The Watkins Memorial High School girls soccer team knew it had won the LCL champion-ship after defeating Johnstown 6-2 on Sept. 26 in its league finale, but it had to wait a week to find out if it had won the title outright.
On Oct. 3, the Warriors learned that they must share the championship with Granville, as the Blue Aces defeated Johnstown 4-2 in their league finale that day. Both Watkins Memorial and Granville, who had played to a scoreless tie in their LCL contest Sept. 19, finished 5-0-1 in league play.
Forward Amberly Knox led the way for the Warriors against Johnstown with four goals. Forward Amber White and midfielder Sam Lyon also scored in the game.
"The girls were ecstatic to finally win a league championship," coach Alex Stout said. "We celebrated (Sept. 26) because we knew we at least won a share of it. Everyone was really happy for the seniors to finally get it done because we were in the thick of the OCC-(Capital Division) race the past couple of years and didn't finish, so this was rewarding for those girls. Everyone on this team killed themselves to get better and we're deeper than we've been because of that. Our depth was important because we were able to get by with all of the injuries we had early this season."
The Warriors are 9-3-3 overall heading into their regular-season finale Monday, Oct. 7, at home against Big Walnut.
"We got healthy in mid-September and we're playing very well right now," Stout said. "We've been playing a lot better against non-league competition and that's important for the (Division I district) tournament draw (Sunday, Oct. 6)."
The Warriors played Thomas Worthington to a scoreless tie Sept. 23, lost to Upper Arlington 2-1 on Sept. 28 and defeated Ready 2-1 on Oct. 1 before playing Worthington Kilbourne to a 1-all tie Oct. 3.
"Knox and White have been a great combination up top, Britnee Stapleton and Theresa LaGreca have been strong in the middle back and Sam Newman has been very consistent in the midfield," Stout said.
Boys soccer team captures LCL title
The boys soccer team defeated Northridge 3-0 on Oct. 3 to win the LCL championship.
Senior midfielder Austin Dowis, freshman midfielder Sam Blum and junior forward Chance Abbitt each scored for Watkins Memorial, which finished 6-0-1 in the LCL and was 7-4-2 overall before playing Newark on Oct. 5.
"It wasn't a pretty game for us, so we didn't celebrate much," coach Scott Spangler said. "We're happy to win the league championship, but we know we have a lot of things to work on."
The Warriors, who entered the game against Newark having gone 3-0-2 in their previous five games, close the regular season this week by playing Watterson on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at home and Thursday, Oct. 10, at Reynoldsburg.
"Defensively, Nick Spangler and Zak Blumer have been playing great and we're getting a number of different forwards stepping up from game to game," Spangler said. "Patrick Murphy, Chance Abbitt, Austin Dowis and Cole Bartimus have all had strong games up top."
Football team getting ready for Panthers
The football team will play host to Licking Valley in an LCL-Big School Division contest Friday, Oct. 11, marking the first meeting between the programs in 23 years.
"They're throwing the ball around well because they've got a strong quarterback in (Grant) Garber and a couple of very good receivers (Ty Griffith and Mason Baker)," coach Jeff Severino said of the Panthers, who were 4-1 before playing Utica on Oct. 4.
"In the old days, this would be a rock 'em, sock 'em type of game. They're still very physical as always. They still want to bully you and punish you. But if you sneak up to defend the run, they hit you with good play-action passing."
Through five games, Garber was 72-for-123 passing for 1,087 yards, Griffith had 33 receptions for 533 yards (16.1-yard average) and tailback Hunter Hartshorn had rushed for 580 yards on 94 carries (6.1 average) and had 12 touchdowns.
The contest against Watkins Memorial represents Licking Valley's LCL-Big School opener. The Warriors, who played their league opener Oct. 4 against Granville, fell to 3-2 with a 34-14 loss to Newark Catholic on Sept. 27.
"We've got to play (Licking Valley) physical and with fewer mistakes than we had against Newark Catholic," Severino said. "We've got to match their toughness, because if we let them bully us, we'll be in for a long night."
Watkins Memorial trailed Newark Catholic 20-0 at halftime, but cut its deficit to 20-14 before running back Anthony Wing scored on a 29-yard run with 26 seconds left in the third quarter to make it 27-14.
