Behind a strong running game the Westerville Central High School football team improved to 2-0 for the first time with a 28-14 victory over visiting New Albany on Friday, Sept. 2.
"We remember last year (New Albany) beat us 33-6 and we couldn't get anything going," said Central quarterback Cody Kondas, who scored on runs of 11 and 9 yards. "We wanted to come out here and get a little revenge because of that."
Central gained control with an offense that tries to run plays before the defense gets set. It seemed to work, as Central running back Josh Gardy ran for 106 yards and a touchdown and Jalen Liggins added another 88 rushing yards and a score.
"We have our hurry-up offense and I think it requires us to be in good shape," Central coach John Magistro said. "We play a lot of guys. You have to be in excellent shape to run it and our kids take great pride in being in the kind of physical shape you need to run this offense."
After Gardy did his damage in the first half, Central turned to Liggins to grind yards out after the break. Liggins had 84 yards rushing in the second half, including a 25-yard touchdown run to make it 28-7 with 4 minutes, 23 seconds left in the quarter.
Kondas, who was 15-of-20 passing for 112 yards, capped an 11-play 48-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-two. His first touchdown and the ensuing extra point gave Central its first lead with 9:01 to go before halftime. The score came a little over a minute after Gardy helped tie the game at 7 with an 8-yard touchdown run.
"We've been working on (the hurry-up offense) all summer," Kondas said. "We get up there and run our plays fast. (New Albany) put up a fight the whole game but they definitely deflated a little bit."
The Eagles opened the game with a 63-yard run by Connor Wilson on their first offensive play, but their offense stalled after that as they managed only 81 yards rushing the rest of the way. Both New Albany quarterbacks, Darron Lee and Zach Tomi, struggled as Lee was 2-for-9 passing for 15 yards and two interceptions before connecting with Adam Bodrick late in the game for a 5-yard score. Tomi completed one pass for 8 yards.
Cameron Morris and Mark Giresi each had interceptions for the Warhawks. Wilson finished with 10 carries for 84 yards to lead New Albany. The Warhawks finished with 220 yards rushing.
"We gave up way too many yards running the ball," said New Albany coach Mark Mueller, whose team fell to 1-1. "It was (Central's) second effort. They finished plays and we were hoping that somebody else would make a play."
NEW ALBANY 7 0 0 7 -- 14
CENTRAL 0 14 0 14 -- 28
NA--Wilson 6 run (Gammill kick)
WC--Gardy 8 run (Munn kick)
WC--Kondas 11 run (Munn kick)
WC--Kondas 9 run (Robertson kick)
WC--Liggins 25 run (Robertson kick)
NA--Bodrick 5 pass from Lee (Gammill kick)