Central Crossing High School football coach Chris Harr understands the plight of Westerville North.

Central Crossing High School football coach Chris Harr understands the plight of Westerville North.

Before earning their first postseason berth last season, the Comets had struggled since the program started in 2002. The Warriors have experienced similar futility, snapping a 45-game losing streak in 2013.

The teams will meet Friday, Sept. 4, at North with both looking to rebound from opening-week losses.

Unable to hold a 23-13 lead, the Comets lost at home to Pickerington North 37-23 on Aug. 27. The Warriors fell at Marion-Franklin 28-13 on Aug. 28, as the Red Devils sealed the win with a late touchdown.

Harr believes Westerville North is close to turning the corner.

"They're really doing some nice things," he said. "They're flipping the program very similar to us. Last year they had six games decided by a touchdown (or less) and they won a couple games. They're definitely an opponent you have to respect and bring your 'A' game, plus it's on the road at their place. It's going to be important to get off to (a strong) start."

The teams last met in 2007, with North winning 43-7. Both teams went on to finish 1-9 that season.

Central Crossing is coming off its best season. The Comets finished 7-4 overall, losing to Cincinnati St. Xavier 50-13 in the first round of the Division I, Region 2 playoffs, and placed third (5-2) in the OCC-Central Division behind Dublin Coffman (7-0) and Olentangy Liberty (6-1).

The overall and league records and placement in the league all were program bests.

North finished 2-8 last season, but coach Rodger Elander believes his team is getting closer to its goals. In 2013, the Warriors went 3-7.

"We know we can compete with people now. We have to figure out how to make a couple more plays," Elander said. "I always look at it as what we need to do better and not what someone else did to us."

The Comets again will be without senior wide receiver Noah Stephens (disciplinary) and senior linebacker Rob Fusner (knee injury). Harr said Fusner is considering surgery, which would end his prep football career and put his final wrestling season in jeopardy.

In Fusner's absence, Harr said freshmen Daniel Ewald and Aaron Reasoner stepped in and turned in strong efforts in the opener.

Stephens is expected to return in week 3 against Beechcroft.

Running back Colter Bass, who ran for 158 yards in the opener, and quarterback Deric Williamson caught Elander's eye.

"They have some athletes," Elander said. "Their running back (Bass) has really good speed. The quarterback (Williamson) is a heck of a player. I've heard people say he looks like a fullback and runs like one, and he does. He's a very effective runner for them and he throws a pretty good ball. They have some athletes on the outside that are threats."

Central Crossing allowed 405 yards against the Panthers.

For the Warriors, sophomore quarterback Julian Malone rushed for a team-high 105 yards against Marion-Franklin.

Elander said he also was impressed with the play of running backs Andrew Malick and Brandon Mitchell.