Casey Calhoun loves when "Eagle D" is summoned during a Watterson High School football practice.
That's the nickname for the team's first-team defense, and it also signifies to Calhoun the need to play with "attitude and swagger."
That mentality is something Calhoun has tried to instill in the Eagles as one of their five captains.
"(As) free safety, I like to see everything and make sure we're all on the same page," Calhoun said. "We come out there and we know that this is what Watterson football has been built on, and we take a lot of pride in that. As a captain, we've got a big focus on our overall atmosphere and attitude throughout the practices and lifting. Overall with our attitude, I think coach (Brian Kennedy) does that for us, and we just have to enforce that."
With Calhoun leading the defense and also serving as a wide receiver and kick returner, the Eagles are 1-2 after losing to Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 37-34 in double overtime on Sept. 8.
Watterson travels Friday, Sept. 15, to face perennial small-school power Wheelersburg, which has made nine playoff appearances in the past 10 seasons and has reached the postseason 28 times overall.
The Pirates, who were Division V regional runners-up last season, improved to 3-0 with a 41-0 win over Heath on Sept. 8.
Through two games, Calhoun had four tackles and one pass breakup on defense, three receptions for 24 yards and one kickoff return for 22 yards.
He has learned leadership skills by watching others in his family, including his older brother, Cody, and his parents.
Cody, a 2014 Watterson graduate who helped the boys basketball team win the Division II state title in 2013, is a senior for the Case Western Reserve football team as a strong safety.
Casey, who is 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, also has a twin brother, Connor (6-0, 200), who is a defensive lineman for the Eagles and had one tackle through two games.
"(Casey's) a good leader," Kennedy said. "Of our captains, he's the leader of the leaders. He thinks big picture and is a team-first guy. He can do a lot of things and is basically the leader on the defense. On offense, we can put him in the slot or put in the backfield. He can kind of do everything, like Cody."
The Calhoun brothers' grandfather, Norb Ranz, played baseball for Ohio State and minor league baseball in the early 1950s.
Ranz's daughter and the Calhoun brothers' mother, Molly, is the associate vice president in the office of student life at Ohio State, while the Calhoun brothers' father, Tom, is a lieutenant colonel inspector general for the Air Force.
Casey doesn't plan to play a sport in college but is considering studying business.
"I look at my dad in the Air Force and my mom works at Ohio State, and I've learned a lot of leadership from them," Casey said. "Learning how to lead a business is really inspiring to me, just seeing my parents lead (in their jobs)."
A member of the business club, the investment club and the sportsmanship committee at Watterson, Casey also has competed in basketball and track and field at the school.
This fall, he's hoping to help the Eagles bounce back after finishing 3-7 last season and undergoing a coaching change during the offseason.
"We should be humbled a little bit (after a 22-0 loss to) Olentangy Orange (on Sept. 1), but our heads are still up and we're looking to improve every day," Casey said. "We still have our goals throughout the year, and those haven't changed. Losing is an opportunity to learn and improve.
"(Offensively) we put in about 80 percent of our playbook in the first couple weeks, and that gives us some confidence in us knowing what we're doing. We're going into Friday nights knowing we've practiced this against multiple sets and we know it works."
Girls tennis team
Although senior Claire Ghidotti has been its first singles player for much of her prep career, the girls tennis team's biggest strength this fall may be its depth, as it has so many lineup options.
"We have a great group of kids," coach Susan Weil said. "They're meshing well together, they're supportive and we have a lot of pretty even talent from our No. 2 player down to our (junior varsity). I can move girls around and do what they like to do best. They're all just really coachable."
Watterson was 5-3 overall before playing Olentangy on Sept. 11 and 1-1 in the CCL before playing DeSales on Sept. 12.
The Eagles lost to Toledo Notre Dame Academy 3-2 on Aug. 18, fell to Pickerington Central 4-1 on Sept. 6 and lost to Columbus School for Girls 4-1 in a league match Sept. 7.
Ghidotti is the only senior regularly in the lineup. Juniors Jenna Mar, Paige Parker and Sam Vogel, sophomores Margaret Bauer, Layne Geswein and Abbey Giesler and freshman Caroline Goodlive also have been key players.
Girls soccer team
to face state power
On Thursday, Sept. 14, the girls soccer team will travel to face defending Division I regional champion Pickerington North.
The Panthers, who beat Watterson 2-1 last season and were seventh in last week's state poll, were 6-0 after beating Beavercreek 2-1 on Sept. 9.
The Eagles fell to 2-3-1 with a 4-1 loss to Perrysburg on Sept. 9. That followed a 2-1 loss to DeSales 2-1 on Sept. 7 in their CCL opener.
Watterson beat Bexley 4-1 on Aug. 28 as Becca Marino scored three goals and Olivia Rotolo scored the other. The Eagles then defeated Chillicothe Unioto 4-0 on Sept. 2 as Rotolo, Kelsey Gleason, Halle Vozar and Paige Woodford all scored.
Marino scored in the loss to DeSales.
Boys soccer team
off to strong start
The boys soccer team faced its first adversity of the season when it lost to DeSales 2-0 in its CCL opener Sept. 5 at home.
It marked Watterson's fourth consecutive loss to the Stallions and ended the Eagles' unbeaten start to the season at four games. The last time they had gone unbeaten in their first four games was 2007.
Watterson lost to Dayton Carroll 3-0 on Sept. 9 and was 3-2-1 overall before playing Worthington Christian on Sept. 12.
In a 3-0 win over Lakewood St. Edward on Aug. 26, Gilberto Quintero had two goals and J.R. Goodman scored one while goalkeeper Bryant Pratt made nine saves.
Then in a 2-0 win over Whetstone on Aug. 29, Quintero and Liam Aman scored and Pratt had four saves.
Below are the coming schedules for the Watterson cross country, field hockey, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 20 -- Arrowhead Invitational at Whetstone
Sept. 16 -- At Shaker Heights
Sept. 18 -- At Upper Arlington
Sept. 20 -- At Olentangy Liberty
Sept. 16 -- Howlett Invitational at Worthington Hills
Sept. 18 -- Pickerington Central at Turnberry
Sept. 16 -- Home vs. Rocky River
*Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Hartley
Sept. 14 -- At Pickerington North
Sept. 16 -- At Olentangy
Sept. 14 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
*Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Hartley
*Sept. 14 -- At Ready. The Eagles beat the Silver Knights 25-11, 25-19, 25-20 on Aug. 29.
*Sept. 19 -- Home vs. Hartley. The Eagles lost to the Hawks 25-23, 23-25, 23-25, 25-22, 15-13 on Aug. 31.