The Delaware Hayes High School football team closed its season Nov. 1 against Olentangy.
For most of the 24 seniors, it marked the final time they will put on pads and a helmet. But many of the Pacers plan to play at the next level.
"We could have somewhere around half of them continue their playing careers in college," coach Zebb Schroeder said. "We haven't begun to access all of them yet. But between those who have the ability and seem interested, there's at least nine or 10."
Two-way tackle Collin Wittig likely is the only Division I prospect, but Schroeder thinks Jante Wright (QB/DB) could receive scholarship offers from Division II schools and Caleb Howell (slotback/DB), Shawn Johnson (OL/LB), Gaige Linville (OL/DL), Nick Shaver (WR/DB), Andrew Sierawski (OL/DE), Theoun Sorn (RB/DB) and James Wegmiller (TE/DE) could end up playing Division III, if they desire.
"All of those guys have the ability and grades and most have expressed an interest in keeping football in their lives," Schroeder said. "They are all competitors and enjoy being in a competitive arena. First of all, a senior class of 24 isn't typical, so they're a special group. They have been successful and enjoy the game, so that's special. It tells me they've enjoyed being in this program, and that is a reward."
The Pacers improved to 5-4 overall and 3-3 in the OCC-Capital Division with a 41-6 win over host Franklin Heights on Oct. 25.
Junior cornerback Brandon McConaha returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown and Wright scored on runs of 19 and 39 yards and connected with Howell on a 45-yard scoring toss, as Delaware led 41-0 after three quarters. Also scoring on runs were Sorn (14 yards) and senior quarterback Zach Glascox (6 yards).
Watkins' run ends at regional meet
Senior Jason Watkins of the boys cross country team ended his prep career in the Division I regional meet Oct. 26 at Pickerington North, finishing 37th of 122 runners in 16 minutes, 56.77 seconds.
The top 16 individuals advanced to the state meet held Nov. 2 at National Trail Raceway.
"He was hoping to go out a bit more conservatively, but the frontrunners went (4:48) in the first mile and it was too fast for Jason to catch up to," coach Jim Bibler said. "His best mile is a 4:50 and his (personal record) is 16:25. He was around 40th after the first mile and held his pace. He did the best he could and I was happy for him and proud of him.
"I couldn't ask any more from him. He followed his training plan and did not miss a day all summer long. He's the second-fastest runner I've ever had."
Olentangy Liberty's Andrew Johnston won the regional title in 15:40.8 and Watkins Memorial's Andrew Jordan secured the final state-qualifying berth in 16:17.9.
Watkins was the Pacers' only regional qualifier. He qualified for regional by placing 17th (16:59.21) of 102 runners in the district 2 meet Oct. 19 at Watkins Memorial, where the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced.
The boys team finished 10th (276) in district 2 behind champion Jerome (23) as 14 teams scored. Westerville South (129) secured the final regional-qualifying spot.
Also competing for the Pacers were freshman Justin Hernan (46th, 17:50.6), junior Nathaniel Koehler (65th, 18:49.05), sophomore Corbin Binkley (71st, 18:58.58), sophomore Weston Lingo (77th, 19:26.91), senior Paul Winters (85th, 20:01.07) and junior Sid Campbell (94th, 22:34.48).
"We had a lot of meets with five in the 19s or 20s, and that's just not going to cut it, even if you have one guy in the 16s," Bibler said. "We need to get a lot of work done to improve that and it's not something that can happen during the season. That work has to be done before the season starts."
The boys team finished sixth (150) in the OCC-Capital meet Oct. 12 at Pickerington Central, behind New Albany (27), Olentangy (48), Olentangy Orange (68), Worthington Kilbourne (123) and Mount Vernon (141) and ahead of Big Walnut (197) and Franklin Heights (227).
Watkins led the Pacers, finishing 10th (17:09.33).
The girls team ended its season in the district 2 meet, as it placed 10th (220) behind champion Gahanna (39) as 14 teams scored. Canal Winchester (164) secured the final regional-qualifying berth.
Delaware did not have any individual regional qualifiers. Freshman Alicia Rittenour led the Pacers, finishing 29th (20:49.45) of 95 runners. Also competing were junior Sammi Piroska (33rd, 20:58.52), senior Emily Richards (34th, 21:00.11), junior Alyssa Wheeler (59th, 21:59.21), senior Courtney White (67th, 22:34.06), sophomore Megan Swisher (72nd, 23:03.56) and junior Natalie Martin (80th, 23:37.32).
"It was only the second time this season that Emily Richards competed because of a recurring knee cap problem," Bibler said. "She trained for three weeks, ran in the league meet and then lowered that time by 1:36 at district. She was a four-year runner who is just amazing. She and Courtney White are the only seniors and we'll miss them."
Delaware finished fourth (113) in the league meet, behind New Albany (29), Kilbourne (38) and Olentangy (62) and ahead of Orange (144), Big Walnut (173) and Mount Vernon (189). Franklin Heights did not have a team score.
Rittenour led the Pacers, finishing 10th (21:30.69).
Claymier steps down as girls tennis coach
Bob Claymier has resigned after 18 years as head coach of the girls tennis team.
"I began coaching in Delaware City Schools in 1976 and it's been a great honor to lead the girls tennis program for the past 18 years," Claymier said. "No matter what sport it was, the teams I liked best were the ones which struggled to get better. Those teams which may not have been as talented but fought to get through and, in the end, proved to themselves and others that they improved through hard work.
"It was never about winning and losing. That was way down in the equation. We didn't cut girls because we wanted them all to enjoy the game, no matter how good they were. We wanted to create a positive attitude and make them work hard to see their efforts pay off, to see them gain confidence. Those were the goals we strived to attain."
Delaware finished 11-8 overall and 2-5 in the OCC-Capital this fall. The Pacers lose 11 seniors in Claire Brennan, Amy Co, Darcy Flanagan, Nataly Koeritzer, Ivana Mostafi, Tori Newman, Caroline Proffitt, Blair Ramsey, Elizabeth Russell, Kiersten Ulane and Lexus Wolf.
Because of the numbers of participants in the program this season, there were two varsity teams and a junior varsity squad.
"Like I said, the girls just want to play and have fun, so we had two varsity teams," Claymier said. "I'm very proud to leave the program like this."