Stopping Drake key for Bradley
A pair of senior dual-threat quarterbacks will share the spotlight Friday, Oct. 4, when the Westerville Central High School football team visits Hilliard Bradley in a matchup of teams that are 2-0 in OCC-Cardinal Division competition.
Bradley's Tommy Horn and Central's Jared Drake both have put up big numbers and lead their respective teams in rushing.
Drake tops the Warhawks with 334 yards and five touchdowns on 62 carries. He also has completed 72 of 116 passes for 1,061 yards with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions.
"This game definitely should prepare us for another big game (against Westerville Central)," Bradley senior defensive back Daniel Tepe said after the Jaguars defeated Westerville South 52-48 on Sept. 27. "We have to shut down Jared Drake if we want to win that game. If we can stop Drake, we'll stop them. He's the key to their offense."
Drake has several receiving outlets in senior Micah Lowe (15 catches for 199 yards, 3 touchdowns), sophomore Cedric Frierson (14 for 229, 5), senior Tommy Mansfield (12 for 180, 2) and senior Eldin Anu (12 for 162, 3). Senior running back Alex Fisher has rushed for 299 yards and four touchdowns on 53 carries.
Horn has rushed for 409 yards and five touchdowns on 75 carries for Bradley, which is 3-2 overall and on a three-game winning streak. He is 28-for-60 passing for 318 yards with two touchdowns and five interceptions.
"(Horn) can run and throw the ball. He has all of the tools," said Central coach John Magistro, whose team is 4-1 overall and also on a three-game winning streak. "I think (both Horn and Drake) have outstanding speed and they can turn a busted play into a touchdown. (The Jaguars) have some good receivers and a good running back like we do. We're very similar in that way."
Senior running back T.J. Martin has rushed for 322 yards and three touchdowns on 71 carries for Bradley, and junior slotback Trey Anderson has 198 yards and two touchdowns on 12 attempts.
Against Westerville South, Martin ran for 111 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries and Anderson added 73 yards and one score on seven attempts. Horn was 11-for-17 passing with one touchdown and one interception and rushed for 78 yards and one score on 18 carries.
"This was a battle," Bradley coach Mike LoParo said. "Our kids came to fight and they never gave up when we fell behind. We just kept going inside-outside, and our guys had some timely catches.
"Westerville South has a lot of weapons and they're hard to stop. We gave up a lot of points, but I give our defense a lot of credit because it scored twice. And our defense stepped up big with the game on the line in the final moments."
In a 57-14 rout of Canal Winchester on Sept. 27, Drake was 13-for-17 passing for 238 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. He also ran for 93 yards and one touchdown on eight carries. Frierson caught four passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns and Anu had three receptions for 38 yards and one score.
"We were clicking offensively and have been scoring a lot, so we wanted to work on things defensively," Magistro said. "We had not been tackling people when we had a chance and we wanted to get better at that. I think we have definitely improved."