One series in the fourth quarter of the Upper Arlington High School football team’s 26-7 loss to visiting Marion-Franklin in its season opener Aug. 30 summarized the game.
Senior lineman Noah Spielman blocked a punt, giving the Golden Bears possession at their own 40-yard line. On the next play from scrimmage, junior quarterback Kyle Kaparos found senior wide receiver Jackson Finfrock for a 9-yard gain.
However, Kaparos fumbled the snap on second-and-1 and lost 2 yards. After an incomplete pass set up fourth-and-3, UA took a 5-yard delay-of-game penalty and on fourth-and-8 Kaparos threw wide of his target to end the Bears’ last substantial possession.
UA amassed only 131 total yards and had five turnovers, as Kaparos threw two interceptions, the Bears lost two fumbles and UA turned the ball over on downs once.
Marion-Franklin, meanwhile, rode five running backs to 304 total yards and wore down UA’s defense. Running back Landon Yeartie almost outgained the Bears by himself, rushing for 127 yards and touchdowns of 40 and 15 yards on 15 carries.
“We couldn’t protect well enough to take advantage of them blitzing, so if they could control the line of scrimmage, they were going to control the game, and that’s what happened,” Bears coach Mike Golden said. “We just wore out. Our defense was on the field way too much. You’re going to break down. If you give any team enough chances, you’re going to have some bad plays.”
Nearly half of UA’s total yardage came on a 56-yard run by senior running back Chris Frey. His run set up a 3-yard touchdown run by senior running back Chase Greenlee midway through the third quarter.
UA will look to rebound Friday, Sept. 6, at Cincinnati Elder. The Panthers, who defeated the Bears 45-7 last year, rode a balanced spread attack to a 20-14 win over Middletown in their opener Aug. 29.
Elder outgained Middletown 375-214 in total yards, with running back Chris Schroer rushing for 173 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown, on 33 carries and wide receiver Andrew Sportsman hauling in seven catches for 158 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown from sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey.
Ramsey splits time under center with senior Nick Peters.
Both teams are in Division I, Region 2 under the new OHSAA alignment.
“They’re a different kind of football team (than Marion-Franklin),” Golden said. “They’re more of a spread pass offense, but we have to play at a high level again. What we have to work on is improving ourselves daily. We dug ourselves a hole, and now we have to try to dig ourselves out.”
Field hockey team out to good start
Even before she took over as field hockey coach in February, Kelly Roderick continually heard how much talent UA possessed.
The Bears’ start, in which they allowed just two goals through four games, did nothing to change her mind. UA was 2-1-1 overall and 0-0-1 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West Division before playing Thomas Worthington on Sept. 4.
“We had some very good classes coming back and tryouts were extremely competitive,” Roderick said. “Most of the roster is made up of seniors, and that’s how a varsity roster probably should be. I’m pretty happy with what I’ve seen so far.”
The Bears are led by eight seniors in forwards Maggie Callaghan, Sarah Mikac, Kaira Schneider and Kara Sturtz, forward/midfielder Zoey Collis, midfielder Kasey Keegan and defenders Heddie Samuelson and Hannah Tomaszewski, but several underclassmen are contributing as well.
Sophomore midfielder Frances Sullivan scored the only goal in a season-opening 1-0 win over Columbus School for Girls on Aug. 22, and junior forward Tanner Miley had two goals and junior midfielder Monnett Hamilton and Tomaszewski each scored one in a 4-0 win over Gates Mills Hawken on Aug. 24.
Junior goalkeeper and returning starter Alee Caldwell had eight saves in a 1-0 loss to defending state champion Columbus Academy on Aug. 27 and 12 saves in a 1-all tie against Olentangy Liberty in their league opener Aug 29.
Rounding out the roster are junior defenders Gracie Bergdoll and Kate Hennessey, junior forward/midfielder Avery Brick, junior midfielders Audrey Pottschmidt and Clara Rhodehamel, sophomore forward Caroline Barnum and freshman defender Giavanna Paradiso.
“We’ve had an incredible defense, and Alee is a big part of that,” said Roderick, a 2008 UA graduate who went to play field hockey at Michigan State and coached at Hastings Middle School last year.
Last season, UA went 8-9-1 overall and 5-5-1 in the COFHL behind champion Academy (10-0-1) under former coach Derek Aspinall, who resigned after two seasons.
The COFHL has been split into two divisions this year. Joining UA in the West Division are Dublin Coffman, Dublin Jerome, Dublin Scioto, Liberty, Olentangy, Olentangy Orange and Thomas. The COFHL-East is comprised of Academy, Bexley, CSG, Granville, Hartley, Lancaster, New Albany, Watterson and Worthington Kilbourne.
Volleyball players adjusting to coach
Several experienced players are learning new responsibilities or switching positions as Will Rotruck has taken over the girls volleyball program.
UA, which lost only sisters Samantha and Sydney Farwick from a year ago to graduation, has five seniors in outside hitter/libero Bailey Gowins, setter Maria Grund, right-side hitter Melanie McMillan, 6-foot middle hitter Ashley Murray and outside hitter Madelyn Underwood.
Also on the team are junior right-side/outside hitter Katherine Adams, junior setter/defensive specialist Lisa Fowler, junior outside hitter Brigid McKee, junior outside hitter/defensive specialist Jeana Rayo and junior middle hitter Jordan Spychalski. Most logged considerable playing time last year.
“We’re doing a lot of new things as a staff, but the nice part is they’re very intelligent,” said Rotruck, who succeeded three-year coach Matt Wion in July. “I tend to like, as a coach, very aggressive and mobile middle play, so we’re asking a lot more out of our middles this year.
“Defensively, we’re running a bunched block, which is new for the girls. It’s learning new places to set up in a base defense … just tweaks. It changes coverage spaces and how our block wants to funnel the ball.”
UA, which finished 7-16 overall and 6-8 in the OCC-Central last year, was 0-3 overall and 0-2 in the league before playing Central Crossing on Sept. 3.
The Bears opened the season with losses to Kilbourne (25-6, 25-15, 25-19 on Aug. 19), Thomas Worthington (25-20, 25-23, 22-25, 25-20 on Aug. 27) and Liberty (22-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-13 on Aug. 29).
Boys golf team has shot at league title
Junior Justin Wick shot a 75 and classmate Seth Brenneman carded a 76 as the boys golf team finished third (307) in the third round of the OCC-Central tournament Aug. 28 at Darby Creek.
Juniors Austin Glaser and Jacob Serif each added rounds of 78 and senior Michael Watkins shot an 82 as UA finished behind Coffman (300) and Liberty (302).
UA is second (17-4) in the OCC-Central behind Coffman (21-0) heading into the fourth and final round Tuesday, Sept. 11, at Turnberry. Liberty (16-5) is third, followed by Marysville (11-10), Hilliard Davidson (8-13), Thomas Worthington (8-13), Central Crossing (3-18) and Westland (0-21).
Girls golf team third in league
Senior Leah Mills of the girls golf team shot an 81 in the third round of the OCC-Ohio tournament Aug. 27 at The Links at Groveport, as UA shot a 390 to place fifth behind champion Pickerington North (339).
UA is third (12-9) in the league behind North (21-0) and Thomas Worthington (17-4) entering the fourth and final round Tuesday, Sept. 10, at Mentel Memorial. Canal Winchester and Davidson are tied for fourth (11-10), followed by Gahanna (9-12), Lancaster (2-19) and Hilliard Darby (1-20).
Mills is third in the league with an 81.7-stroke average behind Gahanna’s Emily Hughes (76.3) and North’s Kristen Oliphant (78.7).