After finishing 1-9 last season -- and having never won an opening game since the program was established in 2002 -- the Central Crossing High School football team was looking to have a strong start.

After finishing 1-9 last season -- and having never won an opening game since the program was established in 2002 -- the Central Crossing High School football team was looking to have a strong start.

Instead, the Comets struggled in their opener and lost to Whitehall 40-7 on Aug. 24 at Bexley.

The contest was scoreless after one quarter, but the Rams took control in the second by outscoring Central Crossing 27-7.

"The good news is, after watching film, we have lots of fixable mistakes," coach Chris Harr said. "It's bad news when you look at the film and say this stuff can't be fixed, that's as good as we can be. Fixable mistakes are always a good thing."

Trailing 14-0, junior quarterback Luke Duncan pulled the Comets within 14-7 when he scored on a 50-yard run.

"We worked hard all offseason and we expected to win the game," said Duncan, who took over as the starting quarterback midway through last season. "We went in thinking we were going to win and we overlooked them, and it didn't go good."

Central Crossing rushed for 248 yards and passed for another 100. Harr, however, pointed to 101 yards in penalties as a key in the loss.

He was hoping to work on better discipline during practice this week, which he hopes will lead to fewer mistakes during games.

"We have to put the kids in those situations and in practice we have to make those penalties more severe," Harr said. "Every penalty and every mistake has to be addressed correctly and right at that moment. We don't need to wait, watch film and go back and tell them this is where you made a mistake."

Central Crossing visits Independence on Friday, Aug. 31. The 76ers, who play in the City League-South Division, are coming off a 32-19 win over Mifflin on Aug. 24. Independence led 32-0 at halftime.

Last season, Independence finished 5-5 overall and 3-4 in the City-South.

This will be the first meeting between the teams.

"We have to work really hard and we have to get prepared for every team we play," Duncan said. "We can't overlook anybody like we did Whitehall."

Against Mifflin, senior wide receiver Dominic Ward had touchdown receptions of 23 and 33 yards from senior quarterback Romaine Hill and added a 66-yard touchdown run.

Independence also features senior running back Vincent Rambo Jr., who is the defending 100-meter champion in the City League and was a Division II state finalist in the event.

Harr hopes his defensive ends, junior Jake Whitlock and sophomore Shane Maxey, can help contain the 76ers' speed when they run outside.