The Westerville South High School football team's spread offense showed off its big play capability last season against Grove City, scoring five touchdowns of 18 yards or longer in a 42-20 victory.
When the Dawgs play host to South on Friday, Sept. 13, coach Matt Jordan said his defense's top priority will be taking away those big plays.
Both teams are 1-1 after Grove City beat Findlay 38-10 and South lost to Clayton Northmont 24-14 on Sept. 6.
Jordan said his defense will try to utilize a strategy similar to the one employed by Northmont, which gave up small chunks of yardage while waiting for the Wildcats to make mistakes.
South quarterback Timmy Bates was 9-for-22 passing for 103 yards, running back Darien Miller rushed for 74 yards and two touchdowns and wide receiver Torrodd Carter had eight catches for 90 yards against Northmont, but the Wildcats committed three turnovers.
The Greyhounds' defense forced three turnovers against Findlay, including interceptions by linebacker Austin Burgett and defensive back Ben Myers.
"We can't give up the home-run ball like we did several times against Westerville South last year," Jordan said. "They have a lot of new players on offense, but their current guys are just as athletic and dangerous as last year's team was, so we've got to keep everybody in front of us and hope they make some mistakes."
Jordan said his triple-option offense also needs to run the ball effectively against South's 4-3 defense, much like it did in the second half of its 28-19 loss to Hilliard Davidson on Aug. 30 and against Findlay.
Against Findlay, Grove City's offense had the ball for 35 minutes, 30 seconds.
Quarterback Cameron Meece has rushed for 306 yards and seven touchdowns on 43 carries, and running back Corey Williams has rushed for 149 yards on 26 carries.
"(The Wildcats') defense is athletic and they bring five or six guys every play to try to get you on your back before you can throw the ball," Jordan said. "We need to be physical up front so we can control the ball and keep it out of their hands for as long as possible."
South linebacker Shuron Howard said his defense needs to play as it did against Groveport's triple-option offense in the Wildcats' 48-20 victory Aug. 30.
"Groveport ran an offense that isn't too different than Grove City's and we were able to ... fill the holes with our linebackers to stop them," Howard said. "As long as everyone on our defense takes care of their responsibilities, we should be fine."