Coach Tony Bilderback is keeping things loose with his Northridge High School boys golf team as the postseason nears.
The Vikings play Thursday, Sept. 19, in the LCL postseason tournament at Blacklick Woods.
The league event is a tune-up for the Division II sectional Sept. 24 at Granville Golf Course or The Players Club at Foxfire. The postseason draw is Sunday, Sept. 15.
"We have been having competitions between members of our team and things have been getting pretty heated," said Bilderback, whose team was 8-9 in the LCL after defeating Licking Valley 168-186 on Sept. 12 at Longaberger.
"We have played things like best-ball tournaments and their game-faces were on. They were working on their games, but also having a lot of fun."
In the LCL preseason tournament Aug. 13 at New Albany Links, the Vikings finished sixth (359) behind Johnstown-Monroe (318), Granville (324), Heath (333), Watkins Memorial (334) and Newark Catholic (347) and ahead of Lakewood (380), Utica (381), Licking Valley (388) and Licking Heights (438).
Junior Matt Simmons led Northridge with an 81, followed by senior Austin Bilderback (83), junior Ethan Doon (90), junior Nick McConnell (105) and freshman Chris George (110).
"A couple of our kids were going to play at Blacklick Woods (before the tournament) because they are thinking of the LCL and getting ready for that," coach Bilderback said. "Blacklick Woods is a long course -- and so is (The Players Club), which is where we hope to play at sectional. That's why we have been working on playing long courses."
Simmons was medalist (35) as the Vikings defeated Watkins Memorial 169-172 in a league match Sept. 10 at Clover Valley. Austin Bilderback had a 42, followed by Doon (44), George (48), McConnell (55) and freshman Steele Strout (55).
Football team preps for LCL opener
The football team, which was 2-0 before playing Harvest Prep on Sept. 13, opens LCL action Friday, Sept. 20, at Licking Valley.
It's the first meeting between the teams since 2006, when Licking Valley won 30-0.
The teams played from 2001-06, with the Panthers holding a 5-1 edge. The lone Northridge win in that span came in 2004 on a forfeit after Licking Valley used an ineligible player in a 21-7 on-field victory.
"It's an exciting time for all of us," coach Darby Riley said. "Starting in the LCL and playing a team like Licking Valley has to make this one of the biggest games in school history. You couldn't ask for more. It's a big deal."
The Panthers were 1-1 before playing Heath on Sept. 13. In a 26-21 loss Sept. 6 at Duncan Falls Philo, the Panthers were held to 55 yards rushing. Senior running back Hunter Hartshorn had 36 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries.
Senior quarterback Grant Garber was 21 of 37 passing for 245 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Senior wide receiver Ty Griffith had eight receptions for 127 yards.
Northridge scored more than 40 points in each of its first two games. The Vikings opened with a 42-0 win Aug. 30 over visiting Millersport before defeating Fairfield Christian 41-20 on Sept. 6 at New Lexington.
Northridge had four interceptions against Fairfield Christian. Senior defensive back Tim Gearry had two, returning one 46 yards for a touchdown. Senior linebacker Jacob Burke had a 21-yard interception return for a score.
Burke also rushed for 105 yards with touchdowns of 36 and 6 yards on 19 carries. Junior quarterback Bryant Garee was 6-for-11 passing for 72 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown to junior wide receiver Chase Hess. Senior running back Eric Dills also scored on a 1-yard run.
"We're excited about our football team and the kids have worked extremely hard," Riley said. "But we definitely have some mistakes to correct. We had four turnovers (against Fairfield Christian), but we played solid defensively and things still came out pretty well. Last year, we weren't mentality or physically tough enough to overcome that."
Volleyball team out to slow start
The girls volleyball team was 1-8 overall and in the LCL after losing to Licking Heights 24-26, 20-25, 25-21, 25-19, 15-12 on Sept. 12 and before playing Johnstown on Sept. 14.
Senior hitter Sara Pribonic, junior setter Faith Miller and sophomore hitter Savannah Legg all had four kills as Northridge lost to Licking Valley 25-13, 27-25, 25-27, 25-21 on Sept 10.
The Vikings lost to Watkins Memorial 25-13, 25-21, 25-20 on Sept. 3 as Legg had nine kills and junior hitter Megan Hatfield and Pribonic both had eight. Miller had three kills with two aces, and junior setter Hunter Adkins had four aces. Senior libero Courtney Legg and junior hitter Sarah George had two aces apiece.
Runners compete at Watkins Memorial
Sophomore Colin Evans finished 119th (20 minutes, 8.97 seconds) of 283 competitors as the only runner for the boys cross country team in the Division II race of the McGowan Invitational on Sept. 7 at Watkins Memorial.
Seniors Kaitlin Garee (198th, 26:33.85) and Vivian Carney (253rd, 30:43.94) competed in the girls Division II race at Watkins Memorial.
The Vikings ran in the Newark Invitational on Sept. 14. They don't compete again until the Fredericktown Denny Stevens Invitational on Sept. 24.
Soccer team beats Delaware Christian
The boys soccer team was 2-4-1 overall and 1-3 in the LCL after losing to Heath 2-1 on Sept. 12.
The Vikings defeated Delaware Christian 3-2 on Sept. 9.
Senior midfielder Summer Prevost, senior defender Michael Travis and sophomore midfielder Noah Anderson all scored, and sophomore midfielder Robi Patrick had one assist.
Sophomore goalkeeper Skyler Pritts had 16 saves.