The Westerville South High School football team opened the season by pounding Groveport 47-18 on Friday, Aug. 26, at Wildcat Stadium.
Despite having 17 new starters in the lineup, South coach Rocky Pentello was pleased with his team's overall execution on both offense and defense.
South quarterback Marcus Ball was 11-for-19 passing for 159 yards and three touchdowns, and running back Daxton Cates rushed for 229 yards and two scores on 17 carries.
The Wildcats' defense limited Groveport to 184 rushing yards on 33 carries and held quarterback Shane Denny, who is being recruited by Division I colleges, to 10-for-24 passing for 129 yards.
"Our offensive coordinator, Chad Williams, and our defensive coordinator, Ricky Vaughn, put together great game plans, and our kids finally were able to execute them," Pentello said. "We've got 16 sophomores and juniors in our starting lineup and we're searching for consistency. We looked good tonight, but we were so awful in practice on Tuesday that I was looking for a rope and a tree."
Junior wide receiver Gary Brown had seven receptions for 138 yards and three touchdowns, including a 37-yard touchdown catch that put the Wildcats ahead 26-12 at halftime.
"I was just feeling it tonight and I knew I was going to terrorize their corners," Brown said. "We spread them out and when I rolled out, Marcus' throws came right to me and they couldn't stop me. When we ran the ball, they couldn't stop Daxton."
Groveport's Melvin Smith rushed for 108 yards on 21 carries. He scored on a 1-yard run to put Groveport ahead 6-0 and added a 4-yard touchdown run to pull the Cruisers within 14-12 late in the first quarter.
But Groveport turned the ball over three times, and had a punt blocked.
"We made some mistakes that they were able to capitalize on, and once we fell behind our performance dropped off a bit," Groveport coach Tim Brown said. "We've got some kids who are banged up and some others who are out of the lineup for (undisclosed) reasons, so I think we're going to get better once we're healthy."
GROVEPORT 12 0 6 0 -- 18
WESTERVILLE SOUTH 14 12 14 7 -- 47
G--Smith 1 run (kick failed)
WS--Lese 87 kickoff return (Bonnell kick)
G--Smith 4 run (pass failed)
WS--Brown 12 pass from Ball (Bonnell kick)
WS--Prentiss 1 run (kick failed)
WS--Brown 37 pass from Ball (kick failed)
WS--Cates 32 run (Bonnell kick)
WS--Cates 12 run (Bonnell kick)
G--Jones 8 run (run failed)
WS--Brown 14 pass from Ball (Bonnell kick)