The Marysville High School football team's back-to-back games with Westerville programs will help decide the OCC-Cardinal Division champion.

The Marysville High School football team's back-to-back games with Westerville programs will help decide the OCC-Cardinal Division champion.

The Monarchs visited Central on Sept. 30 and play host to South on Friday, Oct. 7.

Before Sept. 30, Marysville and South were tied for first in the league at 2-0, while Central, Dublin Jerome, Olentangy and Olentangy Liberty all were 1-1.

South played Jerome and Olentangy played Liberty on Sept. 30.

Marysville was looking to build momentum from its 14-13, triple-overtime win over Olentangy on Sept. 23.

Coach Jeff Gafford said a key to beating South will be time of possession.

Although the Monarchs defeated Olentangy, the Braves controlled the ball, running 92 plays on offense to 48 for Marysville.

South has several weapons on offense led by senior running back Daxton Cates, who had rushed for 993 yards and 10 touchdowns on 127 carries before Sept. 30.

Junior quarterback Marcus Ball had completed 26 of 51 passes for 391 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions.

Junior Gary Brown had 25 receptions for 481 yards and nine touchdowns.

"I know (South coach) Rocky (Pentello) does a great job and they always have athletes, and they're usually going to put some points on the board," Gafford said. "They beat (Dublin) Scioto 45-42 (on Sept. 23). We're not going to put 45 points on the board, so playing against South, one they're not going to allow a lot of points - although they allowed 42 to Scioto - but usually they don't allow a lot of points and they have the potential to put up big numbers. That combination for us is not good."

Pentello, whose team also defeated Central 28-22 on Sept. 16, realizes the Wildcats will be facing a talented Marysville team.

"Marysville had the most guys coming back, so I thought going in that they were going to be the favorite to win the league," Pentello said. "Coach Gafford does a great job there. They always have well-coached kids, tough kids, and they are always big and physical."

Last season, South defeated Marysville 42-35 on its way to the league title at 6-1. Marysville finished 3-4.

Running back Kody Davisson led the way for the Monarchs against Olentangy, rushing for 99 yards and a 6-yard touchdown on 20 carries. Joseph Boyd scored on a 1-yard run.

Marysville's defense denied Olentangy on a two-point conversion attempt in the third overtime to seal the victory.

"We're glad we won, but we know there were a lot of opportunities in that game where we could have won in regulation and we didn't," Gafford said.

Before Sept. 30, Davisson led the team in rushing with 445 yards and five touchdowns on 76 carries. He had eight receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown.

Quarterback Connor Devine had completed 31 of 68 passes for 553 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.

Craig Runyan had 10 receptions for 199 yards and two touchdowns.

•The cross country teams are coming off strong showings in the Sharpsville Blue Devil Invitational on Sept. 24 in Sharon, Pa.

It was a homecoming for coach Tom Borawski, who is a 1980 graduate of nearby Hermitage (Pa.) Kennedy Catholic.

The girls team finished fifth (197), behind first-place North Huntingdon (Pa.) Norwin (98).

Senior Brooke Brown finished 12th in 20 minutes, 34.5 seconds.

"She works hard, she wants to work hard and she pushes herself," Borawski said. "She's one of the people that you enjoy coaching. A lot of it is she figures it out on her own and that's good because you need to understand what you're doing to your body."

The future looks bright for the girls team, as six other runners contending for a scoring spot this season are underclassmen.

Freshman Riley Nelson has been the second runner behind Brown, with sophomore Maddie Hoy and junior Ashley Zani competing for the third spot.

Senior Ellie Prinster, junior Mary Kallinicou and sophomores Miranda Wilson and Lindsay Longbrake also have vied for scoring spots.

The boys team finished eighth (335) in the Pennsylvania meet, behind first-place Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep (46).

Junior Aaron Cingle was 50th (18:18.6).

"Aaron has been consistent all year," Borawski said.

Underclassmen also dominate the boys' lineup, as junior Josh Brady is the second runner followed by freshman Michael Coffey and junior Ryan Fitzgerald.

Senior Devin Smarra, sophomores T.J. Borawski and Matt Reed and junior Nathan Wasik round out the lineup. T.J. Borawski is the coach's son.

"Times are starting to get better and kids are starting to get used to the program," coach Borawski said. "We're showing improvement."