Sophomore Darnell Ellis survived a dramatic set of events to become the first Division I district qualifier for the Reynoldsburg High School boys golf team since Michael Banaski in 2004.
On Oct. 2 in the sectional at The Players Club at Foxfire, Ellis shot an 82 and then won a one-hole playoff for the fourth and final individual district berth.
Ellis competed in the district tournament Oct. 9 at Apple Valley, where the top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to the state tournament Oct. 19 and 20 at Ohio State.
According to Ellis, he shot an 81 at sectional but one of the competitors he was paired with turned in his score as being an 82.
The higher score forced him into a playoff with Westerville Central's Austin Kondratick and Westerville South's Justin Arens. On the first hole of playoff, Ellis made par while Arens and Kondratick bogeyed and double-bogeyed, respectively, to send Ellis to district.
"I wasn't even supposed to be in the playoff, but because of a scorecard reason it cost me one shot," Ellis said.
"I had to wait for about 12 more groups to come in after I was done, so it was about an hour and a half before we did the playoff."
Ellis competed for Columbus Academy a year ago and shot 82 as the Vikings won the Division III sectional title at Darby Creek. At district, he shot a team-best 81 as Academy placed fifth with the top four teams advancing to state.
Ellis is the brother of 2008 Reynoldsburg graduate Iman Ellis, who qualified for the girls state tournament as a senior in 2007.
Banaski, a 2005 Reynoldsburg graduate, advanced to district in both 2003 and '04.
"It feels really good," Ellis said. "Last year I made it to district when I was at Columbus Academy, so this wasn't that different. (Academy was) Division III, but it's just different teams and different courses."
Football team looks to bounce back
After beating previously undefeated Gahanna 21-7 on Sept. 28, the football team lost 49-27 to host Pickerington North on Oct. 5 to fall to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Ohio Division.
The Raiders will look for their second consecutive win over Lancaster when they face the Golden Gales on Friday, Oct. 12, on the road.
Lancaster is 2-5 and 1-3 and has lost five of its last six games, including a 24-3 loss to Gahanna on Oct. 5. The Raiders' final three opponents -- Lancaster, Newark and Groveport -- are a combined 5-16.
Running back Kumar Collins had his third 100-yard rushing game this season against North, as he finished with 101 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown.
Also against North, quarterback Jordan Aekins rushed for two touchdowns and Nigel Easley returned an interception 96 yards for a touchdown.
Season ends for girls tennis team
The girls tennis team had no players advance out of the Division I sectional tournament held Oct. 4 and 6 at home.
Sophomore Diamond Person won her first two matches before losing to New Albany's Carol Vitellas 6-0, 6-0 in a district-qualifying match.
The doubles team of senior Rebecca Kibe and junior Paris Ring had a first-round bye and won their second-round match before losing to Olentangy's Megan Brdicka and Brianna Brdicka 6-0, 6-0 in a district-qualifying match.
Also at sectional, junior Keisha Cummings lost in the first round in singles, senior Brittany Condefer lost in the second round in singles and the doubles team of senior Peggy Thompson and freshman Jadelyn Cheng had a first-round bye before losing in the second round.
"Diamond Person was incredibly good," coach Les Somogyi said.
"I was blown away by what a great, smart player she is. Everybody played well really."
Reynoldsburg beat Groveport 4-1 on Oct. 3 and Westerville North 5-0 on Oct. 8 to finish 12-7 overall and 4-3 in the OCC-Ohio. The Raiders scored 16 points in the league tournament Sept. 29 to finish second behind Pickerington Central (35) and ahead of Gahanna (15), Pickerington North (14), Lancaster (10), Grove City (5), Groveport (1) and Newark (1).
In the overall OCC-Ohio standings, Reynoldsburg finished fourth with 40 points, behind Central (77, 7-0), Gahanna (45, 5-2) and North (42, 5-2) and ahead of Lancaster (34, 4-3), Grove City (17, 2-5), Newark (5, 1-6) and Groveport (4, 0-7).
The Raiders lose three seniors in Condefer, Kibe and Thompson.