Worthington Kilbourne High School football coach Vince Trombetti was searching for a team slogan last season. He wanted an acronym that not only would stand the test of time, but encapsulate the goals of his team.

Worthington Kilbourne High School football coach Vince Trombetti was searching for a team slogan last season. He wanted an acronym that not only would stand the test of time, but encapsulate the goals of his team.

•Team comes first.

•Understand your role as a player.

•Relentless play on offense, defense and special teams.


In short, TURF.

The final point of that acronym failed to occur for Kilbourne last Friday, as the Wolves fell to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Central Division with a 22-21 loss to Upper Arlington.

On Friday, Kilbourne plays a non-league game at Mount Vernon, where the Wolves hope to move past the last-minute loss to the Golden Bears.

"We had a slip (last) week," Trombetti said. "We were playing darn well, and we didn't finish when we needed to finish a job. Our kids are smart, and they realize we let one get away. That's the focus this week, is to have all four letters if you're going to win the game."

Winning games consistently is something Mount Vernon has not done much recently. Since finishing 7-3 in 2003, the Yellow Jackets are a combined 4-51 with no more than one victory in a season.

"Our team has been hit by injuries," Mount Vernon coach Gary Keller said. "I thought I had a good team to start the year out, but it seems like the complexion is changing with our injury situation."

Mount Vernon is 1-4, with its lone win being a 41-12 victory over Mansfield Madison on Sept. 11. In the last two weeks of OCC-Capital play, the Yellow Jackets have been outscored 70-16 in losses to Olentangy Orange and Delaware.

Despite Mount Vernon's recent history, Trombetti is wary of the Yellow Jackets' athleticism.

"They're skill-position kids are very impressive," he said. "Based off what we saw from the kids from Upper Arlington, Mount Vernon's skill-position kids, with their speed, is a concern for me."

Athleticism and speed can lead to big plays and big plays are what cost Kilbourne last Friday. UA running back Kyle McSheffery scored a touchdown on a 70-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Then, with the Bears trailing 22-15, he scored on a 48-yard pass from backup quarterback Jake Johns with 42 seconds left.

"I went out in the flat and for some reason the defensive backs must have forgot about me and left me wide open," McSheffery said.

"We wheeled the halfback out," UA coach Mike Golden said. "Instead of wheeling him into the flats, we made it look like that, then he went up the field. We double slanted inside to drag the defenders inside. It's very good fortune."

Not only did Kilbourne fail to "finish" against UA, two defensive goals were not met and, as a result, the Wolves lost.

Trombetti strives to allow an opponent's offense no more than 225 total yards, but UA gained 238 yards with 118 coming on McSheffery's fourth-quarter scores.

"Our other goal is to not give up big plays more than 25 yards," Trombetti said. "We gave up two and in essence those cost us the ball game. Kids did things like blow assignments and I've never seen them do that. I don't know what's going on in their heads. We pointed it out on film, learned from it and we'll get better and move on."

Mount Vernon showed flashes of big-play capabilities last Friday in a 35-16 loss to Delaware. Running back Jordan Williamson scored on a 60-yard run and finished with 104 yards on 20 carries and running back Leevi Stump added a 47-yard run and finished with 81 yards on 12 carries.

Quarterback Kody Green did not play last Friday and will not play this Friday along with Stump, Keller said.

Kilbourne quarterback Nathan Sparks, meanwhile, continues to improve. It will be the second consecutive week Mount Vernon's defense has faced an option attack.

"We did get to see it last week, so it'll give the kids extra practice," Keller said. "It'll be a different option and Kilbourne is a notch better with a bigger offensive line and better skill players."

Last Friday, Sparks finished with 88 yards rushing on 22 carries to lead the Wolves. Through four games, he has a team-high 381 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 82 carries and is 18-for-40 passing for 239 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

"It all starts with the quarterback," Trombetti said. "We're a running team and he's got to read his options. He's getting better and better as things keep slowing down. Before this week, he hadn't pitched a lot of balls, but we were able to get the ball to (Dan) Eurich on the edge against UA.