The annual matchup between the Beechcroft and Northland high school football teams is one of the most anticipated on the schedule every year for Vikings coach Kevin Tooson.

The annual matchup between the Beechcroft and Northland high school football teams is one of the most anticipated on the schedule every year for Vikings coach Kevin Tooson.

That might be more true this year than in any of the past seven seasons.

Tooson spent three years on the Cougars' coaching staff along with Beechcroft head coach Bruce Ward and current Cougars assistant Brian Miller under former coach Tom Dunlap.

Tooson left to take over Northland's program in 2003 and Miller was Mifflin's coach from 2003-09 before returning to Beechcroft as an assistant this fall.

That backdrop is combined with the fact that this year's meeting Friday at Northland has City League-North Division championship and postseason implications on the line for the first time since the 2006 matchup.

Although neither made the playoffs, both teams were 5-1 in the league before Beechcroft won the regular-season finale 8-0 that season to capture the City-North title.

The Cougars beat the Vikings 21-7 last fall. They haven't lost to Northland since 2001 when they fell 19-7 for their only regular-season loss amid an 11-2 finish.

"That's going to be fun with all of the connections between us," Tooson said. "Brian Miller is back over there, and we're still close. We still hang out and talk a lot."

Both the Vikings and Cougars are 7-2 overall, with Beechcroft leading the City-North at 6-0. Northland is in a second-place tie with Brookhaven at 5-1.

The Cougars have won six in a row after losing a pair of non-league games and were 12th in Division II, Region 7 before beating Centennial 29-12 last Friday.

Northland has bounced back from a 3-0 loss to Brookhaven on Sept. 17 by winning its next five, including last Friday when it downed Linden-McKinley 51-6.

The biggest reason the Vikings are having their best season to date under Tooson is because of the consistency of their running game behind an offensive line which has more depth than in the past.

Senior Jarrell Jones, who has verbally committed to play for Miami University, battled injuries during the season's first half but is back at full strength. He had 237 yards, including touchdowns of 91 and 89 yards, during a 34-6 victory over Whetstone on Oct. 15. Marquan Barnes and Sam Turay also have been contributors to the running game, and J.J. Sanders returned to action last Friday after being out since mid-September with an injury.

That group will challenge a Beechcroft defense which has been giving up an average of nine points in league play. Khaleed Franklin, Shaquille Minnifield and Adonis Davis have been the Cougars' top defenders.

Offensively, Beechcroft has averaged 37.3 points in league play.

"I think we've gotten a lot better (at defending the run)," Ward said. "Each week we've been working on getting better at that. That's been a focus for us."

•The Northland boys soccer team lost to Worthington Kilbourne 7-0 last Saturday in the second round of the Division I district tournament, but the fact that it made it that far was a step forward.

With a 3-2 victory over Westland on Oct. 20, the Vikings advanced past the first round of the postseason for the first time since 2007.

In the tournament win, Northland fell behind 2-0 by halftime, but tied it midway through the second half on a goal by Martine Montero. The game remained tied through the end of regulation and after two overtimes to force a shootout. The teams still were tied after the first round of the shootout to force a sudden-death shootout, and Northland's Vitien Forcha kicked in the winner.

"It was good," coach Mike McDaniel said. "We had a couple mistakes on defense to allow them to score but we settled down after that."

The loss to Kilbourne last Saturday gave Northland a final record of 6-8-2 overall. The Vikings went 4-3-2 in the league to place behind Centennial (10-0), West (8-2), Brookhaven (6-2-1), Whetstone (5-2-3) and Walnut Ridge (5-3-2) and ahead of Beechcroft and Mifflin (4-6), Independence (2-8), Marion-Franklin (1-8) and Briggs (0-9).

Northland will lose seniors Mamadou Diallo, Phil Kamara, Josh Kumi, Harold Mintsop and Daniel Smith but is eligible to return a group of underclassmen that includes juniors Eugene Asare-Boadi, Dario Dragicevic, Alejandro Nunez, Amjed Osman and Forcha and sophomores Alberto Vargas and Montero.

The Brookhaven and Beech-croft boys teams and the Beechcroft and Northland girls squads all lost their opening postseason games.

The Brookhaven boys team led Marysville 3-1 but gave up three second-half goals and lost 4-3 on Oct. 20 to finish 9-5-1. Abas Farah made a penalty kick in the first half but missed one with about five minutes remaining that would have tied it at 4.

