In the quest for its first victory, the Westerville Central High School football team has remained patient and persistent.

But last Friday's 26-23 loss to Marysville in overtime has made the Warhawks even hungrier after falling short against Westerville North 21-17 a week earlier.

"The last two weeks it's been like a child reaching out for a piece of candy," said Central coach Bob Fresch, whose team is 0-6 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division. "It's like grabbing for that piece of candy and having it taken away as soon as you reach for it. They feel the want and desire to do whatever it takes."

Another opportunity comes Friday against visiting Dublin Scioto, which ended its four-game skid with a 17-16 victory at North last Friday to improve to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the league. Scioto's Eric Stamets managed to get a hand on the extra-point attempt of what would've been the tying touchdown.

The Irish, who led 17-3 heading into the fourth quarter, three times this season have watched leads disappear in the final 12 minutes.

"We have shown signs of greatness, but we've got to find a way to finish," Scioto coach Karl Johnson said. "For them, Marysville is a good football team and they've had two very close games the last two weeks, and that shows me it's a team that is still fighting."

The OCC-Cardinal has proven itself to be a league with plenty of parity as three teams with one loss trail Westerville South, which last Friday defeated Dublin Jerome 54-38 to improve to 3-0 in the league.

The competitiveness brings much uncertainty.

"You never know what's going to happen from week to week," Fresch said. "Karl does a great job over there and I know he's had some frustrating games like we've had. I just anticipate that he's going to come over here and it's going to be a competitive game."

Both quarterbacks are coming off their best games of the season.

Central's Kyle Stephenson completed nearly 60 percent of his passes last Friday, including a 59-yard score to Luke Meissner. Stephenson in the first half rushed for 125 yards on 12 carries.
Scioto's Charlie Suich scored on runs of 58 and 15 and completed 13 of 19 passes for 97 yards and an interception.

"He's doing a real nice job and he's learning things and doing things," said Johnson, whose teams defeated Central 35-21 and 42-7 in 2004 and 2005. "On that long run last week, we (messed) up the routes. He pulled the ball down and saw a window and he was gone. He's been a threat with the football."

The Warhawks' offense has been much improved after not scoring in its first four games. The only points Central managed in that span came on a safety.

Defensively, Central has allowed a little more than 23 points per game in the last two games, compared to 35 in its first four games.

So when will the wait be over?

"We talk about it every week," Fresch said. "We tell them if they just preserve and be resilient and keep working hard, great things are going to happen. I didn't promise them a win last week, but I promised them that they would play competitively, and we did."