Joey Norris has had 12 months to think about it, and it still doesn't sit right with the senior offensive lineman for the Johnstown-Monroe High School football team.
Chillicothe 20, Johnstown 7.
It wasn't the way the Johnnies had envisioned the outcome of last season's opener.
Norris said the Johnnies are looking to make amends when the teams open this season Friday, Aug. 29, at Chillicothe.
"That was a tough one," Norris said. "It was the first game of the season, and we started off on the wrong foot. We have to go out and play smash-mouth football and take it to them."
The win started Chillicothe on a run to a 9-2 record and its first postseason appearance since 2008. The Cavaliers lost to Brookhaven 29-27 in the first round of the Division III playoffs.
"We lost 17 seniors from last year, and most of them were three-year starters," Chillicothe coach Ron Hinton said. "We had heavy losses to graduation, losing most of our players on the offensive and defensive lines. We have most of our skill players back."
The Johnnies finished 5-5 last season, missing the playoffs after reaching the Division IV, Region 15 final in 2012 and a Division IV state semifinal in 2011.
"It's really important to go out and win the opener," Norris said. "We have been working really hard in the offseason, especially since missing the playoffs last season. We have something to prove, and right now this is the most important game of the season. We have to take things one game at a time and keep things going."
Norris and the offensive line will be opening holes for senior running back Cody Farley, who had 1,579 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns on 266 carries last season. Senior fullback Eli Dowell had 180 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 44 carries for the Johnnies, who return seven starters on offense.
"From playing (the Cavaliers) last year, we know they are a tough team and they will stick with us if we let them," Norris said. "As long as we play our game, we should be OK."
Girls soccer team learns new system
The girls soccer team has a new approach under first-year coach Jason Montgomery, who replaced Chris Turner after Turner spent one season leading both the boys and girls programs. Turner still is the boys coach.
"All coaches have their own way of doing things from what they want done in the weight room to what they want the players to do on the field," said Montgomery, who spent two seasons at Ready, where his teams won a Division III district title in 2012 and reached a district semifinal last season. "We play a fast, high-pressure attack with two-touch passing. We attack with speed, and the players are kind of getting used to that."
The Johnnies return several key performers from a team that finished 10-7-1 overall and third (4-2) in the LCL behind co-champions Watkins Memorial and Granville (5-0-1).
Last season's leading scorer is back in senior forward Becca Gordon (first-team all-league), who had 29 goals and 14 assists. Other top players include senior forward Kylie Workman (13 goals, 4 assists), senior midfielder-turned-goalkeeper Paige Cannon (7 goals, 6 assists), sophomore midfielder Alissa Rowe (6 goals), junior midfielder Emily Perez (3 goals, 2 assists), senior midfielder Olivia McGee (2 goals, 3 assists), junior defender/forward Jasimine Donnelly (2 goals, 1 assist) and senior defender Kerrigan Williams (2 goals), who was second-team all-league.
"We have all of our leading scorers back, which is a good thing," Montgomery said. "We're very excited about this team, and excited to see where it can go."
Rounding out the roster are juniors Anna Benton (midfielder), Emily Cote (defender), Becca Kozel (defender), Hannah Miller (goalie), Maddy Ross (midfielder) and McKenna Thrash (forward/defender), sophomores Maci Ashbrook (defender), Kodi Babbs (midfielder), Keri Daley (defense) and Olivia Thiel (midfielder) and freshmen Chloe Neighbarger (midfielder), Sydney Roehrenbeck (defender), Stephanie Slader (forward), Maria Tucker (forward) and Annalise Zink (midfielder).
Johnstown lost to DeSales 3-0 on Aug. 19 to drop to 0-2.
On Aug. 16, the Johnnies fell to Fairfield Union 4-1.
Boys soccer team returns 7 starters
The boys soccer team returns seven starters from a team that finished 10-7-1 overall and third (3-1-3) in the LCL behind Watkins Memorial (6-0-1) and Granville (6-1).
The returning starters are seniors Travis Higgins (midfielder; 5 goals, 4 assists), Josh Jennings (defender), Guillermo Morales (midfielder; 5 goals, 3 assists) and Trey Rowe (forward; 1 goal, 6 assists), juniors Ross Harrison (defender) and Collin Peterson (midfielder; 4 goals, 4 assists) and sophomore Max Cannon (forward; 5 goals, 2 assists).
"We return most of our midfield and we should be strong with the ball at our feet, but we have to go at people and score some goals," said Turner, who is in his third season. "Last year we had size and experience in the back, but this year we have new additions and a new keeper, so scoring will be really important."
Senior Trevor McGee, junior Jordan Miller and sophomore Daniel Bigboy lead the defense, with senior Josh Evans and freshman Ryan Byers in goal.
