The Dublin Scioto and Worthington Kilbourne high school football teams both could use a win over their rival in the Battle of Hard Road on Friday, Oct. 5.
Entering their home game, the Wolves are 1-5 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Cardinal Division after losing to Delaware 24-3 on Sept. 28. That same night, Scioto lost to Hilliard Bradley 46-17 to fall to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the league.
The all-time series between the Wolves and Irish is tied, with each team winning 13 times. However, including playoff matchups, Scioto has won eight of the past 10 meetings.
"It's been a frustrating season, but there's still plenty of football left to find a way to finish strong and feel good about the season," Kilbourne coach Vince Trombetti said. "A win in this game could be what turns the season around. It's up to our guys, especially our seniors, as to how they want to be remembered. Do they want to finish strong and end their career on an up note?"
Scioto had won three games in a row before running into Bradley.
"We've focused on winning in two or three areas: explosive plays, turnover margin and special teams," Scioto coach Karl Johnson said. "We figure if you can win those three areas in a ballgame, you have a good possibility of winning the game. Entering the Bradley game, we were 4-1 in winning in those areas. We trailed Bradley 14-10 at halftime and had three turnovers in the third quarter and they followed with some explosive plays. That was the ballgame."
The Jaguars scored 32 points in the third quarter and led 46-10 heading into the fourth quarter.
"If we want to achieve some goals, we've got to bounce back against Kilbourne," Johnson said. "I don't care what their record is. The difference between us is that (Kilbourne) lost three games by a total of 12 points and we've won three games by a total of 19 points, so there's a fine line between 1-5 and 4-2. Kilbourne is a solid team who wants to come out and get a win in the worst way this week. That's what we're preparing for."
Scioto's offense is led by running back Pete Hrelec, quarterback Kyron Rogers and receivers Kenyon Pannell, Jordan Penn and Tobias Thomas.
Among its leaders on defense is linebacker Logan Williams.
"Scioto has a slew of athletes and their quarterback gives them a dangerous passing game," Trombetti said. "They have a simple but effective running game and a bunch of playmakers they like to get the ball to on hitches and screens in the flats. They don't throw deep often, but tackling in space is a must against them. We'll have to do a great job of pursuit and tackling in space or it could be a real long night."
Kilbourne's offense has been led by running back Terrique Gray, quarterback Grayson Timms and receivers Sam English and Tyler Turner.
Key players on defense include lineman Kaleb Dave and defensive back Manny Herraiz.
"(Herraiz) looks like a strong player," Johnson said. "He's very aggressive to the ball and a good tackler. They also have some very good defensive linemen and their typical good linebackers."