Westerville Central impresses New Albany coach
The Westerville Central High School football team has caught the attention of New Albany coach Mark Mueller.
The Warhawks were impressive in their 27-0 win at Big Walnut on Aug. 24, according to Mueller, who couldn't help but notice the play of Central junior quarterback Jared Drake.
"Watching them on film they are a good football team," Mueller said of Central, which visits New Albany on Friday, Aug. 31. "They beat a good Big Walnut team. It looks like they had it going on. They're very athletic. They have good size, and it always helps to get a transfer in from Upper Arlington."
Drake, who transferred from UA during the summer, accounted for 241 yards against Big Walnut. He completed six of eight passes for 120 yards with a 30-yard touchdown to Charlie Mousey and rushed seven times for 121 yards with touchdown runs of 20 and 57 yards.
Drake also had an interception at defensive back.
The Warhawks, who earned the program's first postseason berth last season with 2012 graduate Cody Kondas at quarterback, also got a strong performance in the opener from running back Alex Fisher. He had a 3-yard touchdown run and gained 119 yards on 18 carries.
"I've been very pleased with our work ethic, our attitude and our camaraderie," Central coach John Magistro said. "When you play like that, you always have a chance to win. Obviously, it depends on how good the competition is, so I like our chances. We're going to go in and play every game."
New Albany, which lost 10-9 at Reynoldsburg on Aug. 24, has a standout player of its own in senior quarterback Darron Lee, who has verbally committed to Ohio State.
The Raiders held Lee to 2-for-8 passing for 52 yards with one interception and (minus)-16 yards rushing on 10 carries.
Magistro expects Lee to shake off that performance.
"We all know about their quarterback," Magistro said. "He's committed to Ohio State and I've seen him play the last two years. The kid is dangerous. He makes them a very good football team."
New Albany scored its lone touchdown against Reynoldsburg on a 2-yard run by senior Alan Watson in the third quarter.
Junior Joe Siegenthaler ran for 80 yards on four carries and had one reception for 38 yards.
"We moved the ball pretty well in the second half," Mueller said. "We are who we are, and we've got to do things a little slower than some teams."
He hopes his team can bounce back.
"We'll be hungry to get a win," he said. "It will be a home game, so the excitement level is going to be on our side. (A key will be) how many mistakes can we correct this week. Any time you lose a game you make more mistakes than the other team most likely."
Central is looking for its second consecutive win over New Albany, having defeated the Eagles 28-14 last season at home.
New Albany leads the series 3-2, including a 33-6 win in 2010. The Eagles' other wins in the series were shutouts: 21-0 in 2009 and 7-0 in 2006.
Central won 34-28 in 2009.
Magistro realizes the Warhawks will be facing a determined team.
"When you come into game two after a loss, sometimes you're hungrier and we have to make sure we're not their victims," Magistro said. "We have to be prepared for that. We won a nice game and we beat a nice team, but the competition every week is going to be, if not better, just as good."