The Big Walnut High School football team would love to see history repeat itself when it visits New Albany on Friday, Oct. 12, for an OCC-Capital Division contest.
Last season, the Golden Eagles limited New Albany to just 81 total yards and four first downs in their 14-0 victory. The win helped Big Walnut earn a share of the league championship with New Albany.
"There always has been kind of a rivalry between us and New Albany," two-way lineman Wes Coey said. "Every time we play them, it seems like it's been a hard-fought game, and we've played each other a lot as league opponents."
The two teams have met each season since 2006, with New Albany holding an 8-4 advantage. Half of those contests were decided by seven points or fewer.
Big Walnut was 2-4 overall and 1-0 in the OCC-Capital before playing at Franklin Heights on Oct. 5, while New Albany was 3-3 and 0-1 before playing Newark that same night.
"Like last season, our defense is going to have to step it up in this game," said Coey, who began playing on the defensive line after Aiden Rond suffered a season-ending injury. "We know the defense played a huge role in the New Albany game last year."
The Golden Eagles had one of their best defensive performances of the season in a 37-7 victory over Newark on Sept. 28.
The Wildcats finished with just 137 total yards. Linebackers Max Lenz and Nathan Lawyer led the Golden Eagles in tackles and defensive back Sam Elliott had an interception.
Big Walnut broke out of its offensive slump, too, accumulating 394 total yards after averaging only 210 yards and 12 points in back-to-back losses to Marysville (45-17 on Sept. 21) and Olentangy Orange (35-7 on Sept. 14).
Running back Tyler Crotinger rushed for 157 yards and three touchdowns against Newark to lead Big Walnut, which amassed 247 yards rushing in the game.
Quarterback Jagger Barnett completed 13 of 16 passes for 147 yards and threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Lawyer, giving the Golden Eagles a 15-0 lead in the second quarter.
New Albany opened OCC-Capital play with a 30-28 loss to Canal Winchester on Sept. 28.
The Eagles trailed 27-7 in the third quarter before trimming their deficit to two points behind a 9-yard touchdown run by running back Alex Cox and touchdown passes of 13 and 2 yards from quarterback Luke Muter to Michiah Burton in the fourth quarter. The 2-yard score came with 1 minute, 9 seconds left, but Muter's would-be, game-tying two-point conversion pass to Burton was broken up.
Cross country teams prep for OCC meet
The girls cross country team fell six points shy of the OCC-Capital title last season, placing second to New Albany in the league meet. The two teams also expect to battle for the top spot in this year's league meet on Saturday, Oct. 13, at Lancaster.
"We've seen them a few times already this season, and we've been right there with them," coach Kevin Lewis said. "But they've improved quite a bit in the last couple of weeks and we've kind of stagnated, so right now it looks like we're running for second."
Big Walnut finished sixth (142 points) of nine teams in the two-mile Darby Dash on Oct. 3 at Hilliard Darby, behind champion Hilliard Davidson (45), before competing in the Les Eisenhart Invitational on Oct. 6 at Thomas Worthington.
Colbi Borland was runner-up (11 minutes, 52.7 seconds) in the Darby Dash to Darby's Daniella Santos (11:21.9).
Grace Unger (37th, 14:18.5) was next for the Golden Eagles, followed by Sierra Sanders (39th, 14:28.4), Jaiden Hilton (55th, 14:44.7), Alina Pecci (57th, 14.49.5), Addie List (61st, 14:59.8) and Annika Anderson (64th, 15:02.5).
"Colbi has been top five every meet this season," Lewis said. "She won the previous two invitationals, so she's doing well. But I've been scratching my head about what we need to do to snap out of this in the next week."
The boys team finished ninth (243) of 10 teams in the Darby Dash, behind champion Orange (38).
Jacob Krous finished 45th (11:28.7) to lead the Golden Eagles, followed by Christopher Lee (47th, 11:31.3), Grady Hemingway (72nd, 11:57.9), Drew Armstrong (75th, 12:00.6) and Braden Buckler (80th, 12:04.6).
Golf teams' seasons end at sectionals
Boys golf coach Charlie Brodhead had hoped to see more scores in the 70s in a Division I sectional Oct. 2 at Darby Creek, but only senior Zach Herbert managed to do so, as he carded a 78.
Big Walnut closed the season with an eighth-place finish (333) in the 13-team sectional, behind champion Dublin Coffman (300), as Coffman, St. Charles (302), Westerville Central (311) and Upper Arlington (315) advanced to the district tournament that will be held Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Apple Valley.
The top four individuals not on a qualifying team also advanced.
Kyle Williams (82), Austen Bennett (83), Kenny Schneider (90) and Austin Duckworth (94) also competed for the Golden Eagles. Schneider was a district qualifier last season.
The girls team finished seventh (417) in an 11-team Division I sectional Oct. 2 at Royal American, behind champion Orange (306).
Orange, Dublin Jerome (335) and Davidson (360) qualified for the district tournament to be held Oct. 9 at Cooks Creek. The top three individuals not on a qualifying team also advanced to district.
Jenna Allen shot a 93 to lead Big Walnut, followed by Sydnie Wright (98), Grace Hofer (104), Emily Kuederle (122) and Lindsay Stagg (151).
Girls tennis team competes at sectional
The girls tennis team competed in a Division I sectional Oct. 5 and 6 at Pickerington Central.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to the district tournament on Thursday, Oct. 11, and Saturday, Oct. 13, at Reynoldsburg.
At district, the top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to the state tournament Oct. 19 and 20 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
Below are the coming schedules for the Big Walnut boys soccer, girls soccer, and girls volleyball teams:
*Oct. 8 -- Home vs. Franklin Heights
*Oct. 9 -- At Groveport
Oct. 11 -- Home vs. Westerville North
*Oct. 9 -- Home vs. Groveport
*Oct. 9 -- At Franklin Heights. The Golden Eagles defeated the Falcons 25-5, 25-4, 25-3 on Sept. 20.
*Oct. 11 -- Home vs. Groveport. The Golden Eagles defeated the Cruisers 25-8, 25-14, 25-13 on Sept. 25.