The final week of the high school football regular season is already upon us and the races for league titles and playoff berths will be decided. Here is a look at Week 10 matchups for local squads:
The final week of the high school football regular season is already upon us and the races for league titles and playoff berths will be decided. Here is a look at Week 10 matchups for local squads:Westerville South (6-3, 5-1) at Liberty (5-4, 4-2)
Westerville South already has clinched its fourth consecutive OCC-Cardinal Division championship.
The Wildcats can secure the title outright with a win at Olentangy Liberty on Friday, Oct. 28.
South improved to 6-3 overall and 5-1 in the OCC-Cardinal with a 42-20 victory over Olentangy on Oct. 21. Liberty, which improved to 5-4 and 4-2 with a 24-19 win over Westerville Central on Oct. 21, is tied for second in the league with Central and Dublin Jerome. Centrals plays at Jerome on Oct. 28.
If Liberty beats South, the Patriots and the winner of the Central-Jerome game will share the league title with the Wildcats.
"After what we've been through this season, that's exciting," said Liberty coach Steve Hale, whose team lost three of its first four games but has won four of its last five, including its last three contests. "We've had some significant injuries, but our kids have just shown tremendous heart and character all year long."
Liberty prevented South from going undefeated in league play last season, beating the Wildcats 39-27.
"You can't turn the ball over against them," South coach Rocky Pentello said of the Patriots. "We have to hit big plays on them. I don't think we can steadily drive the ball on them consistently. Somehow we have to find a way to control their scoring because they can score."
Against Central, Patriots quarterback Joey Longhino scored the winning touchdown on an 8-yard run with 1 minute left and completed 16 of 27 passes passed for 233 yards, and running back Myles Robinson rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries.
Against Olentangy, South wide receivers Gary Brown and Kelly Carter combined for 227 yards on 12 catches. Wildcats running back Daxton Cates has rushed for 1,595 yards on 214 carries and has scored 20 touchdowns.
-Scott GerfenOrange (7-2, 5-1) at Delaware (3-6, 2-4)
Olentangy Orange will be aiming for a share of its second OCC-Capital Division title and a second trip to the postseason - and its first in Division I - when it plays at Delaware on Friday, Oct 28.
Orange, a fourth-year program, is 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the league to share first place with Big Walnut and New Albany.
The Pioneers have won two of the team's three meetings. Orange won 49-7 last season and 17-14 in 2009, when the program won its first league title and made the playoffs in Division II. Delaware won 21-7 in 2008 to step up its only postseason appearance.
On Oct. 21, the Pioneers beat Hilliard Bradley 33-14, jumping quickly on the Jaguars when Luke Wolford ran 70 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. Wolford finished with 71 yards on three carries and also caught two passes for 51 yards.
Running back Brandon Schoen had 98 yards on 19 carries with two touchdowns and fullback Michael Forbes had 79 yards on 16 carries. Quarterback Kofi Hill rushed for 67 yards on nine carries with a 25-yard touchdown and was 2-for-9 passing for 51 yards.
"That (balance) shows that we have a lot of players who are capable of making plays," Schoen said. "We have several ways that we can use to win games."
Delaware lost to New Albany 45-17 on Oct. 21 to drop to 3-6 and 2-4. Jante Wright led the Pacers with seven receptions for 58 yards. Senior wide receiver Matt Bingaya injured a knee in a 42-13 loss to Big Walnut on Oct. 7 and will not return this season after having surgery.
The Pacers scored on a 9-yard run by Josh Bender, a 14-yard pass to Ethan Nicol from Alex Rafeld and a 27-yard field goal by Aly Smiley, the team's female place-kicker.
"We have some kids that like to compete and they want to be good," Delaware coach Zebb Schroeder said. "We're really working on the process of becoming good and the day in and day out commitment of being excellent on and off the field in everything that we do. They're starting to see the importance of that."
-Scott HennenWesterville North (0-9, 0-6) at Olentangy (4-5, 3-3)
There won't be a league title or a playoff berth on the line, but Westerville North still has plenty at stake when it visits Olentangy in the season finale Friday, Oct. 28.
The Warriors are trying to snap a 34-game losing streak and avoid a winless season. They are 0-9 overall and 0-6 in the OCC-Cardinal Division.
Closing the season with a win "would be huge," coach Mike Owens said. "Not only would it be great for our seniors, who have truly invested themselves in our program, but for our younger players as well. It would be a nice springboard into next year."
North lost to Olentangy 44-12 last year and has not beaten the Braves since joining the OCC-Cardinal in 2008. Next year, the teams will be in different divisions with North remaining in the OCC-Cardinal and the Braves moving to the OCC-Capital.
North's last win was Sept. 19, 2008, a 21-17 victory over Westerville Central.
Olentangy coach Ed Terwilliger said his team, which is 4-5 and 3-3, better not overlook the Warriors.
"Once we start banging on Friday you better be prepared. Nothing comes easy in this league," Terwilliger said. "I guarantee they will be ready and it will be a dogfight."
Terwilliger said his team needs to sustain long drives and avoid giving up big plays. The Braves struggled with both in a 42-20 loss to Westerville South on Oct. 21, as the Wildcats scored four touchdowns of 35 yards or more.
Terwilliger also said he was concerned about the Warriors' spread offense, which is led by senior quarterback B.J. Campfield and senior running back Kory Watson.
In a 30-7 loss to Marysville on Oct. 21, Campfield had 82 yards rushing on 14 carries and Watson had 75 yards on 11 carries. North dominated the first-half time of possession, but all its drives stalled or resulted in a turnover.
"It will be a battle," Terwilliger said. "They spread the field, which is obviously a good thing to do against us. Their quarterback is really good. They do a nice job of designing plays for him to keep the ball."
Owens is concerned about Olentangy's size and running game dictating the tempo. The Braves use rotating running backs led by Ohio State recruit Joshua Perry, Derrick Rodgers and Matt Winings.
"They are very similar to Marysville as far as having powerful backs and an offensive line," Owens said. "Defensively, they do a very good job up front and with their linebackers. It's a solid, well coached football team."