The Centennial High School girls soccer team has played well recently.
The Stars took some momentum and confidence into their Sept. 19 home game against Whetstone.
"After the first game against Grandview (11-0 loss on Aug. 26), we've improved greatly," coach Barb Melig said. "We're not on Grandview's level, but we didn't have much work going into the game because they were resurfacing our track. That's also why we've played a light schedule to this point."
Centennial was 3-2-1 overall entering this week after playing Hamilton Township to a scoreless tie Sept. 16. The Stars were 2-0 in the City League before playing Whetstone. They defeated Columbus International 11-0 on Sept. 12 and Briggs 2-1 on Sept. 14.
Junior Yana Napier scored four goals against International, and juniors Stacey Leach and Gwen Moran both scored twice.
"Yana is our leading scorer and has been playing strong," Melig said. "She has good skill on the ball and she's pretty fast. She's getting a lot more opportunities this season.
"Our central midfield is really getting the job done collectively. We're using six girls in there and no matter who's in, they're doing exceptionally well and building combinations."
The shutout against Hamilton Township was the second for goalkeeper Sarah Clifton and the Stars, who had allowed five combined goals after the Grandview game.
"I think our defense has been getting better and better every day," Melig said. "Morgan Lawson and Sophia Pizzurro have done well in the back and Sarah Clifton is gaining confidence and slowly beginning to take that leadership role. Our goal right now is to continue to improve as we move forward."
Football team looks
for bounce-back win
The football team will be seeking to bounce back from a 62-13 loss to Northland in its City-North Division opener Sept. 15 when it plays host to Lucas on Friday, Sept. 22.
The Cubs compete in Division VII and returned six starters on both sides of the ball after finishing 7-4 last year. They lost to Arlington 21-19 in the first round of the Region 26 playoffs.
Lucas enters the game 3-1 after beating Troy Christian 50-12 on Sept. 15. Centennial is 1-3.
The Cubs run the wing-T offense, in which quarterback Jeb Grover and running back Jackson Hauger are standouts. Grover rushed for 1,926 yards and 28 touchdowns last season and Hauger added 1,265 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Other offensive standouts are fullback Eli Mayer and receivers Carson Hauger and Reid Mounts. The line is led by tackle Jimmy Sweat and guard Isaac Selvey.
Many of the same players lead Lucas' 4-4 defense. Selvey and Alec Scott are ends and Sweat is at tackle. Grover and the Hauger brothers lead the secondary and Tristen Arnold is a standout at linebacker.
The Stars must become a better practice team, coach Donte Goosby said.
"We are still not a good practice team and we aren't very tough physically," he said. "Those things kill us defensively, which is why we have struggled on that side of the ball."
Centennial is allowing 40.5 points per contest.
"Against Lucas, we have to get productivity from our defensive front six or front seven," Goosby said. "We haven't gotten key stops in key situations and that is something that has to change."
Northland posted 482 total yards, including 256 passing and four touchdowns on just 10 completions.
The Stars' offense had 160 total yards, but only 36 on the ground on 27 rushes.
"We are showing improvement on that side of the ball," Goosby said. "(Quarterback) Jaylen Gilbert is getting more comfortable in his role and we have receivers that can complement Craig Burt. Syquee Womack and Chris Street have added depth at receiver, but Chris dislocated his shoulder and will have tests."
Goosby also praised the play of running backs Marquise Scott and Luchene Davis.
Against Northland, Gilbert ran for touchdowns of 4 and 3 yards.
Runners get back
to action this week
After having last weekend off, the cross country teams competed in the Arrowhead Invitational on Sept. 20 at Whetstone and will run in the Don Hardin Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 23, at Heath.
The girls totaled 578 points to finish 21st behind champion Olentangy Liberty (80) in the 28-team Division I race of the McGowan Invitational on Sept. 9 at Watkins Memorial.
Chloe Fleming led the Stars, placing 87th of 186 runners in 21 minutes, 28.6 seconds. She was followed by Olivia Turner (91st, 21:37.9), Gwen Moran (129th, 22:29.9), Camilla Richards (137th, 22:54.5) and Laren Reesman (145th, 23:08.4).
The boys team struggled, finishing 29th (889) of 32 teams behind champion Liberty (93).
Kaleb Turner finished in 18:07.5 to place 132nd of 218 runners. He was followed by Ben Klingler (168th, 18:40.7) and Nick Loudner (179th, 18:58.6).
Below are the coming schedules for the Centennial cross country, boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 23 -- Don Hardin Invitational at Heath
*Sept. 21 -- West and Whetstone at Raymond Memorial
*Sept. 21 -- At Northland
*Sept. 26 -- Home vs. International
*Sept. 21 -- Home vs. International
Sept. 23 -- At Jonathan Alder
Sept. 21 -- Home vs. Westerville South
Sept. 25, 27 -- City League coaches tournament at TBA
*Sept. 21 -- Home vs. Linden-McKinley. The Stars beat the Panthers 25-13, 26-24, 25-7 on Aug. 29.
*Sept. 26 -- At East. The Stars beat the Tigers 25-23, 25-16, 25-12 on Aug. 31.
Sept. 27 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington