The Worthington Kilbourne High School football team had little time to bask in the glory of an emotional 26-25 overtime win over crosstown rival Thomas on Sept. 15.
The Wolves got back to work quickly, preparing for a contest at Hartley on Friday, Sept. 22.
Kilbourne enters the game at 2-2, while Hartley improved to 3-1 with a 44-7 win over Chillicothe on Sept. 15.
Hartley won the Division IV state championship the past two seasons but is now in Division III. The Hawks defeated Kilbourne 45-13 last season.
“Hartley executes as well as they did last year and is just as quick, but they’re much bigger,” coach Vince Trombetti said. “They’ve got great size and that’s going to challenge anyone they play.”
Against Chillicothe, the Hawks led 21-7 at halftime before scoring 23 points in the third quarter. Alexander Blackmon rushed for 89 yards and four touchdowns on 13 carries, and quarterback Anthony Carfagna completed three passes for 60 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown to Phillip Cole.
The Hawks rushed for 304 yards and had a 377-178 advantage in total yards.
“(Blackmon) weighs 230 pounds and is very athletic, and then they’ve got a fullback (Nick Cone) who goes 250 and is a powerful runner and blocker,” Trombetti said. “Their offensive line is impressive with a tackle (Patrick Gilliland) who is 6-(foot)-6, 315 and another guy (Ethan Amoya) who goes 6-3, 290.”
Gilliland is an Ohio University commit.
“If we sit there on defense and let them come at us with their backs running downhill, it could be a long night,” Trombetti said. “We’ve got to mix things up, make them work to block us and, hopefully, clog up some lanes to slow those backs.”
Hartley has allowed only 13 combined points in its last three games after losing to Toledo Central Catholic 35-16 in the opener Aug. 25.
“We’re going to change some things up on defense and on offense because our game plan didn’t work against them last year,” Trombetti said. “We’re also changing our practice routine because we’ve got some bumps and bruises and the kids are wearing down a bit.”
Against Thomas, linebacker Thomas Wilson, with the help of Noah Reed, stopped running back DiJahn Davis at the 2-yard line on a two-point conversion attempt in overtime.
Kilbourne improved to 9-1 all-time against the Cardinals.
“The key was the penetration by (defensive lineman) Mitchell Rosenfeld,” Trombetti said. “We had a lot of different guys make big plays. Wilson had 14 tackles, scored a touchdown on offense and averaged 48 yards per punt.
“Roen McCullough played well on the defensive line and Ryan Wesolowski was strong at defensive back.”