Sound defense and physical play helped the Delaware Hayes High School football team overcome injuries to a pair of running backs in its 23-7 victory over host Canal Winchester on Sept. 6.
Coach Zebb Schroeder is hoping to see more of the same throughout OCC-Capital Division play, which starts Friday, Sept. 20, at home against league newcomer Worthington Kilbourne.
"I'm happy with the toughness our kids exhibited and their will to win," Schroeder said. "It was a hard-hitting, physical game. Those are traits that we'll need to continue to display in the OCC meat grinder."
Delaware, which hasn't had a winning season since going 6-4 in 2009, was 2-0 before playing Dublin Jerome on Sept. 13. The Pacers haven't won more than three games in a season -- or three games in a row -- since 2009.
Kilbourne, which was 1-1 before playing Hamilton Township on Sept. 13, lost to Dublin Scioto 22-21 in its opener Aug. 30, as the Irish scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion with 23 seconds left. The Wolves, who were in the OCC-Cardinal last season, bounced back to defeat Thomas Worthington 44-7 on Sept. 6.
Kilbourne's triple-option offense includes quarterback Griffin Dahn, running back Justin Stoner, slotback Seth Hill, fullback Taylor Wilson and wide receiver Keaton Reinhart.
Against Thomas, Stoner rushed for 130 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries and Dahn completed six of 13 passes for 74 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 79 yards on 10 carries.
Kilbourne's defense includes Gavin Elifritz, D.J. Freer and Mason Rigio on the line and Josh Happ and Wilson at linebacker.
Delaware, which hasn't played Kilbourne since 2005, lost running backs Anthony Hinton and Cody Wooten to leg injuries against Canal Winchester.
"In a two-back system, that's tough," Schroeder said. "We lost Hinton in the first series and Wooten in the second quarter. But (quarterback) Jante' Wright made a couple of big plays on options and Kendall Dorsey and Ernest Bonsu did a solid job at fullback. Bonsu had a nice run to set up a touchdown. We played great defense and Joseph Sanfillipo's kicking was a weapon. He put three of four kickoffs in the end zone and punted extremely well."
Cornerback Theoun Sorn, strong safety Nick Shaver and linebacker Josh Daughenbaugh each had an interception for the Pacers.
"Daughenbaugh was tremendous," Schroeder said. "He had 12 tackles to go with his interception. (Linebacker) Ethan Tucky was phenomenal. Canal was rolling out and sprinting out their quarterback, but Tucky's combination of speed and strength hemmed him in.
"I also thought we got great play from our linebackers, Bonsu and (Shawn) Johnson, and Shane Sand had his best game or scrimmage this year at nose guard. We gave up one big play all game."
Girls soccer coach sees some positives
Victories have been difficult to come by this season, but first-year girls soccer coach Drew Zellers has seen some positives in terms of his team's play, particularly in a 4-3 loss to Jonathan Alder on Sept. 7.
Delaware, which was 1-7-1 overall after its 1-1 tie against Hartley on Sept. 12, rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie the score before Jonathan Alder scored the decisive goal in the final two minutes.
The Pacers had been shut out in three of their previous four contests.
"It should give us a boost," Zellers said. "The girls saw what it takes to win. We made some lineup changes for that game, but we came out lethargic. We trailed 2-0 at halftime, but the girls came together at halftime and were determined to be better. Although we made an error that put us down 3-0 early in the second half, it was one-way traffic from there.
"Anna Welch and Gretchen Bowling began to control the midfield, we got more 50-50 balls and were just on top of them from there. We got within 3-1 and (goalkeeper) Chloe Vessel made a save (on a penalty kick) that really energized us and we hit another gear. (Defender) Brooke Zinader's second goal (of the game) tied it (at 3)."
The Pacers fell to 0-3 in the OCC-Capital with a 5-3 loss to New Albany on Sept. 11. Zinader, defender Hannah Joseph and midfielder Aly Smiley scored.
Runners preparing for stretch run
The cross country teams have three more meets to prepare for the OCC-Capital meet, which is a precursor to the postseason.
Delaware will compete in the Bill Brown Classic on Saturday, Sept. 21, at Marshall Park in Ontario, followed by the Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic on Sept. 28 at London Country Club and the Kenton Invitational on Oct. 5.
The Pacers competed in the Galion Festival on Sept. 14.
Delaware participated in the McGowan Invitational on Sept. 7 at Watkins Memorial.
Senior Jason Watkins placed 19th (16 minutes, 56.85 seconds) of 190 runners to lead the boys team, which scored 479 points in the Division I race to finish 15th in the 28-team field behind champion Olentangy Liberty (51).
Freshman Justin Hernan was the Pacers' second-highest finisher (77th, 18:20.44), followed by Drew Williams (114th, 18:59.32), Corbin Binkley (121st, 19:12.44) and Sid Campbell (148th, 20:03.26).
Freshman Alicia Rittenour placed 41st (21:28.43) of 165 runners to lead the girls team, which finished 15th (442) in the 25-team field behind champion Upper Arlington (48).
Junior Sammi Piroska (76th, 22:16.94) was next for the Pacers, followed by Alyssa Wheeler (100th, 23:12.74), Courtney White (103rd, 23:20.64) and Kirsten Bowe (123rd, 24:05.15).