Against Newark Catholic, wide receiver Hunter Holton had seven catches for 83 yards, safety Zach Lescalleet had his fifth interception of the season and recovered a fumble and wide receiver/safety Isaac Morrison averaged 33.5 yards on two punt returns, had a 39-yard kickoff return, a 15-yard interception return and two receptions for 24 yards.
"Morrison is a jack of all trades," Severino said. "He also had several tackles in the secondary in addition to all the return yardage and receptions. Lescalleet was strong again. On offense, Holton had some real nice catches and (offensive lineman Clay) Sammons blocked well."
Doubles team reaches 2nd day of sectional
The doubles team of Megan Jamison and Brandi Reed won its first two matches in a Division I sectional Oct. 3 at Reynoldsburg and faced top-seeded Jane Haffer and Alex Cash of New Albany in a district-qualifying match Oct. 5.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to district Friday, Oct. 11, and Saturday, Oct. 12, at Hilliard Davidson. The top four finishers in singles and doubles at district will qualify for state Oct. 18 at Ohio State and Oct. 19 at Davidson.
Jamison and Reed defeated Canal Winchester's Kim Detty and Candice Maswela 6-2, 6-1 in the first round and beat Whitehall's Courtney Price and Ariana Oldham 6-2, 6-2 in the second round.
Also competing at sectional in doubles were Kiersten Dean and Sam Marosis, who lost in the first round.
Competing in singles were Bre Lampron, Kendall Whisman and Kelli Wright. All three won their first-round matches before losing in the second round.
Boys golfers end season at sectional
The boys golf team ended its season in the 13-team Division I sectional Oct. 1 at Granville Golf Course.
Watkins Memorial shot a 352 to finish 10th, as second-seeded Dublin Jerome (300), sixth-seeded St. Charles (301) and fifth-seeded Upper Arlington (304) advanced to district Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Apple Valley.
Junior Jarod Worcester led the 29th-seeded Warriors with a 79, finishing three strokes behind the third and final individual district qualifier, Lancaster's Boone Maxim (76).
Also competing for Watkins Memorial were junior Drew Dixon (90), freshman Michael Griffin (90), freshman Cody Stonebraker (93) and junior Brandon Ward (94).
The Warriors finished 15-12 in the LCL to tie Newark Catholic for fourth, behind Johnstown (26-1), Granville (25-2) and Heath (20-7) and ahead of Lakewood (12-15), Northridge (11-16), Utica (6-21), Licking Heights (3-24) and Licking Valley (2-25).
Worcester had a 40.1 nine-hole average in LCL play and made first-team all-league. Dixon (42.2) made second-team all-league.
Watkins Memorial coach Greg Stone expects to return his entire postseason lineup next year. The lone senior on the roster was Bryce Hartley.
Girls golfers fall short of district
The girls golf team saw its season come to an end in the 11-team Division I sectional Oct. 1 at Mentel Memorial, as it shot a 392 on to place seventh (392).
Second-seeded Dublin Coffman (302) won the sectional and advanced to district Tuesday, Oct. 8, at The Links at Groveport along with fourth-seeded Watterson (343) and eighth-seeded Westerville Central (348).
Junior Devon Atchison led the 26th-seeded Warriors with an 87, finishing three strokes behind third and final individual district qualifier, Hartley's Salmika Wairegi (84).
"Devon was disappointed to come so close," coach Tiffany Shaeffer said. "She had six pars, 10 bogeys, one double (bogey) and one triple (bogey). Her triple was on No. 6, which is the most difficult hole, and her double was on (No.) 14."
Also competing for the Warriors were sophomore Emily Hayes (98), senior Renee Theibert (102) and sophomores Sydney Robinson (105) and Alexis Cornely (110).
"Those were career-best scores for Hayes and Theibert," Shaeffer said. "Renee would have had a great score if she didn't have a double-digit on No. 2. That would've unnerved a lot of girls, but she let it go and finished the round strong."
Watkins Memorial finished third (411) in the LCL postseason tournament Sept. 20 at Blacklick Woods behind Licking Valley (372) and Granville (406) and placed third overall in the league with an 11-7 record, behind Licking Valley (18-0) and Granville (12-6) and ahead of Lakewood (8-10), Newark Catholic (7-11), Heath (6-12) and Johnstown (1-17).
Atchison shot a 90 in the LCL postseason tournament, placing second to Licking Valley's Tori Johnson (78), and made first-team all-league. Hayes was second-team all-league and Cornely was honorable mention all-league.