A new era in Westerville South High School football kicked off with the Wildcats cruising to a 50-14 win at Dublin Scioto on Aug. 25.

The Wildcats will look to maintain the early season momentum when they play host to Gahanna on Friday, Sept. 1.

It will mark the first home game for Matthew Christ, who was named coach in February. He replaced Kyle Stout, who stepped down after two seasons and is now an assistant at Gahanna.

South is looking to bounce back from a 1-9 season a year ago.

“It’s huge,” Christ said of the opening win. “With the schedule that we play there’s not a whole lot of forgiveness. You have to win games when you have opportunities to win them and I’m just very proud.”

The game against Scioto also marked the return of all-purpose threat Jaelen Gill, who missed most of last season after breaking his right leg in a 23-6 loss at Gahanna in Week 2.

Gill, who has committed to play H-back at Ohio State, had 12 carries for 138 yards and three touchdowns and two catches for 67 yards and a score. He also had an interception.

Quarterback Max Barber passed for 119 yards and two touchdowns.

Gahanna boasts plenty of talent on offense, including running back Justus Harris, who rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries in a 24-3 win at Westerville Central on Aug. 25.

Wide receiver Jerome Buckner, a transfer from Columbus Academy, had nine receptions for 55 yards and a score, and quarterback Mike Lowery passed for 74 yards and a touchdown.

“Gahanna is going to have a ton of speed, a lot of athleticism and it will be an interesting matchup because we have those guys as well,” Christ said. “We’re going to have to execute a whole lot better than we did (against Scioto) in terms of stupid penalties, beating ourselves and substitution errors. We’re excited to be at home.”

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