Westerville North High School football coach Scott Wetzel implored his team to keep doing what it’s been doing as it prepares to play host to Canal Winchester on Friday, Sept. 15.
Despite losing 24-14 to Upper Arlington on Sept. 8, Wetzel said he could not have asked for a much better performance from his team.
North did not turn the ball over and committed only three penalties to UA’s two, but gave up some big plays on third down and found itself trailing 17-0 by the middle of the third quarter.
“I’m not a big moral victory guy, but if we play like that all year, we will make some noise,” said Wetzel, whose team is 1-2. “We responded to their big plays but gave up a few too many. We had a turnover on downs when we had a chance to make it a one-score game late. But we played hard and we stood up to them all night. That’s what I want to see.”
Robert Robinson had an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter to break the shutout, and quarterback Jacob Woods threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Harvey.
Woods completed seven of 18 passes for 104 yards, fullback Bodi Bien rushed for 105 yards on 23 carries and linebacker Greg Shehee led the defense with 12 tackles.
Canal Winchester won its second consecutive game Sept. 8, defeating Teays Valley 33-7 to improve to 2-1.
Quarterback Jack Beeler completed 13 of 21 passes for 207 yards in his second start after taking over for Stanton Smith following a 27-20, double-overtime loss to Thomas Worthington on Aug. 25. Running back Jacob Robertson rushed for 176 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries, and Tyler Toledo added rushing touchdowns of 15 and 22 yards.
According to Indians coach Josh Stratton, linebackers Jared Bulluck, Darren Davis and Matt Kamer and defensive lineman Angelo Hubbard each had more than 10 tackles in the game.
“They definitely are not a finesse team. They’ll come at you and hit you,” Wetzel said. “Their linebackers are active and they will force you to throw the ball in long-yardage situations.
“They (featured) a mix of running and passing last year (under former coach Phil Mauro) and they still are to some extent, but they just do it differently now.”
North defeated Canal Winchester 35-14 last year to improve to 3-1, but then lost six consecutive games to end the season.
The Warriors are 3-1 all-time against the Indians, including 2-1 when both teams were in the OCC-Cardinal Division from 2013-15.