The postseason opponents will change for the Granville High School boys golf team, which will compete in a Division I sectional this season for the first time.

The postseason opponents will change for the Granville High School boys golf team, which will compete in a Division I sectional this season for the first time.

But if the Blue Aces can adjust to a new division as well as they adjusted to a new coach, they could continue their run of state tournament appearances.

Granville won the MSL-Ohio Division preseason tournament by shooting a 309 on Aug. 16 at Clover Valley Golf Club. While it's not a surprise that the defending league champion has started strong in league play, the Blue Aces have played well against Division I competition as well.

"Columbus Academy and Newark Catholic are very strong teams, so I think it will come down to the three of us," first-year coach Marvin Bright said of the MSL-Ohio. "We're going to try to run the table, though."

Bright was the junior varsity coach in 2010 and the coach at the middle school level the previous four years. His sons, Trevor (2009) and Dillon (2010), are Granville graduates who were standouts for the Blue Aces.

"Having coached all these guys before, I know their capabilities and they know my coaching style," Bright said. "Plus, Trevor was the (Division II) Central District Player of the Year (in 2008) and Dillon is a sophomore playing at Mount Union and I know the guys respect that. So it's been a pretty easy transition."

Bright credits former coach Brian Booher, who stepped down in May, for helping in the transition.

"I learned how to manage players and their games by observing him," Bright said. "He's still helping us. He's the club pro at Granville Golf Course and the kids ask him to help their mechanics. Hey, I'm no PGA pro. I think it's great. Granville Golf Course has always been so good to our program. Another former coach, Rodney Butt, is the manager there and helps when he can."

Sophomore Nick Contini and seniors Jim Wolfe and Brennan Anderson have led the Blue Aces, who shot 325 in the Lions Invitational at Jefferson Country Club on Aug. 22 to finish third behind Dublin Jerome (307) and Hilliard Davidson (319). Jerome finished third at state in Division I last season and Davidson was a district qualifier.

Also in the Lions Invitational field were 2010 district qualifiers Pickerington North (328) and Watkins Memorial (335).

Granville has reached the state tournament in five of the previous six seasons, including last year when it finished eighth (699) in Division II as Dayton Oakwood (656) won on Ohio State's Scarlet Course. Anderson (172), Wolfe (176) and Contini (182) were in the lineup with 2011 graduates Garrett Campbell (171) and Chris Shultz (180).

"We've been playing a Division I non-league schedule for several years because coach Booher wanted the players to not only get to the (Division II) state tournament, but to do something once we got there," Bright said. "We're a pretty good Division I team, but we have work to do before the sectional to continue our run. We can do it, but we have to play at our very best."

Contini had the second-low round at Jefferson with a 74, and he shot a 69 to win medalist honors in the MSL preseason tournament. He is averaging 75.5 with Wolfe at 77.5 and Anderson at 78.8.

"Contini has been in the low to mid 70s all year and Wolfe has only had one hiccup so far," Bright said. "Anderson is also a very solid player. I'd like to go to state as a team, but those three have the potential to get there individually as well."

•The Newark Catholic boys golf team is aiming for its first state berth since 2001 and 30th-year coach Joe Giles thinks it's a possibility.

The Green Wave is 20-5 overall, with three of the losses being to Division I teams and only one against a Division III squad.

Junior David Meurer is averaging a 76 and senior Nick Mercer is slightly over 79.

"Those two definitely have a good shot of making it to state," said Giles, whose team finished third in 1998 and fourth in 2001. "I think we can do it as a team, though. I like the balance we have this year. Sean Thomas, Will Nodo and Stephen Stein are all averaging around 82 and we can get better.

"I've had three individuals play at state, but the two times we went as a team, we had two guys who shot real low and mediocre scores after that. I think the overall group we have this year could be better than that because of our balance."

•In the second week of the football season, five area teams will play home openers.

On Friday, Sept. 2, Newark will play host to Mansfield Madison, Licking Valley will entertain Zanesville, Utica will welcome Granville, Johnstown will play host to Heath and Licking Heights will play visiting Gallipolis Gallia Academy.

Also that night, Watkins Memorial faces visiting Linden-McKinley, Northridge welcomes Middletown Christian and Lakewood is at Millersport.

On Saturday, Sept. 3, Newark Catholic battles Nelsonville-York at White Field.