As the Westerville Central High School football team recognizes its seniors Thursday, Oct. 19, against Westerville South, another member of the Warhawks family also will appear in his final home game.
Coach John Magistro previously announced that he would step down after the season.
"It's the seniors' last game at home and it's my last game at home," Magistro said. "That means something. You're going to play your last home game against your top rival."
Magistro said earlier this season that he would keep his options open and possibly remain in coaching.
The Warhawks are 3-5 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Buckeye Division as they look to keep their slim Division I, Region 2 postseason hopes alive. Central was projected to be 12th in the computer ratings this week. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.
After losing the first six games in the series, Central has won the last four meetings, including 35-7 last season.
"The thing about rivalries is the records go out the door," Magistro said. "It's who comes in and is ready to play. We have to limit turnovers and mistakes. There's a lot of pride involved."
South is coming off a 33-30 win over Westerville North on Oct. 13 that improved it to 4-4 overall and 1-2 in the league. It was projected to be seventh in Division II, Region 7 this week.
The Wildcats close the regular season Oct. 27 against visiting Olentangy Orange. The Pioneers enter their game Friday, Oct. 20, against Olentangy Liberty at 8-0 overall and 3-0 in the league.
South rallied against North despite playing without senior Jaelen Gill, who missed the game with a hamstring injury.
Coach Matthew Christ was hoping Gill would be ready to play against Central.
"They have enough team speed that you can't focus on (Gill) too much," Magistro said. "They're a typical South team -- (the) speed is there -- but obviously you pay a lot of attention to (Gill). He's an awfully good football player. He's scary good, but you can't ignore the other guys."
Michael McLemore's second touchdown catch of the game with 3 minutes, 25 seconds remaining capped South's comeback against North. McLemore finished with seven receptions for 85 yards.
South also scored on Tayon Howard's interception return and Emmanuel Alfred's touchdown on a blocked-punt return.
Howard injured his shoulder in the game and was questionable for the game at Central, Christ said.
Quarterback Max Barber completed 12 of 15 passes for 139 yards and three touchdowns. For the season, he is 68-for-136 passing for 954 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Gill has rushed for 533 yards and nine touchdowns and has 242 yards receiving and three scores. McLemore has 380 yards receiving and three touchdowns.
Central lost at Orange 35-10 on Oct. 12, as the Warhawks were outscored 21-3 in the second half. Allen Smith rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown, and Isaiah Healy passed for 109 yards.
Wide receiver and defensive back Cameron Phillips missed the game with a hamstring injury and back spasms. Magistro said Phillips is questionable for the South game.
For the season, Smith has rushed for 979 yards and eight touchdowns on 156 carries, and Healy has completed 85 of 146 passes for 1,020 yards with seven touchdowns and nine interceptions. Ashton Gilkey has 33 catches for 382 yards and two touchdowns.
"Central is physical and they're sound," Christ said. "They're incredibly balanced in terms of what they're running out of different formations. They blitz a lot with a lot of man (coverage) behind it, so we're going to have to win some of those one-on-one matchups and give Barber enough time to make decisions."