Westerville North High School boys soccer coach Mark Price places a great deal of emphasis on his team's games against Westerville Central, believing a win over the Warhawks can change the course of the Warriors' season.

Westerville North High School boys soccer coach Mark Price places a great deal of emphasis on his team's games against Westerville Central, believing a win over the Warhawks can change the course of the Warriors' season.

But in their latest meeting Sept. 17, North came up just short as host Central won 1-0.

"I love playing Central," Price said. "It's sort of like Ohio State-Michigan. You can have a bad season, lose every game, but if you beat Central then it's all better. It was unfortunate to lose to them, but it was a great game by both teams."

Parker Wyatt's goal with 32 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in the first half lifted Central to the OCC-Cardinal Division win.

North goalkeeper Tristin Doone had six saves.

"Central is just a good team," North defender Jimmy Randall said. "We're still learning things. We have time to improve. We have the (Division I district) tournament coming up."

The Warriors entered their game Sept. 24 against Hilliard Bradley at 4-5 overall and 1-3 in the league, and looking to end a four-game losing streak.

Two of the losses came by 1-0 scores against state-ranked opponents -- Centerville on Sept. 7 and Beavercreek on Sept. 14.

Last week, Beavercreek was ranked first in the Division I state poll and Centerville was ninth.

"Our five losses have all been by one goal, so no one is going to beat us by a lot," Price said. "Everyone is going to struggle to score goals. (Against Central) we hit the crossbar twice and missed a breakaway, so we easily could have won that game. We're just going to battle and that is what we do."

The Warriors' coming schedule includes a home game against Westerville South on Oct. 8. Last season, North and South played to a scoreless tie.

Before playing Bradley, North's last win came against perennial Division III state power Worthington Christian 1-0 on Sept. 5.

"I'd rather go and play the best that there are so we know where we're at," Price said. "When everyone does the (tournament) seeding they're going to look and see losses, but they're not going to see that we played Centerville and Beavercreek."

Central boys to facedefending state champs

The Central boys play host to defending Division I state champion Olentangy Liberty on Thursday, Sept. 26.

The Warhawks were 4-2-3 overall and 2-1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing South on Sept. 24.

Central's league loss came against Canal Winchester, 2-1 on Sept. 3. The Warhawks tied Bradley at 2 on Sept. 10.

Liberty was 8-1 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Central before playing Hilliard Davidson on Sept. 24. After losing to Gahanna 1-0 in their opener Aug. 24, the Patriots had won eight consecutive games.

Last season, Liberty defeated Sylvania Southview 2-0 in the state final and beat the Warhawks 2-1 during the regular season.

In Central's win over North, goalie Zane Hamoui had seven saves.

Wyatt, who scored the only goal, transferred from Lancaster before the school year but did not join the team until recently.

"I love playing these guys," Central forward Chewy Gordon said of facing North. "I know a couple of them. It's just really fun playing against kids I know of or know."

Before playing North, Central had tied three consecutive contests -- games coach Dave Pence believes his team should have won.

"We tied some good teams (St. Charles, Bradley and Gahanna), and I felt like we had some chances against those teams," Pence said. "We're disappointed that we didn't get at least one win out of those three ties, but we really wanted to get a positive result (against North) and I think we did that."

Pence said his team also looks forward to playing North and South.

"Anytime you play Westerville against Westerville, when we play South, when we play North, it doesn't matter what kind of season you're having," he said. "It's a grudge match every single time. Nine times out of 10 it's a game just like (Sept. 17 against North) where both teams played well and both teams played physical. The refs let them play and we were on the positive side this year."

South boys eyeOCC-Cardinal title

The South boys remain in contention for the league title, as they were 2-0-2 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Central on Sept. 24.

The Wildcats were 3-1-4 overall.

In league play, South defeated Dublin Scioto 4-1 on Sept. 9 and Hilliard Darby 4-0 on Sept. 17 and tied Canal Winchester at 2 on Aug. 27 and Bradley at 2 on Sept. 3.

Against Darby, forward Luke Morais scored two goals and midfielders Brennan Lawrence and Phillip Wenzinger each scored one.

South tied DeSales at 3 on Sept. 19, as Morais, defender Cameron Ferguson and forward Luke Houston scored.

Coach Aaron Linden said his team is returning to full strength after beginning the season with several players out with injuries.

"We're thrilled, we're playing real well," he said. "We are still getting healthy. We have not had the same starting lineup yet in a game because of injuries. We're getting healthy at the right time."

Before Sept. 24, South's only loss came against New Albany 1-0 on Aug. 22.

"We have aspirations and goals in the regular season, but this is preseason," Linden said. "The tournament is the season. We're gearing up for the real season and that's tournament time. We have aspirations of going very far this year and feel that we can make a good run and compete."