Hilliard Davidson High School football coach Brian White always has been a believer in the adage "the best defense is a good offense."

Hilliard Davidson High School football coach Brian White always has been a believer in the adage "the best defense is a good offense."

The Wildcats are again using that formula for success, as they are 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Central Division, with their latest win being a 36-3 victory at Central Crossing on Sept. 25.

The Comets' points came on a 27-yard field goal by Drew Carmichael late in the first half. The field goal resulted from a fumble by backup quarterback David St. Clair deep in Davidson territory.

St. Clair was playing in place of Jack Klein, who missed the game with a sprained ankle. White said Klein was medically cleared to play against the Comets, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.

Davidson dominated time of possession against Central Crossing, maintaining the ball for 29 minutes, 37 seconds compared to 18:23 for the Comets. White said that when the Wildcats' triple-option offense is effective like it was against Central Crossing, it takes pressure off their defense.

"(Assistant) coach (Scott) Snyder says I'm still a dinosaur in the way that I think about things, but it's worked for us. And until it stops working for us, that will be our philosophy," said White, whose team travels to Westland on Friday, Oct. 2. "I'll be done coaching before I change my philosophy about how we're going to do things. We do what we do offensively for defensive reasons."

Davidson has allowed only 18 points and has posted three shutouts this season, with most of the points coming in a 15-10 loss at Darby on Sept. 4. That was a season-low offensive output for the Panthers, who are 5-0 and averaging 27.8 points per game.

"We really don't want to turn anybody's heads," White said. "We'd rather people think we're not very good and look at us on film and wonder how we do what we do. But when you hold (Dublin) Coffman to zero points (in a 31-0 win Sept. 18) and when you take a Central Crossing team that scored 37 against (Olentangy) Liberty (in a 37-21 win Sept. 18) and hold them to three points, somebody is going to notice."

White and his assistants rely on a balanced defensive effort, with an emphasis placed on the Leo, a position played by senior Zac Uphouse.

The Leo plays a key role at defensive end. That player must be effective at rushing the quarterback and protecting against the run.

Uphouse played nose guard as a sophomore at approximately 180 pounds, according to White, before developing into one of team's top defensive players at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds.

Uphouse, however, downplayed the importance of his role on the defense.

"Everyone has to work together, do their job and play fast and just play with heart," he said.

Other key contributors on defense have included senior linebackers Andrew Kozman and Ryan Tuchow. With Central Crossing trailing 22-3 in the second half and driving for an apparent touchdown, Tuchow had an interception near the goal line to end the scoring threat and allow Davidson to remain in control.

The Wildcats' secondary has experience, led by senior Jacob Ross and junior Jesse Wymard. Another returning starter in the secondary, senior Colton Miles, has been out with a knee injury and his return this season is questionable, White said.

"We like the way that we're playing, but there's always things to work on, things you can get better on, things to improve to beat some of the better teams out there," Uphouse said. "You just have to keep getting better."

Running back Ryan Royer rushed for 256 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries against Central Crossing and has 608 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns on 101 carries on the season.

Westland hasn't lost since falling to Licking Heights 69-7 in its season opener Aug. 28. The Cougars are 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Central, tied with Davidson for first place.

Quarterback Clay Carrel leads Westland in rushing with 694 yards and five touchdowns on 75 carries and has completed 27 of 52 passes for 350 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions. Running back Matt Mickens has rushed for 566 yards and 10 touchdowns on 78 carries.

The Wildcats lead the all-time series 27-8-1, with Westland's last win coming in 1995, when there was just one Hilliard high school.