Since the Watterson and Hartley high school football teams renewed their rivalry in 2012, the Hawks have won all five matchups.

The meeting between the teams Friday, Sept. 29, at Watterson will begin the CCL schedule for both teams after the Eagles and Hawks previously had been non-league opponents.

The Hawks competed in the CCL-Gold Division with Ready in previous years, but have joined DeSales, St. Charles and Watterson in what formerly was the CCL-Silver this season.

Hartley is 4-1 and the Eagles are 1-4.

"Going into the second half of the season itself is exciting for us because you start to feel the pressure," Hartley senior running back and linebacker Anthony Blackmon said. "We know going against Watterson on their field won't be easy, especially if the conditions are bad. CCL games are always big because we know records don't matter. You're getting the other team's best."

Watterson is 29-8 all-time against Hartley, but the teams didn't play from 1997-2011.

The Eagles lost to Cleveland Benedictine 35-16 on Sept. 22, committing seven turnovers.

Watterson opened with a 41-6 win over Whitehall on Aug. 25 but has lost four consecutive games to opponents that are a combined 16-4. Benedictine is 4-1, and Wheelersburg, which beat the Eagles 47-17 on Sept. 15, is 5-0.

According to coach Brian Kennedy, Kyle Naderhoff has led the Eagles' defense.

"Obviously, Wheelersburg is a good team, but there were still good things we were doing on film," Kennedy said. "Our message has been that we want to continue to get better. Unfortunately, we're not deep at any position. We only had 29 at practice (one day earlier this month)."

Watterson quarterback Cole Andrews was 23-for-41 passing for 221 yards and two touchdowns against Benedictine, but was intercepted five times. The Bengals had 324 yards of offense.

In Hartley's 45-17 victory over Worthington Kilbourne on Sept. 22, Blackmon ran for a pair of first-quarter touchdowns as the Hawks built a 31-0 lead.

Philip Cole (WR/DB) had four receptions for 108 yards against Kilbourne, while Ben Dankow (RB/LB) had 10 rushes for 67 yards and, on defense, had 4.5 tackles and one tackle for loss.

"I feel like the biggest difference in our team these last few weeks has been our confidence," Blackmon said. "We knew the potential this team had. We just didn't know when it would all click. Everybody is really excited looking forward because we know what we can do now."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek