The high school football season continues as league races begin to take shape for most area squads. Here is a look at Week 6 matchups for Hilliard teams:
The high school football season continues as league races begin to take shape for most area squads. Here is a look at Week 6 matchups for local teams:Hilliard Darby (5-0, 2-0) at Upper Arlington (4-1, 2-0)
Upper Arlington plays host to Hilliard Darby in a key OCC-Central Division game on Friday, Sept. 30.
The Golden Bears improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Central with a 56-21 win over Worthington Kilbourne on Sept. 23. That same night, Darby shut out Central Crossing 42-0 to improve to 5-0 and 2-0.
UA, which has 599 wins in its 86-year history, is seeking its first 5-1 start since 2008, when it lost its opener but won its next 10 games before losing to Pickerington Central 24-16 in a Division I regional semifinal. Darby, which defeated the Bears 21-6 last year, is 5-0 for the second consecutive year.
UA rushed for 275 yards against Kilbourne and has 979 yards rushing and 604 passing. Gus Ackley (341 yards and five touchdowns on 55 rushes), Ryan McSheffery (335 yards and three touchdowns on 65 carries) and Francis Wilamosky (257 yards and two touchdowns on 48 carries) are the primary ground threats, and Zach Powers (eight receptions for 90 yards and two touchdowns) and Garrett Powers (nine catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns) have been quarterback David Smith's main targets.
But UA coach Mike Golden's primary concern is how his defense will fare against Darby's potent rushing game.
"It was nice to play an option, midline team (in Kilbourne) before Darby," he said. "Darby does a little more out of it and, (with) respect to Kilbourne, they are a bit better than Kilbourne. It's going to be a challenge. We're going to have a good week of practice and play our best football to be competitive against them."
Darby amassed 401 total yards against Central Crossing and allowed only 61. The Panthers have outscored their opponents 198-39, but those opponents - Whetstone, Dublin Jerome, Newark, Kilbourne and Central Crossing - are a combined 2-23.
Dante Talley rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns against Central Crossing, and Hayden Van Kirk has almost 500 yards rushing on the season.
"The schedule is going to get a lot tougher this week. It's important that we're at a point that we are able to execute properly," Darby coach John Santagata said. "It's important we go out and do our jobs, our responsibilities, to maximize what we're able to do.
"I know they are a well-coached football team. We always start there, 'Are they well-coached? And they are.' Coach Golden has been around and has been very successful at Upper Arlington and other places. Do they have the talent level? They definitely do. They are a well-coached team with athletes and that's why they're sitting where they are right now."
-Dave PurpuraCentral Crossing (0-5, 0-2) at Hilliard Davidson (4-0, 2-0)
Hilliard Davidson coach Brian White realizes his team's schedule hasn't been challenging yet, although there are tests on the horizon.
When the Wildcats play host to Central Crossing on Friday, Sept. 30, and during the week's practices, they will be fine-tuning in preparation of Dublin Coffman on Oct. 14, Upper Arlington on Oct. 21 and Hilliard Darby on Oct. 28.
The Wildcats improved to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Central Division by beating Thomas Worthington 33-0 on Sept. 23.
Senior Alex Mickley rushed for 235 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. He leads the team in rushing this season with 499 yards and 10 touchdowns on 66 carries.
"We just have to get better in practice," White said. "We're going to be on them harder than we ever have been before in practice. We've been a little bit lackadaisical in practice at times, but we have to hold them more accountable in practice as coaches. They have to understand there's a lot more difficult games on the schedule ahead."
The Comets fell to 0-5 overall and 0-2 in the league with a 42-0 loss to Darby on Sept. 23. Central Crossing had only 61 yards and three first downs.
The Comets have been outscored 197-20 this season.
Davidson has outscored opponents 168-14 with two shutouts.
"It's fun being the underdog," Central Crossing coach Chris Harr said. "It lets you know where you stack up. Where do you have to get in order to compete in this league? Where does your offseason have to be if you want to compete against a Davidson?"
Harr knows his team will have to slow Davidson's running game if it plans to be competitive.
"They have tradition," Harr said. "They have one of the best coaches in the state. They are great at what they do. It's old-school. The clock is going to run and you have to find a way to stop it. If you could put 12 guys in the box, you would. They are going to pound the ball. They are very physical. One slight mistake and a 4-yard gain becomes a 15-yard gain (or) a tackle for a loss becomes a 3-yard gain."
Davidson defeated Central Crossing 51-0 last season and leads the series 4-0.
-Frank DiRennaHilliard Bradley (4-1, 1-1) at Big Walnut (4-1, 2-0)
Big Walnut hopes to remain unbeaten in OCC-Capital Division play when it plays host to Hilliard Bradley on Friday, Sept. 30.
The Golden Eagles improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Capital with a 35-34 come-from-behind win over Olentangy Orange on Sept. 24 in a game moved to Ohio Wesleyan's Selby Field after their field was deemed unplayable.
Big Walnut's Joey Johnson blocked an extra-point attempt by Orange's Bryan Schrader with 3 minutes, 26 seconds left in the third quarter with the Pioneers leading 34-21. Quarterback Tyler Beam then connected with Seth Myers on a 16-yard touchdown pass with 10:50 to play and added a 1-yard touchdown run with 4:50 left to tie the game. Corey Gibson then kicked the decisive extra point.
Orange missed a 22-yard field goal with 1:48 remaining.
"They have a traditional running game, but they also spread out and throw a lot," Bradley coach Mike LoParo said of the Golden Eagles, who won 26-10 in last year's meeting. "They have varying formations, they like to run the ball and they are good at that."
Beam sat out a 21-14 win over Watkins Memorial on Sept. 16 because of an ankle injury, but rushed for 72 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries and was 15-for-26 passing for 110 yards and two touchdowns against Orange. He had a hand in all five Big Walnut touchdowns.
Also against Orange, Johnson rushed for 57 yards on 11 carries and Lucas Garcia added 43 yards on 12 carries. Seth Wandling caught five passes for 30 yards and Myers had three receptions for 31 yards.
Bradley improved to 4-1 and 1-1 with a 45-12 win over Franklin Heights on Sept. 23, but lost two-way senior Blake Scipio to a knee injury. His status for the game against Big Walnut was not immediately known.
"We don't think he has an ACL (tear) from what the doctor said. We think it's more of a meniscus tear or a bone bruise," LoParo said of his team's leading rusher. "It might be a torn LCL. We really won't know before getting an MRI (on Sept. 26). Right now, we're calling it a sprained knee."
Scipio scored on a 15-yard run before being injured late in the first quarter. Senior Terell Stanford picked up the slack, scoring on a 42-yard run and catching a 78-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Conor Driscoll.
Driscoll also connected on a 14-yard scoring pass to Steve Breen, who also had a 15-yard touchdown run. The Jaguars also had a safety and Reilly Butz returned the ensuing free kick 60 yards for a score.
"(LoParo) did good things when he was at Delaware and that had carried over (to Bradley)," Big Walnut coach Joe Weaver said. "That's the thing about OCC football - you have to be ready every week. All the teams we play are good and Bradley is a good football team."