The Grove City High School football team picked a fine time to start a winning streak.

The Grove City High School football team picked a fine time to start a winning streak.

With two wins in their first two OCC-Ohio Division games, the Dawgs are in a three-way tie for first at 2-0 entering Friday's game at Lancaster.

"We're feeling a lot better," tailback and defensive back Keith Moore said. "The first three games were tough, but these two wins are great for us, especially since they're OCC games."

Moore was integral in a 14-7 win last Friday over Groveport 14-7. He had three interceptions and a forced fumble on defense and scored the winning touchdown on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter.

"Things went my way," Moore said. "I was at the right place at the right time usually."

Coach Matt Jordan was pleased his team found a way to win, showing its progression. In two of the three phases of the game, Grove City is doing what it takes to earn the victory.

"We're doing well on defense and in special teams," Jordan said. "On offense we're doing just enough to win the last two games. We're not killing ourselves like earlier in the season."

Jordan thought last Friday's game started much like the opener against Dublin Scioto on Aug. 22, a game Grove City lost 27-0 thanks, in part, to three turnovers.

"We were able to respond and hang in there," Jordan said. "We're growing as a team and developing character. We preach team football and it seems each week we're playing a team with Division I or Division II recruits. The only way you'll be successful is if you play team football. The kids have bought in to that and stuck together."

Grove City expects to face its latest Division I recruit in Lancaster's Ryan Cheek (6-foot, 230 pounds), who will attend North Carolina State next fall. But last Friday, Cheek had three snaps at quarterback as the Golden Gales lost to Gahanna 26-18. Cheek is suffering from an unspecified leg injury.

"He has a lot of heart and desire when he's out there," Jordan said. "We have to make sure everyone has their assignments down and handle that spread offense look. We have to tackle well and get 11 hats to the ball."

Those "hats" need to find Nathan Carpenter (5-11, 185). He is one of the best athletes on the team and he is utilized as such, taking over the offense and defense. On offense, he'll line up at quarterback, running back and wide receiver and on defense he plays in the secondary. Last Friday, Carpenter had 47 yards passing, 100 yards rushing and 90 yards receiving.

Lancaster has gone away from its traditional wing-T in favor of a shotgun spread attack. Coach Rob Carpenter has said he believes this is a faster team than he typically has had, and the Gales are looking to take advantage of the athleticism of their two quarterbacks, Cheek and Carpenter.

"I hear they're now a spread team," Moore said. "That could be good for us. We haven't really played a spread team except Scioto. We'll watch film this week and we should be ready."

With Grove City's defense and special teams playing well, the Dawgs will focus on finding a consistent offense. Jordan saw moments last week especially from running back Cody Funk, who had a 9-yard touchdown run and wide receiver Kory Martin, who had five receptions for 126 yards.

"We're still struggling to put long drives together," Jordan said. "I saw moments of consistency, but I can't wait for the day we have an eight-play drive and eat up the clock. Right now, we're very fortunate we're creating a couple of turnovers by our defense and good field position by our special teams."

Next game


•When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

•Last meeting: 2007, Lancaster26-24

•Lancaster (2-3 overall, 0-2 OCC-Ohio) to date: Lost to Logan 35-10; defeated Washington (D.C.) Howard D. Woodson 42-35; def. Independence 37-6; lost to Pickerington Central 31-0; lost to Gahanna 26-18

•Top Golden Gales: Nathan Carpenter, Nathan Cheek, Ryan Cheek and Connor Smith

Last game


•Star: Keith Moore, who had three interceptions and a forced fumble and scored the winning touchdown

•Key play: The forced fumble by Moore was recovered by Chris McCabe. That turnover led to Moore's touchdown run.

•Key stat: Groveport quarterback Jordan Elmore has thrown six interceptions in his last 2 games.