Scrimmages provide means of evaluation
Editor's Note: Scroll to the bottom of the page for a composite scrimmage schedule for area teams.
When Hilliard Bradley High School football coach Mike LoParo was putting together his team's scrimmage schedule last year, he wanted a final preseason matchup against an opponent with a strong tradition.
The fact that the foe was practically in the Jaguars' backyard, not surprisingly to LoParo, added to the experience.
For the second consecutive year, Bradley will play host to Jonathan Alder, which is in nearby Plain City. The teams will meet at 6 p.m. Aug. 23.
Bradley, which this fall has a boys enrollment of 598 compared to 233 for Jonathan Alder, got off to a quick start in last year's scrimmage but didn't take the experience against the perennial small-school power for granted.
While the Jaguars haven't made the playoffs in any of their four seasons, the Pioneers have made it to the postseason 12 times including in 2006, when they were Division IV state runners-up.
"(Jonathan Alder) coach (Steve) Coate and I talked about the proximity," LoParo said.
"I don't know if it's a true measuring stick, but I think it's good to have (an opponent in) proximity. After we played them we knew that we weren't going to be intimidated. There was plenty of intensity. We took it just like it was a game and things just happened to roll the way they did for us."
Similarly to the familiarity that is created by playing the same league opponents year after year, many teams throughout central Ohio will face the same foes during the preseason as in past years.
Upper Arlington, as it did a year ago, will play Watterson (Aug. 17) and DeSales (Aug. 23) in scrimmages.
Although UA and Watterson are in close proximity, the connection goes beyond anything geographically.
Golden Bears coach Mike Golden coached Watterson to the 2002 Division III state championship before handing over the reins to current coach Dan Bjelac.
Watterson and DeSales play each year in the CCL, thus creating Golden's familiarity with DeSales.
The two CCL programs are attractive scrimmage opponents for UA because of their tradition and the fact that they have strong players.
"Many times in the past (UA) has played Watterson," Golden said. "It's more that you can count on them to be a fundamentally strong, physically strong team that lifts (weights) in the offseason. It doesn't have anything to do with emotions. It has to do with the physical challenge. You really get your answers after you play them. There's going to be some emotions for me (going against Watterson), but for (Bjelac) and I, it's more of just a measuring stick."
Grove City's scrimmage schedule is comprised of Dublin Jerome (Aug. 13), Hilliard Darby (Aug. 17) and Worthington Kilbourne (Aug. 23).
The Dawgs faced Darby and Kilbourne a year ago and have added Jerome this season.
Grove City is in the OCC-Ohio Division, Kilbourne will be in the OCC-Capital and Darby and Jerome are in the OCC-Cardinal.
"You look for a couple things," Dawgs coach Matt Jordan said.
"You're looking for someone that will test the basic fundamentals of your football team. (Coach) John Santagata does a great job at Darby. They're well-coached and are a great fit for us, especially since we're playing (Hilliard) Davidson in week one. I've known (Jerome) coach (Mark) Hundley for a while, and one of his assistants, Derek Katris, was over here with me in the past, so there's a coaching relationship with that one. Kilbourne has always played Grove City and I've known (coach) Vince (Trombetti) for a long time."
Dublin Scioto coach Karl Johnson believes scrimmage opposition is about "comfort."
The Irish will scrimmage the same three teams as a year ago in Big Walnut (Aug. 13), Davidson (Aug. 17) and St. Charles (Aug. 23).
"With Big Walnut, they're a similar-sized program, so the numbers match up," Johnson said. "One of the reasons I love scrimmaging Davidson is that you know they're going to be physical and tough and they're going to keep things simple. It's just a good, challenging scrimmage. This is the third year we've scrimmaged St. Charles."
Jordan said familiarity is important.
"You want to get a look that's good for your kids and is not going to be a fiasco," he said. "At the end you want them to shake hands and eat food together."
