No matter the outcome, the Johnstown-Monroe High School football team will travel a difficult road in its first three weeks.
The Johnnies started the season Aug. 29 at Chillicothe and play Friday, Sept. 5, at Fairfield Union. They complete the three-game road trip Sept. 12 at Lakewood.
"It does give us a lot of adversity to start the season," senior linebacker Zack Fleming said. "We're not at home until the fourth week when we play Granville (on Sept. 19).
"We really have to be prepared mentally in the first three weeks. We really have to show up ready to play, and I can guarantee we'll be pretty fired up for all three of them."
This is the reverse situation from last year when the Johnnies had their first three games at home. They lost to Chillicothe 20-7 before defeating Fairfield Union 31-0 and Lakewood 69-13.
That opener against Chillicothe was supposed to have been on the road, but the Cavaliers were installing an artificial turf field, prompting the switch.
"If we can do well, it will be a great start to the season," said Fleming, who was honorable mention all-district in Division IV and first-team all-LCL Small School Division last season. "We have to take them all one game at a time, but after those three games we will have three straight home games. We have to be hitting on all cylinders by that time."
Against Fairfield Union last season, senior tailback Cody Farley rushed for 157 yards on 28 carries with touchdowns of 18 and 3 yards. Senior tight end Marcus Nogaj caught four passes for 76 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown, and senior fullback Elijah Dowell had a 4-yard scoring run.
"We can't take any team we play lightly," said Fleming, who also plays wide receiver. "We have to be ready for all of them."
Girls volleyball team makes adjustments
The girls volleyball team was 0-4 overall and in the LCL before playing Granville on Aug. 28.
Claire Slader had six kills and three aces as Johnstown lost to Utica 25-7, 25-10, 25-15 on Aug. 23.
"We adjusted our serve-reception and after a rocky first (game) against Utica, it has showed improvement," coach Scott Ebright said. "Amanda Payne took over some setting responsibilities during serve-reception and really did well in the role. She had three assists with one error out of 17 setting attempts. Adeline Almendinger had five assists with no errors.
"Leanna Lehner was very active in the front row, playing her best match yet. Libero Erin McConnell also had her best match yet and had no mishandled balls. Tori Helmke had an excellent match with no receiving, serving or setting errors."
The Johnnies lost to Watkins Memorial 25-13, 25-18, 25-15 on Aug. 26.
Cross country teams race at Centerville
The cross country teams competed in the Granville Invitational on Aug. 30.
The teams raced in the Saturday Night Lights meet Aug. 23 at Centerville, with the girls team finishing 12th (315 points) of 15 teams in the Varsity 2 race behind champion Kettering Alter (45).
Grace Mast led the Johnnies by placing 31st in 22 minutes, 49.59 seconds. Alexis Hercenberg (42nd, 23:39.15) was next, followed by Erica Cox (84th, 27:05.67), Madison Schulze (87th, 27:13.37), Reagan Saj (88th, 27:20.88), Danielle Villa (119th, 34:51.22) and Hope Nixon (120th, 34:51.34).
The boys team finished 22nd (648) in the 22-team Varsity 2 race behind champion Goshen (Ky.) North Oldham (48). Paul Lang (112th, 20:12.77) led Johnstown, followed by Kaleb Walker (122nd, 20:32.12), David Dennis (176th, 25:28.47), Mason Work (177th, 25:37.29) and Drew Riley (178th, 26:06.27).
Girls soccer team begins LCL play
The girls soccer team was 0-2 overall before opening LCL play Aug. 28 against Lakewood.
The Johnnies last played Aug. 19 when they lost to DeSales 2-0.
First-year coach Jason Montgomery said his team has been getting help in practice from 2013 graduates Megan Gordon and Taylor Ross and 2014 graduate Taylor Thomas.
"It's really been a family atmosphere," Montgomery said. "We have had alumni like Megan Gordon, Taylor Ross and Taylor Thomas come back to spend time with us and help out. I think that makes us a stronger program."
Boys golf team defeats Utica
The boys golf team was 11-0 in the LCL before facing Watkins Memorial on Aug. 28.
John Carlisle and Dalton Hastings each shot 37 to share medalist honors as the Johnnies defeated Utica 153-187 in league play Aug. 26 at Clover Valley. Steve Thiel had a 38, followed by Kaden Welch (41), Paul Michel (46) and Justin Walters (46).
A league match against Newark Catholic on Aug. 21 was postponed because of bad weather and rescheduled for Sept. 10 at Moundbuilders.
Boys soccer team falls to Barons
The boys soccer team was 0-3 overall and 0-1 in the LCL before playing Lakewood on Aug. 28.
The Johnnies lost to Buckeye Valley 4-0 on Aug. 26. Goalkeeper Ryan Byers had four saves.