A 17-14 victory over Olentangy Orange on Aug. 31 could be considered evidence of the progress the Watterson High School football team has been making in its second year under coach Brian Kennedy.

Beating a 2017 Division I playoff qualifier that had shut the Eagles out 22-0 last season, though, is only a small part of the picture, according to sophomore quarterback Jacob Hoying.

"We definitely had a lot of mental mistakes considering we had 95 yards in penalties, which really made it a lot harder," Hoying said. "(The win) was good, especially because we lost to them last year and we lost a huge class of seniors and were still able to come back and show that we improved."

On Sept. 7, Watterson posted a 25-20 win over Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit, a team it lost to 37-34 in two overtimes last season.

Hoying and the passing game have been a part of the growth for the Eagles.

After throwing for one touchdown in a 41-14 loss to Dublin Jerome on Aug. 24, Hoying was 23-for-29 passing for 197 yards against Orange, with nine receivers having at least one catch. Andrew Bettendorf had seven receptions for 72 yards and Davis Boone had five catches for 36 yards.

The Eagles continued their success through the air against Walsh Jesuit, as Hoying completed 19 of 27 passes for 354 yards and three touchdowns and Tommy Bair had six catches for 160 yards and one touchdown and 14 rushes for 80 yards and one score.

It was the third career start for Hoying, the son of former Ohio State quarterback Bobby Hoying who played just one game on varsity last season while serving as the junior varsity quarterback.

Bair rushed 25 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns against Orange.

On Friday, Sept. 14, the Eagles will look to avenge one of their eight losses from last season when they play host to Wheelersburg at Hilliard Darby. (CORRECTION: The print version of this story listed the wrong location for this game.)

The Pirates beat Watterson 47-17 and went on to win the Division V state championship last season, but they had a 36-game regular-season winning streak snapped Aug. 31 with a 51-20 loss to Hartley.

Wheelersburg again features senior quarterback Trent Salyers and senior wide receiver Tanner Holden leading its offense. Last season, Salyers set program records for passing yards (3,483) and passing touchdowns (35) and also rushed for 11 scores.

"They lost a lot of guys from that state championship team, but they've got their quarterback back and a big receiver back," Kennedy said. "It'll be a tough game for us just because that's a football program. Wheelersburg is well-coached with good community support, and they're tough kids who come ready to play."

Girls tennis team showing grit

The girls tennis team has been making up for a lack of experience with its resolve.

That's the assessment coach Susan Weil has of a program that lost several key players from last season but was 3-2 before facing New Albany on Sept. 11 and Orange on Sept. 12.

"We've been doing pretty well," Weil said. "They're all good competitors. When you see them go up there and try to fight and win the match, some people just have that competitive streak and, when they go out on the court, it shows up. Even when they've lost, they put up a fight. They're good listeners and good learners. There's nobody that is super intense and playing in a lot of (junior) tournaments, but they're all good girls."

Watterson opened CCL play Sept. 4 by beating Columbus School for Girls 4-1 as sophomore Caroline Goodlive (first singles), Layne Geswein (third singles), junior Abby Geisler and senior Sam Vogel (first doubles) and junior Caroline Bouchard and senior Rachel Weithman (second doubles) won.

Watterson, which continues league play Thursday, Sept. 13, at DeSales, also has received contributions from seniors Liza Drought and Emily Hohlefelder.

Junior Margaret Baur is a returnee but has been recovering from illness.

"Our singles have been strong," Weil said. "We've kept it pretty steady with the same girls playing singles and the same doubles teams to help them mesh a little bit. Emily Hohlefelder, who is our (first singles) on (junior varsity), played her freshman and sophomore years and came back out this year. She's a senior who is a nice, steady player."

Girls soccer team out to strong start

The girls soccer team continues CCL action Thursday, Sept. 13, when it plays host to Columbus School for Girls at Otterbein.

The Eagles then will try to avenge a 3-1 loss to Pickerington North last season when they play the Panthers on Saturday, Sept. 15, at Otterbein.

Watterson beat Hartley 4-0 on Sept. 6 in its league opener and Olentangy Orange 2-0 on Sept. 8 and was 5-0-1 overall before playing Marysville on Sept. 11.

The Eagles opened with wins over Delaware (3-1 on Aug. 23), Olentangy (2-1 on Aug. 25) and first-year Olentangy Berlin (4-0 on Aug. 30) and tied Hilliard Darby at 1 on Sept. 6.

Through five games, senior Emma Schossler had four goals and Sammy Francis scored three to lead the offense, while goalkeeper Annie McGraw had two shutouts.

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. 19 -- Whetstone Invitational

FIELD HOCKEY

Sept. 17 -- At Upper Arlington

Sept. 19 -- At Olentangy

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 15 -- Granville Invitational at Denison Golf Club

GIRLS GOLF

Sept. 13 -- Granville at Denison Golf Club

Sept. 19 -- DeSales at NorthStar

BOYS SOCCER

Sept. 15 -- At Rocky River

*Sept. 18 -- At DeSales

GIRLS SOCCER

*Sept. 13 -- Columbus School for Girls at Otterbein

Sept. 15 -- Pickerington North at Otterbein

GIRLS TENNIS

*Sept. 13 -- At DeSales

*Sept. 18 -- At Hartley

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Sept. 13 -- Home vs. Ready. The Eagles beat the Silver Knights 21-25, 25-12, 25-16, 25-16 on Aug. 28.

*Sept. 18 -- Home vs. Hartley. The Eagles beat the Hawks 25-19, 25-27, 28-26, 25-21 on Aug. 30.

*League contest