The Hilliard Darby High School wrestling team would like nothing better than to enter a Feb. 3 match against Hilliard Davidson undefeated in the OCC-Central Division at 5-0.

The Hilliard Darby High School wrestling team would like nothing better than to enter a Feb. 3 match against Hilliard Davidson undefeated in the OCC-Central Division at 5-0.

If that happens, Darby would clinch at least a share of the league title.

But to set up that match with Davidson, the Panthers have to overcome a Dublin Coffman team that also stood in their way last year.

"It's about trying to take the next step as a team," coach Brendan Moody said. "Last year we took a step in the right direction. We're getting to that point in the season and it's a great time to see what we can do against a team like Coffman. It's a match that we could win, but we could just as easily lose. It should be pretty even."

Coffman beat Darby 39-28 last season and won the OCC-Central at 7-0, ahead of Davidson at 6-1 and Darby at 5-2.

Davidson already has beaten Coffman this season, 37-27 on Jan. 13. All that's separating the Wildcats from entering the dual with Darby at 5-0 is a match at Central Crossing, which is 1-3 in the OCC-Central.

Not only does Darby believe it has improved from last season, but the Panthers have a more consistent lineup. In last year's match with Coffman, Darby didn't have anyone at heavyweight. This season, the Panthers have one of the area's best heavyweights in Sufyan El-Geroushi, who competed at 215 last year. El-Geroushi was the top-ranked heavyweight in last week's Division I area coaches poll.

Darby has been able to strengthen its dual-meet lineup by spreading out some of the depth it has at the lighter weights.

Cameron Longwell, a state qualifier at 119 pounds a year ago, has routinely been used in dual matches at 125.

That move allows Sean Black to step in at 119, where he has delivered wins. Black was third at 119 at the Pickerington North Panther Invitational on Dec. 18. The Panthers had nine placers and scored 130 points at the meet to finish fourth behind champion Bedford Chanel (282.5).

The Panthers also can use Tyler Perkins at 125 as well as Jake Donatelli, who has been used at 135 this season. The Panthers also are solid at 103 with Sam Valenti.

Darby did not field a competitor at 112 pounds in both of its duals on Jan. 22. That could be a key point against Coffman, which has Ryan Murdock at that weight. Murdock, fifth in the state at 103 last year, has spent most of this season competing at 112.

Should Darby opt not to field a competitor at 112, Coffman might move up Murdock to 119 to try to secure another win.

"I could have a tough match against a kid that was fifth in the state," Longwell said. "I think this is really a big week for us. Coffman is not a team that you can really look past."

Tyler Bowens (171), El-Geroushi, Longwell and Valenti have placed in every tournament this season. When asked about the strength of the lineup, Moody also noted Donatelli, who has fourth- and fifth-place finishes in tournaments this season.

"Our team started off as more of a tournament-style team, but now that we've been able to get some of the younger guys in there, we're a good dual-meet team," El-Geroushi said. "Coach Moody has really prepared us to show us how not to give up points."

AT A GLANCE

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Bradley, Darby and Davidson wrestling teams:

BRADLEY

*Jan. 13 - Defeated New Albany 37-35; def. Olentangy Orange 33-29

Jan. 21-22 - Finished 19th (54.5) at Maumee Bay Classic behind champion Oregon Clay (217).

*Jan. 27 - At Franklin Heights

Of note: The Jaguars were 4-0 in the OCC-Capital before Jan. 24.

*OCC-Capital match

DARBY

*Jan. 13 - Def. Worthington Kilbourne 35-33; def. Thomas Worthington 51-27

*Jan. 20 - Match vs. Central Crossing postponed because of bad weather. No makeup date has been announced.

Jan. 22 - Lost to Lexington 51-30; lost to Westerville North 44-22

*Jan. 27 - Home vs. Dublin Coffman

Jan. 29 - Groveport Cruiser Invitational

Of note: The Panthers are 4-0 in the OCC-Central.

*OCC-Central match

DAVIDSON

*Jan. 13 - Def. Upper Arlington 58-8; def. Coffman 37-27

Jan. 15 - Finished fourth (2-3) at West Chester Lakota West Duals behind champion Mason (5-0)

*Jan. 20 - Match vs. Westland postponed because of bad weather. No makeup date has been announced.

Jan. 22 - Finished first (5-0) at Gahanna Duals ahead of runner-up Teays Valley (4-1)

Jan. 26 - Competed against West Jefferson

Jan. 27 - At Central Crossing

Of note: The Wildcats are 4-0 in the OCC-Central.

*OCC-Central match