There was little to celebrate last season for the Central Crossing High School football team, which earned its only win over Whetstone 12-10.

There was little to celebrate last season for the Central Crossing High School football team, which earned its only win over Whetstone 12-10.

After opening this season with a 14-12 loss to Pickerington North last Friday, the Comets will make the trip Friday to Whetstone. The Braves, however, have a new coach in Jim Worden, who has changed things up a little. They opened last Friday with a 41-6 victory over Briggs.

"They have a new coach and they return a lot of starters," coach Rick Vaughn said. "It will be quite a challenge for us."

Worden, who formerly was the offensive coordinator at Walnut Ridge, has taken over a team that went 6-4 a year ago. He brings the same offensive philosophies he had at Walnut Ridge, including a spread offense which helped the Scots average 35.3 points of offense and featured a 1,000-yard passer (Alvin Busbee) and a 2,000-yard rusher (Brandon Rice).

Key players for the Braves include senior Mario Dovell (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) at quarterback and classmate Mike Haynes (5-9, 185) at running back. Last year, Dovell rushed for 584 yards and 14 touchdowns and added 314 yards passing. Haynes ran for 1,003 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Last Friday, Dovell scored on runs of 1 and 34 yards and added another score on an 87-yard kickoff return. Haynes matched Dovell with three scores, rushing for 185 yards on 19 carries.

"This is a really big game for us," Central Crossing center Julian Jackson said. "We played well against them last year. They have a new coach and new fire and they feel they need redemption against us. They took it to Briggs. We are not going to take them lightly."

Receivers Marcus Penn (6-1, 180) and Joe Tuttle (5-9, 175), both juniors, are the top targets for Dovell. Other receivers include senior Demetrius Hurt (5-9, 175) and sophomore Quinton Wright (5-9, 170).

Senior center Jeremy Althouse, who was honorable mention all-district last year, anchors the offensive line which features five seniors, including Dustin Dutcher, Greg George, Josh Hale (5-10, 240) and Jeromi Nowell (6-2, 230).

Helping out the Comets should be the return of two key players. Slotback Cameron Tarver hopes to get on the field after sitting out the opener. Starting linebacker Joe Usner, who sat out last Friday's game with a hamstring injury, appears to be near full strength.

"We're looking forward to getting those guys back on the field," Vaughn said. "(Whetstone) is very physical and very athletic. They made some great plays."

The Comets may be without senior lineman Jordan Davidson (5-9, 205), who was injured last Friday.

Tarver suffered a season-ending injury in the first half of last year's contest, but not before scoring the game's first touchdown, a 1-yard run in the first quarter.

Tarver was replaced by Sam Burns, who finished with a career-high 123 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to give the Comets a 12-0 lead.

Whetstone scored on a field goal and a 5-yard run by Haynes, then was threatening late before throwing an interception.

"We are just looking for a victory," linebacker Tommy Black said. "Last year it was a close game and they have guys coming back. They had good speed last year they ran the offense really well."