Junior Clement Osei-Bonsu, who led Brookhaven with 12 goals and 10 assists, scored two goals against the Monarchs. Also eligible to return are junior captain Thomas Vamboi and freshman Jalim Bayo, who both made second-team all-City.

Farah, a senior, was joined on the all-City first team by Osei-Bonsu and senior Hambdi Farah, while senior Prince Gboya made second team and seniors Mohad Mohamed and Mustafa Ahmed both were honorable mention. The other seniors were Kwadjo Bugyei, Abderrahman Moussaid and Boubocar Thaim.

"We played hard, and overall it was a good season," coach Paul Hackworth said. "We've got a few guys coming back, so we're going to be strong again next year."

The Beechcroft boys team lost to Dresden Tri-Valley 2-0 on Oct. 20 to finish 5-9 overall.

The Cougars lose only two seniors Luis Villegas and Ohene Osei but should return nine starters, including juniors Edgar Cruz and Abdi Osman.

"I thought we played pretty well for us going against a team with 11 victories," said first-year coach Matt Glorioso, who also will coach the Cougars' wrestling team. "We had a couple good chances, with one that went off the crossbar.

"We only had two seniors, so we should be returning nine starters. It was my first year so there were a lot of changes they had to get used to. Next year we should be a lot better."

The Northland girls team lost to Hilliard Davidson 10-0 on Oct. 19 to finish with a 4-9 record.

The Vikings earned two wins over Beechcroft (8-3 on Sept. 28 and 6-1 on Oct. 6) and also beat Franklin Heights (3-0 on Oct. 4) and Columbus East (4-2 on Oct. 12). They will lose Sumeya Abdullahi, Maria Gutierrez, Diamonty Moore, Alexandria Pickett, Grace Saydee and Jasmine Smith to graduation.

The Beechcroft girls team fell to New Albany 9-0 in the first round of the Division I tournament Oct. 19 to finish 1-10.

The Cougars' only victory was over East (6-4 on Aug. 26). They will lose Brittany Bohanan, Brittany Buckery, Robyn Calhoun, Makayla Garnes and Kandace Jemison to graduation.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Beechcroft, Brookhaven and Northland boys and girls cross country, football and girls volleyball teams:

BEECHCROFT

CROSS COUNTRY

Last Saturday - Boys: Did not score in Division I district 2 race at Watkins Memorial which was won by New Albany (42). Eric Taylor was 82nd (20:15.7) to lead the Cougars, who had four runners.

FOOTBALL

*Last Friday - Defeated Centennial 29-12

*Friday - At Northland

Of note: The Cougars are 7-2 overall and 6-0 in the City League-North Division.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Oct. 19 - Lost to Bexley 25-3, 25-11, 25-12 in first round of Division II tournament

Of note: The Cougars finished 3-16 overall.

BROOKHAVEN

CROSS COUNTRY

Last Saturday - Boys: Did not score in Division I district 1 race which was won by Dublin Coffman (26). Shawn Campbell was 75th (25:25) as the Bearcats' only competitor; Girls: Did not score in Division I district 1 race which was won by New Albany (34). Charletta Henley was 44th (21.40.26) for Brookhaven, which had two runners.

FOOTBALL

*Last Friday - Def. Columbus East 56-0

*Friday - Home vs. Mifflin

Of note: The Bearcats are 5-4 overall and 5-1 in the City-North.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Oct. 21 - Lost to Newark 25-6, 25-11, 25-9 in first round of Division I tournament

Of note: The Bearcats finished 10-10.

NORTHLAND

CROSS COUNTRY

Last Saturday - Boys: Finished 17th (474) in 18-team Division I district 3 race at Watkins Memorial behind champion Westerville North (52). TaQuan Hale was 17th (16:42.93) and advanced to regional; Girls: Finished ninth (272) in 12-team Division I district 1 race at Watkins Memorial. Gemela Ponder was 53rd (22:33.2) to lead the Vikings.

Saturday - Hale runs in the regional meet at 12:35 p.m. The top 16 individuals advance to the state meet Nov. 6 at Scioto Downs.

FOOTBALL

*Last Friday - Def. Linden-McKinley 51-6

*Friday - Home vs. Beechcroft

Of note: The Bearcats are 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the City-North.

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Oct. 21 - Lost to Marion-Franklin 18-25, 11-25, 25-22, 25-23, 15-13 in first round of Division I tournament

Last Tuesday - Played Briggs in City championship match

Of note: The Vikings were 15-6 overall before last Tuesday.

*City contest