Grove City High School football coach Matt Jordan doesn't have fond memories of last season's OCC-Ohio Division opener, a 26-16 loss against visiting Reynoldsburg.
The Dawgs will look for a better start in the league when they play Friday, Sept. 20, at Reynoldsburg.
The Raiders have won the last two meetings, including 20-10 in 2011.
The Dawgs won 39-28 in 2010.
"They've beaten us the last two years, so we have our work cut out for us," Jordan said. "Our kids realize that. We talk about it. Last year we thought it was one of the worst games we played all year in terms of being physical. I thought Reynoldsburg was more physical than us a year ago in this game, so that's being talked about and addressed."
After losing to New Albany 38-20 in its opener Aug. 30, Reynoldsburg has won two consecutive games, including 34-14 over previously unbeaten Westerville North on Sept. 13.
Reynoldsburg coach Buddy White believes it's important for his team to get out to a good start in league play.
"The Grove City game means everything," he said. "This is the third year in a row we've been 2-1 going into OCC play. Grove City, from what I've seen of them, is reminding me of the Grove City before they had to shut down sports (in fall 2009 because of school district levy failures). Matt is doing a great job. We're going to have a real battle on our hands (this) week against Grove City."
The Dawgs are 1-2 and looking to bounce back from a 17-14 loss at home against Westerville South on Sept. 13. The Wildcats pulled out the win on Darien Miller's 1-yard touchdown run with 2 minutes, 14 seconds remaining.
The Dawgs were limited to 185 yards, an area in which Jordan said his team will have to improve.
Quarterback Cameron Meece rushed for 92 yards on 21 carries for Grove City.
Reynoldsburg has received several strong performances from senior running back David Moore, who rushed for 87 yards against North and set a school record with 323 yards rushing in a 33-21 win at Hilliard Bradley on Sept. 5.
Running back Zack Mehan rushed for 149 yards against North, including a 70-yard touchdown, and senior quarterback Jordan Aekins ran for two touchdowns and threw for another.
"We are concerned with their athleticism," Jordan said of the Raiders. "Both of their tailbacks (Moore and Mehan) are legit running backs. Their fullback (Milik Mills) is outstanding. They're really good up front. Coach White has those kids playing hard and they are relentless."
Last season, Reynoldsburg finished third in the league at 5-2, behind co-champions Pickerington Central and Pickerington North (6-1). Grove City and Gahanna tied for fourth at 4-3.