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."

Boys soccer team
'back on track'

After being outscored 10-1 during a three-game losing streak in early September, the boys soccer team earned consecutive 3-2 wins over Rocky River (Sept. 16) and Hartley (Sept. 19).

The Eagles then lost to Hilliard Darby 2-1 on Sept. 21 and fell to Grandview 4-0 on Sept. 23 and were 5-5-1 overall and 1-1 in the CCL before playing St. Charles on Sept. 26. They close league play Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Ready.

Darby was 5-0-5 overall before playing Watkins Memorial on Sept. 26.

"Things have been going a little better," coach Ed Mikula said. "We had some injuries and it really messed with our game-planning, but we're back on track. We've kind of honed in on our formations a little bit. We've talked strategy and how we can fortify the middle of the field by keeping the middle protected."

Senior forward Gilberto Quintero, a second-team all-league selection last season, has missed action with an ankle injury. Senior defender Kevin Laming also has missed time with an injury.

Junior forward Peter Ganz has seen increased action during Quintero's absence and senior right forward Yahir Sarmiento is another who has stepped up, according to Mikula.

Junior midfielder Justin Frank and junior forward Max Hansell have taken on bigger roles of late as well.

"We're hoping to see greater improvement and play the ball a little bit wider so we can keep an even balance," Mikula said.

Boys, girls runners
doing well at meets

Nick Kuraly has led a boys cross country team that has finished first or second at four consecutive invitationals.

On Sept. 20, the Eagles scored 46 points to win the 14-team Arrowhead Invitational at Whetstone as Kuraly was runner-up (16 minutes, 32 seconds), followed by Shane Merklin (sixth, 17:45), Patrick Monnin (eighth, 17:50), Matthew Hartel (10th, 18:01) and Charlie Nowinski (20th, 18:56.4).

Then on Sept. 23 in the 19-team Bob Reall Invitational at Lancaster, the Eagles were runner-up (101) to Thornville Sheridan (36) as Kuraly took fourth (17:18.3).

Other key runners have included Will Garey, Matthew Lamb, Anthony Rogner, Jim Ryan and Dylan Tucker.

"The top four boys have really improved this year, especially with Nick Kuraly being one of the top Division II runners in the area," coach Matt McGowan said.

The girls team won the seven-team Arrowhead Invitational, totaling 33 points as Centerburg (51) was runner-up. Junior Emily Latshaw was runner-up (21:56) and Brooklyn Brush placed fourth (22:06).

Other key runners have included Kelsi Connors, Bridget Dougherty, Danielle Grim, Sarah Heink, Sarah O'Brien and Emily Vais.

Tennis team preps
for postseason

The girls tennis team will compete in a Division I sectional Thursday, Oct. 5, and Saturday, Oct. 7, at Reynoldsburg.

The top four singles and top four doubles teams at each of four sectional sites advance to the district tournament Oct. 12 at Bradley and Oct. 14 at UA.

Senior Claire Ghidotti, the Eagles' first-singles player, was a state qualifier as a sophomore and district qualifier last season. She is the fourth seed in singles at the sectional

The Eagles were 7-6 overall before playing New Albany on Sept. 26 and Columbus Academy on Sept. 27 and are 2-1 in the CCL heading into their league finale Monday, Oct. 2, against Hartley.

In a 3-2 victory over Dublin Coffman on Sept. 21, Ghidotti won at first singles, junior Paige Parker won at third singles and sophomore Abbey Giesler and freshman Caroline Goodlive won at first doubles.

Juniors Jenna Mar and Sam Vogel also have been among the team's key players.

Also at the sectional, Mar and Parker are competing in singles and the teams of sophomores Layne Geswein and Margaret Bauer and of Giesler and Vogel are competing in doubles.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

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:

CROSS COUNTRY

Sept. 30 -- Panther Invitational at Pickerington North

FIELD HOCKEY

Sept. 29 -- Home vs. Hudson

*Oct. 2 -- At New Albany

*Oct. 4 -- At Worthington Kilbourne

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 30 -- Dublin Jerome Invitational at Tartan Fields

Oct. 3 -- Division I sectional at Clover Valley. Top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 10 at Apple Valley.

GIRLS GOLF

Sept. 28 -- Upper Arlington and Olentangy Liberty at Raymond

Sept. 30 -- Canal Winchester Invitational at Westchester

Oct. 3 -- Division I sectional at Royal American. Top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to district Oct. 10 at Cooks Creek.

BOYS SOCCER

Sept. 30 -- At Grandview

*Oct. 3 -- At Ready

GIRLS SOCCER

*Sept. 28 -- At Columbus School for Girls

Sept. 30 -- At Olentangy Orange

GIRLS TENNIS

Sept. 28 -- At Olentangy Liberty

*Oct. 2 -- Home vs. Hartley

Oct. 3 -- At Pickerington North

Oct. 4 -- Home vs. Lexington

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Sept. 28 -- Home vs. DeSales. The Eagles lost to the Stallions 22-25, 25-16, 17-25, 25-14, 15-11 on Sept. 12.

Sept. 30 -- Home vs. Cincinnati Seton and Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit

*Oct. 3 -- At Columbus School for Girls. The Eagles beat the Unicorns 25-13, 17-25, 25-11, 25-16 on Sept. 5.

Oct. 4 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby

*League contest