The Westland High School football team has struggled to remain competitive this season, but according to coach Steve White, his players' dedication has not waned.
The Cougars were 1-6 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Central Division before playing Dublin Coffman on Oct. 18. They lost their previous four games by an average margin of 54.8 points.
In a 66-0 league loss at Olentangy Liberty on Oct. 11, Westland trailed 36-0 after the first quarter and 45-0 at halftime.
"Our kids played hard in the second half," White said. "In the third and fourth quarters, they kept competing."
The Cougars will play host to Upper Arlington in an OCC-Central game Friday, Oct. 25.
The Golden Bears, who were 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the league before playing Marysville on Oct. 18, defeated Westland 54-7 last season and lead the series 20-1.
The Cougars' lone win came in 1990, 19-7.
Among the key players for UA is senior running back and linebacker Chris Frey, a Michigan State University recruit who rushed for 80 yards on 19 carries in a 21-0 loss at Hilliard Davidson on Oct. 11.
Senior running back and linebacker Chase Greenlee rushed for a team-high 96 yards on 17 carries against Davidson.
"Upper Arlington is always a solid, physical team, so that's what I expect from them this year," White said.
Through seven games, D'Kahri Scott led Westland in rushing with 256 yards and three touchdowns on 64 carries. Scott began the season at quarterback but has moved to wide receiver.
Entering the game against Coffman, quarterback Clay Carrel had rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries and had completed six of 14 passes for 42 yards with an interception.
Through seven games, wide receiver Reggie Gilliam had 17 receptions for 290 yards and three touchdowns and wide receiver Dominick Thomas had 22 catches for 219 yards and a touchdown.
White said senior outside linebacker Joey Gutzman sustained a season-ending knee injury in a 76-32 league loss to Thomas Worthington on Sept. 27.
"He was one of our returning starters on defense, a solid football player," White said of Gutzman. "Having a small senior class (six players), losing another senior doesn't help out."
Cross country teams begin postseason
The cross country teams began the postseason by competing in the Division I, district 2 meet Oct. 18 at Watkins Memorial.
The top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced to regional Saturday, Oct. 26, at Pickerington North. The top four teams and top 16 individuals at regional advance to state Nov. 2 at National Trail Raceway.
Westland competed in the OCC-Central meet Oct. 12 at Hilliard Darby.
The girls team finished sixth (203) behind UA (39), Thomas Worthington (51), Davidson (59), Liberty (88) and Coffman (119) and ahead of Marysville (210) and Central Crossing (228).
Donna Mayhew paced the Cougars, finishing 40th (20 minutes, 49.78 seconds) of 68 runners.
Also scoring were Heidi Paxson (41st, 20:50.15), Hannah Festog (53rd, 21:50.82), Elizabeth Finley (54th, 22:11.99) and Jessie Neavill (59th, 23:38.75).
The boys team finished eighth (215) in the league meet, behind Davidson (34), Liberty (58), Coffman (58), Thomas (93), Marysville (154), UA (167) and Central Crossing (214).
Seth Farmer led the Cougars, placing 12th (15:58.17) of 75 runners.
Also scoring were Bryce Long (53rd, 17:47.71), Andrew Choate (66th, 18:50.42), Erick Martinez (70th, 19:49.88) and Andrew Ritchie (71st, 20:29.79).
Volleyball team falls to Grove City
The girls volleyball team's season ended with a 25-20, 25-17, 25-15 loss at fourth-seeded Grove City in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 16.
The 31st-seeded Cougars, who had a first-round bye, finished 9-14 overall.
"The girls definitely fought hard the whole time," coach Eric Hughes said. "We practiced well beforehand. We just didn't quite have it (against Grove City)."
Season ends for boys soccer team
The boys soccer team lost to 16th-seeded Pickerington North 5-1 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 16.
Midfielder Bachir Bah scored and goalkeeper Jonathan Olvera had six saves for the 31st-seeded Cougars, who finished 8-9 overall.
Girls soccer team faced top seed
Seeded 40th, the girls soccer team played top-seeded Coffman in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 17.
Both teams had a first-round bye.
The second-round winner plays 21st-seeded Dublin Scioto or 24th-seeded Whetstone in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the home of the higher seed. The district final is Saturday, Oct. 26, at Westerville South.