As the DeSales High School football team was putting a smackdown on Watterson on Sept. 30, I couldn't help but reminisce about what is still one of central Ohio's greatest rivalries despite the Stallions' 32-8 victory.

As the DeSales High School football team was putting a smackdown on Watterson on Sept. 30, I couldn't help but reminisce about what is still one of central Ohio's greatest rivalries despite the Stallions' 32-8 victory.

With that in mind, it's tough to hear about what former Eagles coach Mike Golden is going through.

It's been 14 years since "Goldy" led Watterson to the 2002 Division III state championship, and he left after that season.

Since that time he's had stints at New Albany, Upper Arlington and now at Delaware Hayes, where he had the program off to a 3-0 start this fall.

It became public earlier this week that Golden had his first round of chemotherapy Sept. 27 after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

When I was cutting my teeth as a prep sportswriter in the late 1990s, I remember Golden coming across as being strong while simultaneously humble and gracious as I learned the business.

His teams at Watterson seemed to take on a similar character.

He produced a few college-caliber players, but Golden's teams were more known for charging through opponents with physicality and defense rather than fanfare.

Being a high school football coach can be a tough business.

Although prep coaches only occasionally get fired, the pressure they're sometimes put under by communities, combined with the hours involved not equaling the pay, certainly has to make some question why they do it.

Golden has excelled since getting his first coaching job at Watterson in 1988, winning more than 200 games and making the playoffs 16 times.

We can only hope for a quick recovery for one of central Ohio's football icons.

•Speaking of the Watterson-DeSales game, DeSales just might have all the pieces it needs to go all the way this season.

Watching defenses try to bring down Alonzo Booth has to make the DeSales coaching staff chuckle when they're watching film because he's 245 pounds of bruising muscle yet is deceptively quick for such a big guy. It's like watching a snowball grow the further downfield he gets.

Then there's the Stallions' defense, which came up with a pair of safeties against Watterson and has size, speed and experience to boot.

•As is often the case, the City League is looking top-heavy this season.

Beechcroft is 6-0 overall and leading the City-North Division at 3-0 and Columbus West is 6-0 and leading the City-South at 3-0, but both teams are going to need to get some victories over the coming weeks to ensure a playoff berth.

The combined record of the six teams the Cougars have beaten is just 7-28. They play Oct. 7 at Massillon Washington, and a loss there would likely put Beechcroft in a position where it would have to win its final three to get in.

That's certainly possible.

Let this sink in: The Cougars have won 17 league games in a row, losing their last City-North game in 2013 to a Brookhaven team that was coached by their current coach, Trevor White. Since then, Brookhaven has closed.

As for West, the toughest part of its schedule remains as it tries to make the Division II, Region 7 playoffs.

The Cowboys play host Oct. 7 to Independence, which is 4-2 overall, and then play Oct. 14 at Columbus South and Oct. 21 at Eastmoor Academy, which are 3-3 and 4-2, respectively.

West is probably going to need to win at least two of those games to make it into the postseason for the first time.

•The Independence-West matchup should be among the better ones coming up in week 7.

The playoff contenders are beginning to separate from the non-contenders, and matchups like Olentangy at Olentangy Orange, Reynoldsburg at Gahanna, New Albany at Newark, Dublin Scioto at Worthington Kilbourne, Ready at Hartley and Johnstown at Newark Catholic should help that continue.

Talk to you next week.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek