The Westerville North High School football team's first two wins of the season bore little resemblance to one another.
After holding off Groveport 10-7 on Aug. 24, the Warriors erased a 21-point first-half deficit Aug. 31 to win 35-30 at Thomas Worthington.
Coach Bryan Johnson has no idea how North's visit to Mansfield Senior on Friday, Sept. 7, might play out, but as long as the Warriors come home 3-0 for the first time since 1997, he doesn't care.
"We've had some crazy (games) so far," Johnson said. "To be down 21-0 with nine minutes left in the second quarter and end up winning ... it's something to be very proud of. We have a saying in the program, 'stop a snowball before it becomes an avalanche.' We got momentum and kept it. We have a bunch of resilient young men."
Linebacker Dev Burigana returned an interception 65 yards for a score in the first half. In the second half, Rondale Smith had an 11-yard touchdown run, Auri Dover threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to James Fernandez and Dover sealed the win with a 6-yard touchdown run with about four minutes to play.
North's hot start has continued a recent trend. Johnson is the third consecutive Warriors coach to start at 2-0, following Rodger Elander in 2013 and Scott Wetzel in 2016.
Mansfield got its first win Aug. 31, 35-34 at Sandusky Perkins in triple overtime.
Tygers quarterback Angelo Grose rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown and completed six passes for 44 yards and two scores, and Amajeon Robertson added 70 yards rushing, including the game-winning 9-yard score. Mansfield posted 223 of its 267 total yards on the ground.
Tight end Clay Caudill, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound senior, has drawn interest from Kentucky, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Wisconsin. He entered the season as the 13th-ranked tight end in the nation, according to 247Sports.com, and also plays defensive end as well as halfback.
Kentucky offered Caudill before his freshman season.
"They have some players," Johnson said. "They have a lot of playmakers we'll have to contend with. Offensively, they'll go under center and spread you out some. but they want to establish the run first. Defensively, they'll go 3-4 and cover-1 or cover-0. They give you a lot of looks."