When Whetstone High School quarterback Jack Staggs drops back to pass on Friday, Sept. 18, against the visiting Columbus Crusaders, chances are he will see a familiar face trying to tackle him.

When Whetstone High School quarterback Jack Staggs drops back to pass on Friday, Sept. 18, against the visiting Columbus Crusaders, chances are he will see a familiar face trying to tackle him.

Linebacker Alex Melfe, Staggs' cousin, is among the leaders of the Crusaders' defense.

"I'm sure he wants to tackle me, sack me or intercept me," Staggs said. "We're both competitive, but we're close. My mom and his mom are sisters and we see each other at least once a week. We even attend the same church.

"There is definitely a little division within our family this week about who is rooting for who. But that's OK. It won 't last past the final play on Friday night."

It will be the first meeting between the programs. The Crusaders, a club team, are 2-1 with both victories coming against other club teams. They beat the Noblesville (Ind.) Lions 10-0 on Aug. 28 and Reigning Sports Academy 44-0 on Sept. 11.

The Crusaders lost to Galion 40-0 on Sept. 4.

Despite turning in its best defensive performance of the season, Whetstone lost to Whitehall 22-16 on Sept. 11 to fall to 0-3. The Braves' other losses came against Watkins Memorial (52-13 on Aug. 28) and Buckeye Valley (54-18 on Sept. 4).

"This is an important week for us because we need to get a win going into (City League-South Division) play," Staggs said. "We've got a lot of skill guys, but we're having trouble working out some kinks. We finally played a good first half for the first time this season (against Whitehall), but we couldn't get into any type of rhythm in the second half. We need to put more points on the board."

The Braves managed just five first downs and 107 total yards, including minus-32 rushing, against Whitehall. They led 16-7 at halftime behind Staggs' touchdown passes to Aidan Tuttle (28 yards) and J.J. Branham (64 yards).

"We made some mistakes and had a few penalties in the first half and still led," coach Don Poff said. "But we had all sorts of second-half breakdowns. We had a miscommunication on a punt and (Whitehall) fumbled a snap on a punt and we had great field position and failed to score. Then we got unlucky when one of our cornerbacks deflected a pass and they caught it at our 10-yard line."

Poff said linemen Durrell Nicks and Davion Proctor played well defensively.