Below is a list of scrimmages involving high school football teams throughout the ThisWeek coverage area (times and dates subject to change; home team listed first):
Danville vs. Bellville Clear Fork and Northridge (6 p.m.); Dublin Scioto vs. Big Walnut (1:30 p.m.); Grove City vs. Dublin Jerome (noon); Johnstown vs. Mifflin (10 a.m.); Marysville vs. Marion Harding (10 a.m.); Olentangy vs. Kenton, Lancaster and Marion-Franklin (5 p.m.); Pickerington North vs. Dublin Coffman (9 a.m.); South Charleston Southeastern vs. Grove City Christian (5 p.m.); Thomas Worthington vs. Buckeye Valley (9 a.m.); Utica vs. Columbus Academy (10 a.m.)
Central Crossing vs. Centennial (6 p.m.); Grandview vs. Marion Elgin (5 p.m.); Jonathan Alder vs. Brookhaven and Ready (9 a.m.)
Walnut Ridge vs. Watkins Memorial (11 a.m.)
Columbus Academy vs. Columbus East (7 p.m.); New Albany vs. Canal Winchester (7 p.m.); Olentangy vs. Brookhaven (7 p.m.)
Beechcroft vs. Granville, Ready and Worthington Kilbourne (9 a.m.); Bexley vs. Fairbanks (9:30 a.m.); Delaware vs. Westland (10 a.m.); Dublin Coffman vs. Centerville (9 a.m.); Dublin Scioto vs. Hilliard Davidson (9 a.m.); Gahanna vs. Lakewood St. Edward (11 a.m.); Grove City vs. Hilliard Darby (10 a.m.); Grove City Christian vs. Centennial (9 a.m.); Hamilton Township vs. Dublin Jerome, Pickerington Central and Springfield (11 a.m.); Hartley vs. Eastmoor Academy (7:30 p.m.); Johnstown vs. Groveport (10 a.m.); Licking Heights vs. Big Walnut (10 a.m.); Newark vs. Marysville (10 a.m.); Northland vs. Columbus South (3 p.m.); Olentangy Liberty vs. Hilliard Bradley (10 a.m.); Olentangy Orange vs. Westerville Central (10 a.m.); Reynoldsburg vs. Troy (10 a.m.); St. Charles vs. Whitehall (10 a.m.); Upper Arlington vs. Watterson (9 a.m.); Westerville South vs. DeSales (10 a.m.); Whetstone vs. Westerville North (10 a.m.)
Bexley vs. Watkins Memorial (6:30 p.m.); Dublin Coffman vs. Gahanna (6 p.m.); Sparta Highland vs. Hartley (6 p.m.); North Robinson Colonel Crawford vs. Grandview (6 p.m.); Westland vs. Canal Winchester (7 p.m.)
Bellefontaine vs. Pickerington Central (7:30 p.m.); Big Walnut vs. Teays Valley (7 p.m.); Brookhaven vs. Lancaster (5:30 p.m.); Centennial vs. Africentric (6 p.m.); Centerburg vs. Northridge (7 p.m.); Central Crossing vs. Franklin Heights (6 p.m.); DeSales vs. Upper Arlington (7 p.m.); Dublin Jerome vs. Thomas Worthington (5 p.m.); Eastmoor Academy vs. Olentangy (7:30 p.m.); Grove City Christian vs. Elyria Open Door Christian (7:30 p.m.); Groveport vs. Northland (7 p.m.); Hilliard Bradley vs. Jonathan Alder (6 p.m.); Hilliard Davidson vs. Findlay (6 p.m.); Johnstown vs. Columbus Academy, Independence, Philo and Whetstone (6 p.m.); Licking Heights vs. Newark (6:30 p.m.); Marion Harding vs. Delaware (6 p.m.); Marysville vs. Hilliard Darby (7 p.m.); Mount Vernon vs. Westerville North (7 p.m.); New Albany vs. Beechcroft (7 p.m.); Olentangy Liberty vs. Marion-Franklin (7:30 p.m.); Olentangy Orange vs. Reynoldsburg (7 p.m.); St. Charles vs. Dublin Scioto (7:30 p.m.); Utica vs. Whitehall (7 p.m.); Watterson vs. Lexington (7 p.m.); Westerville Central vs. Millersburg West Holmes (7 p.m.); Westerville South vs. Pickerington North (7:30 p.m.); Wheelersburg vs. Ready (6 p.m.); Worthington Kilbourne vs. Grove City (7:30 p.m.)