The obvious answer to how the Ready and Hartley high school football teams will attempt to bust out offensively when they meet with a playoff berth and CCL-Gold Division championship on the line Friday at Dublin Scioto would be for each to put the game in the hands of their running backs.

The obvious answer to how the Ready and Hartley high school football teams will attempt to bust out offensively when they meet with a playoff berth and CCL-Gold Division championship on the line Friday at Dublin Scioto would be for each to put the game in the hands of their running backs.

The team that figures out how best to complement their star players is the one that could stay one step ahead.

The Silver Knights' Demetrius Clark rushed for four touchdowns last Saturday in a 43-7 blowout at Saginaw (Mich.) Nouvel Catholic Central and has about 1,000 yards this season.

One area in which Ready has shown improvement, though, has been its passing. Coach Larry Wolf believes that quarterback Brennan McCarty and a receiver corps that includes Jordan Carnes, Cody Culbertson and Dana DePassio must be on as well.

"They run a 3-5, or what's called a 3-3 stack defense where they put their athletes on defense out in spaces and expect six guys to take care of your five guys up front, and they usually do," Wolf said. "I think we'll need to throw the football. We threw it pretty effectively (against Nouvel Catholic Central). We need to throw efficiently to keep those linebackers from running downhill on us."

The Hawks have a pair of playmakers in running backs Noah Key, who has scored 19 touchdowns, and Geoffrey Whiteside, who has 14. Last Friday in a 50-13 win over Spencerville, quarterback Austin Underwood threw touchdowns of 13 and 25 yards to Mick Groom and a 26-yarder to Whiteside.

Hartley coach Brad Burchfield plans to do more than just set Key and Whiteside loose and hope for the best.

"(Ready is) going to try to keep us from getting out on the perimeter, so we'd better be able to pound it inside," Burchfield said. "They're going to be able to do things to take away our outside game."

Hartley is 7-2 and likely will make the Division IV, Region 15 playoffs with a win. The Hawks are averaging 40.3 points a game and have won their last two.

Ready is 7-1 and will make the Division V, Region 20 postseason with a victory. The Silver Knights average 35 points per game and also are on a two-game winning streak.

Both teams made the playoffs last season, even though Ready beat the Hawks 52-6.

In 2003, Ready defeated Hartley to keep the Hawks out of the playoffs, and the Hawks returned the favor in 2004 and '06.

"We were not 46 points better than they were last year," Wolf said. "This is probably as big of a momentum game as anybody plays all year. It's a perfect rivalry game."

•The girls soccer team extended its breakout season last Saturday with a 2-0 victory over Fisher Catholic in a third-round Division II tournament game.

The Silver Knights advanced to a district semifinal for the first time, setting up a rematch last Wednesday against Jonathan Alder. The Pioneers were 16-1 heading into the game, with its only loss coming to Ready (3-1 on Oct. 6).

After losing 6-1 to Olentangy Orange on Oct. 8, the Silver Knights posted three shutouts over their next four games.

Seniors Paige Hamilton (defender) and Heather Manning (sweeper), sophomores Lauren Graessle (goalkeeper) and Taylor Cutteridge (defender) and freshman Hailey Cartt (defender) all have been standouts, according to coach Elise Berry.

"They've really played to their potential, even when we've switched around everyone to different positions," Berry said. "We're really a very, very young squad. We start six freshmen and sophomores. At this point, it's about who's in it mentally.

"(Against Fisher Catholic) we stepped up early as a unit in back and really tried to hold them in their end. We've been working on when to step and when to drop."

If Ready defeated Jonathan Alder, it will play for a district championship on Saturday against Bexley or Grandview.

Bexley has won four consecutive district titles.

•The cross country team will be represented at the regional Saturday at Pickerington North by Andrew Mantell from the boys team in Division III and Michelle Kaiser and Niki Brown from the girls team in Division II.

Mantell was a regional qualifier as a sophomore, but battled sickness last year and did not advance from the district meet.

Last Saturday at Watkins Mem-orial, he placed eighth in 17 minutes, 39.78 seconds to advance.

Mantell will run at 1:20 p.m. Saturday, while Brown and Kaiser will compete at 11:50 a.m.

"All week coach (Dean) Tower told me I had to be ready mentally," Mantell said. "I was really focused this summer because I wanted to get ready for my senior year.

"(Brown, Kaiser and I) are really close. We practice running a lot together, and I think we'll be ready to go."


At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Ready boys and girls cross country, football, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Last Saturday -- Boys: Finished 13th (311) in 19-team Division III district meet at Watkins Memorial behind champion Liberty Union (46). Andrew Mantell was eighth (17:39.78) to advance to regional; Girls: Finished seventh (168) in 12-team Divi-sion II district 2 meet at Watkins Memorial behind champion Big Walnut (42). Michelle Kaiser was sixth (21:13.06) and Niki Brown took 15th (21:51.54) to advance to regional. Saturday -- Boys: Mantell will run in Division III regional (1:20 p.m.) at Pickerington North; Girls: Brown and Kaiser will run in Division II regional (11:50 a.m.) at Pickerington North

FOOTBALL

Last Saturday -- Defeated Saginaw (Mich.) Nouvel Catholic Central 43-7. Demetrius Clark had four rushing touchdowns and a kickoff return for a touchdown. Friday -- Home vs. Hartley at Dublin Scioto

Of note: The Silver Knights are 7-1.

BOYS SOCCER

Oct. 13 -- Def. Harvest Prep 4-1 Oct. 21 -- Def. Gilead Christian 1-0 in first round of the Division III tournament Last Saturday -- Lost to Grandview 8-0 in second round of tournament

Of note: The Silver Knights finished 5-12.

GIRLS SOCCER

Oct. 21 -- Def. Liberty Union 5-0 in second round of the Division II tournament. Last Saturday -- Def. Fisher Catholic 2-0 in third round of tournament Last Wednesday -- Played Jonathan Alder in district semifinal. The winner plays for the district title Saturday (7 p.m.) at Dublin Scioto against Bexley or Grandview. The district champion advances to a regional semifinal Wednesday (7 p.m.) against the winner of the Philo district, with the regional final set for Nov. 7 (Noon) against the Monroe or Chillicothe district champion.

Of note: The Silver Knights were 10-3-4 before last Wednesday.

VOLLEYBALL

Last Saturday -- Def. North Union 25-6, 25-20, 25-17 in second round of the Division III tournament Last Wednesday -- Played Amanda-Clearcreek in district semifinal. The winner plays for a district title Saturday (11 a.m.) at Pickerington North against London or Marion Pleasant. The district champion will play in a regional semifinal on Wednesday at Findlay Liberty-Benton against the winner of the Willard district. The regional final is Nov. 7 (2 p.m.) at Liberty-Benton against the Napoleon or Perrysburg district champion.

Of note: The Silver Knights were 20-3 overall before last Wednesday.

*CCL contest