The Westerville South High School football team will attempt to utilize a balanced offensive attack when it plays host to Jerome in an OCC-Cardinal Division game on Friday, Sept. 30.

The Westerville South High School football team will attempt to utilize a balanced offensive attack when it plays host to Jerome in an OCC-Cardinal Division game on Friday, Sept. 30.

The Wildcats feature a trio of big-play skill players in quarterback Marcus Ball, running back Daxton Cates and wide receiver Gary Brown.

During South's 45-42 home victory over Dublin Scioto on Sept. 23, Ball was 13-for-19 passing for 216 yards and four touchdowns, and he returned an interception 33 yards for a score while playing free safety.

Brown had eight receptions for 152 yards and three touchdowns, and Cates rushed for 106 yards and two scores on 22 carries as the Wildcats improved to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Cardinal.

Jerome's defense gave up 256 yards during a 20-16 loss at Olentangy Liberty on Sept. 23. The Celtics dropped to 1-4 and 1-1.

"We haven't been like this since year three (of our program)," Jerome coach Mark Hundley said. "I don't know how the guys are going to react, but we're going to find out."

The Celtics' defense has given up 19 points per game, while South's offense is averaging 33.6 points.

"We just want to keep playing the way we do, mixing the pass and run," Ball said. "Defenses are struggling to stop us when we're playing well. But we need to make sure we don't stop ourselves with penalties or turnovers, because that's been a problem in some games."

Jerome's offense has moved the ball the past two games.

The Celtics had 417 yards in a 49-2 win over Westerville North on Sept. 16 and 361 yards against Liberty, as running back Donovan Wilson scored on runs of 80 and 3 yards.

Quarterback Joe Bano will look to throw downfield to Iowa recruit Cameron Wilson against a South defense that is giving up 30 points a game.

Against Scioto, the Wildcats allowed 281 passing yards and 156 rushing yards, although Ball and Brown each had interceptions.

The Wildcats beat Jerome 35-23 last year. South coach Rocky Pentello said his team could be in for another battle after having to rally from a 10-point deficit to defeat Scioto, which also is 1-4 overall.

"Our guys have been up and down all season, so it doesn't matter if Dublin Jerome is struggling because we never know which team is going to show up," Pentello said. "We know we need to play well to win this game."

-Aaron Blankenship

Dublin Coffman (5-0, 2-0) at Thomas Worthington (1-4, 0-2)

Dublin Coffman hopes to keep its offensive juggernaut rolling when it travels to Thomas Worthington for an OCC-Central Division contest Friday, Sept. 30.

The Shamrocks have outscored league opponents 143-3 after two games, the latest being a 76-0 win over Westland on Sept. 23. They have a 235-60 edge over opponents this season.

Against Westland, Daniel Chang ran for 69 yards on 10 carries with touchdowns of 8, 15 and 5 yards, and Mark Kendrick added 68 yards on six rushes with scores of 1 and 5 yards.

Quarterback James Walsh was 7-for-9 passing for 170 yards with touchdowns to Austen Rankin (45 yards) and Tony Woodford (48 yards). Marcus Davis had three catches for 45 yards and returned a punt 45 yards for a score.

Jake Franklin and Kenny Kristan returned interceptions for touchdowns and Tyler Lisovich added a 13-yard rushing touchdown.

Coffman coach Mark Crabtree has his team preparing for Thomas' passing game.

"Traditionally, what they do is throw the ball more than anybody we play with maybe the exception of (Olentangy) Liberty," said Crabtree, whose team won last season's meeting 28-6. "We don't really know them because we haven't seen them yet, but we'll look at film this week and be prepared."

Thomas is coming off a 33-0 loss to Hilliard Davidson in OCC-Central play. Davidson held the Cardinals to minus-30 yards rushing and 7 total yards.

The Cardinals had a strong defensive performance in the second half, limiting the Wildcats to seven points. Justin Cunningham and Rockwell Dendiu recovered Davidson fumbles in the second half.

"Hopefully we can build off this second half (against Davidson)," Thomas coach Scott Gordon said. "We have some good players. We've done nothing but play really good football teams so far this year. Our guys don't give up. Hopefully we'll just take the effort that we showed and build on that and get ready for I'm sure a good Coffman team coming in."

-Scott Hennen

Westerville North (0-5, 0-2) at Dublin Scioto (1-4, 0-2)

The matchup between host Dublin Scioto and Westerville North on Friday, Sept. 30, brings together two struggling programs in a battle to emerge from last place in the OCC-Cardinal Division.

A 41-8 loss to Westerville Central on Sept. 23 was the 30th in a row for the Warriors, who dropped to 0-5 overall and 0-2 in the league. The Warriors' last win was 21-7 over Central on Sept. 19, 2008.

Scioto's 45-42 loss to Westerville South on Sept. 23 left the Irish at 1-4 and 0-2. Three of the four losses have been by 10 points or fewer.

Not since 2007 has Scioto produced a winning record in its first five games.

"We're just working to get better in every area," Scioto coach Karl Johnson said. "Regardless of their record, we're not going to overlook them, especially when we're 1-4 right now. We're going to practice hard and be prepared to play our best football."

William Houston has been Scioto's offensive workhorse with 465 yards on 98 carries and 10 touchdowns. He rushed for four touchdowns against South, which rallied from nine points down in the fourth quarter.

The Irish defense is allowing 35.6 points per game.

The Warriors' only touchdown against Central was a 70-yard run by quarterback B.J. Campfield.

Scioto has won all three OCC-Cardinal meetings with North - 26-14 last year, 34-7 in 2009 and 17-16 in 2008.

-Scott Gerfen