When the Dublin Scioto and Westerville North high school football teams meet Friday in an OCC-Cardinal Division contest at Scioto, both teams will be looking for improved play on both sides of the ball.

When the Dublin Scioto and Westerville North high school football teams meet Friday in an OCC-Cardinal Division contest at Scioto, both teams will be looking for improved play on both sides of the ball.

The Warriors fell to 0-5 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Cardinal with a 27-7 loss to Westerville Central last Friday. That same night, the Irish lost to Westerville South 34-9 to drop to 1-4 and 1-1.

Scioto defeated North 17-16 last season, with the Irish blocking what would have been a game-tying extra point late in the fourth quarter.

"We're looking at every game with the expectations to win," North coach Mike Owens said. "We haven't proven anything yet, so we're definitely going into this week with the mindset of getting better and doing whatever it takes to beat them."

North has struggled to find con-sistency on offense the last three games. The Warriors, who employ a spread offense, have averaged just 4.7 points in that stretch after scoring 28 points in each of their first two games.

Key players on North's offense include quarterback Matt Schaublin, running back Randy Price and wide receiver Kalen King. Schaublin has accounted for both of the Warriors' touchdowns the last two games, running for one of the scores and throwing for the other.

"Last Friday we moved the ball well, but we got in the position where we were moving and then we'd get a penalty that killed our momentum," Owens said. "Something always seems to happen on third down, and we just can't keep doing this stuff over and over again because we know what happens. Having said that, I did feel better about our offense last Friday."

Defensively, Scioto has given up 19.4 points per game, but that number is partially skewed by the 34 points given up against South.

Key players for the Irish's defense include Stacey Blunt (DB), Francesco Felice (DL), Alex Gordon (LB), Spencer Grummel (LB) and Grant Pleasant (DL).

"I think that defensively we've been playing well this season," Scioto coach Karl Johnson said. "Westerville South got us last week, and that's something we have to look at. We want to get some pressure on the quarterback and make sure we're matched up with their receivers."

Even though North and Scioto enter the game with only one win between them through the first half of the season, both teams feel that their best game is still to come.

"Eventually, once we put it together on offense, defense and special teams, we'll be pretty good," Owens said. "We just hope it all starts to click for us at the right moment."

"Well, it concerns me that North hasn't played a complete game yet, but I don't think we've gotten a complete game, either," Johnson said.

"I'm concerned about us getting a full game in. I know we'll be ready for a four-quarter battle."

After close games in the first two weeks, North has lost by an average margin of 30 points the last three games. A lack of depth has created the need for a lot of players to play both offense and defense, and Owens cited that as a potential reason why the Warriors have struggled so much the last three games. Owens said some sophomores will be promoted from junior varsity this week to help provide some relief.

"We look a lot different now than we did two weeks ago," Owens said.

"I don't know if it's the wear and tear or what, but we seem to have some very heavy legs. We need to find a way to keep our guys more fresh, because we've got too many skill players going both ways."

Next game

WESTERVILLE NORTH at SCIOTO

•When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

•Last meeting: 2008, Dublin Scioto 17-16

•North (0-5, 0-2 in OCC-Cardinal) to date: Lost to New Albany 33-28; lost to Marion-Franklin 38-28; lost to Pickerington Central 28-0; lost to Dublin Jerome 49-7; lost to Westerville Central 27-7

•Scioto (1-4, 1-1 in OCC-Cardinal) to date: Lost to Pickerington North 12-7; lost to Toledo Central Catholic 30-16; lost to Worthington Kilbourne 9-7; defeated Olentangy 14-12; lost to Westerville South 34-9

•Top Warriors: Mitch Cousins (OL), Trent Curran (LB), Drew Hall (LB), Kalen King (WR), Christian Lucas (LB), Denerol Mizelle (LB), Randy Price (RB) and Matt Schaublin (QB)

•Top Irish: Stacey Blunt (DB), Francesco Felice (DL), Alex Gordon (RB/LB), Spencer Grummel (LB), Chris Latimer (OL), Grant Pleasant (DL), Clay Strawser (RB) and Charlie Suich (QB)