The DeSales and New Albany high school football teams each regard the other as something of a measuring stick.
For Eagles coach Pat Samanich, that goes back to 2005, when the Stallions routed New Albany 35-14 in a Division III, Region 12 semifinal. That was Samanich's first year as offensive coordinator, a role he filled for eight seasons until taking the head coaching job this past March.
"There are good football teams and there are good football programs, and DeSales is one of the top programs in Ohio," said Samanich, whose team improved to 2-0 by outlasting Westerville Central 57-50 on Sept. 6. "We learned a lot when we played them back in '05. We were on the way up back then, and that loss was one of the things I think that helped elevate us toward being a good program. We've gauged ourselves by a pretty high standard since that point."
Stallions coach Ryan Wiggins' approach is more immediate. DeSales, which evened its record at 1-1 with a 23-6 win at East Cleveland Shaw on Sept. 6, stands to gain considerable computer points with a victory. The Stallions are in Division III, Region 9, and New Albany is in Division II, Region 5.
"It's definitely a big game, and it's been a great game since 2005," said Wiggins, whose team had an 18-year streak of postseason appearances snapped last year. "There are a lot of (computer) points on the line for us, and it's just going to be a great atmosphere. Last week, there might have been 50 people in the stands. This week, it could be a classic high school environment."
Eagles senior receiver Joe Siegenthaler had seven catches for 188 yards and four touchdowns last week, and he took his only carry 61 yards for a score. Senior quarterback Tanner Cline completed 11 of 13 passes for 223 yards with five touchdowns and an interception.
The Eagles' ground game likely will depend on senior fullback Hayden George. Projected senior starter Leslie Anokye still is recovering from an injury suffered in the preseason, and junior Christo Semertsidis -- who rushed for 255 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-20 win over Reynoldsburg in the opener Aug. 30 -- will miss the remainder of the season with a torn knee ligament.
"Hayden got some tough yards last week," Samanich said. "(Westerville Central) had to gang-tackle him a few times. He earns everything he gets."
DeSales' defense is led by linebacker Griff Saunders and senior defensive backs Sayyid Kanu and Tucker Yinger.
Yinger accounted for all three Stallions touchdowns against Shaw, catching an 8-yard pass from junior quarterback Brandon Krietemeyer in the first half before adding scoring runs of 17 and 21 yards in the second half. Yinger finished with 94 yards on eight carries, and DeSales amassed 224 of its 276 total yards on the ground.
"I really liked that we were able to move the ball consistently and just keep drives alive," Wiggins said. "That was something we weren't able to do in our first game."
New Albany has won three consecutive games in the series, including 56-22 last year, but DeSales leads the all-time series 5-4.
Girls soccer team relying on defense
First-year girls soccer coach Matt d'Auteuil knew it might take time for the Stallions to buy into his offensive-minded approach.
But with senior forward Lydia Burke expected to miss the rest of September because of a high ankle sprain, DeSales is depending on its defense and trying to maximize every offensive opportunity it can muster.
"We're grinding out goals off corner (kicks) and throw-ins," said d'Auteuil, whose team defeated Bexley 2-0 on Sept. 7 to improve to 5-2 overall entering a Thursday, Sept. 12, home game against Hilliard Darby. "With (Burke) out, we're just going to have to find ways to score goals without her. A lot of times up front, it's kind of forward-by-committee, but we're working on that. We'll see if anyone can really emerge and fill Lydia's big shoes."
Burke scored three goals this season before being injured during a 2-1 win at Jonathan Alder on Aug. 27. The Stallions also worked around injuries to senior forward/midfielder Xanie Fox, sophomore defender/midfielder Paige Gilliland and senior midfielder Alexis Neri.
"We're holding our own," said senior Maria Riley, a defender who also has seen time as a midfielder with Neri hurt. "Finishing really isn't our forte, I guess you could say, but we make it through."
Senior midfielder Alaina Fliotsis, sophomore mid-fielder/forward Haley Hott and sophomore midfielder Gigi Howard have helped pick up the slack. Fliotsis scored off a corner kick in a 2-0 win at Ready on Sept. 5, converting a pass from freshman forward Bella Shivley.
Junior forward/midfielder Maggie Carlos scored DeSales' other goal as the Stallions improved to 2-0 in the CCL before visiting Hartley on Tuesday, Sept. 17.
Shivley and Carlos scored against Bexley.
"We're still trying to figure out where the chemistry lies as far as the midfield is concerned. That will come," d'Auteuil said. "I know they have the talent to just explode on teams. Now they have to believe they can play a more offensive style."
Girls tennis team seeking stable stretch
Girls tennis coach Anthony Tienprasid knew his team would take its lumps after losing five players to graduation. But he wasn't as prepared to constantly shuffle his lineup because of injuries.
While junior Emma Clark and sophomore Taylor Gray have split time at first singles, both have missed matches because of injuries. Tienprasid has rotated first-year players Monica Fernandez, Catharine Kistner and Alyssa Quinlan, all juniors, up from junior varsity and moved senior Maddie Lyons between second and third singles.
Senior Maura McCabe and junior Corrine McGoldrick have held down first doubles, and junior Bri Ellis has rotated between singles and doubles.
"Some of the girls are still learning to play varsity," said Tienprasid, whose team was 1-7 overall before playing Wellington on Sept. 9 and is 0-1 in the CCL. "The girls I've moved up, they knew the situation from the start that everyone was going to get some time."
DeSales' only win entering the week was 4-1 at Jonathan Alder on Aug. 26.
"The losses have added up, but we've been pretty competitive most of the time," Tienprasid said. "We don't take it easy on ourselves as far as the schedule is concerned, either. We had CSG (on Sept. 3) and Upper Arlington's B team (on Sept. 4) and lost both 5-0, but we had a three-set match each day. We've played teams tough. We just haven't broken through every time."