday - OCC-Capital tournament at Bradley

Of note: The Pacers are 7-8 overall and finished 3-4 in OCC-Capital duals.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Last Monday - Lost to Columbus School for Girls 25-5, 25-11, 25-5 *Last Tuesday - Lost to Olentangy Orange 25-20, 25-17, 25-23 *Last Wednesday - Def. Franklin Heights 24-26, 20-25, 25-20, 25-13, 15-12 Last Saturday - Played Marion Elgin *Tuesday - At Mount Vernon *Thursday - At Watkins Memorial

Of note: The Pacers were 4-6 overall before last Saturday and are 3-5 in the OCC-Capital.

*OCC-Capital contest