The Licking Heights High School football team was undefeated heading into its LCL game against Northridge on Sept. 27, but that hasn't stopped coach Darren Waters and his staff from making tweaks.
For instance, in a 62-12 win over Heath on Sept. 20 in their LCL opener, the Hornets worked on their toss sweep.
"Our offensive line has done a great job all season and we've been able to run on the line of scrimmage behind those guys," Waters said. "But we really needed to work on our toss sweep because we've had trouble running on the edge. We established that against Heath.
"The thing with us is we want to play ourselves every Friday night, not just the opponent. We want to continue to improve areas that we know we need to be better at for those big games down the road."
Licking Heights, which was 4-0 overall before facing Northridge, travels to Lakewood on Friday, Oct. 4, for an LCL game. The Lancers were 0-4 overall and 0-1 in the league before playing Heath on Sept. 27.
The Hornets' game against Heath marked the season debut for quarterback Martel Davis, who sat out the first three games for an undisclosed reason. He split time under center with Curtis Richardson, going 0-for-4 passing and rushing for 20 yards on two carries.
Richardson, who completed two of four passes for 21 yards and rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries against Heath, took over at quarterback after Adrian Myrthil was injured during a 21-13 win over Hamilton Township on Sept. 6.
"Adrian is just going to concentrate on (being a defensive back) and we're going to continue to use Martel and Curtis at quarterback," said Waters, who declined to comment on why Davis missed the first three games. "Right now, we're also getting healthy and we've got a number of players who can run the ball."
Tailback Kendall Bradley rushed for 228 yards and three touchdowns against Heath and fullback John Neary added 91 yards rushing.
"Our offensive line has been very good and has allowed us to have success no matter who's carrying the football," Waters said. "Our guards, Ross Friehl and Cameron Claborn, have been outstanding and Jacob Hopkins and Mike Hopewell are doing great at tackle. Craig Righter has been solid at center and we've had other guys step up like A.J. Velasquez and Tyler Angle. Plus, our tight end, Luke Langkamp, is always solid."
Kenney, golf team get set for sectional
Boys golf coach Tyler Hennen is hoping his team is prepared to turn in its best round of the season when it tees off in a Division I sectional tournament Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Granville Golf Course.
Licking Heights is seeded 33rd of 39 teams in the district. Among the 13 teams competing at the sectional site are second-seeded Dublin Jerome, fifth-seeded Upper Arlington, sixth-seeded St. Charles and 15th-seeded Gahanna.
The top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team from each sectional will advance to district Oct. 8 at Apple Valley.
"As long as we have our best round, it doesn't matter where we finish as a team," Hennen said. "I just want these guys to go out there and play to their ability and feel good about where they are now as to where they were in the beginning.
"I really have special hope for John Kenney, that he plays his best. He's a fourth-year golfer and I want him to have a great ending to his career. He shot a 37 (over nine holes) there in our LCL dual with Granville (on Aug. 22) and was co-medalist. I think if he shoots a 74 or 75, he could qualify for district."
Also expected to compete at sectional for Licking Heights are Troy Hickman, Austin Pond, Kenneth Abarra and Justin Wand.
The Hornets placed 11th at the same sectional site last season. They did not have any individual district qualifiers, but 2013 graduate Andrew Bailey shot a 78 and was in a three-player playoff for the final district berth. He lost in on the second hole.
Last year, however, four teams and four individuals advanced to district.
"Because there is one fewer (individual district-qualifying) spot, that's why I think it'll take a 74 or 75 (to reach district)," Hennen said. "He's doing great at fairways and greens in regulation and he's been putting well lately. If he can stay below the hole and putt for par, maybe he can roll in a birdie or two and be right there."
Boys soccer team gets in win column
The boys soccer team put together a stretch in which it won two of three games after losing its first six.
Licking Heights picked up its first win Sept. 10, when it defeated Whitehall 4-1. Then, after losing to Johnstown 6-0 in a LCL contest Sept. 12, the Hornets beat Columbus South 11-0 on Sept. 16.
"Sulyman Ceesay and Cameron Christian have been playing well and they combined for a lot of goals and assists in those two wins," coach Zach Grubb said. "Ceesay has played a variety of positions for us and he's one of few seniors on the team. He is lifting the play of those around him.
"Christian is so dependable. You can count on him regardless of the score or the opponent we're playing. He always works hard."
The Hornets, who were 2-10 overall and 0-6 in the LCL before playing Heath on Sept. 26, lost 1-0 to Lakewood in a league game Sept. 19.
"That is one we let get away," Grubb said. "We should've won that one. If we would've played half as well as we did against Hartley (in a 7-1 loss on Sept. 21), we would've won. Our energy was good against Hartley, despite the final score. We did some good things; things I hope will carry over the rest of the way."
Grubb would like to see his team finish more scoring chances. The Hornets had scored 23 goals through 11 games, but 15 came in their wins over Whitehall and South. The other eight came in the nine losses, four of which were shutouts.
"We've had trouble scoring all season," Grubb said. "We had more chances and more corners against Lakewood and had the better of possession. I've been pleased with the defense most of the time. Zach Coverdale has played very well in the back."