In the wake of his team’s first loss of the season, a 17-14 overtime loss to defending Division I state champion Pickerington Central on Sept. 21, Hilliard Davidson High School football coach Brian White was concerned about his team’s approach to a Sept. 28 game at Central Crossing, partly because of the games that followed.
The Wildcats took care of business with a 31-0 win over the Comets to improve to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in the OCC-Central Division.
“I was concerned that we might come out flat and that ultimately did not happen. We did a good job approaching what some people might call a ‘trap game,’” White said. “This week, I know I don’t need to worry about our focus.”
Davidson plays host to longtime rival Upper Arlington on Friday, Oct. 5, in an OCC-Central contest. It is the first of two consecutive rivalry games within the league for the Wildcats, who visit Dublin Coffman on Oct. 12.
Playing without their starting quarterback in Sammy Sass, the Golden Bears defeated Westland 21-0 in their league opener Sept. 28 to improve to 3-3 overall.
UA has lost 11 consecutive games to Davidson dating to Oct. 17, 2008. The Bears lost to the Wildcats 9-6 last year and have scored more than one touchdown against Davidson just once during their losing streak, in a 42-14 loss in 2012.
“There’s always a greater sense of urgency when you’re playing a rivalry game,” UA coach Joel Cutler said. “We have great respect for Davidson and the program Brian White leads over there. They’re a physical, disciplined team. They’re a very disciplined defense and this year they’ve put the ball in the air a little more. That seems to be more situational, but they do it to keep you honest (on defense). We’ll have to be disciplined.”
Christian Sweet has been an all-purpose threat for the Wildcats, rushing for 359 yards and two touchdowns on 85 carries and catching five passes for 111 yards. Jordan Hicks has rushed for 342 yards and a team-high nine touchdowns on 82 carries.
Quarterback Carson Felicetty has completed 15 of 26 passes for 294 yards and a touchdown.
Sweet rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns against Central Crossing.
Running back Chris Schweisthal rushed for all three of UA’s touchdowns against Westland and finished with 158 yards on 25 carries. On the season, he has rushed for 570 yards and six scores on 113 carries, and Eli D’Herete has 393 yards and six touchdowns on 74 carries.
Linebacker Nick Fisanick leads the Bears’ defense with 42 tackles, including two sacks.
“They’re huge up front on the offensive line and their linebackers are a big concern,” White said. “Chris Schweisthal and Eli D’Herete are two great running backs and their wide receivers are weapons, too. It’s definitely a red-letter game for us and for them, too. We know they point toward it. With us having the success we’ve had against them, our guys have to know this is not a game they can automatically assume they’ll win. We’ve always had to work for everything we get against them.”
In his first varsity start, UA quarterback Jacob Leve completed 10 of 14 passes for 100 yards against Westland. He replaced Sass, who suffered a broken collarbone in a 29-28 loss to Lancaster on Sept. 21 and is expected to miss the rest of the season.
“Jacob handled himself very well and kept everybody in sync,” Cutler said. “He’s calm, cool and collected. There might have been some nerves, but he didn’t show them.”
Davidson was projected to be fourth in Division I, Region 3 computer ratings this week. UA unofficially was ranked ninth in Division I, Region 2.