Westerville News & Public Opinion


Central, North set for battle


Although his team has controlled the series, Westerville Central High School football coach John Magistro believes the Warhawks will face an improved Westerville North team Friday, Oct. 11, at home.

Central is 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division, tied for first with Hilliard Darby, which visits the Warhawks on Oct. 25.

North is 2-4 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Cardinal.

"We're one mile away from each other and the kids know each other," Magistro said. "They're playing better football. I'm happy that coach (Rodger Elander) has them in the right direction."

The Warhawks lead the series 4-1, including a 35-14 victory last season. North won 21-17 in 2008.

After winning their first two games this season, snapping a 45-game losing streak, the Warriors have dropped four consecutive contests, including a 21-0 loss at Dublin Jerome on Oct. 4.

The Warriors defeated Franklin Heights 48-21 on Aug. 30 and Newark 42-35 on Sept. 6.

"It should be a great atmosphere up at Central this week," Elander said. "They're one of the few stadiums in the area that doesn't have a track around it, so the crowd is right on top of you and it makes it a little louder, a little more excitement. With two Westerville schools playing, it should be a pretty good crowd."

The Warriors feature a wing-T offense that has been led by running back Jake Hinz, who has rushed for 431 yards and five touchdowns on 55 carries.

Running back John Taylor has rushed for 315 yards and four touchdowns on 59 carries, and fullback Andy Struttmann has 274 yards and four touchdowns on 39 carries.

Quarterback Jake Downs has completed 25 of 68 passes for 317 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions.

Central's spread offense is averaging 50 points per game after the Warhawks defeated Hilliard Bradley 69-31 on Oct. 4.

Quarterback Jared Drake has completed 85 of 135 passes for 1,379 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions and rushed for 399 yards and five touchdowns on 67 carries.

Running back Alex Fisher leads the team in rushing with 426 yards and eight touchdowns on 69 carries.

Wide receiver Cedric Frierson has 17 catches for 294 yards and five touchdowns.

"We have to be efficient on offense," Elander said. "If we have the ball they don't have it, so they can't score. We have to move the ball on offense and get some scores ourselves and make them, hopefully, get a little antsy on the sidelines. (The keys are) ball-control offense for us and get a couple turnovers."