Entering its MSL-Cardinal Division opener Sept. 16 against two-time defending league champion Harvest Prep, Worthington Christian High School football coach Brian Stier was "optimistic" about where his team was headed.

Entering its MSL-Cardinal Division opener Sept. 16 against two-time defending league champion Harvest Prep, Worthington Christian High School football coach Brian Stier was "optimistic" about where his team was headed.

The Warriors led Harvest Prep at halftime before running out of answers to stop running back Daniel Bangura, who rushed for 412 yards and five touchdowns to lead Harvest Prep to a 40-30 win.

Last season, Worthington Christian opened its league schedule with a 44-6 loss to Harvest Prep but bounced back to beat Grove City Christian 41-19 the next week. The Warriors will have the same opportunity this season when they travel to Grove City Christian on Friday, Sept. 23.

Worthington Christian enters the contest 1-3 overall and 0-1 in the league, while Grove City Christian lost to Berne Union 39-35 on Sept. 16 to fall to 0-4 overall and 0-1 in the league.

While the Eagles scored more than seven points for the first time this season in the loss to Berne Union, the Warriors are coming off their best offensive performance of the season as well and are averaging 20.3 points.

Joe Greenwood (73 yards passing, 1 touchdown pass), Alex Tucker (69 yards passing, 1 touchdown pass, 2 touchdown runs) and Mark Shoemaker (35 yards passing) all saw time at quarterback against Harvest Prep.

Reed Tucker had four catches for 79 yards and one score against Harvest Prep and has 26 receptions for 397 yards and three touchdowns on the season.

"We've gotten into some rhythm, especially on offense," Stier said. "We started the season trying to stay with one quarterback, and Alex Tucker has pretty much been the guy most of the time. Alex and Emerson (Patrick) both had over 100 yards (rushing) against (Galion) Northmor (in a 24-21 overtime win Sept. 2) and Reed Tucker has been our best wide receiver."

Worthington Christian's defense, led by defensive back Michael Hartings and linebacker Derek Holston, will be tasked with slowing down Eagles quarterback Matt Bailey. He rushed 18 times for 241 yards and three touchdowns against Berne Union, although he was intercepted twice on five pass attempts.

Ian Sinclair added 88 yards rushing and one touchdown and Brett Baker had 15 carries for 32 yards and one score against the Rockets.

Quynten Jeffries has been another playmaker for Grove City Christian at tight end and linebacker. He had a reception and an interception against Berne Union.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek