Football - Game of the Week
Gahanna next test for Upper Arlington
The Upper Arlington defense comes up strong in stopping Walnut Ridge during the Golden Bears' 43-20 season-opening win Aug. 24 at home. UA lost to visiting Cincinnati Elder 45-7 on Aug. 31. Buy This Photo
The Gahanna Lincoln High School football team enters its matchup Friday, Sept. 7, against visiting Upper Arlington not satisfied with the way it has executed in fundamental areas such as blocking and special teams.
The Golden Bears similarly realize that their performance in a 45-7 loss to visiting Cincinnati Elder on Aug. 31 left much to be desired.
Nevertheless, Gahanna coach John Snoad is expecting a "classic" game between a pair of programs involved in a rivalry that dates to 1927. The Bears lead the all-time series 28-9, including a 28-17 win last season.
"It's a chance for us to be 3-0 and for them to go to 2-1 and get back to where they want to be heading into league play," Snoad said. "They're going to be hopping mad."
Gahanna opened with a 13-10 triple-overtime win over DeSales on Aug. 24 and beat host Strongsville 21-7 on Aug. 31. A year ago, Strongsville went just 1-9 and lost to the Lions 31-0.
Senior quarterback Alec Tuohy threw touchdown passes of 19 yards to Valquez Davis, 13 yards to Kevin Randolph and 6 yards to Jeremy Walls in the second quarter against Strongsville.
Neither team scored during the second half as Gahanna's defense, which features back Emile Camm and lineman Collin Blaney led the way. Other defensive standouts for the Lions have been nose guard Granyl Smith and linebacker Mitchell Rowell.
Despite the strong defensive showings by Gahanna, UA coach Mike Golden was most impressed on film with the play of Tuohy.
The Bears allowed Elder quarterback Josh Moore to complete 13 of 16 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns and allowed the Panthers to rush for 291 yards.
"I've seen some tape on Gahanna and they've got a really good quarterback (and) good skill players," Golden said. "They'll run it and throw it. I'm really impressed with the quarterback.
"Defensively, they're very aggressive, with lots of different looks and a good front six. It'll be a real challenge for us. We've got to let go of (the Elder game) and get prepared. We're looking forward to it. ... They beat DeSales in triple overtime (on opening night) and I know how tough DeSales is because we scrimmaged DeSales."
Gahanna held DeSales to 108 total yards but could be in for its biggest test to date defensively.
UA senior running back Gus Ackley rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns and added a touchdown reception in a 43-20 win over Walnut Ridge on Aug. 24. He had 96 yards rushing against Elder, but 78 came on a touchdown in the second quarter.
Ackley rushed for 180 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries against Gahanna last season, as the Bears overcame a 10-7 halftime deficit.
Elder limited first-year starting quarterback Alex Husted to 4-for-9 passing with one interception. Husted also was picked off once against Walnut Ridge.
Senior linebacker Brendan Gibbs left the game against Elder with a bruised right knee and senior offensive lineman Brian Mulh (concussion) and senior linebacker Jack Mueller (separated shoulder) did not play against the Panthers.
Golden expects all three to be back against Gahanna.
"We continue to not play close to our potential right now," Snoad said. "I'd rather be 2-0 than 1-1, but we expect to be so much better. Our quarterback is doing some good things.
"(UA) is a younger team with a ton of juniors, and they're a pretty aggressive team defensively. Offensively, they like to mix the pass and the run. They're a solid team."