Richards leading girls cross country team
The Delaware Hayes High School girls cross country team was runner-up in the 15-team Bucyrus Elks Invitational at Crawford County Fairgrounds on Sept. 1, as junior Emily Richards improved her personal record by 13 seconds.
Richards placed third in 20 minutes, 45.07 seconds, as the Pacers scored 84 points to finish behind Marion Pleasant (79) in their third meet of the season.
"That's a great start for her," coach Jim Bibler said of Richards. "She's got a way to go yet to reach her goal of being in the top 16 (in a Division I district meet) to qualify for regional. We want her to concentrate on finishing in the top 10 in every event this season."
Last season, Delaware qualified for regional as a team by finishing sixth in the district 3 meet. Richards led the Pacers at district by finishing 25th in 21:20.15. She then finished 77th (21:53.87) at regional as the top 16 individuals advance to the state meet at National Trail Raceway.
In the Elks Invitational, Caledonia River Valley had the top two finishers, with Hannah Campbell (19:08.65) winning the race and Khayla Radcliff (20:22.95) placing second.
Also scoring for the Pacers were freshman Hannah Myers (11th, 21:35.77), senior Harlee Mollenkopf (20th, 22:23.96), senior Sierra Mollenkopf (21st, 22:27.16) and sophomore Sammi Piroska (29th, 22:51.3).
"Hannah Myers is a super tough, competitive girl who works really hard and knocked off one and a half minutes from her first varsity meet to the second," Bibler said. "Neither of the Mollenkopfs were pleased with their times, and I expect them to get better. I also think sophomores Sam Curtin and Alyssa Wheeler are going to get a lot better as the season continues."
The boys team finished fourth (154) in 21-team Elks Invitational behind champion Willard (75).
Scoring were junior Jason Watkins (11th, 18:04.33), senior Thomas Oliver (25th, 18:34.04), sophomore Sid Campbell (32nd, 18:53.96), senior Karl Schleutz (36th, 18:58.97) and junior Jacob Rumbalski (55th, 19:30.01).
"This was Thomas Oliver's fastest time this season, but we need for him to get down into the 17s," Bibler said. "He and Karl Schleutz are the only seniors among our top runners, and this is Karl's first season in the sport. (Schleutz) knocked one and a half minutes off his first-meet time and that was a pleasant surprise. He has no idea what he's doing in terms of strategy, but he just keeps running.
"Jason Watkins is a junior who was bothered by allergies (in the Elks Invitational), but he's been consistent. It was the first time below 19 (minutes) for Sid Campbell. The goal is for these underclassmen to get into the 16s down the road. We hope to get them to the low 18s or high 17s by the end of this season. We just want to make the turn and be able to chop more off next season."
Football team eyes league opener
The football team begins OCC-Capital Division play Friday, Sept. 14, at Watkins Memorial.
The Pacers were 1-1 before playing Dublin Jerome on Sept. 7 and the Warriors were 0-2 before playing Mifflin that same night.
The game against Watkins Memorial will mark the final time the teams meet in league play, as the Warriors will move to the Licking County League, which begins play next school year.
The Pacers have split their four games against Watkins Memorial. Delaware won 41-14 in 2008 and 21-0 in 2009, but the Warriors won 40-0 in 2010 and 32-20 last year.
"Any time you play Watkins, you know it'll be a physical, hard-hitting game," coach Zebb Schroeder said. "That's their identity."
The Warriors lost to Licking Heights 13-12 on Aug. 24 and fell to Athens 62-54 on Aug. 31. Against Licking Heights, Watkins Memorial gave up a late touchdown. Most of the second half was played in the Warriors' end because the offense struggled to move the ball and the defense and special teams units couldn't change field position.
Against Athens, senior running back Brenden Kemp ran for 323 yards and five touchdowns on 32 carries and threw a 34-yard halfback-option pass to set up another touchdown. However, the Warriors' triple-option offense lost four fumbles and had two apparent touchdowns nullified by penalties.
Athens, which employs a spread-, shotgun-formation offense, scored 54 points in the first half. Quarterback Joey Burrow threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
"Unfortunately, Delaware will probably be licking their chops after watching that tape," Watkins Memorial coach Jeff Severino said. "Our kids are playing hard on defense; we're just not getting stops. We only allowed eight points in the second half because we made some personnel changes to go two-platoon. Our kids were getting worn out.
"We wanted to bring the young guys along slowly and then work them in, but we've found out that fresh legs are better for us," Severino said. "We may get burned a few times with lack of experience, but they'll make the adjustments."
Kemp scored on runs of 53, 3, 58, 2 and 1 yards. Billy Duvall had a 50-yard touchdown run.
Quarterback Ben Shroyer threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Holton and a 35-yard touchdown pass to Connor Severino. Holton had five catches for 133 yards.
"Everyone thinks of the option offense as a slow, ball-control offense, and that's what they want to be," Schroeder said. "But they scored 54 points, so you know how explosive they can be. (Kemp) hurt us last year and I know they lost most of their line, but they just move new ones in there and get it done."
Delaware won its opener, beating Buckeye Valley 35-23 on Aug. 24. It lost to Canal Winchester 42-23 on Aug. 31.
Against Canal Winchester, senior quarterback Alex Rafeld threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns, but also was intercepted three times. Junior wide receiver Jante Wright had 12 receptions for 137 yards and two touchdowns (12 and 22 yards) and senior running back Taylor Adair had an 11-yard scoring run.
"Canal Winchester was big and physical, which isn't a good omen for Watkins Memorial," Schroeder said. "When we executed, we were fine. We were only down 14-8 at halftime, but they scored two quick (touchdowns) in the second half and we ran out of gas.
"I think we grew up some defensively and we showed flashes offensively, but you can't turn the ball over like we did. However, I was pleased that we don't cash in the chips when we face adversity. The culture of our program has changed and we'll compete to the end."