The Watkins Memorial High School football team will try to put the brakes on a high-octane offense when it travels to Granville on Friday, Oct. 4.
"The problem when you play a team like Granville that has so many offensive weapons is that you can't take everyone away," coach Jeff Severino said. "We like to use Hunter Holton as a lock-down defender on our opponent's best receiver. But when you have multiple weapons, it's like pick your poison.
"About the most successful thing you can do is keep their offense off the field. We'll need to sustain drives. What you hope for is 14- and 15-play drives that chew up the clock and limit the amount of possessions they have."
The Blue Aces were 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the LCL before playing Utica on Sept. 27. They haven't skipped a beat with senior Isaac Maurer at quarterback in place of David Fraley, who now is playing at Baldwin Wallace.
Granville averaged 41.5 points through four games, as Maurer was 83-for-127 passing for 1,587 yards. Ajay Alderman had 27 receptions for 712 yards with 10 touchdowns, Brock Hill had 25 catches for 596 yards with six scores and Hunter Orth had 19 catches for 149 yards with four touchdowns.
"They use multiple formations and have a great quarterback and at least three great receivers who have a lot of experience," Severino said. "They (throw) it a lot, but they're very good at picking their advantages. They spread you out and look for their best option."
Watkins Memorial, which was 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the LCL before playing Newark Catholic on Sept. 27, faced a similar style team when it lost to Athens 53-3 on Sept. 6.
"There are some approaches we tried that obviously didn't work against Athens," Severino said. "It's a defensive coordinator's nightmare to face something like this, but Mike Warrington will try to get us doing some good things against Granville. When you put pressure on the QB, maybe you can get some bad reads or sacks, but you're also vulnerable to getting burned if you have to get that pressure from a corner or linebacker.
"The other philosophy is to drop everyone (back in coverage) and give them the underneath stuff. I suppose a combination of the two with a productive and ball-control offense would be the best."
Watkins Memorial defeated Utica 48-6 in its LCL opener Sept. 20.
Ben Shroyer threw for two touchdowns while completing 10 of 17 passes and ran for a 6-yard score. He and Holton hooked up on a 13-yard touchdown and Shroyer found Alex Miles for a 25-yard score. Mike Ford scored on a 1-yard run and Isaac Morrison returned a punt 35 yards for a score. Kaleb Goad ran for 107 yards on eight carries and scored on runs of 1 and 43 yards.
"Our offense was much better and our defense played very well," Severino said. "(Free safety) Zach Lescalleet was flying around making plays and it was nice to get (linebacker) Corbin Lindabury back from injury."
Boys golf team to play in sectional
The boys golf team will compete in a Division I sectional Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Granville Golf Course. The top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the district tournament Oct. 8 at Apple Valley.
In the 13-team field are second-seeded Dublin Jerome, fifth-seeded Upper Arlington and sixth-seeded St. Charles.
Juniors Drew Dixon and Jarod Worcester should have a chance to qualify for district, according to coach Greg Stone.
"I think those two guys have a good chance if they go out and play well," Stone said. "(Freshman) Michael Griffin may have an outside shot, but again, it's a matter of who plays well on that day. Drew and Jarod have experienced postseason pressure, but Michael has not."
Last season, the Warriors did not have a district qualifier, as they finished 10th (353) at sectional behind champion Pickerington North (294).
Worcester led the Warriors with an 83 and Dixon shot a 93.
Girls golf team prepares for sectional
The girls golf team will compete in a Division I sectional Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Mentel Memorial. The top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the district tournament Oct. 8 at The Links at Groveport.
The top seeds in the 11-team field at Mentel Memorial are Dublin Coffman (second), Watterson (fourth) and Marysville (sixth).
Last season, the Warriors (388) finished seventh at sectional behind champion Coffman (309).
Coach Tiffany Shaeffer thinks junior Devon Atchison could earn a district berth.
"Devon has really devoted time to her game and I think it has paid off," said Shaeffer, whose team closes the regular season Monday, Sept. 30, against Dresden Tri-Valley at Vista. "She's our leader and she helps her teammates by giving them tips and motivation. She has been invaluable as a player and as a teammate."
Atchison shot a 90 in the LCL postseason tournament Sept. 20 at Blacklick Woods. It was the second-lowest score behind Licking Valley's Tori Johnson (78).
The Warriors finished third (411) behind Licking Valley (372) and Granville (406) and ahead of Heath (415), Lakewood (421), Newark Catholic (439) and Johnstown (481).
Also scoring for the Warriors were Emily Hayes (101), Renee Thiebert (109) and Alexis Cornely (111).
Girls tennis team set for sectional
The girls tennis team will compete in a Division I sectional Thursday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 5, at Reynoldsburg. The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to the district tournament Oct. 11 and 12 at Hilliard Davidson.
The Warriors lost on all five courts in the first round at sectional last season.
"I think we've got a good draw for our goals," coach Shawn Walter said. "There are a lot of good teams and real good players at the top, but we managed to avoid them in the first couple of rounds. It would be a good tournament for us if everyone won at least one match and some have a chance to win two."
Walter plans to stick with his regular-season lineup. Competing in singles will be Bre Lampron, Kendall Whisman and Kelli Wright. Playing doubles will be the teams of Megan Jamison and Brandi Reed and Kiersten Dean and Sam Marosis.
"Our doubles teams have been playing very well," Walter said. "They both won three-setters against Newark and that was the difference (in a 3-2 win Sept. 17)."
The Warriors were 6-7 overall before playing Franklin Heights on Sept. 26. They close the regular season with home matches Monday, Sept. 30, against Bloom-Carroll and Tuesday, Oct. 1 against Lancaster.