Enjoying the moment without getting caught up in it is how the Ready High School football team has attempted to approach one of the best regular seasons in its 52-year history.
The Silver Knights were 8-0 and first in Division VI, Region 21 before playing Muskegon Heights (Mich.) on Oct. 26. Only wins over Muskegon Heights and Hartley on Friday, Nov. 1, stood in the way of Ready's first undefeated regular season.
"It's wild," said coach Joel Cutler, whose team is second in the state poll. "It's been exciting, but you've just got to move on."
Ready won't have the luxury of resting on its laurels against CCL-Gold Division opponent Hartley, which was 7-1 before playing Oct. 25 at Cincinnati Withrow.
The Hawks, who were Division IV state semifinalists a year ago, have beaten Ready each of the last three seasons, including 42-8 last fall.
Hartley, which is sixth in the Division V state poll, will bring a power running game and efficient passing attack into the matchup.
Through eight games, quarterback Jared Brandewie had thrown for 927 yards and 10 touchdowns with just three interceptions, and running back Sam Mackowiak had rushed for 1,143 yards and 15 touchdowns. Wide receiver Jacob Mercier had 22 catches for 554 yards and seven touchdowns.
Ready brings a veteran defense that features Alvin Knox (LB), Kelly Culbertson (DB) and Brady Taylor (DL).
Knights running back Akili Taylor had rushed for 1,452 and scored 20 touchdowns through eight games behind a line led by Taylor, a Virginia Tech recruit. Quarterback Matt Yoho had completed more than 60 percent of his passes.
Hartley defensive lineman Kalil Morris has verbally committed to Kent State and leads a defense that also features lineman Tayron Washington and back Alonzo Saxton, a Duke recruit.
"(Hartley is) fantastic in the kicking game and offensively they're extremely multiple in their formations," Cutler said. "They can pound you with the football and they're also athletic enough to spread the field. They're darn good and we've improved from last year."
Colvin runs in regional meet
Sophomore Kathleen Colvin competed in the Division II regional cross country meet Oct. 26 at Troy, where the top four teams and top 16 individuals advanced to state Saturday, Nov. 2, at National Trail Raceway.
In the district meet Oct. 19 at Watkins Memorial, Colvin ran a personal-best 19 minutes, 42.1 seconds to finish ninth and advance individually.
The top four teams and top 16 individuals at district qualified for regional, but Ready settled for fifth (179) of 20 teams behind champion Granville (48).
"I was nervous that I wouldn't make it to the regional, so I just put it all out on the course," Colvin said.
The boys placed 15th (391) in the 21-team district meet behind champion Sparta Highland (52).
Girls volleyball team plays in district semi
The seventh-seeded girls volleyball team played fourth-seeded Marion Elgin in a Division III district semifinal Oct. 24 at Olentangy.
The Knights were 13-11 before playing the Comets.
The winner played top-seeded Sparta Highland or 10th-seeded Utica in a district final Oct. 26, with the winner to face Middletown Fenwick or Cincinnati Mariemont in a regional semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 30, at Kettering Fairmont.
The regional final is Saturday, Nov. 2, at Fairmont, with the regional champion advancing to a state semifinal Nov. 8 at Wright State.
Ready opened the district tournament with a 25-18, 25-13, 25-20 win over 14th-seeded Centerburg on Oct. 16 and was to have played eighth-seeded Columbus Academy in the second round Oct. 19, but the Vikings were disqualified because they played 23 regular-season matches, one more than the OHSAA allows.
Girls soccer team plans to return strong
After 2013 graduate Donavan Capehart helped the girls soccer team earn a district runner-up finish in 2011 and win a district championship a year ago, the Knights made it to a district semifinal despite having underclassmen at several positions.
"The sophomore class is incredible and we've got a couple freshmen who played a lot," coach Jason Montgomery said. "This program is not going anywhere."
The biggest loss will be senior forward Caroline Riewe, who had 23 goals and 14 assists a year ago when Ready went a program-best 16-3-2. She finished her career with 55 goals and 29 assists.
Riewe had 18 goals and nine assists this season as the Knights went 6-12-1 overall and 0-3-1 in the CCL to finish behind Watterson (4-0), DeSales (3-1), Hartley (1-2-1) and Columbus School for Girls (1-3).
Another key senior was defender/midfielder Allie Schroeder, who had five goals and four assists.
In the Division III district tournament, Ready beat Madison Christian 13-1 on Oct. 14 and Grandview 2-0 on Oct. 17 before falling to Fairbanks 6-1 on Oct. 22 in a semifinal.
Freshman forward Caterina Scott was the second-leading scorer with 13 goals and three assists, and sophomore defender Rachel Neff added three goals and six assists.
Junior Ashlyn Szabo spent time at forward, midfielder and goalkeeper, finishing with eight goals and two assists and collecting 65 saves. Freshman goalkeeper Haley Meyer made 64 saves.
Boys soccer team to lose six seniors
The boys soccer team's 2-0 loss Oct. 16 at Fairbanks in the first round of the Division III district tournament marked the eighth time this season it was shut out.
The Knights went 2-13-1 overall and 0-4 in the CCL to finish behind co-champions Watterson and St. Charles (3-1), DeSales (2-1-1) and Hartley (1-2-1).
Midfielder Payne VanTilburg led a six-member senior class.
Freshman Harrison VanTilburg, Payne's brother, played in goal. Also eligible to return are juniors James Ley (midfielder) and Brenden Kirby (defender), sophomores Andres Walliser (defender), Isaac Bowles (defender), Nate Berner (defender) and Sean Atchison (midfielder) and freshman Connor Carrera (defender).