The Thomas Worthington High School football team has been scrappy this season even with not-so-favorable results.

The Thomas Worthington High School football team has been scrappy this season even with not-so-favorable results.

"That's one way to put it," coach Scott Gordon said. "We were scrappy in the second half (in a 33-0 loss to Hilliard Davidson on Sept. 23). We didn't play real well offensively, but defensively we hung in there. We've hung in all season. A lot of guys have played real hard against some real tough teams and come up big."

Thomas slipped to 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the OCC-Central Division with the loss to Davidson, the No. 1 team in the ThisWeek Super 7 poll. The task gets no easier for the Cardinals on Friday, Sept. 30, at home against Dublin Coffman, which is 5-0 and 2-0 and ranked second in the Super 7 poll.

The Cardinals' offense has struggled virtually the entire season, the tough schedule notwithstanding. Thomas was held to 50 total yards in a season-opening, 37-0 loss to Jonathan Alder on Aug. 26, bounced back with 380 yards in a 34-0 win against still-winless Whetstone on Sept. 2, but was held to 204 total yards in a 28-13 to Westerville Central on Sept. 9, reached the end zone only once in a 14-7 loss to Upper Arlington on Sept. 16 and was held to 7 total yards, including minus-30 yards rushing, against Davidson.

The defense, or at least defensive players, provided the highlights against Davidson. Senior defensive back Nana Kyeremeh had a 62-yard kickoff return in the first half, and junior linebacker Justin Cunningham and junior defensive end Rockwell Dendiu recovered fumbles in the second half, when the Cardinals limited the Wildcats to seven points.

"Our defensive line and linebackers have run to the ball real well all season," Gordon said. "We've done a nice job stalemating offenses at times, but we're not always able to do that."

Several defensive players go both ways, including senior defensive end/center Nick Sharick and junior defensive end/tight end Matt Jones. Sharick and Jones, along with Cunningham, senior linebacker Adam Norris and sophomore end Richard Spernoga, have been the leaders up front.

Kyeremeh, who has blocked three punts this season, has scheduled official visits to Boston College, Northwestern and West Virginia and might add more as the season progresses, Gordon said. Kyeremeh, who also caught a 77-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Jalen Wells against Westerville Central, is being recruited mostly as a cornerback but has not received a scholarship offer.

"He has all the characteristics of a good college cornerback," Gordon said. "He's a pretty quality wide receiver, too. He's basically Mr. Everything for us. He has made a huge impact."

More of those will be needed against Coffman, which defeated Westland 76-0 on Sept. 23.

"It never gets easier in this division. We have four teams (Coffman, Davidson, Hilliard Darby and Upper Arlington) who are in the top 20 in the state," Gordon said. "Coffman is much, much different than the team we faced last week. (Davidson) comes right at you. Coffman's a more finesse team and I think our guys are more comfortable against that style. We feel like we're pretty athletic. We hope it's a good matchup for us."