Trailing big in the closing moments of a 68-0 loss to Dublin Coffman on Sept. 17, Central Crossing High School football coach Chris Harr called a timeout and then sent in the field-goal unit.

Trailing big in the closing moments of a 68-0 loss to Dublin Coffman on Sept. 17, Central Crossing High School football coach Chris Harr called a timeout and then sent in the field-goal unit.

The Comets obviously had no shot at winning the game, but Harr knew avoiding a shutout would have been a marginal victory. The real reason behind the decision, however, was that there could be no better practice than being on the field with one of the area's elite programs.

"We wanted every opportunity to get better," Harr said. "(The field-goal attempt) was no disrespect to Coffman, but it was an opportunity to get better. The kids are buying into that stuff."

Central Crossing is finding out how tough it is to build a team from scratch. With the majority of their players not having played varsity football, the Comets have to contend with a brutal OCC-Central Division schedule and injuries at quarterback.

Last Friday in a 75-7 loss to Hilliard Darby, Dylan Simpson became the Comets' third starting quarterback in five games. Originally vying for the starting position during the preseason, Simpson suffered a knee injury in Central Crossing's second scrimmage Aug. 21 against Columbus South.

Tory Clark started Central Crossing's 42-14 loss to Mifflin in the opener Aug. 27 and suffered an ankle injury. Jordan Keaton, who hadn't played the position since grade school and took limited reps in practice, started at quarterback in a 37-6 loss to Northland on Sept. 2. Clark returned to lead Central Crossing to a 34-20 win over Franklin Heights on Sept. 10. He also played the entire game against Coffman. With Clark's injury still having lingering effects, Simpson earned the nod against Darby.

"I have to give it to our offensive coaching staff," Harr said. "They don't know who the quarterback is going to be week to week, and they've been able to put a guy in there and run their game plan. The yards won't show, but we were able to move the ball against everybody. We weren't able to sustain drives."

The players have embraced the challenge of building the program for the future, which carries with it the reality of facing bigger, more physically imposing teams.

"With me being a small guy, (against Coffman) I was lining up against a receiver that was like 6-foot-2," said Keaton, who is 5-foot-11, 155 pounds. "It's kind of intimidating, but it makes you tougher. Everybody knows it's a rebuilding year and this adversity is going to make this a better team."

The one thing the Comets have used to guide it through the difficulty of the league schedule was the victory over Franklin Heights. Central Crossing wanted to be the first South-Western City Schools team to notch its first victory after fall sports were cancelled last season as a result of the levy failure. The Comets defeated Franklin Heights on the same night Westland defeated Toledo Scott 28-0.

It was the first time the Comets were able to ring the victory bell since beating Whetstone 12-10 in the second week of the 2007 season. The only victory in 2008 came at Westland 13-0.

"It was very exciting," said receiver Justin Jones of the Franklin Heights victory. "Second home game back. People were like, 'So this is what it feels like to win.'"

The Comets now have their sights set on showing improvement over past Comets' teams. Central Crossing hasn't won more than one game in a season since finishing 2-8 in 2006. The program's best season was going 3-7 in 2003.

After playing Hilliard Davidson on Friday and Upper Arlington on Oct. 8, the Comets close the season with games against Worthington Kilbourne, Thomas Worthington and Westland. All three teams have the same record as the Comets, 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Central Division.

"It would be nice to knock off someone new," Harr said. "We've beaten Darby (28-21 in 2003) and we've beaten Westland. We haven't beaten anyone else in the league."