McEwen's loss is challenge for Brookhaven
The Brookhaven High School football team knows it endured a tough loss when its top running back suffered a broken collarbone in a 20-14 loss to visiting Marion-Franklin on in its opener Aug. 24.
However, the Bearcats don't believe losing Blake McEwen until late September or early October is necessarily crippling.
Expected to help compensate over the next several weeks are two of the best athletes in the school in Lei'Tonn Backus and Clevis Towns.
The senior wide receivers, each of whom caught a touchdown pass in the loss to Marion-Franklin, ran on Brookhaven's 800-meter relay that placed 10th (1 minute, 29.56 seconds) in the Division I state track meet last spring.
"Losing Blake on the second play of the game was tough because he was one of the leaders on the team," coach Trevor White said. "But there are several seniors who have been playing the last few years who are ready to step up. Clevis and Lei'Tonn looked solid. We know both guys can make plays."
Mike Fair, Devonte Lewis and Ke'Ore Turner are expected to fill in for McEwen in the backfield alongside Kevin Greenhow, who starts at quarterback but also saw action in the opener at wide receiver.
"We miss Blake, but we still have other players who can make plays," Towns said. "We have some other running backs who can make plays when we need them to. Me, Lei'Tonn and Kevin all have a good connection."
The Bearcats, who according to White got standout defensive performances from linebacker Paul Hughes and defensive back Marquise Greenhow in the opener, played DeSales on Aug. 31.
Brookhaven plays Friday, Sept. 7, at Fairfield in a rematch of a game the Bearcats won 51-21 a year ago to begin a six-game winning streak. The Indians, who finished 1-9 last season, opened with a 34-14 loss to Beavercreek on Aug. 24.
Vikings volleyball team rebuilding
The Northland girls volleyball team is coming off a four-year run in which it was the City League-North Division runner-up in 2008 and '09, won the City championship in 2010 and was league runner-up last fall.
Duplicating any of those finishes could be a challenge this season given that the Vikings lost 10 players from a year ago to graduation and had another expected returnee get hurt in the offseason.
The only key player back is senior Tamya Burrows, who will be the libero.
Senior Jasmine Weatherspoon, who is 6-foot-1, is expected to miss the entire season with a knee injury.
Northland opened Aug. 28 by beating Mifflin 25-7, 21-25, 25-9, 25-11.
"We've got some hard workers out there," said J. Sanchez, who coached the Vikings from 2002-05 and is in his fifth year of his second tenure leading the program. "We've got tons to replace from last year, and not just in numbers. Jasmine Weatherspoon tore her (anterior cruciate ligament) over the summer, so we're disappointed for her but excited for the young players we have."
Expected to play key roles are senior Alisa Smith (setter) and sophomores Druianna Ford (outside hitter) and Johely Martin (setter).
Last season, Northland finished 15-5 overall and went 13-1 to win the City-North, as Whetstone and Centennial tied for second (11-3) and Brookhaven (8-6) and Columbus East (7-7) rounded out the top five.
The Vikings lost to Eastmoor Academy 29-27, 25-15, 25-15 in the league final last year and fell to Delaware 25-12, 25-20, 25-8 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.
Cougars tennis team 'having fun'
The Beechcroft girls tennis team opened Aug. 29 by beating Linden-McKinley 5-0 in a City-North match.
Playing No. 1 singles is senior returnee Venus Irorere. Also back are senior Morelle Adams and sophomore Alexis Weaver.
Others looking to contribute are seniors Sabria Polk and Ashley Roberts and sophomores Adrianna Harris, Naajee Mix, Karleyia Washington and Christine Wolff.
The Cougars didn't have any players win a match in the Division II sectional tournament last year at Columbus School for Girls.
"I think they'll be competitive with the lower-level teams," said Larry Bromagen, who is in his third season as co-coach with Andy Merritt. "They all have a good attitude and are having fun."
Bearcats volleyball team look to breakout
The Brookhaven girls volleyball team has its eye on contending for the City-North title after placing fourth (8-6) in the league last season.
The Bearcats opened with a 25-17, 8-25, 27-25, 25-18 loss to Centennial in a league match Aug. 28.
"(The players have) been working hard," fourth-year coach Tomeka Howell said. "I've been stressing in the past three years that we've been in the upper level of the (City-North) and, if we want to make a run, this is our year."
The Bearcats return seniors Sanetria Cain (defensive specialist), Renee Cheeks (outside hitter), Brittny Coles (outside hitter), Kylie Matthews (setter/outside hitter) and Meisha McCoy (defensive specialist) and junior Rai'Vyn Hooker (outside hitter/middle hitter).
Also looking to contribute are seniors Meesha Freeman (outside hitter) and Ciara Washington (middle hitter/outside hitter), juniors Travasia Coleman (outside hitter) and D'Achae Rankin (setter) and sophomore Lorraine Danglade (defensive specialist).
Last season, Brookhaven finished 9-12 overall and lost to Licking Valley 25-9, 25-11, 25-7 in the first round of the Division II district tournament.