The genesis of Westerville South's current four-game winning streak came shortly after the opening night loss Aug. 28 at Groveport.

The genesis of Westerville South's current four-game winning streak came shortly after the opening night loss Aug. 28 at Groveport.

After returning to the school following a mistake-riddled 19-10 defeat, coach Rocky Pentello took the seniors into the locker room for a private discussion.

There was no yelling or screaming, just a measured explanation of what needed to take place if the veterans hoped to salvage their season.

"He basically told us that whether we won from that point on was going to be up to the seniors," defensive end Mark Hensley recalled. "We had to come together and buy into the goals."

What followed was a particularly brutal week of practice as the team was taken through conditioning drills rarely seen during the regular season.

"It was awful," defensive tackle Joe Stiltner said. "That was the hardest week we've ever been through. We had to be more disciplined."

The results were immediate: A 31-21 win over Dublin Coffman on Sept. 5 at Ohio Stadium in Week 2 and a 34-13 win over visiting Grove City five days later.

The last two weeks, in OCC-Cardinal Division play, the Wildcats defeated Westerville Central 21-14 on Sept. 17 and Dublin Scioto 31-0 last Friday for the team's first shutout since beating beating Olentangy 47-0 in the ninth week last season.

Players and coaches think the difference has been that the players now handle themselves in a more business-like fashion. There were cases of players goofing around during practice before the Groveport game.

"The week before the Groveport game everybody was messing around. It was a bad week," Hensley said. "The coaches told us if we lost that game that would be the reason. Looking back they were 100 percent right."

Over the past four weeks, the mood in practice has been entirely different.

"There's no playing around," Stiltner said. "We're doing everything the coaches want. It's just a completely new team."

Pentello said he thought the seniors were about a week late in realizing that the seniors from last season were no longer around to lead the way.

"After the Groveport loss they realized they needed to show the leadership, to show how things work at Westerville South," Pentello said.

Pentello said the defense is where it has to be, but the offense is a few steps behind. He is happy with the play of a few of the offensive players, namely the backfield of Jayshon Jackson (1,141 yards, eight touchdowns) and Daxton Cates (two touchdowns, 4.5 yards per carry), but believe other areas need to progress more quickly.

"A few other offensive players have to get in line," he said. "That's what has to happen for us to be successful."

Players think winning the remaining five games is a realistic goal, as is advancing several rounds into the playoffs.

"Hopefully we can keep this going," Hensley said. "If we take each week as its own little season we are capable of going along way. But if we get sidetracked we can get beat by anyone."