Although some might consider a 32-29 loss to visiting Pickerington Central on Oct. 11 a moral victory, Grove City High School football coach Matt Jordan said his program is past that stage.
Jordan, who is in his fifth season, believes his team should be winning that kind of game against a perennial power like the Tigers.
"Another tough loss for the Dawgs," Jordan said. "Those are the games you hope and expect to win. It would have been great to win that game, obviously."
Jordan pointed to two lost fumbles on consecutive series in the fourth quarter as a key to the loss.
Grove City is 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Ohio Division entering its game Friday, Oct. 18, at Gahanna.
"It's not easy the rest of the way out," Jordan said. "The issue is still the same. We're playing a team that is very athletic. They had a tough loss (last week) themselves. It's over at their place and we just have to get back to work. We have to get better and keep moving in the right direction and hopefully we can pull this one out."
Gahanna is 3-4 overall and 3-1 in the league after a 22-19 loss Oct. 11 to Lancaster, which rallied from a 19-7 halftime deficit.
Gahanna quarterback Mason Blancett had touchdown passes of 27 and 12 yards. He has replaced Ronald Robinson, who started the season at quarterback but has missed action with an injury.
Gahanna has won the last three meetings against Grove City, including 31-20 last season.
The Dawgs led Central 29-22 entering the final quarter before the Tigers scored 10 unanswered points, with Isaiah Richmond's 10-yard touchdown run providing the winning score with 2 minutes, 34 seconds remaining.
Grove City opened a 14-0 lead in the second quarter on defensive back Ben Myers' 98-yard interception return for a touchdown and quarterback Cameron Meece's 15-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Kimball.
Meece completed 13 of 20 passes for 111 yards and rushed for 68 yards on 17 carries.
"It was a tough loss, that one hurt," Meece said. "We expected to win. We should have won. We all know that. We're a veteran group and we expect to do better than that."
For the season, Meece has completed 49 of 82 passes for 531 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions and rushed for 705 yards and eight touchdowns on 118 carries.
Running back Corey Williams has rushed for 547 yards and four touchdowns on 79 carries.
"We're upbeat," Jordan said. "We have to focus one game at a time. If we do what we have to do, we have a shot."