Rounding out the roster are sophomores Josh Ashbrook (forward), Joshua Bentley (midfielder), Matt Schell (midfielder) and Tyler Schlagheck (defender) and freshmen Zane Arnold (defender), Ryan Bates (defender), Daniel Clark (midfielder), Nathan Clark (midfielder), Dustin Gardner (midfielder), Collin Gibson (forward), Jacob Kratzman (midfielder), Cole Lape (midfielder), Dylan Lape (midfielder), Conner Petty (midfielder), Ryan Sparhawk (midfielder), Anthony Terry (defender) and Zach Villwock (forward).
The Johnnies were 0-2 after losing to Northridge 3-2 on Aug. 21 in their LCL opener.
On Aug. 16, Johnstown lost its opener to Fairfield Union 3-1.
Cross country teams have 13 runners
The cross country program has five boys and eight girls, with each team having four returning runners and one senior in Kaleb Walker and Alexis Hercenberg.
The boys team also includes sophomore returnees David Dennis, Paul Lang and Mason Work and freshman Drew Riley.
Also back for the girls are juniors Anna Benton and Grace Mast and sophomore Erica Cox. The team also includes freshmen Hope Nixon, Reagan Saj, Maddison Schulze and Danielle Villa.
"Kaleb Walker and Paul Lang came back in good shape to start the year and Alexis Hercenberg, Grace Mast and Erica Cox lead the girls team," said coach Patrick Helgerman, who is in his third season. "Alexis worked hard this summer and Grace is our fastest returner, but she will be pushed hard by Erica, who has also prepared well over the summer."
Boys golf team defeats Vikings
The boys golf team is 10-0 heading into a match Tuesday, Aug. 26 against Utica at Links at Clover Valley.
John Carlisle shot a 38 to share medalist honors with Northridge's Matt Simmons as the Johnnies defeated the Vikings 157-168 on Aug. 19 at Clover Valley.
Dalton Hastings and Kaden Welch were next for Johnstown with 39s.
Volleyball team falls to Northridge
The girls volleyball team was 0-2 overall and in the LCL before playing Utica on Aug. 23.
The Johnnies lost to Northridge 25-23, 25-13, 25-17 in a season-opening league match Aug. 19 and fell to Newark Catholic 25-5, 25-10, 25-13 two days later.
Claire Slader had six kills with 10 digs and Quinn Weinberger had 10 digs. Tori Helmke had nine digs and Amanda Payne had three solo blocks. Adeline Almendinger was perfect on 11 serves with one ace and Emily Wilson was 10-for-10 serving. Sydney Foe was 9-for-9 serving with an ace.
Aug. 20 -- vs. Northridge
Aug. 23 -- Centerville Saturday Night Lights
Aug. 30 -- Granville Invitational at Bryn Du Mansion
Sept. 3 -- Fairfield Union Falcon Invitational
Sept. 6 -- McGowan Invitational at Watkins Memorial
Sept. 13 -- Newark Invitational at Evans Athletic Complex
Sept. 27 -- Don Hardin Heath Invitational at Gellar Park
Oct. 4 -- Johnstown Invitational at Infirmary Mound Park
Oct. 11 -- LCL meet at Watkins Memorial
Aug. 16 -- at Fairfield Union
*Aug. 21 -- at Northridge
Aug. 26 -- at Buckeye Valley
*Aug. 28 -- vs. Lakewood
*Sept. 4 -- at Licking Valley
Sept. 6 -- vs. Big Walnut
*Sept. 11 -- at Licking Heights
*Sept. 18 -- vs. Heath
*Sept. 23 -- at Watkins Memorial
Sept. 27 -- vs. Horizon Science
Sept. 30 -- vs. Madison Christian
*Oct. 2 -- vs. Granville
Oct. 4 -- at Gahanna Christian
Oct. 7 -- at Wellington
Oct. 9 -- vs. Northridge
Oct. 11 -- at Loudonville
Aug. 16 -- at Fairfield Union
Aug. 19 -- at DeSales
*Aug. 28 -- at Lakewood
*Sept. 4 -- vs. Licking Valley
Sept. 6 -- at Dublin Scioto
Sept. 8 -- vs. Ready
*Sept. 11 -- vs. Licking Heights
Sept. 13 -- vs. Zanesville West Muskingum
Sept. 15 -- vs. Fairbanks
Sept. 16 -- at Madison Christian
*Sept. 18 -- at Heath
*Sept. 27 -- vs. Watkins Memorial
Sept. 30 -- at Buckeye Valley
*Oct. 2 -- at Granville
Oct. 4 -- vs. Wellington
Oct. 9 -- at Pickerington Central