The Grove City High School football team will look to bounce back from a week 1 loss when it plays host to Walnut Ridge on Friday, Sept. 4.

The Grove City High School football team will look to bounce back from a week 1 loss when it plays host to Walnut Ridge on Friday, Sept. 4.

The Dawgs lost at Hilliard Davidson 20-0 on Aug. 28, while Walnut Ridge opened that night with a 14-6 win at home against Watterson.

Sophomore quarterback Justin Vance led the Scots, throwing for 144 yards and two touchdowns.

The Scots also feature senior Malik Harrison, who is one of three returning starters on offense and saw time at wide receiver against Watterson. At quarterback last season, he rushed for 1,087 yards and 15 touchdowns and passed for 794 yards and seven scores.

Harrison, who is being recruited by several colleges, also plays linebacker and safety.

Other returning starters on offense are wide receivers Darius Mclean and Kalib Younger.

"Walnut Ridge has talent all over the field in the skill positions," Grove City coach Mike Lanza said. "They have great wide receivers and a great quarterback. They move Harrison around quite a bit and do a lot of different things with him. He's a load."

Last season, the Scots went 6-4 overall and 6-1 in the City League-South Division to finish second behind Marion-Franklin (7-0).

Walnut Ridge, a Division II program seeking its first postseason berth since 2009, has produced winning records in all but two seasons (2006 and 2011) under 10th-year coach Bryon Mattox.

Grove City went 2-8 in Lanza's first season a year ago.

Jeremy Ford was named the starting quarterback against Davidson, winning a preseason competition for the spot with Jordin Brown. Lanza said Ford showed promise, rushing for a team-high 44 yards on 16 carries, but he finished with just 17 passing yards.

Grove City was outgained 211-87 and managed just five first downs.

"We just have to learn from our mistakes," Lanza said. "We can't make the costly mistakes, the penalties and the turnovers. We have to play a much more disciplined football game."

Nicholas Gussler, a 2000 graduate of Grove City and former defensive end for the Dawgs, is Walnut Ridge's linebackers coach. He was an assistant at Grove City in 2010.