Grove City's late run fuels promise
Grove City High School football coach Matt Jordan believes his team reached its potential in the final two games of what had been an inconsistent season.
The Dawgs won both of those contests, including a 13-10 victory over Pickerington North on Oct. 26 at home to spoil the Panthers' bid for a perfect regular season.
Grove City finished 5-5 overall and 4-3 in the OCC-Ohio Division.
"It was nice putting everything together to get that last (win)," Jordan said. "We told the kids all year we thought they were capable of winning a couple other ones."
Grove City tied Gahanna for fourth in the league behind co-champions Pickerington Central and Pickerington North (6-1) and Reynoldsburg (5-2). Lancaster (2-5), Newark (1-6) and Groveport (0-7) rounded out the standings.
The Dawgs began the season 1-3, with the win coming against Westerville North 41-7 on Aug. 31.
Grove City won its next two games, defeating Groveport 42-24 on Sept. 21 and Newark 34-14 on Sept. 28, but lost to Pickerington Central 28-7 on Oct. 5 and Gahanna 31-20 on Oct. 12.
The Dawgs responded by defeating Lancaster 31-12 on Oct. 19 and then Pickerington North.
Grove City loses 19 seniors, including first-team all-league selection Chad Moore (LB/P), who had 48.5 tackles, two sacks and two fumble recoveries. Moore also was second-team all-district in Division I.
Junior quarterback Cameron Meece was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. He rushed for a team-high 1,102 yards and 16 touchdowns on 160 carries and completed 46 of 121 passes for 662 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions.
"I thought Cameron had a great year," Jordan said. "Each week he got better and better and became one of the steadfast weapons that we had. He had a great junior year."
Senior Drew Nankivell (K) was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. He also saw time at running back.
Senior Brandon Glover (OL) and junior Ryan Serafini (DL) were second-team all-league, and Glover also was special mention all-district. Serafini had 29 tackles and two sacks.
Senior Tyler Conner (LB) was special mention all-league after finishing with a team-high 65 tackles.
"We improved on the records of previous years and had the best record at Grove City while I was there, and that was big for me. And to go out with a big win over Pickerington North, that felt great to end the season on a high note," Conner said. "We had two more wins than we had last year, so we can definitely see the program going in the right direction."
Sophomore Peyton Bowyer (DB), who had 43 tackles and a team-high three interceptions, was honorable mention all-league.
Senior Justin Waddle (WR) led the team in receiving with 11 catches for 299 yards and three touchdowns.
Junior Corey Williams (RB) rushed for 479 yards and two touchdowns on 84 carries, and junior Jake Norbut (RB) rushed for 198 yards and three touchdowns on 44 carries.
Other key players expected to return are juniors Ben Myers (WR/DB, 41.5 tackles) and Chandler Thompson (DB, 24.5 tackles) and sophomore Vennie Sapp (LB, 43 tackles).
"With so many young kids playing for us and being part of being able to overcome some things week nine (and) week 10 -- and having some younger players make some big plays -- is a reason why we were able to (win our final two games)," Jordan said. "We can definitely build on that going into next year and it's something we'll continue to talk about.
"Don't believe in negativities and don't believe people who doubt what you can do. Believe in what you can do, keep working hard and good things will happen for those who work hard and persevere. Those are things we continue to stress and continue to believe in."