Wildcats (4-0, 1-0) Comets (1-3, 0-1)
Although some might think the quarterback in the Hilliard Davidson High School football team's run-oriented offense has minimal responsibilities, coach Brian White understands the position's importance.
White believes senior Nick Iske has handled his duties well while helping the Wildcats to a 4-0 start.
"Our quarterback has a tremendous amount to know to manage the game," White said. "Our quarterbacks -- while they're not maybe necessarily displaying with their arm on Friday night -- we have a very complex passing game that we practice frequently and know if we choose do it, we can do it. They have a lot of other decisions to make to decide who is going to have the ball in their hands."
Sometimes, the decision is to keep the ball.
Iske has rushed for 125 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries, including a season-high 77 yards and two touchdowns on 12 attempts in a 28-7 win over visiting Dublin Coffman on Sept. 20 in the OCC-Central Division opener.
The Wildcats led 14-0 at halftime. The game was delayed nearly an hour after the first quarter because of lightning.
Davidson did not attempt a pass in the game and finished with 336 yards rushing on 56 carries. Running back D.D. Clark contributed 188 yards and a touchdown on 25 attempts.
For the season, Clark has 501 yards and four touchdowns on 69 carries.
"It all starts with our offensive line and our running backs blocking," Iske said. "We couldn't do it without them."
Iske should have extra incentive when the Wildcats visit Central Crossing on Friday, Sept. 27. He missed the final eight games last season after tearing tendons in his left ankle during a 42-6 win over the Comets in week five.
"He got hurt and obviously it ended his year," White said. "I know he'll be excited to get back and play against them."
Iske is back to full strength this season, and White is confident in his abilities as a playmaker and leader.
"Nick is a very good runner," White said. "I tell Nick all the time, you don't have to win the game for us, just manage the game. But there will come a time when I'm going to tell Nick now is the time you have to win the game for us."
Iske has completed five of 11 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.
Before his injury last season, he rushed for 118 yards on 29 carries and completed nine of 17 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns.
Nick Waters, a 2013 graduate, replaced Iske at quarterback and helped Davidson reach a Division I regional final, where the Wildcats lost to Pickerington North 21-0.
Iske said being limited to a supporting role last season was difficult.
"It was terrible," he said. "I was happy for the team and was happy I got to be a part of coaching up on the sideline, and maybe learning the game more from a coaching point of view. It was a good learning experience, but it really just stunk not being able to play."
Central Crossing is 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the league after losing at Olentangy Liberty 49-7 on Sept. 21. The Patriots scored 21 points in the second quarter to take a 28-0 lead.
Senior quarterback Luke Duncan, senior safety Gino Siravo and junior defensive end Shane Maxey are among the top players for the Comets.
"They have an outstanding quarterback," White said. "They have some big, strong kids that are back on both sides of the ball up front. Obviously, we're not going to overlook anybody."
Davidson leads the series 6-0.
"It doesn't get any easier," Comets coach Chris Harr said. "Davidson is the best team in the league right now. They're 4-0 and they're one of the top 10 teams in the state in Division I. This is as good a Davidson team I've seen, and they've been pretty good over the years. The way they beat you is they out-physical you. They are trained machines when it comes to being physical over the years."