The Westerville North High School football team delivered just the bounce back for which coach Scott Wetzel hoped Sept. 16 when it defeated Canal Winchester 35-14.

The Westerville North High School football team delivered just the bounce back for which coach Scott Wetzel hoped Sept. 16 when it defeated Canal Winchester 35-14.

Now, Wetzel is confident the Warriors can continue what ranks among their best seasons in the past decade when they play host to New Albany on Friday, Sept. 23.

"We had a great week of practice and we showed up to play," said Wetzel, whose team improved to 3-1 and shook off a 34-7 loss at Upper Arlington on Sept. 9. "We saw things against Upper Arlington that we needed to correct, and the kids knew that. Their football sense is really improving. You want to get to the point where you can make adjustments on the fly, not just during timeouts or other breaks in the game. We are going in that direction."

This is the earliest North has won three games in a season since 2005, when the Warriors reached that mark in five games and finished 5-5. That is their most recent non-losing season.

The Warriors also had three-win seasons in 2013 and 2006.

North also was projected to be ranked fifth in the first Division II, Region 7 computer ratings released Sept. 20. The top eight teams in each region make the playoffs.

Against Canal Winchester, tailback Robert Robinson ran for a 49-yard touchdown and caught a 78-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Julian Malone as North took an 18-0 lead by early in the second quarter. Wide receiver Brice Beverly caught a 54-yard touchdown pass and fullback Rondale Smith added a 1-yard scoring run in the third quarter.

Robinson has rushed for 206 yards and two touchdowns in the past three games, and he might have an even bigger workload in the backfield depending on the health of fullback Bodi Bien. According to Wetzel, Bien suffered a leg injury in the first half against Canal Winchester and his prognosis was uncertain earlier this week.

He has 398 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 62 carries.

Malone has completed 30 of 47 passes for 347 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

Although this is the final non-league game for the Warriors, who begin OCC-Buckeye Division play Sept. 30 at home against Olentangy Orange, preparation for New Albany feels much like that for a league contest to Wetzel. He annually coached against the Eagles in OCC-Capital games when he was at Big Walnut, first as a head coach and then as an assistant for six seasons before coming to North in January.

"They were our rival. The year we won the (Division III) state championship (in 2007), they were our only loss," Wetzel said. "They are fundamentally sound and they capitalize on your mistakes. That hasn't changed. They are 1-3, but they are much better than 1-3."

New Albany is coming off a 28-24 loss to Gahanna on Sept. 16 in which it was outscored 14-3 in the fourth quarter.

Victor White ran for 171 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries and caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Paxon Hunter. That accounted for all of the Eagles' passing yards.

For the season, White has rushed for 861 yards and nine touchdowns on 97 carries.

Echoing Wetzel's thoughts, New Albany coach Pat Samanich said watching film of the Warriors has a familiar feel.

"You can tell Scott's already put his stamp on them," Samanich said. "They come off the ball well, run well and hit you with a few passes. They play a physical brand of that 3-4 defense. Their linebackers are active and you have to make sure you account for them. They get downhill well."