Beginning the season with three wins was a confidence-booster for the Northridge High School football team, but coach Tom Roberts believes the Vikings still were learning lessons while losing their next two games.

Beginning the season with three wins was a confidence-booster for the Northridge High School football team, but coach Tom Roberts believes the Vikings still were learning lessons while losing their next two games.

Northridge was 3-2 overall and 0-2 in the MBC before playing East Knox on Sept. 30.

A 33-3 loss to Utica on Sept. 23 was the 17th consecutive league defeat for the Vikings.

"No one likes to lose, but at the same time, the kids are learning good lessons about what it takes to be a good football team," Roberts said. "Games aren't won on Friday nights, but they are won a year or two ahead of time in the weight room.

"Seeing other teams that are bigger, faster and stronger than we are, they now are understanding that these kids are passing them up because we haven't done what it takes to be successful. They had to learn that lesson with (losses) instead of (wins). They grasp that they have a lot work ahead of them and they seem willing to do that."

Northridge plays Friday, Oct. 7, at Danville, which was 3-2 overall and 0-2 in the MBC before playing Centerburg on Sept. 30. The Vikings lost to Danville 53-7 last season and 41-0 in 2009. Their last win was 7-6 in 2008, and they have lost four of their last six meetings with the Blue Devils.

"We're working with a new offense, a new defense and new terminology, and that comes down to making about 30 (repetitions) before they can pick things up," Roberts said. "It's like that with all high school kids.

"We're working to get better and we're working to get that signature play that you know you can get when it's third-and-3. We don't have a play like that that we can hang our hats on yet. We're working on it, but we haven't found it yet."

The Northridge roster already is small, so injuries can be difficult to overcome. The Vikings lost sophomore linebacker/running back Chad Williamson for the season to a neck injury in a 41-8 win over Millersport on Sept. 9. Against Utica, they lost senior wide receiver/defensive back Josh Harbaugh to a nerve injury.

"Josh hurt one of his legs below his knee in the second quarter," Roberts said. "There's a nerve that runs along his femur from his knee to his ankle. He aggravated that nerve and it's tender and bothering him.

"He has been cleared to play after he is able to pass a battery of tests from our trainer, but he is still on crutches (as of Sept. 27). He's a gamer and he wants to play, but we're not going to put him at any risk. We have to make sure he's 100 percent before we put him out on the field. Nerve damage is not something we want him to contend with because that could last for the rest of his life."

•The golf team finished eighth (390) in the 12-team Division II sectional Sept. 27 at The Players Club at Foxfire, behind district-qualifying teams Watterson (333), Hartley (347) and Johnstown-Monroe (363).

Junior Jacob Eckhardt led the Vikings with a 94 (46-48) followed by junior Tyler Choate with 97 (48-49), sophomore Austin Bilderback with 98 (48-50), senior Sam Cox with 101 (49-52) and freshman Matt Simmons 101 (49-52).

"We shot 27 strokes better than last year (417) when we played here at sectional," said coach Tony Bilderback, who completed his first year leading the program. "Our goal was to get better each week and I think we did that. We have a lot to build on from this year."

The Vikings started slow, finishing sixth (386) of seven teams in the MBC preseason tournament Aug. 11 at Apple Valley behind Centerburg (345), Danville (353), Utica (354), Johnstown (361) and East Knox (382) and ahead of Loudonville (390). Fredericktown did not have a team this year.

Eckhardt shot an 85, but Cox, Choate and Austin Bilderback, the coach's son, missed the tournament because they were showing and selling hogs at the Hartford Fair.

Sophomore Ethan Doon (91) and freshmen Simmons (95) and Nick McConnell (115) scored at Apple Valley. Freshmen Tyler Freese (123) and David Butt (136) had their scores discarded.

Sophomore Jesse Kanavel also was on the Vikings' roster.

Northridge rebounded to win the MBC postseason tournament Sept. 20 at The Links at Echo Springs, shooting 337 to finish ahead of Johnstown (340), Centerburg (349), Utica (365), Danville (369), Loudonville (380) and East Knox (395).

Eckhardt shot an 80 and was first-team all-league. Cox, who was honorable mention all-league, had an 82, and Austin Bilderback (87) and Simmons (88) also scored.

"We have a lot of good kids coming back next year," said Cox, who was the Vikings' only senior. "Next year, the juniors will have to step up and lead us to the district and maybe beyond."

In the final MBC standings, Johnstown tied Centerburg for the league title with 14 points in a numerical system based on scores in the preseason and postseason league tournaments as well as midseason duals. Danville was third (12) followed by Utica (10) and Northridge (9). East Knox and Loudonville tied for sixth (2).

"We won (the final MBC tournament) and we have a pretty young, deep team coming back," said coach Bilderback, who was named MBC Coach of the Year. "We brought the j.v. team (to sectional) so they could see what this atmosphere is like. We want them to look forward to coming here next year and know what to expect."