The Dublin Jerome and Westerville North high school football teams enter their game Friday, Oct. 4, at Jerome with each looking to end a losing streak.
The Celtics dropped their second consecutive game when they lost at home to Hilliard Darby 30-7 on Sept. 27.
North lost its third consecutive game when it fell at home to Dublin Scioto 41-19 on Sept. 27.
Both teams are 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Cardinal Division.
"We're both looking for an OCC-Cardinal Division win," North coach Rodger Elander said. "We're both going to be hungry. We're both going to try to get off the schneid a little bit. It's going to be a good game."
The Warriors ended another losing streak earlier this season, defeating Franklin Heights 48-21 in their opener Aug. 30 to snap a 45-game skid.
Jerome coach Mark Hundley said despite North's recent struggles, the Warriors are much improved.
"They're playing good ball," Hundley said. "I saw them on film against Darby (37-6 loss Sept. 20). We will not take these guys lightly. Their coach is doing a fantastic job. He finally has those guys believing and his offensive scheme is good, and if he can get his defense to match it, he'll be solid."
Jerome played Darby without leading rusher Steve Kidwell, who missed the game because of a high-ankle sprain sustained in the first half of a 20-0 loss at Hilliard Bradley on Sept. 20.
Hundley said Kidwell would be re-evaluated this week to determine his status for the North game. He has rushed for 444 yards and five touchdowns on 71 carries.
"That takes a ton out of the running game," Hundley said.
Without Kidwell, the Celtics managed just 108 total yards, including only 28 rushing, against Darby.
Elander said his defense must contain Jerome's running game.
"They're going to run some double-wing like they did last year and run the ball at you," Elander said. "They did a nice job with some spread formations last year, too. They have a nice package in that double-wing formation. They do a good job running, so it's going to be another situation where we have to step up physically and make sure we remain gap-sound on defense and force them to run sideways and tackle well."
The Warriors' wing-T offense has been led by running back Jake Hinz, who has rushed for 392 yards and five touchdowns on 45 carries.
Running back John Taylor has 291 yards and four touchdowns on 52 carries, and fullback Andy Struttmann has 266 yards and four touchdowns on 35 carries.
Quarterback Jake Downs has completed 21 of 56 passes for 279 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions.
"Progress is definitely being made. We just wish that there were more wins to show for our progress," Elander said. "We're still working at it. The kids have a good attitude. We're still trying to play our best game of the year.
"We're still making a few too many mistakes that stop ourselves on some drives or continue drives for the opponent. If we start eliminating some of our mistakes or start making a few more plays, we'll be in a much more competitive situation."