Johnstown girls soccer team takes next step
In the program's third season, the Johnstown-Monroe High School girls soccer team continued its ascension at the Division III level.
The Johnnies finished 11-5-1 overall, losing to sixth-seeded Fairbanks 3-2 in overtime Oct. 18 in the second round of the district tournament.
The fourth-seeded Johnnies opened district play with a 12-0 win over Madison Christian on Oct. 15.
"Obviously, we would like to have gotten further in the tournament and take that next step," coach Andy Buck said. "But this was the first time that we were ever state ranked, getting up to 12th (in the Oct. 1 poll). That was the high point of the season, getting that statewide recognition."
The Johnnies received that recognition after playing well on the road against a pair of Division II perennial powers. They tied Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary at 1 on Aug. 25 and defeated Youngstown Mooney 3-2 on Sept. 8.
"We have very talented players, but if they don't believe, they don't succeed," Buck said. "We lost to Mooney 7-1 at home last season and then we go up there and win 3-2 after a 3 1/2-hour bus ride. That's not an easy thing to do, but our girls got off the bus focused and ready to play."
Leading scorers for the Johnnies were senior midfielder Taylor Ross (18 goals, 12 assists), sophomore forward Becca Gordon (16 goals, 12 assists), senior forward Marissa Sheets (12 goals, 8 assists), sophomore forward Kiley Workman (6 goals) and senior midfielder Megan Gordon (3 goals, 17 assists).
Seniors were Katie Corby (midfielder/defender), Megan Gordon, Ross and Sheets.
"Taylor, Marissa and Katie were there from day one for us and Megan moved here last year," Buck said. "They symbolize what we are as a program and what we want to be. They were like having coaches on the field and they really bought into what this program is all about."
Expected to return are juniors Tanner Jakeway (defender), Rae Patterson (midfielder), Taylor Thomas (goalkeeper) and Paige Turner (midfielder) and sophomores Elizabeth Blenk (defender), Paige Cannon (defender), Becca Gordon, Olivia McGee (midfielder), Kerrigan Williams (defender) and Workman, as well as freshmen Emily Cote (defender), Jasimine Donnelly (defender), Willow Dove (midfielder), Maddy Ross (midfielder/defender) Mariah Stephens (forward) and McKenna Thrash (forward).
"We expect to have Taylor Thomas back (as) a four-year starter in goal, and she was around 80 percent on saves," Buck said. "And we should have our starting defense back in front of (Thomas) with Tanner Jakeway as the left back, Jasimine Donnelly as the right back and Paige Cannon and Kerrigan Williams in the middle."
The Johnnies, who played an independent schedule, move to the Licking County League next fall.
"I think it will be good for us to be playing in a league," Thomas said. "We were never in a league (in the program's first three seasons) and always had to do a lot of traveling."
Northridge football team finishes 2-8
The Northridge football team finished 2-8 overall with a 55-6 loss to Johnstown on Oct. 26.
The Vikings finished seventh (1-6) in the MBC, behind Danville (7-0), Johnstown (6-1), Loudonville (5-2), Centerburg (3-4), East Knox (3-4) and Fredericktown (3-4) and ahead of Utica (0-7). The MBC disbands after this school year and the team will play in the LCL.
Northridge won its opener against Dayton Jefferson Township 27-0, but had to forfeit the game for using an ineligible player. The Vikings lost to Lakewood 25-6 on Aug. 31 before defeating Millersport 34-0 on Sept. 7 to close non-league play.
On Sept. 21, Northridge defeated Utica 33-26 to break a 23-game MBC losing streak. It was the first league win for the Vikings since they defeated Loudonville 21-10 in the ninth week of the 2008 season.
Coach Darby Riley completed his first season.
Seniors for the Vikings were Eric Dills (RB/LB), Levi Hatfield (OL/LB), Gavin Kyle (TE/DB), Kyle Lambright (WR/DB), Billy Martin (OL/DL), Devin Moore (WR/DB), Drew Mullen (TE/DL), Zach Rudy (OL/DL), Brock Stought (OL/LB), C.J. Sullivan (OL/DL), Kyle Wilbur (WR/DB) and Thomas Williams (RB/LB; 277 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns).
Junior running back Jacob Burke led the offense with 755 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. Also expected to return are sophomore quarterback Bryant Garee, who was 47-for-112 passing for 518 yards with four touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and sophomore Chase Hess, who had 21 catches for 276 yards with three scores.