As Matt Simmons teed off at Granville Golf Course on Oct. 3, the sophomore on the Northridge High School boys golf team began to realize the gravity of his situation.
Simmons was competing in the Division II district tournament for a chance to play in the state tournament Friday, Oct. 12, and Saturday, Oct. 13, at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
Simmons shot an 84 and failed to advance, as the top two teams and top two individuals not on a qualifying team moved on to state.
"It was kind of nerve-racking on the first couple of holes," Simmons said. "Sometimes you need to let things come to you instead of trying to make things happen."
Coach Tony Bilderback said Simmons lost some confidence early in the round.
"Matt started with pars on the first two holes and then had a bogey on No. 3 and had a bad tee on No. 4," Bilderback said. "He had bad breaks with hitting tree limbs and kind of got down on himself."
Teams qualifying for state were East Liverpool (314) and St. Clairsville (315). Medalist honors were shared by Zach Keylor of St. Clairsville and Blake Prince of East Liverpool, as both shot 74.
Bexley's Grant Murphy and Watterson's Jon Ransone advanced to state after winning a playoff hole over Johnstown-Monroe's John Carlisle. All three shot 75.
Simmons, playing in the district tournament for the first time, shot 42 on both the front nine and back nine.
"I didn't shoot my best, but I had a lot of fun," he said. "There were a couple of shots that I made that I would have liked to improve on."
Bilderback was proud of the strides Simmons made this season.
"It was a great, great, great experience for Matt," he said. "As a sophomore, this is something for him to look forward to in years to come. Sometimes it's your day, and sometimes it's not. He will get better from this experience."
Simmons believes that will be the case.
"I think this gives me a lot of confidence," he said. "I really improved a lot from last year, and next year I hope to be even better."
Football team to tackle Trojans
The football team was 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the MBC before playing Danville on Oct. 5. The Vikings travel to Centerburg on Friday, Oct. 12, for a league game.
Last season, Centerburg beat Northridge 70-12.
The Trojans also were 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the MBC before playing Loudonville on Oct. 5.
Centerburg went 2-1 in non-league games, beating Cardington 28-3 on Aug. 24 and Lucas 38-7 on Aug. 31 before losing to Elyria Catholic 40-21 on Sept. 7. The Trojans lost to Johnstown 42-21 on Sept. 14 in their MBC opener before defeating East Knox 42-21 on Sept. 21 and losing to Danville 23-14 on Sept. 28.
Against Danville, the Trojans were led by quarterback Tyler Stoyle, who completed 18 of 29 passes for 202 yards with two touchdowns. Seth Borden caught six passes for 96 yards and one touchdown and Silas Beals had six receptions for 49 yards and one touchdown.
Joey Valentine rushed for 47 yards on 16 carries.
The Vikings lost to East Knox 20-0 on Sept. 28. Jacob Burke rushed for 94 yards on 18 carries and Zack Rudy led the defense with five tackles, four solo.