Perhaps nothing pleased Central Crossing High School football coach Trevor White more about a 33-8 win over Beechcroft on Aug. 31 than his team's level of energy, especially considering the Comets were coming off a two-point loss at Marion-Franklin to start the season.
"We came out with some fire. We were still upset about (the opener), but we have a lot of mistakes to fix," White said. "I love our energy. I love the fact that we don't quit. But we have to be ready to come right back to work."
The Comets are well aware that they will have to bring the same kind of intensity Thursday, Sept. 6, when they visit upset-hungry Grove City for the third installment of their crosstown rivalry.
Central Crossing comes in at 1-1.
Grove City fell to 0-2 with a 45-14 loss at Westerville Central on Aug. 31. The Dawgs have lost seven consecutive games dating to last season and 23 of their past 24.
Central Crossing is 2-0 in the series, having won 28-21 in 2016 and 49-48 last year.
Running back Pierre France scored four touchdowns in last year's game, including the winner from 6 yards with 1 minute, 53 seconds to play.
Grove City ran 73 plays to Central Crossing's 50 and forced two turnovers without committing one but still came up just short.
"That was an epic game," Dawgs coach Tennyson Varney said. "We have a lot of younger guys contributing and this will be an eye-opening sort of atmosphere for them. It's a special week, a big deal for the community, and it's a short week. Everything is definitely more condensed. We had to practice on Sunday (Sept. 2) because we're so young."
Running back D.J. Gatewood and quarterback Jared Knight each had a rushing touchdown in the second quarter last week for Grove City, which gained 167 of its 190 total yards on the ground but gave up 348 yards to the Warhawks, including 261 passing.
Gatewood rushed for 115 yards on 26 carries.
"We're getting better as we go. We played a solid four quarters," Varney said. "A lot of our defensive backs are sophomores and we even played a freshman linebacker (Zach Combs). We just don't have a lot of older players, but they are gaining valuable experience."
France scored from 1, 5 and 6 yards against Beechcroft and rushed for 108 yards on 24 carries. The Comets took control by scoring two touchdowns in a nine-second span of the first quarter, the second coming one play after a fumbled kickoff.
Andrew Deyarmon started at quarterback but Kameron Peck played most of the way after the first series, rushing for a 1-yard score and throwing a 29-yard touchdown pass to Kameron Inks on the next play from scrimmage after Beechcroft fumbled a kickoff.
The Comets' thoughts turned to the Dawgs almost immediately after they rang the victory bell.
"There is no need to add any extra emotion," White said. "This is a big game, a fun game. It's huge for the community. You'll get the best game out of both teams (this) week. We have to keep up our energy level, find a way to be consistent and not let them control the game. It should be fun."