Kilbourne seeks complete game against Westerville South
Worthington Kilbourne High School football coach Vince Trombetti wants to see how good his team can be if it plays well for 48 minutes every Friday night.
He has yet to see that, which is part of the reason the Wolves are 1-2 heading into their OCC-Central Division opener Friday, Sept. 14, at Westerville South.
"We've lost two games by a total of five points and didn't play well for more than one half in either of them," said Trombetti, whose team is averaging 23.3 points and allowing an average of 13.7. "Even in our win (37-3 over Thomas Worthington on Aug. 31), we didn't play well in the first half. Turnovers have hurt us in many ways, stopping our own drives and also setting up a short field for (our opponent) and putting our defense in bad situations."
The Wolves will need to step up their game if they are to pull the upset against South, which is 3-0 and dominated its first three opponents, winning by an average of 30 points. The Wildcats' smallest margin of victory occurred Sept. 7, when they beat visiting Grove City 42-20. They are allowing an average of 18.3 points.
"Westerville South is impressive in every facet, all the way through the field and roster," Trombetti said. "They have a lot of great offensive weapons and I think that (wide receiver and defensive back) Marcus Ball is the real thing. But I think our defense has played very well for the most part, and if we can stop shooting ourselves in the foot on offense, we're confident we can play with anyone on our schedule."
Kilbourne's next four opponents, including South, are 3-0 entering play this weekend. The Wolves play host to Westerville Central on Sept. 21, travel to Hilliard Darby on Sept. 28 and play host to Hilliard Bradley on Oct. 5. All four are league games.
Kilbourne, which lost to Olentangy 17-14 in its opener Aug. 24 and lost to Olentangy Orange 21-19 on Sept. 7, moved from the OCC-Central to the OCC-Cardinal this season as part of OCC realignment.
The Wolves won their last meeting with South, defeating the Wildcats 27-20 in double overtime in 2007.
Against Orange, Kilbourne took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter on a 26-yard field goal by Jonathan Watson. But the Wolves missed an opportunity to reach the end zone on the possession, which started at the Orange 17-yard line following a Pioneers turnover.
Orange opened a 21-3 lead in the third quarter behind running back Michael Forbes, who scored all three touchdowns on runs of 4, 14 and 1 yards and finished with 119 yards rushing on 19 carries.
The Wolves rallied with a 39-yard field goal by Watson and two touchdown runs by fullback Isaac Lumpkin (2 and 10 yards). But Kilbourne missed an opportunity to force overtime when Orange's Triston Richardson broke up a pass from quarterback Keaton Reinhart to wide receiver Grant Hartman in the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt with 1 minute, 50 seconds remaining.
Kilbourne struggled to stop Orange's option attack, as the Pioneers had 213 yards rushing and 260 total yards. However, the Wolves held Orange scoreless over the final quarter and a half. According to Trombetti, among the defensive standouts for his team were linebacker Josh Haap, cornerback Seth Hill and end D.J. Freer.
"Haap isn't real big, but he certainly plays with a big heart," Trombetti said. "He has really improved in reading his keys and is running downhill at the line of scrimmage. Freer has been outstanding, too. All his weight room work in the offseason has paid off. He's neutralizing opponents at the line of scrimmage and getting off blocks to make tackles.
"I also think Hill played an outstanding game at the corner for us. He's a sure tackler out there and does a nice job turning things back inside."