As has been the norm for more than a decade, the Granville High School football team is causing opponents fits with its spread-passing game.
It hasn't gone unnoticed to coach J.R. Wait, however, that some of the Blue Aces' greatest teams also have had a strong defense.
With that in mind, Wait couldn't be much happier with his team's all-around results since making a scheme change on defense after a 37-35 loss to Caledonia River Valley in the season opener Aug. 30.
With senior Remington Larsen and juniors Patrick Oehlman and Jeff Nye leading the way from their linebacker positions, the Blue Aces have made a smooth transition to a 3-3 stack formation.
Granville was 4-1 overall entering its LCL-Big School Division opener Oct. 4 against Watkins Memorial. The Blue Aces travel Friday, Oct. 11, to Licking Heights, which was 5-0 before playing Lakewood in its LCL-Big School opener Oct. 4.
"We'd been in a multiple type of defense but switched our scheme after week one," Wait said. "Now we're a 3-3 stack team, which is a read-and-react defense, but it's a pretty aggressive read-and-react and allows us to play better defense."
During its next four games after the opener, Granville gave up an average of 13 points.
"Our offense, for better or worse, defines us," Wait said. "We're not very big and that can hurt us. Defensively, it's a challenge because you can't dictate everything like you can on offense. That's why our blitzing is a nice fit."
Offensively, the Blue Aces have been as tough to stop, averaging 44.4 points through five games. Senior quarterback Isaac Maurer was 107-for-159 passing for 1,826 yards and senior wide receiver Ajay Alderman had 36 catches for 834 yards.
"(Alderman) is a track kid. (He's) versatile and very good at route running," Wait said. "His statistics have blown up for us.
"I think (Maurer) is similar to some of our other quarterbacks in that he's mentally invested in what we're doing. He knows how to be a part of the running game to be successful. He's got the strongest arm of any quarterback we've probably had since (1999 graduate) Scott McMullen. Mentally, he's locked in."
Panthers girls golf team reaches state
The Licking Valley girls golf team will make its first appearance in the Division II state tournament Friday, Oct. 11, and Saturday, Oct. 12, at Ohio State's Gray Course.
The Panthers shot 375 in the 13-team district Oct. 1 at Blacklick Woods to finish second behind Dover (352) and ahead of third-place Sugarcreek Garaway (377), which secured the final state-qualifying spot.
Junior Tori Johnson led Licking Valley with an 82, followed by senior Allie Breymaier (91), sophomore Morgan Gossett (94) and juniors Jennifer Blosser (108) and Haley Smith (114).
"Everybody's been putting in the time to get better and we've improved so much from last year," Johnson said. "It's great. I can't explain it."
Also competing at district was Lakewood, which placed 10th (409), and Granville Christian junior Lauren Keiser, who carded a 95 to finish 16 strokes behind the third and final individual state qualifier.
Licking Valley won the LCL postseason tournament Sept. 20 at Blacklick Woods with a 372 and shot 373 at the same site Sept. 23 to win a sectional title. Johnson was medalist of the postseason tournament with a 78 and was sectional medalist with an 80.
"I think it was a real advantage to be (at Blacklick Woods) three weeks in a row," coach Lori Guest said. "A big part of golf is the familiarity of (a course).
"We've had some sickness this year, but we avoided injuries and the kids just kept improving. It's exciting."
Green Wave football team set for Johnnies
A 26-14 loss to Ready in its opener Aug. 30 proved to be only a temporary setback for the Newark Catholic football team.
The Green Wave won their next four and were 4-1 before playing Heath on Oct. 5 in their LCL-Small School opener. They will continue league play Friday, Oct. 11, by traveling to Johnstown, which was 2-3 before playing their league opener Oct. 4 against Northridge.
"We're making good strides," Green Wave coach Bill Franks said. "We're doing what a team is supposed to do."
Through five games, senior running back Anthony Wing was among the area leaders in touchdowns with nine and senior quarterback Chayce Crouch was 60-for-97 passing for 752 yards. Crouch also was averaging 39.8 yards per punt.
"Anthony Wing has just been making big plays," Franks said. "He's been catching and running the ball and leading in the locker room. Chayce Crouch continues to lead us at a high level. Evan Hartman at offensive tackle continues to work hard every day."
Green Wave golfers end year at district
The Newark Catholic boys golf team had to settle for seventh place in the Division III district Oct. 2 at River Greens to fall short of reaching state, which will be held Friday, Oct. 11, and Saturday, Oct. 12, at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
The top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team at district advanced.
Senior Sean Thomas and freshman Nick Willis both shot an 81 to lead the Green Wave, who carded a 338. Fisher Catholic (334) secured the final state-qualifying spot.
Also competing at district for Newark Catholic were seniors Caleb Ohl (88) and Patrick Carlisle (92) and sophomore Ryan Simi (88).
The Green Wave shot a 331 to edge Grove City Christian (332) and Worthington Christian (332) to earn the second and final district-qualifying berth from the sectional Sept. 24 at Pine Hill.
"(Willis) has been a real nice surprise to our golf team this year," coach Thom McManus said. "(Thomas) has averaged 75.3 for 18 holes and has been a good team leader."
Also advancing to district but failing to qualify for state was Johnstown in Division II. The Johnnies placed seventh (333) at district Sept. 30 at River Greens.
Moving on to state in Division II was Heath senior Derek Hamm, who shot a 72 at district.
In Division I, Granville senior Nicholas Contini will be competing at district Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Apple Valley, where the top three individuals not on a qualifying team advance to state Oct. 18 and 19 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.