Football team out to reach optimum efficiency
If the Ready High School football team's offense ends up being as good as coach Joel Cutler believes it can be, then it didn't come close to its potential during the season's first two weeks.
Considering the Silver Knights opened Aug. 30 with a 26-14 win over 2012 Division VI state runner-up Newark Catholic and followed by dominating Columbus Academy 35-7 on Sept. 6, it would mean trouble for opponents if at some point Ready reaches optimum efficiency.
Ready, which was 2-0 before playing Briggs on Sept. 13, has been controlling opponents with its running game and making big plays through the air.
On Thursday, Sept. 19, the Silver Knights travel to Whitehall looking to continue taking steps forward on offense.
"We threw for three touchdowns (against Academy) and the first week we only threw for one," Cutler said. "We're still not at 100 percent on not committing turnovers and penalties and executing in the red zone. (Against Academy) we still had a fumble and a couple yellow handkerchiefs, and those will kill you in big games."
Behind an offensive line that features senior Brady Taylor, senior running back Akili Taylor and senior quarterback Matt Yoho have been leading the ground game.
Akili Taylor ran for 269 yards against the Green Wave and 129 yards and two touchdowns against the Vikings.
Yoho was 11-for-20 passing for 153 yards with four touchdowns through two games, including three scoring passes against Academy. He also added 121 yards and two touchdowns rushing against Newark Catholic.
The 5-foot-8, 190-pound Akili Taylor, who has added about 15 pounds since last season when he rushed for 1,125 yards and 10 touchdowns, has a scholarship offer from Kent State. He also is considering Notre Dame College, a Division II school in South Euclid.
"I'm not a big guy, but if they can just give me a crease," he said. "We just have to get better every day. When we execute at a high level, we get better every game. Our whole line is full of good guys."
Whitehall was 1-1 before playing Whetstone on Sept. 13. The Rams lost to Bloom-Carroll 52-51 in three overtimes Sept. 6 as Cody Koons passed for 164 yards and two touchdowns and Shaquille Alexander had 146 yards rushing with two scores.
B.J. Upchurch (RB/LB) returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown against Bloom-Carroll and had six catches for 69 yards in a 29-25 win over Central Crossing on Aug. 30.
Other early standouts for Ready, according to Cutler, have been Alvin Knox (LB), Bran-den Bailey (RB/LB), Kelly Culbertson (WR/DB) and Connor Lancia (WR/DB/P).
"There's always things to fix and improve on, but you can't be better than (starting) 2-0," Cutler said. "Our offensive line is executing at a high level. Akili is everything you'd want in a captain."
Wiser leading young boys soccer team
The boys soccer team took a hit when Payne VanTilburg suffered an ankle injury in a 5-1 loss to Fisher Catholic on Sept. 3 and aggravated it further in an 8-0 loss to DeSales on Sept. 5.
The senior midfielder, who was second-team all-CCL a year ago, entered the season as one of the team's most experienced players along with senior forward Chris Wiser.
"I hope he can come back (this week)," coach Sam Sunseri said. "Chris Wiser has done well keeping it together for us."
VanTilburg's brother, freshman Harrison VanTilburg, is at goalkeeper. Sophomore forward Sean Atchison has been another key player, according to Sunseri.
Ready was 2-4-1 overall and 0-2 in the CCL after losing to Watterson 8-0 on Sept. 11.
"Our defense is actually doing well. We're just young," Sunseri said.
Girls soccer team seeking answers
With three teams that were district runners-up and 2012 Division II state runner-up DeSales comprising its first four games, the girls soccer team was 0-4 overall before playing Columbus Academy on Sept. 12 and Worthington Christian on Sept. 14.
The Silver Knights lost to Zanesville West Muskingum 3-2 on Sept. 2 and were shut out by both DeSales (2-0 on Sept. 5) and Granville (3-0 on Sept. 7).
They also lost to Watterson 4-0 on Sept. 10 to fall to 0-2 in the CCL.
"We're good. The talent is there, but it's just a matter of putting it all together," coach Jason Montgomery said. "We're bringing in some new players this year and it's just about trust."
Against West Muskingum, freshman forward Caterina Scott had two goals and senior forward Caroline Riewe and sophomore midfielder Kathleen Colvin each had one assist.
"We've played good defense, but we haven't really generated any offense out of that," Montgomery said. "Last year we played an easier schedule and were able to rack up some wins. Maybe we'll start peaking at the right time."