The Hilliard Davidson High School football team appears to have a big edge in its game Friday at OCC-Central Division-rival Central Crossing. Davidson coach Brian White, however, has told his team that the Comets will provide a big challenge.
The Wildcats enter the game at 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the league after beating Thomas Worthington 35-7 last Friday, but White stressed his team has yet to reach its potential.
The Comets are 0-5 and 0-2 after losing to Hilliard Darby 45-7 last Friday. Their closest losses were to Pickerington North 14-12 on Aug. 22 and Teays Valley 27-14 on Sept. 5.
"When you look at Central Crossing on film they have some really good looking kids," White said.
"You look at the film and look at their heights and weights, they're big kids, they're very athletic and they run well.
"The hard thing with a week like this, just like last week and the week before, is to convince your kids that because they have so many outside influences telling them they're 0-5 or they're not very good. In reality, we know different. We know that if we go out and don't perform the way we need to and the way we're capable, we can get beat any night by anybody."
Davidson is hoping to enjoy success using its ground game against Central Crossing's 4-3 base defense. That defense is led by linebackers Tommy Black and Joe Usner and lineman Shajuan Grace.
"They play man in the secondary, which is a little different look than most teams are given us nowadays, and they bring some heat," White said. "They'll stunt up front and they'll blitz. Hopefully if our offensive linemen are moving their feet and blocking their proper gaps, I'd like to think that the blitzing and the stunting doesn't affect us as much as just the overall personnel that they have."
Spencer Delande leads the Wildcats' ground attack with 433 yards and five touchdowns on 69 carries. Ryan Meadows has 323 yards and two touchdowns on 87 attempts, and Rico Butler has rushed for 300 yards and three touchdowns on 38 carries. Quarterback Jake Trubiano has contributed 289 yards and a team-leading eight touchdowns on 56 attempts.
White said the Comets' offense should test his team's defense, which has allowed just 28 points in five games, including three shutouts. Sophomore Jeff Yates has taken over at quarterback and has been impressive running spread and power-I offensive schemes, according to White.
Sophomore running back Jayshaun Jackson is another offensive weapon.
"Their running back is very shifty and their quarterback, who is only a sophomore, does a really good job of running the show and he's a shifty kid," White said. "They definitely have some athleticism. They have a big tight end and their offensive line moves well. They're really good."
Grace, the tight end, has been another key contributor.
"They do a lot of different things," White said. "In the three games we have they've run just a tremendous number of formations and a tremendous number of plays. I wouldn't say that they run one particular play a lot as much as a lot of different plays a few times. They have a pretty big playbook and this week we're going to have to prepare for a lot of different looks and a lot of different formations and plays that come off those looks."
Davidson is coming off lopsided wins over league rivals Westland and Thomas Worthington, but White said his team can't overlook the Comets and look toward showdowns with Dublin Coffman, Hilliard Darby, Upper Arlington and Worthington Kilbourne.
"We realize that we haven't necessarily gotten into the meat of our schedule, but we feel like it starts this week with Central Crossing as far as our league schedule goes," White said.
"We know that we can't look ahead to any other game than the one we're playing that week."
"Coach White really stresses getting better everyday and not wasting a day," senior Tyler Backstrom said.
"That's what we need to do this week is focus on us and getting better, and making sure that we do everything that we can do everything in our power to control what we can do."
At a glance
CENTRAL CROSSING vs.
•When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
•Last meeting: 2005, Davidson 23-7
•Davidson (5-0 overall, 2-0 OCC-Central) to date: Defeated Westerville North 35-0; def. Brookhaven 24-21; def. Grove City 15-0; def. Westland 58-0; def. Thomas Worthington 35-7
•Top Wildcats: Tyler Backstrom, Spencer Delande, Ryan Meadows, Sky Strahler, Josh Suchecki and Jake Trubiano
HILLIARD DARBY 45,
CENTRAL CROSSING 7
•Star: Darby's Brandon Bargar, who rushed for 114 yards on 12 carries and was 6-for-11 passing for 68 yards and one score
•Key play: Darby's Zach Ison intercepted Jeffrey Yates on the first play of the game and returned it to the Central Crossing 9-yard line. The Panthers scored two plays later
•Key stat: Darby was 7-for-10 on third-down conversions.