Bradley looking to slow Westerville South
The numbers can be daunting.
Through four games, the Westerville South High School football team has averaged 528.5 total yards and 43.3 points en route to a 4-0 record.
The task at hand for Hilliard Bradley coach Mike LoParo is to lay down a speed bump in an effort to slow the Wildcats' impressive offense when the teams meet Friday, Sept. 21, at Bradley in an OCC-Cardinal Division contest.
"They pose a lot of problems because they are so balanced," said LoParo, whose team dropped to 3-1 after losing its OCC-Cardinal opener to Dublin Jerome 28-26 on Sept. 14. "They have some really good athletes. They spread the field and give you as many problems as you can possibly think of."
Senior quarterback Nick Renzetti has completed 85 of 132 passes for 1,376 yards and 14 touchdowns. In a 28-7 win over Worthington Kilbourne on Sept. 14, he was 22-for-36 for 365 yards and three touchdowns.
The Wildcats can run the ball effectively as well, as Noah Prentiss rushed for 175 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries against Kilbourne. Through four games, the senior running back has 612 yards and eight touchdowns in 82 carries.
Senior wide receiver Jalen Bell, the cousin of Michigan State running back LeVeon Bell, had 13 catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns against Kilbourne. For the season, he has 18 receptions for 413 yards and eight touchdowns.
"Our passing game has been good, but we need to improve our pass protection," South coach Rocky Pentello said. "We've got to get better on our offensive line every week. Teams aren't playing defense against us the same way they've played against other teams, so we've got to be ready for anything."
Bradley's spread-option attack is led by junior quarterback Tommy Horn, who has completed 36 of 58 passes for 603 yards and two touchdowns. Against Jerome, he completed 13 of 20 passes for 166 yards and rushed for 49 yards on 11 carries.
The Jaguars' leading rusher is senior T.J. Martin, who has 292 yards and six touchdowns on 53 carries. Against Jerome, he rushed for 83 yards on 19 carries and scored three touchdowns.
"We'll be prepared and ready to play," LoParo said. "(The Wildcats) have a good football team and have a lot of tradition. They have good football players and so do we. Our kids are excited about the challenge."
The Jaguars and Wildcats are meeting for the first time.
"We went through the film (against Jerome) and saw some things that we could do better," said LoParo, whose team missed an opportunity to start 4-0 for the first time in its four-year history. "We try not to get too high or too low no matter if we win or lose.
"We just try to bring the work pail in every day, work hard and keep the kids excited. You have to keep them hungry and excited because there is still a lot of football left to play, and that means a lot of opportunities."