Enjoying the moment without getting caught up in it is how the Ready High School football team has attempted to approach one of the best regular seasons in its 52-year history.
The Silver Knights, who were first in Division VI, Region 21 and second in the state poll last week, beat Muskegon Heights (Mich.) 63-8 on Oct. 26 to improve to 9-0.
The only thing standing in the way of Ready's first undefeated regular season is Hartley.
The Knights play host to the Hawks on Friday, Nov. 1, at Hilliard Bradley.
"It's wild," coach Joel Cutler said. "It's been exciting, but you've just got to move on."
Ready won't have the luxury of resting on its laurels against CCL-Gold Division opponent Hartley, which beat Cincinnati Withrow 42-16 on Oct. 25 to move to 8-1.
The Hawks, who were Division IV state semifinalists a year ago, have beaten Ready each of the past three seasons, including 42-8 last fall.
Hartley, which was sixth in last week's Division V state poll, will bring a power running game and efficient passing attack into the matchup.
Through eight games, quarterback Jared Brandewie had thrown for 927 yards and 10 touchdowns with just three interceptions, and running back Sam Mackowiak had rushed for 1,143 yards and 15 touchdowns. Wide receiver Jacob Mercier had 22 catches for 554 yards and seven touchdowns.
Ready brings a veteran defense that features Alvin Knox (LB), Kelly Culbertson (DB) and Brady Taylor (DL).
Knights running back Akili Taylor had rushed for 1,452 yards and scored 20 touchdowns through eight games behind a line led by Brady Taylor, a Virginia Tech recruit. Quarterback Matt Yoho had completed more than 60 percent of his passes.
Hartley defensive lineman Kalil Morris has verbally committed to Kent State and leads a defense that also features lineman Tayron Washington and back Alonzo Saxton, a Duke recruit.
"(Hartley is) fantastic in the kicking game and offensively they're extremely multiple in their formations," Cutler said. "They can pound you with the football and they're also athletic enough to spread the field. They're darn good and we've improved from last year."
Colvin runs in regional meet
Sophomore Kathleen Colvin finished 31st (20 minutes, 10.83 seconds) in the Division II regional girls cross country meet Oct. 26 at Troy.
The top 16 individuals advanced to state Saturday, Nov. 2, at National Trail Raceway.
In the district meet Oct. 19 at Watkins Memorial, Colvin ran a personal-best 19:42.1 to finish ninth.
Girls volleyball team falls in district final
The seventh-seeded girls volleyball team came up short in a rally attempt against top-seeded Sparta Highland in a Division III district final Oct. 26 at Olentangy.
The Knights lost to the Fighting Scots 25-11, 25-12, 17-25, 23-25, 15-8 to finish 14-11.
"I felt like we had them after the fourth (game), but (Highland middle hitter Kam Terry) just dominated and took over," coach Mike Sisler said. "We just got ourselves into too many predicaments with our passing. When we can run fast, we can beat anybody."
On Oct. 24, Ready beat fourth-seeded Marion Elgin 25-23, 19-25, 16-25, 25-17, 15-9 in a district semifinal.
Ready opened the district tournament with a 25-18, 25-13, 25-20 win over 14th-seeded Centerburg on Oct. 16 and was to have played eighth-seeded Columbus Academy in the second round Oct. 19, but the Vikings were disqualified because they played 23 regular-season matches, one more than the OHSAA allows.
Girls soccer team plans to return strong
After 2013 graduate Donavan Capehart helped the girls soccer team earn a district runner-up finish in 2011 and win a district championship a year ago, the Knights made it to a district semifinal despite having underclassmen at several positions.
"The sophomore class is incredible and we've got a couple freshmen who played a lot," coach Jason Montgomery said. "This program is not going anywhere."
The biggest loss will be senior forward Caroline Riewe, who had 23 goals and 14 assists a year ago when Ready went a program-best 16-3-2. She finished her career with 55 goals and 29 assists.
Riewe had 18 goals and nine assists this season as the Knights went 6-12-1 overall and 0-3-1 in the CCL to finish behind Watterson (4-0), DeSales (3-1), Hartley (1-2-1) and Columbus School for Girls (1-3).
Another key senior was defender/midfielder Allie Schroeder, who had five goals and four assists.
In the Division III district tournament, Ready beat Madison Christian 13-1 on Oct. 14 and Grandview 2-0 on Oct. 17 before falling to Fairbanks 6-1 on Oct. 22 in a semifinal.
Freshman forward Caterina Scott was the second-leading scorer with 13 goals and three assists, and sophomore defender Rachel Neff added three goals and six assists.
Junior Ashlyn Szabo spent time at forward, midfielder and goalkeeper, finishing with eight goals and two assists and collecting 65 saves. Freshman goalkeeper Haley Meyer made 64 saves.
Boys soccer team to lose six seniors
The boys soccer team's 2-0 loss Oct. 16 at Fairbanks in the first round of the Division III district tournament marked the eighth time this season it was shut out.
The Knights went 2-13-1 overall and 0-4 in the CCL to finish behind co-champions Watterson and St. Charles (3-1), DeSales (2-1-1) and Hartley (1-2-1).
Midfielder Payne VanTilburg led a six-member senior class.
Freshman Harrison VanTilburg, Payne's brother, played in goal. Also eligible to return are juniors James Ley (midfielder) and Brenden Kirby (defender), sophomores Andres Walliser (defender), Isaac Bowles (defender), Nate Berner (defender) and Sean Atchison (midfielder) and freshman Connor Carrera (defender).