Riding a three-game winning streak, the New Albany High School football team will face off with another team heading in the right direction when it visits Big Walnut on Friday, Oct. 13.
Both teams are 2-0 in the OCC-Capital Division, and the Golden Eagles have won two consecutive games since a 0-5 start.
New Albany is 4-3 overall.
"The way our league lines up, it's really two different seasons," coach Pat Samanich said. "The first five non-league games, you're trying to get in position and rack up some computer points (for a playoff berth) and find out who you are. Now it's league play and a brand-new start for everyone."
New Albany has won two consecutive games in the series, 34-0 last year and 29-7 in 2015 after losing 30-14 in 2014.
The Eagles were projected to be fifth in this week's Division II, Region 7 computer ratings. The top eight teams make the playoffs.
Michiah Burton rushed for 109 yards and three touchdowns on just four carries in New Albany's 40-6 win over Newark on Oct. 6. The Eagles piled up 289 rushing yards and did not commit a turnover while benefiting from the Wildcats' three giveaways.
Gabe Owusu-Antwi added 76 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.
Big Walnut routed Newark 47-14 on Sept. 29 before edging Franklin Heights 21-14 on Oct. 6. Tyler Ronk completed five of six passes for 133 yards, including the winning 43-yard touchdown to Eli Myers with 1 minute, 21 seconds left in the game.
Myers also had a 3-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Nathan Lawyer rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
The Golden Eagles lost standout running back and linebacker Abe Myers, who has committed to Ohio State as a preferred walk-on, to a broken right fibula during their 35-10 loss to Olentangy Orange on Sept. 15. Myers, who is Eli Myers' older brother, had rushed for more than 450 yards before his injury.
"He's a big loss but as a team overall, you're going to see the same things from (Big Walnut coach) Joe (Weaver)," Samanich said. "They run the ball extremely hard and go downhill. They'll run the jet sweep outside and try to spread your defense out. They throw some different looks at you on defense, but it'll mostly be a 3-4. We know what we're going up against. Whoever plays better defense and special teams is going to come out on top."