Westerville Central High School football coach John Magistro is curious to see how his team responds to its 57-50 home loss to New Albany on Sept. 6.
The Warhawks' defense allowed 403 total yards and seven touchdowns, including one on a 32-yard pass, one on a 61-yard run and one on a 69-yard pass. The Eagles, who improved to 2-0, also scored on an 87-yard kickoff return by Obrempong Oppong in the second quarter.
Central, which dropped to 1-1, will look to get back on track when it visits Independence on Friday, Sept. 13.
"New Albany is a good football team. You can't take anything away from them," Magistro said. "We have got to bounce back. Now we'll see what we're made of."
Independence improved to 1-1 with a 43-32 win over Central Crossing on Sept. 6. It jumped out to a 28-7 lead in the first quarter and then held off the Comets.
The 76ers were led by 5-foot-10, 155-pound running back Ronnie Kuipers, who rushed for 256 yards and two touchdowns (63 and 40 yards) on 25 carries.
"We know they're fast. We know they're going to try to get to the edge on us," Central quarterback Jared Drake said of the 76ers. "I have a lot of confidence in our defense to step it up (this) week and for me to step it up and have another good game. We'll come out motivated and do everything we can to try to get the win."
"They have speed and they're a pretty physical football team," Magistro said. "They have a bunch of athletes that can fly around out there."
The Warhawks trailed New Albany 49-21 in the third quarter but rallied to score 29 points in the final quarter, only to see their comeback fall short. In the fourth quarter, Drake threw three touchdown passes (19 yards to wide receiver Tommy Mansfield and 24 and 20 yards to wide receiver Cedric Frierson) and scored on a 9-yard run.
The Eagles, however, sealed the win with a 61-yard touchdown run by running back Joe Siegenthaler with 2 minutes, 27 seconds left.
New Albany also gashed Central's defense through the air, as quarterback Tanner Cline threw five touchdown passes.
"I think it's fine that we might have lost this one," Drake said. "Obviously, we wanted to go undefeated. Obviously, we wanted to try and make a 15-0 run just like everybody else in the state. But the fact that we lost early on will give us more motivation to work harder for later in the season."
Against New Albany, Drake completed 28 of 43 passes for 308 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions and rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.
Through two games, he has completed 44 of 66 passes for 573 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions.
"Their quarterback, Jared Drake, is probably as good a football player as we've seen on film anytime in the last couple of years," Independence coach Maurice Douglas said. "He's kind of the engine of their football team. He's going to be difficult to stop."