Coming off its first league loss of the season, the Northridge High School boys golf team regained its composure and remained on pace to win an MBC championship.
The Vikings lost their first league dual on Sept. 12, a 176-186 decision to Centerburg at Table Rock. But a day later, they defeated Johnstown-Monroe 163-166 at St. Albans to enter the MBC postseason tournament Monday, Sept. 17, at Apple Valley with a 9-1 league record.
The Johnnies enter the tournament at 8-2 in league play.
"We're playing it one shot at a time, one hole at a time and one tournament at a time," coach Tony Bilderback said. "We got away from that when we played Centerburg and I told them if they wanted to win the league they had to play well (against Johnstown)."
Matt Simmons shot a season-high 42 against Centerburg, but was still medalist. Against the Johnnies, he had a 39 to lead the Vikings. Ethan Doon and Jacob Eckhardt followed with 40s and both Austin Bilderback and Ty Choate shot 44. Nick McConnell shot a 47.
"It didn't go well (against Centerburg)," Simmons said. "I have to make sure to let things happen on the course and try not to force things. I can't press. I just have to play my game and let things come to me."
In the league's preseason tournament Aug. 16 at Table Rock, Northridge finished first (357) ahead of Johnstown (360), Centerburg (391), Utica (393), Danville (399) and Loudonville (485).
Simmons (79) led the Vikings and was followed by Eckhardt (88), Bilderback (92), Doon (98), Choate (103) and McConnell (106).
"(Playing 18 holes) can help because if you have one bad hole, you know that you still have a lot of holes to play," Simmons said. "It gives you more chances to make up for mistakes."
Coach Bilderback said he wanted to get his players out for a practice round at Apple Valley before the league tournament.
"We would like to get out there for some practice so the kids can get used to the greens and the rest of the course," he said. "We have to be both mentally and physically prepared for the (league tournament)."
On Sept. 10 at St. Albans, the Vikings shot 161 to defeat Licking Heights and Village Academy, both of which shot 175.
Northridge finished 13th (354) in the 21-team Bexley Invitational on Sept. 8 at Westchester behind champion Bexley (299). Simmons (78) led the Vikings followed by Eckhardt (89), Austin Bilderback (93), Doon (94) and McConnell (94).
Football team to face Utica
The football team opened its MBC schedule Sept. 14 against Fredericktown and plays at Utica on Friday, Sept. 21.
Utica was 1-2 before opening league play Sept. 14 against East Knox. The Redskins defeated Rayland Buckeye Local 45-20 on Aug. 24 before losing to Granville 41-0 on Aug. 31 and Heath 34-6 on Sept. 7.
Last season, Utica beat Northridge 33-3.
Through three games, junior running back Travis Baldwin led Utica with 213 yards rushing on 46 carries with two touchdowns. Senior quarterback Trent Vickers had completed 14 of 40 passes for 156 yards.
On Sept. 7, Northridge improved to 2-1 with a 34-0 win over Millersport. The Vikings had 238 yards rushing and 308 total yards.
A balanced running attack was led by sophomore Chase Hess with 85 yards on seven carries, and junior Jacob Burke had 84 yards on 13 carries. Senior Thomas Williams ran three times for 32 yards.
Sophomore quarterback Bryant Garee was 7-for-11 passing for 70 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Hess had five receptions for 23 yards and senior Gavin Kyle had two catches for 17 yards. Senior defensive end Zach Rudy had nine tackles, five solo, with one sack.