Little went right for the Gahanna and Reynoldsburg high school football teams during the opening night of OCC-Ohio Division play Sept. 29.

The Lions got physically overmatched by a bigger Pickerington Central team during a 45-8 loss that is forcing them to make adjustments at two key skill positions as well as at the heart of their defense.

The Raiders were on their heels early in their 35-7 loss to Pickerington North, giving up the game's first 21 points, and then failed to get anything going during the third quarter when there was a window to get back in the game.

The opportunity to bounce back and earn a bevy of playoff points are the most positive aspects for both teams as they take 4-2 records into their meeting Friday, Oct. 6, at Reynoldsburg.

"Both of us want to get back on the right track," Raiders coach Buddy White said. "Whoever has a better week of practice is going to have the advantage. We're going to be ready to work and prepare to win (this) week."

The Lions' biggest obstacle could be their health.

With his team already trailing Central 14-0, junior quarterback Mike Lowery went down with a left arm injury and did not return.

His prognosis wasn't certain at the beginning of the week, but Gahanna began preparing for the Raiders with senior David Miller moving from wide receiver to quarterback.

Miller, who has 34 receptions for 506 yards and four touchdowns, started two games in 2015 behind center and is a player who Gahanna coach Bruce Ward believes can succeed at the position because of his athleticism. Miller completed three of 10 passes for 35 yards with one touchdown and one interception against Central.

Gahanna has another standout wide receiver in senior Jerome Buckner, who has 42 catches for 417 yards and eight touchdowns.

Senior Cameren Carlisle could see increased time at wide receiver. He's been a key player at defensive back since his sophomore season and has seven receptions this year.

In addition, junior running back Justus Harris is questionable because of a shoulder injury. He has rushed for 625 yards and eight touchdowns.

Possibly more concerning for the Lions is how they'll match up in the trenches with a Raiders defensive front that features senior lineman Elijah Ratliff, junior lineman Jay Amburgey and junior linebacker Ke'Shun Moorer.

Ratliff is a Marshall commit who had six tackles against North. Moorer had 10.5 tackles and one interception, and Amburgey added 5.5 tackles.

"We're trying to put our last game behind us and see what Reynoldsburg's got," Ward said. "They're big up front, which is a downfall of ours. We're not very big at all."

The Lions will face a Raiders team that was held to minus-1 yard in the first quarter against North. However, they likely will be without junior linebacker Zajdi Hoxha and they possibly will be without junior lineman Karter Johnson, who is one of the team's most talented and biggest talents at 6-foot-3, 275 pounds.

Hoxha has an elbow injury that could keep him out for extended time, Ward said.

Sophomore linebacker and running back Travis Whittaker, who has missed time with a thumb injury, could take on a bigger role, particularly on defense, as could seniors Damion Harris and David Huguely and sophomore A'Che Sanchez-Baccus on the defensive line.

Reynoldsburg was limited to 72 yards passing against North but got 88 yards rushing from Guy Cowans-Wright and three catches for 58 yards from Princeton Hoskins.

Gahanna averaged 31 points and Reynoldsburg averaged 28 over the first five games.

"Losing (Lowery), obviously the leader of your offense, is not great," Ward said. "The good thing for us is that David Miller probably could start for a lot of other teams in central Ohio. Defensively, it's not easy to replace those guys. That's probably more of our concern."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek