The Westerville South High School football team entered the season with a potentially dangerous offense led by Ohio State recruit Jaelen Gill.
The Wildcats showed Sept. 15 that their defense can be a force, as they defeated Upper Arlington 26-0 to improve to 2-2. They held the Golden Bears to 179 total yards while amassing 340 yards.
South will look for a similar effort Friday, Sept. 22, at home against Big Walnut, which is 0-4.
“Throughout the preseason we were pretty optimistic that our defense was going to be one of our strengths,” coach Matthew Christ said.
“The first couple of weeks we had some growing pains, but (against UA) we really put it together in terms of eye control, doing your job and fitting into the scheme really well.”
The Golden Eagles received a big blow Sept. 15 with the loss of Abe Myers, who is out for the season after breaking his right fibula in a 35-10 loss to Olentangy Orange. Myers entered the game with nearly 400 rushing yards to lead the team and also started at linebacker.
Quarterback Tyler Ronk passed for 179 yards and a score against the Pioneers.
South is looking to avenge a 24-17 loss to the Golden Eagles last season.
“I’m sure Big Walnut is thinking we beat them last year and here’s an opportunity to springboard into the second half of our season,” Christ said.
“My guys are really buying into the fact that having a great week of preparation is the difference.”
After going 7-3 in 2014 but failing to make the playoffs, the Golden Eagles have struggled, finishing 2-8 in each of the past two seasons.
Against UA, Gill ran for three touchdowns and Michael Mansaray scored on a fumble recovery in the end zone. Gill rushed for 133 yards on 12 carries.
For the season, Gill has rushed for 314 yards and seven touchdowns on 50 carries and has nine receptions for 212 yards and two scores.
Quarterback Max Barber has completed 30 of 56 passes for 523 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions, and Michael McLemore has 13 catches for 192 yards and one touchdown.