The Hilliard Darby High School football team will be seeking its fourth consecutive victory when it plays host to Delaware on Friday, Oct. 20.
The Panthers improved to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Cardinal Division with a 17-3 win over Worthington Kilbourne on Oct. 13 and were projected to be 10th in this week's Division I, Region 3 computer ratings. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.
"Our focus this week and next week will be improving on offense and special teams," coach John Santagata said. "We've got to stop turning the ball over and stop shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties. We need to clean some things up."
Delaware defeated Thomas Worthington 21-17 on Oct. 13 to snap a three-game losing streak and enters the contest 3-5 overall and 1-3 in the league.
"We have all the respect in the world for (Delaware coach) Mike Golden and his staff," Santagata. "He's a heck of a coach and just a great man that we've known from back in his days at (Upper Arlington).
"(Delaware doesn't) have a great record, but they just beat Thomas and they look progressively better on each of the game films we've watched."
The Pacers trailed Thomas 3-0 late in the first half before scoring three touchdowns in a 38-second span. After Addison Harvey scored on a 12-yard pass from quarterback Blake Eiland, the Cardinals muffed the ensuing kickoff and Eiland scrambled for a 12-yard touchdown run on the next play. Josiah Naegele then returned an interception 47 yards for a touchdown with 3 seconds left in the half.
Against Kilbourne, Ian Coverstone ran 11 times for 100 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown that gave the Panthers a 7-3 lead in the first quarter. Blake Sawicki added a 23-yard field goal late in the third quarter for a 10-3 lead and the Panthers sealed the outcome with a 13-yard touchdown run by Canyon Uphouse with less than two minutes left.
Quarterback Jack Stultz was 4-for-7 passing for 55 yards and rushed for 76 yards on 18 carries. Coverstone had two catches for 41 yards and also returned an interception 40 yards to help the Panthers maintain good field position in the second half. Aaron Hampshire had two catches for 14 yards and three of his five punts were downed inside Kilbourne's 20-yard line.
Tommy Clark led the Panthers with nine tackles and Jaden Jones had seven tackles.