Watkins Memorial Roundup
Woosley leads girls cross country team
Sophomore Josie Woosley of the Watkins Memorial High School girls cross country team earned her first race victory on Sept. 1, leading the Warriors to a good showing in the Granville Invitational at Bryn Du Mansion.
"It wasn't a (personal record), but it was a wet course that has a big hill you have to climb twice," coach John Jarvis said. "We had talked leading into it that she could set the pace and stay out front the entire way. That's what she did. She led from start to finish. She took the chance, got out strong, and I think this is just a steppingstone for a great season."
Woosley, who is looking to build on a strong freshman season, finished in 19 minutes, 58.5 seconds. The Warriors had 128 points and lost a sixth-runner tiebreaker with Olentangy to place fifth in the 15-team field, as Upper Arlington (37) won.
Also scoring for the Warriors, who played host to the McGowan Invitational on Sept. 8, were Veda Durbin (22nd, 21:46.8), Josie Cotugno (35th, 22:22.1), Natalie Watson (36th, 22:23.1) and Natalie Buscemi (46th, 22:43.2).
"The girls did a nice job competing and it was nice to get Veda Durbin back," Jarvis said. "We have a lot of young girls and Veda is a senior. She rolled her ankle and didn't compete in our first meet. She's just knocking the rust off. There's a lot more to come from her. I expect her to have a real strong senior season."
Senior Mikey McKean and freshman Tyler Day led the boys team, which finished ninth (232) of 16 teams as Granville (63) edged Olentangy (64) for the title.
The meet marked the second high school race for both McKean and Day. McKean finished 13th (17:46.8) and Day was 42nd (18:31.9).
"Mikey is a first-year runner who is still just learning," Jarvis said. "The race went out quicker than he thought it would and he had to work his way back through. He wishes he had a chance to run the race again, but for just his second race, we'll take that. He's a talented runner who will continue to get better as he learns."
The team strategy also made Day work his way back through the field.
"We wanted him to set the pace of our pack, so we asked him to lay back for a while," Jarvis said. "It didn't work out as planned because the pack struggled in the middle of the race and Tyler did a nice job working his way back up."
Also scoring for the Warriors were Luke Gamertsfelder (61st, 18:55.9), Austin Dowis (70th, 19:15.7) and Eddie Gero (83rd, 19:31.3).
"I hope they all use this as a learning experience," Jarvis said. "I know we will. I know we will build on this."
Football team set to begin league play
The football team begins OCC-Capital Division play Friday, Sept. 14, when it plays host to Delaware.
The Pacers were 1-1 before playing Dublin Jerome on Sept. 7 and the Warriors were 0-2 before playing Mifflin that same night.
The game against Delaware will mark the final time the teams will meet as league foes, as Watkins Memorial will be leaving the OCC-Capital for the Licking County League, which begins play next season.
The teams have split their first four OCC-Capital meetings, with the Warriors winning 32-20 last season and 40-0 in 2010 and the Pacers winning 21-0 in 2009 and 41-14 in 2008.
Delaware beat Buckeye Valley 35-23 in its opener Aug. 24, but lost to Canal Winchester 42-23 on Aug. 31.
"Delaware has some good receivers and they spread it around," coach Jeff Severino said. "They can score some points."
The Pacers are led by senior quarterback Alex Rafeld, who threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns against Canal Winchester but also threw three interceptions. His favorite targets are juniors wide receivers Jante Wright and Caleb Howell. Against Canal Winchester, Wright had 12 receptions for 137 yards and two touchdowns (12 and 22 yards) and senior running back Taylor Adair had an 11-yard scoring run.
Key players on defense for the Pacers include senior linebackers Andrew Sierawski, Adonis Martin and Austin Arthur, senior end Stone Banks-Herrell and junior linebacker Ray Simpson.
"The key for us will be to control the ball, the clock and the line of scrimmage," Severino said. "We've been unable to do that thus far."
The Warriors lost to Licking Heights 13-12 on Aug. 24 and fell to Athens 62-54 on Aug. 31.
Against Licking Heights, Watkins Memorial gave up a late touchdown. Most of the second half was played in the Warriors' end because the offense struggled to move the ball and the defense and special teams units couldn't change field position.
Against Athens, senior running back Brenden Kemp ran for 323 yards and five touchdowns on 32 carries and threw a 34-yard halfback-option pass to set up another touchdown. However, the Warriors' triple-option offense lost four fumbles and had two apparent touchdowns nullified by penalties.
Athens, which employs a spread-, shotgun-formation offense, scored 54 points in the first half. Quarterback Joey Burrow threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
"Our kids are playing hard on defense. We're just not getting stops," Severino said. "We only allowed eight points in the second half because we made some personnel changes to go two-platoon. Our kids were getting worn out."
Severino said juniors Travis Hall and Cameron Gilbert and sophomore Nathan Miller all stepped in and played well defensively.
"We wanted to bring the young guys along slowly and then work them in, but we've found out that fresh legs are better for us," Severino said. "We may get burned a few times with lack of experience, but they'll make the adjustments."
Against Athens, Kemp scored on runs of 53, 3, 58, 2 and 1 yards, senior Billy Duvall had a 50-yard touchdown run and junior quarterback Ben Shroyer threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to junior Hunter Holton and a 35-yard touchdown pass to senior Connor Severino. Holton had five catches for 133 yards.
"Brenden put forth a yeoman's effort and he got good blocking downfield from our receivers and slotbacks," Severino said. "We're going to check and see if he set a school record for yards in a single game. Our offensive line created some nice creases, but we had 100 yards in penalties and too many turnovers. We've got to correct those things."