The Delaware Hayes High School football team was looking to win its first five games of a season for the first time since 1988 when it played at Dublin Scioto on Sept. 21.
"I know it's a cliche, but it's true. We're just playing (games) one at a time and trying to win that week," senior receiver Sam Lagando said. "We're trying to keep it in perspective and not get ahead of ourselves."
The Pacers improved to 4-0 by beating first-year Olentangy Berlin 38-7 in their OCC-Cardinal Division opener Sept. 14. They will play host to Worthington Kilbourne in a league game Friday, Sept. 28.
The Wolves were 0-4 overall and 0-1 in the league before playing Berlin on Sept. 21.
"Coach (Scott Wetzel) keeps reminding us that no matter what our friends and classmates are telling us right now, we're only as good as the next game," Lagando said. "He wants us to learn how to handle success and to still strive to get better every week and embrace the grind. We want to have a consistent approach and not get too high or too low."
Entering their game against Scioto, the Pacers were second in the Division I, Region 2 computer ratings. The top eight teams in each region qualify for the playoffs.
"That should be the furthest thing from our mind right now," Wetzel said. "There's way too much football to play before we even think about such a possibility. We're just getting into the thick of the tough OCC schedule and we're just starting to play those suburban schools that have two names attached.
"There's a little buzz around the community right now and we're excited about that. But we've got to keep things in perspective."
Kilbourne entered its contest against Berlin having lost eight consecutive games dating to last season. Three of the Wolves' losses this season were close contests, as they fell to Olentangy Orange 27-26 on Aug. 24, Westerville South 27-21 in double overtime on Aug. 31 and Thomas Worthington 25-21 on Sept. 14.
Thomas scored the winning touchdown with 2 minutes, 57 seconds remaining.
Kilbourne is led offensively by quarterback Grayson Timms, running back Terrique Gray and receivers Kuric Buell, Sam English and Tyler Turner.
Gray, who became the team's starting running back when Elijah Young suffered an ACL injury during a 35-14 loss at Groveport on Sept. 7, had 120 yards rushing on 25 carries against Thomas.
Also against the Cardinals, Timms was 12-for-19 passing for 108 yards and a touchdown, English had five catches for 48 yards and Turner had three catches for 39 yards.
The Pacers are seeking their first winning season since finishing 6-4 in 2009. Their only other winning season this century was 2008, when they qualified for the Division I playoffs and finished 7-4.
Against Berlin, sophomore quarterback Blake Eiland ran for 125 yards, scoring on runs of 1 and 88 yards, and was 7-for-12 passing for 125 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown toss to Nabil Abdus-Salaam.
Jahi Broussard-Nash rushed 15 times for 90 yards and scored on a 5-yard run and Luke Jackson added a 3-yard touchdown run.
Through four games, Broussard-Nash had 318 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 54 carries, Eiland had rushed for 327 yards on 61 carries and Jackson had 199 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 62 carries. Eiland was 28-for-46 passing for 383 yards with one interception, with Lagando having nine receptions for 99 yards.
Volleyball team has many contributors
The girls volleyball team bounced back from a three-match losing streak to win four in a row and was 10-4 overall before playing Delaware Christian on Sept. 22.
"The road was paved by previous players and although we lost five (2018 graduates), including a great player in Julia Kaylor, I think the team is well-rounded and we're getting contributions from everyone," first-year coach Raynard Martin said. "I think these girls and coaches have done a great job being inclusive and stepping up to replace last year's senior class."
Last season, the Pacers finished 16-8 overall and went 7-5 in the OCC-Cardinal. They are 5-3 in the league entering a match at Scioto on Tuesday, Sept. 25.
Delaware's winning streak consisted of victories over Marion Harding (25-13, 25-12, 26-28, 25-11 on Sept. 8), Westerville North (22-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-15 on Sept. 11), Berlin (25-22, 25-18, 21-25, 25-22 on Sept. 13) and Hilliard Darby (26-24, 25-17, 20-25, 25-22 on Sept. 18).
Against Darby, Sydney Krewson had 14 kills and 17 digs, Becca Rocassin had 10 kills and 17 assists, Anna Johnson had 15 assists and four aces and Mia Thompson had 18 digs and four aces.
Against Berlin, Krewson had 20 kills and 11 digs, Rocassin and Johnson both had 18 assists and Thompson had 23 digs. Johnson also had seven kills, one more than both Kaiden Murphy and Isis Price.
"Sydney gets a lot of quality touches and is really smart with the ball," Martin said. "Our middle hitters, Hadlee Bruns and Kaiden Murphy, are doing well hitting around blocks and Anna and Becca are swinging well from the right side. We're very solid in the back with Emily Gray and our libero, Mia Thompson, and we're serving very well, with 90 percent success. We've had 168 aces and 124 errors (through 14 matches).
"We have solid leaders in Sydney, Emily and Maisy Johnson. They helped us through our losing streak and got us back on the right path. We're a well-rounded team and the program is in a healthy spot right now."
Girls tennis team closes league play
The girls tennis team lost to Darby 3-2 on Sept. 18 to finish 2-5 in the OCC-Cardinal.
The Pacers, who lost by the same score to Jonathan Alder on Sept. 19, are 6-9 overall entering a home match Monday, Sept. 24, against Mount Vernon. Delaware is scheduled to play four matches this week before closing the regular season Oct. 1 at home against Marion Harding.
Winning against Darby were Evelyn Mignanou at third singles (6-3, 7-5) and Renae Haferman and Alana Kay at first doubles (4-6, 6-4, 6-2).
Winning against Jonathan Alder were Grace Brinkmoeller at first singles (7-5, 5-7, 7-6) and Mignanou at third singles (7-5, 6-1). Losing tight matches against the Pioneers were Haferman and Kay at first doubles (7-5, 7-6) and Kailah Breece and Sarah Midura at second doubles (6-4, 7-6).
The Pacers will compete in a Division I sectional Oct. 4 and 6 at one of four sites. The tournament draw is Sunday, Sept. 23.
Below are the coming schedules for the Delaware Hayes cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 29 -- Erin Nance Fall Distance Classic at London Country Club
Sept. 24 -- OCC Shootout at Moundbuilders
Sept. 24 -- Olentangy Orange at Blackhawk
Sept. 25 -- Marysville at Oakhaven
Sept. 26 -- Olentangy Berlin at Oakhaven
*Sept. 25 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne
Sept. 26 -- Home vs. Whitehall
*Sept. 25 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
Sept. 27 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian
Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Mount Vernon
Sept. 25 -- At Grove City
Sept. 26 -- At Buckeye Valley
Sept. 27 -- Home vs. DeSales
*Sept. 25 -- At Dublin Scioto. The Pacers beat the Irish 25-17, 23-25, 25-19, 25-19 on Aug. 23.
*Sept. 27 -- At Thomas Worthington. The Pacers beat the Cardinals 25-9, 25-20, 25-19 on Aug. 28.