When the Franklin Heights High School football team plays host to Westerville North on Friday, Aug. 24, in the opener for both teams, there will be a certain familiarity between first-year Falcons coach Mike Owens and the players on the opposing sideline.

When the Franklin Heights High School football team plays host to Westerville North on Friday, Aug. 24, in the opener for both teams, there will be a certain familiarity between first-year Falcons coach Mike Owens and the players on the opposing sideline.

Owens coached North the past three seasons, during which time the Warriors went 0-30.

"It's going to be weird, obviously," Owens said. "I'm not going to lie. It's going to be strange being on a different sideline than those (North) kids.

"There's a lot of good kids who came back this year. We had a good freshman team last year and a good freshman class. They have great juniors and seniors as well. It's a great group of kids, so it's going to be hard seeing them on the other side."

Owens changed districts in hopes of gaining job security as a teacher.

"Those seniors were freshmen when I was over there," he said. "You get attached to them and it's going to be tough, it really is. At the same time, I'm here at Franklin Heights now, and we got attached very quickly to these kids, also."

The Falcons were 1-9 last season. North was 0-10 and has lost 35 consecutive games.

Franklin Heights is led on offense by senior running back Sam Reed (5-foot-10, 195 pounds). Sophomore Ray Spangler (6-2, 205) is the starting quarterback.

"Offensively, it's coming along," Owens said. "Just like in any new program there's a lot to teach and you feel like you don't have a whole lot of time to teach everything, so we're trying to keep it simple and basic so we can have some success."

The Warriors also are under a new system, led by coach Rodger Elander.

"Our biggest focus is on us and not worrying so much about the other team," Elander said. "We have to clean up things on our team after our most recent scrimmage.

"We're going to stress that our focus is about how we can clean up what we do. We can't have a lot of penalties and be sloppy with the ball and things like that."

North is led by senior offensive linemen Peter Sandvik and Shane Coulter and will feature senior Austin Smales at quarterback. Juniors Andy Struttman and Jonathan Taylor will be the primary running backs.