Wolves intent on regaining Hard Road
Members of the Worthington Kilbourne High School football team would enjoy nothing more than to end a frustrating season by sending Dublin Scioto into the Division I, Region 3 playoffs on a sour note.
The teams meet Friday, Oct. 26, at Kilbourne in the annual Battle of Hard Road.
"For some of our kids, this rivalry is bigger than the rivalry with Thomas (Worthington) because we weren't allowed to play (Thomas) for several years," Wolves coach Vince Trombetti said. "We've only played Thomas like five times, and the rivalry with Scioto began when they opened in 1995."
The Wolves and Irish play for a hunk of asphalt from Hard Road, with the significance dating back to when Scioto was built 2.7 miles from Kilbourne.
"When they were building Scioto, Hard Road was all torn up," Trombetti said. "Our coach then was Jeff Gafford and he grabbed a piece of the asphalt and that's what we play for. It's painted and part of a trophy now, but it's a big deal for all of us."
Kilbourne leads the series 11-7, but Scioto has won the last two, including 34-19 last season. The Irish will be seeking an unprecedented third consecutive win in the series. They won the first two meetings in 1995 (21-7) and 1996 (66-28) and back-to-back meetings in 2002 (44-21) and 2003 (10-7). Their others wins came in 2006 (27-24) and 2010 (31-14).
"We haven't had the trophy in a while and it's time to get it back," Trombetti said. "They're a playoff team and it's our last game. It's senior night and we'll have 'senior tackle' after the game. It'd be a cherry on top of it all to bring the trophy back to its home."
Scioto is 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division and Kilbourne, which has won two of its last three games, is 3-6 and 2-4.
The Wolves will need to contain a Scioto offense that is averaging 36.4 points. The Irish have scored at least 28 points in each of their wins and have scored 42 or more points five times.
Scioto's losses have come against Dublin Coffman (34-14 on Aug. 31) and Hilliard Darby (28-24 on Oct. 12). Both teams are both 9-0.
"We're going to have our hands full because they have a lot of weapons," Trobetti said. "They have a quarterback (Evan DeMars) who throws it well and a running back (Will Houston) who can hit you with some big runs."
DeMars has completed 203 of 281 passes for 2,351 yards and Houston has rushed for 968 yards on 202 carries and has 12 touchdowns. DeMars' primary target is Tim Shadoan, who has 71 receptions for 940 yards and has scored 16 touchdowns.
The Irish has two other receivers with 30 or more receptions through eight games in Darius McDonald (37 for 336 yards) and Mason Matheny (30 for 354 yards).
Kilbourne is averaging 20.9 points and allowing 19.1. The Wolves have lost four games by seven points or fewer.
Kilbourne is coming off a 26-6 victory over winless Westerville North on Oct. 19. The Warriors' points came on a 20-yard fumble return for a touchdown, giving them a 6-0 lead.
"Things didn't start well because they scored first on a scoop-and-score," Trombetti said. "Then we took control. Our defense was extremely good. We've played well defensively most of the season, but I think this was our best effort. It should've been a shutout."
Kilbourne limited North to 159 total yards. Linebacker Josh Happ led the defense with 12 tackles. Defensive back Eric Wahoff had nine tackles, defensive lineman Gavin Elifritz had eight and defensive end D.J. Freer and defensive backs Chandler Bridges and Seth Hill each had seven.
"Seth Hill has been our quiet hero," Trombetti said. "He's a running back who gives us a speed threat we haven't had in years and he garners defensive attention. He's done a terrific job at cornerback and he rarely comes off the field because he's our kickoff and punt returner."