Big Walnut Roundup
Girls soccer squad hopes to build on strong start
What a difference a year has made for the Big Walnut High School girls soccer team.
"Compared to last year, it's a completely different team," coach Jim Reardon said.
"It's like night and day. Just everything, I can't even tell you. The kids are having so much fun. Hopefully, it continues."
Inexperience, injuries and a lack of team chemistry hindered the Golden Eagles last season, when they finished 4-13 last season. Through nine games this season, Big Walnut was 6-3.
"We had so many problems (last season)," Reardon said. "But I'm OK bringing that up because we're doing so well this year."
"Last year was a total disaster with the team and the way we played," junior forward Skyler Fleak said. "Our team is so much more (of a) family this year. We all enjoy playing with each other so much. It helps on the field a lot."
Big Walnut opened with an 8-0 win over Northland on Aug. 21 before losing three in a row against Hilliard Darby (2-1 on Aug. 23), Worthington Kilbourne (5-0 on Aug. 25) and Olentangy (2-1 on Aug. 28).
"We've been in every game, even the ones we lost," Reardon said. "I told the girls, 'Don't get down on yourselves because it's going to happen.' Lately, it's been happening."
Big Walnut ended the skid with a 4-3 win over Pickerington Central on Aug. 30. The Golden Eagles then defeated Delaware Hayes (3-1 on Sept. 4), Teays Valley (5-0 on Sept. 8), Watkins Memorial (4-2 on Sept. 11) and Marion Harding (9-0 on Sept. 13).
"After we beat (Pickerington Central), we got so pumped and so excited," Fleak said. "We knew from then on we could win any game we put ourselves in."
Reardon believes his team can continue to be successful if it maintains its system.
"When we put (the ball) up the middle, we lose," he said. "But when we pass it around the outside and take it down and cross it, we're tough to beat. Without a doubt, these kids want to win."
Fleak has been the centerpiece of Big Walnut's offensive attack, scoring 17 of the Golden Eagles' 44 goals through nine games, including all four goals against Pickerington Central.
"She's been putting a lot of goals in," Reardon said.
"She's stepped up. She's taken control. Everybody feeds off of her adrenaline. When she gets the ball, the defense has a tough time trying to control her."
Fleak is quick to credit her teammates with her success.
"I have really good teammates to play with," she said. "They're able to get me the ball."
Through nine games, senior midfielder Jessie Wenger was second on the team with nine goals, junior midfielder Elyse Schnabel had four and junior midfielder Haley Lescinsky had two.
Football team getting ready to face Pacers
The football team travels to Delaware on Friday, Sept. 21, for an OCC-Capital Division game.
Big Walnut defeated the Pacers 42-13 last season and are 14-1 against Delaware since joining the OCC in the fall of 1997. The Golden Eagles' only loss during that span came in 2009, when the Pacers won 17-10.
Through three games, sophomore running back Christian Johnson led Big Walnut in rushing with 148 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. Senior wide receiver and safety Seth Myers had nine catches for 95 yards and a touchdown and nine solo tackles and three interceptions, including one that was returned 38 yards for a touchdown.
Big Walnut, which opened league play Sept. 14 against Olentangy, improved to 2-1 with a 50-6 win over Cleveland Collinwood on Sept. 7.
The Golden Eagles scored 28 points in the first quarter and outgained the Railroaders 405-71 in total offense.
Junior running back Tyler Martin ran for 136 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and senior quarterback Carson Chatterton was 3-for-6 passing for 40 yards and a score and rushed three times for 31 yards.
Sophomore defensive back Joey Mazzi and sophomore linebacker Mark Lewis each had three solo tackles.