Keeping an undefeated season alive isn't the only motivation for some of the players on the Hilliard Davidson High School football team heading into an OCC-Central Division game against visiting Upper Arlington on Friday, Oct. 11.
According to Wildcats coach Brian White, some of his seniors haven't forgotten a 40-0 loss to the Golden Bears in a freshman game three years ago.
"They beat us very soundly, as soundly as our freshman team has ever been beaten," White said.
"This might be the chance this senior class has been waiting for to play them."
Motivation aside, Davidson has more important goals that it is chasing. The Wildcats are 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Central after a 63-12 rout of Westland on Oct. 4 and are entering a four-game stretch against opponents currently with a .500 record or better.
Meanwhile, UA, which defeated Central Crossing 41-7 on Oct. 4 to improve to 3-3 and 2-1, might have to win out to make the playoffs. The Bears, who have qualified for the postseason only once (2011) in the past four seasons, were 20th in the Division I, Region 2 computer ratings through five games. The top 16 teams in the region make the playoffs.
Last week, Davidson was seventh in the Division I state poll and third in the Region 2 computer ratings.
"We haven't talked much about it, but the kids see what's out there. They know everything that's at stake," UA coach Mike Golden said.
"We know the team we're facing, and our guys are focused on beating them."
Davidson has won the past four meetings with UA, including 42-14 last year, and leads the all-time series 12-5.
Senior Nick Stull scored on a 62-yard kickoff return and an 8-yard blocked punt return and senior running back D.D. Clark ran for 80 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries to power the Wildcats past Westland. Davidson outgained Westland 371-105 in total yards and limited the Cougars to minus-1 yard rushing.
Clark is the Wildcats' leading rusher with 591 yards and six touchdowns on 77 carries, and senior quarterback Nick Iske has attempted only 22 passes this season, completing 11 for 252 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.
UA's quarterback, junior Kyle Kaparos, led the Bears' offense against Central Crossing, rushing for 100 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and completing eight of 16 passes for 131 yards and another score.
"He's one of the fastest kids we have. We've told him if he has an open lane (to run), go ahead and take it," Golden said of Kaparos.
"It helps us be creative. I really enjoyed seeing Kyle taking charge of the offense like he did."
Senior running back and linebacker Chris Frey, a Michigan State recruit, has rushed for a team-high 592 yards and five touchdowns on 87 carries and has 37 tackles and five sacks. Senior linebacker and running back Chase Greenlee has a team-high 44.5 tackles.
Receiving threats for the Bears include seniors Jackson Finfrock, Harrison Heath, Lewis Hughes and Sam Wheeler. All but Heath, who doubles as a linebacker, also start in the secondary on defense.
"They're not going to make mistakes young teams make. They're experienced," White said of UA.
"We know we're going to take their best shot. Our guys have to be ready."