It was an effort that Grove City Christian School football coach Kerry Owens hopes sets the tone for the season.

It was an effort that Grove City Christian School football coach Kerry Owens hopes sets the tone for the season.

The Eagles rushed for 456 yards on their way to a 61-12 win over host Bellaire St. John on Aug. 27 in the opener for both teams.

"On the film we saw, they played hard, they looked pretty good in their scrimmage," Owens said of St. John. "I wasn't expecting anything like this. The kids played hard. We made some mistakes, put the ball on the ground a time or two and missed some assignments on defense, but overall I feel like we played better than we did in any of our scrimmages."

Grove City Christian plays host to Troy Christian on Friday, Sept. 2.

Last season, Troy Christian defeated the Eagles 21-14 to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

Troy Christian lost its opener to Bradford 28-0 on Aug. 26.

"Troy Christian is always a solid team," Owens said. "They play hard, they hit hard. They don't make very many mistakes."

Tony Roark led the Eagles in the opener, rushing for 117 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. Quarterback Ben Whitaker rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown in the first half.

Freshmen running backs Ethan Swank (94 yards) and Trey Roberts (85 yards) also contributed.

The defense held St. John to three first downs.

Owens played most of his reserves in the second half.

•Coach Brad Seaburn believes the success that senior Sam Miller enjoyed in his first three seasons on the cross country team will pay dividends this fall.

The Eagles opened in the Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North on Aug. 27.

The boys didn't have enough runners for a team score after Miller left the race near the midway point with a hip injury.

Grove City Christian will compete in the Circleville Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 3.

Last season, Miller was the team's lone representative in the Division III regional meet at North, finishing 23rd in 17 minutes, 23.8 seconds. He is a two-time regional qualifier.

Miller finished ninth (17:07.53) at district at Watkins Memorial, as the Eagles were 12th (345 points) behind first-place Liberty Union (67).

Also returning for the Eagles are seniors Alex Caperton, Nathan Little and David Pashovich and junior Seth Rouch, who were district qualifiers last season.

Little led the Eagles in the Pickerington Classic, finishing 109th (21:07) in the Bengal Division.

Junior Josh Ayers rounds out the team.

"I could definitely see Sam making it to regionals and possibly to state," said Seaburn, who is in his second season. "Nathan Little could get out of districts this year."

The girls team finished 26th (783) in the 27-team Bengal Division of the Pickerington Classic, behind first-place Thomas Worthington (138).

Senior Libby Shannon led the Eagles, finishing 165th (25:43).

Seniors Brittany Barton and Emily Harper return.

Barton led the Eagles in the district 1 meet last season, finishing 43rd (24:22.33) followed by Harper (44th, 24:22.87).

Other returning district qualifiers are seniors Gabrielle Norris and Lindsey Norbut and junior Abby Owens.

Seaburn said exchange student Paulina Stocker of Germany is contending for the No. 1 spot.

Senior Katie Boyer and freshman Jenny Jones also are looking to contribute.

Last season, the Eagles finished seventh (193) at district, behind first-place Fredericktown (60).

Jeanna Diederich is in her second season as girls coach.

•The boys golf team again will rely on underclassmen. There are no seniors on the roster.

Sophomores Cameron Michalek and Tyler Elgin have led the team in the early season.

Michalek had a 76 as the Eagles finished ninth (344) behind first-place Columbus Academy (308) in the Worthington Christian Invitational on Aug. 18 at NorthStar.

Michalek also had a 76 as Grove City Christian finished 16th (360) behind first-place Dublin Jerome (307) in the Gahanna Invitational on Aug. 22 at Jefferson.

Michalek had a 77 as the Eagles finished sixth (365) behind first-place Washington Court House (340) in the Grandview Invitational on Aug. 11 at Oakhurst.

Last season in a Division III sectional at Pine Hill, Michalek and Elgin fell just short of reaching district after tying Tree of Life's Mark David Wright and Columbus Academy's Eric Eschliman (79) for the final district berth. Eschliman earned the spot by recording an eagle on the first playoff hole.

The Eagles finished ninth (374) behind first-place Fairfield Christian (316).

"Cameron and Tyler are both better players this year," third-year coach Eric Varney said. "Cameron has been playing all summer. Tyler has been working hard. Tyler plays travel baseball, so he got started a little later, but he has more work ethic than I've ever seen in a kid."

Also back are sophomores Colton Bowshier and Ryan Tiller. Sophomore Michael Howard and freshmen Christian Fuellgraf and Anthony Kocheran are new to the team.

"We're still real young and you can see in these kids that they're just on the cusp of really being great," Varney said. "If we could be a little more consistent, I think we're going to be really good. They're consistently shaving strokes off their scores."

The Eagles will compete in the MOCAL with Fairfield Christian, Madison Christian and Tree of Life.

Grove City Christian, which competed against Tree of Life on Aug. 29 and Madison Christian on Aug. 30, will face Fairfield Christian on Thursday, Sept. 1, at Oakhurst.

Last season, the Eagles finished third (188) in the MOCAL tournament, behind Fairfield Christian (151) and Tree of Life (167) and ahead of Madison Christian (219).