The Hilliard Darby High School football team is looking for its second consecutive victory against Hilliard Davidson after snapping a four-game losing streak in the series last season.
The Panthers, who play host to Davidson on Friday, Sept. 6, trail in the series 4-2. They won the inaugural meeting in 2007, 21-10 at Crew Stadium, but lost the next four matchups before winning 17-3 last year.
Both teams are coming off opening wins on Aug. 30, as Davidson defeated Grove City 28-19 and Darby beat Boardman 31-7.
“Obviously, having lost to Darby last year, our kids are going to be motivated,” Wildcats coach Brian White said. "But them being right across the street from us, we know their kids are going to be motivated just as well.”
Running back Jacob Stacy and quarterback Nate Green each ran for two touchdowns for Darby against Boardman.
Davidson rushed for 209 yards against Grove City, led by running back D.D. Clark with 110 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Running back Markus Bailey also rushed for two touchdowns for the Wildcats.
Grove City quarterback Cameron Meece rushed for 207 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries against Davidson.
“Our kids will be excited to play this game,” Panthers coach John Santagata said. “Anytime you’re playing the guys next door, our kids will be excited.”
Santagata has been emphasizing all week to his defense the importance of containing Davidson's run-oriented option attack. In last year's matchup, Darby outgained the Wildcats in rushing yards 195-141.
“Davidson is a great football team,” Santagata said. “They have several Division I (college prospects) and, from an athletic standpoint, they’re where they need to be. They’re so well-coached. The thing about this is we have to improve a lot this week in practice and we have to execute at a very high level to be in this game at all.”
Even though Darby lost seven starters on offense and eight on defense from a year ago to graduation, White knows his players won't overlook the Panthers.
“Our kids are smart enough to realize how good Darby is regardless of what they lost last year,” White said. “Our kids aren’t going to take anything for granted.”
Green has replaced 2013 graduate Chase Longwell as the starting quarterback in Darby’s spread-option offense. Longwell, who was special mention all-district in Division I a year ago.
Nick Iske has returned at quarterback for Davidson after missing the final eight games, including three playoff contests, last season with an ankle injury. The injury occurred during a 42-6 win over Central Crossing in week five.
In last year's matchup, running back and 2013 graduate Caleb Day led Darby with 94 yards rushing and two touchdowns on eight carries. Now a defensive back for the University of Illinois, he scored on runs of 50 and 5 yards.