The Centennial High School football team expects a lot more pushback Friday, Sept. 15, at Northland than it received Sept. 8 against Fairfield Christian.
The Stars led the Knights 51-0 after the first quarter and 86-0 at halftime en route to an 86-6 victory and their first win of the season.
"There was not much value in the win in terms of becoming a better team," coach Donte Goosby said. "But we're happy to get our first win and that's a plus for our morale. The guys have worked hard. They fought hard and battled the first couple games, but now they got to see the fruits of their labor and all of the guys got some playing time.
"But we probably got more out of our two losses than this one."
Northland also enters the City League-North Division opener at 1-2 after losing to Granville 44-26 on Sept. 8.
The Vikings are led offensively by running backs John Branham Jr. and Mike Williams, receivers Khalil Branham and Jesse Prewitt III and quarterback Mike White. The Branhams are brothers.
On defense, linebackers Alfie Banks and Ezekiel Hannon, nose tackle Jordan McCall and Williams in the secondary are the leaders.
"Northland runs a spread offense and (John Branham) is a heck of a running back, but they're very balanced offensively and they don't show a lot of formation tendencies," Goosby said. "They are very athletic and very big up front. They've got athletes all over the field, so we're not going to out-athlete them. We've got to execute."
Against Granville, John Branham scored on a 3-yard run, a 95-yard kickoff return and a 51-yard punt return. Khalil Branham scored on a 26-yard pass from White.
The Stars were averaging 28 points entering their contest against Fairfield Christian, which is a Division VII team.
Luchene Davis ran for 181 yards and four touchdowns on nine carries against the Knights, and Marquise Scott added 132 yards and two touchdowns on five rushes. Scott also returned an interception 53 yards for a score.
Craig Burt caught five passes for 65 yards and three touchdowns, and Chris Street had two receptions for 26 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Jaylen Gilbert was 8-for-13 passing for 114 yards and four touchdowns and also scored on a 1-yard run.
"Our offensive and defensive lines have shown improvement," Goosby said. "Khari Woods and Lamont Rankin have anchored the offensive line and played well on the defensive line, too. Seth Arrowood and Oscar Espino also have been very solid."
Volleyball team sees
league streak halted
The girls volleyball team lost to visiting Whetstone 25-11, 25-13, 25-16 on Sept. 7 to end its City-North winning streak that dated to 2011.
The Stars had won 76 consecutive City-North matches since the start of the 2012 season. They had not lost to a City opponent since falling 25-27, 26-24, 25-22, 25-19 to Eastmoor Academy in the City championship match in 2012.
"We did a lot of things we typically have not been doing, made a lot of unforced errors," said first-year coach Britney Lewis, whose team was led by Akea Hunter's six kills and two blocks. "The girls' mindset was so focused on beating Whetstone and continuing the streak that I think they psyched themselves out. It was all mind games.
"We fell behind and tried to make a lot of desperation plays. They were trying too hard because they wanted it so much."
The Stars fell to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the league before playing Beechcroft on Sept. 12. They faced Eastmoor on Sept. 13, play at Northland on Thursday, Sept. 14, and begin the second round of league play Tuesday, Sept. 19, at home against Mifflin.
"We have some things to work on," Lewis said. "We need to stay down and stagnant in our passing and we need to attack the ball more. We didn't attack the ball (against Whetstone). We have girls who can hit and place the ball, but we didn't get that set up to use (against Whetstone)."
Girls soccer team
ready for league play
The girls soccer team opened City play Sept. 12 at International.
The league has switched formats with fewer teams competing, as all teams will play one another twice.
The Stars will now get two shots at beating Whetstone, which has won the City championship the past five seasons. Centennial won the City final in 2011.
Last season, the Stars lost to Whetstone 2-1 in the City final at Mapfre Stadium after losing to the Braves 7-1 in the regular season.
Centennial was 1-1 before playing International. The Stars lost to Grandview 11-0 on Aug. 26 and beat Caledonia River Valley 2-1 on Aug. 30. A Sept. 7 game against Licking Valley was postponed because of a scheduling conflict.
Below are the coming schedules for the Centennial cross country, boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 20 -- Arrowhead Invitational at Whetstone
*Sept. 14 -- Briggs and Northland at Raymond Memorial
*Sept. 19 -- Mifflin and South at Mentel Memorial
*Sept. 14 -- At Beechcroft
*Sept. 19 -- At Linden-McKinley
*Sept. 14 -- Home vs. Briggs
Sept. 16 -- At Hamilton Township
*Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Whetstone
Sept. 14 -- At Upper Arlington B
*Sept. 18 -- Home vs. Mifflin
Sept. 19 -- Home vs. DeSales
Sept. 20 -- At Village Academy
*Sept. 14 -- At Northland
*Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Mifflin. The Stars beat the Punchers 25-16, 25-16, 25-11 on Aug. 24.