The Grove City Christian School football team will seek its first 2-0 start since 2012 when it visits New Philadelphia Tuscarawas Central Catholic on Saturday, Sept. 1, for the first meeting between the programs.
The Eagles opened Aug. 24 with a 48-6 win over visiting Springfield Catholic Central, avenging a 41-7 loss to the Irish a year ago.
Tuscarawas Central Catholic opened Aug. 24 with a 41-7 loss to Greensburg (Pennsylvania) Central Catholic.
"Tuscarawas will be a formidable opponent us," coach Hank Patterson said. "They have a passing combo that may present a problem for our defense. I hope our players with pressure can derail their passing attack. The travel will be a factor, but we will adjust to whatever adversity we may encounter."
Junior Alex Price is the quarterback for the Saints, and junior Jake Miller is his top receiving threat. Senior Ryan Dick is the top running back.
Price passed for 144 yards and a touchdown in the opener.
Coach Casey Cummings resigned after the 2017 season but had a change of heart and has returned to guide the Saints.
Depth is an issue for Tuscarawas Central Catholic, which has approximately 20 players on its roster.
"Sometimes they're a no-back set (with) four wide (receivers) on one side," Patterson said. "We're just going to have to once again be consistent, especially defensively, and be a little aggressive on the front line and see what we can do."
Sophomore running back Christian Lautenschleger led the Eagles in the opener, rushing for 117 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries.
Senior quarterback Brett Baker completed 15 of 22 passes for 204 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Senior Ethan Metsker had four receptions for 93 yards. He also forced and recovered a fumble on defense.
"There's something about the guys and what they've done," said Patterson, whose team finished 4-6 last season. "Some of it is the weight room and also being good, consistent players. We talk about being consistent."
After the 2-0 start in 2012, the Eagles went on to finish 5-5 but fell short of qualifying for the playoffs.
Grove City Christian also started 2-0 in 2009 and 2011, reaching a Division VI state semifinal in 2009. The Eagles did not qualify for the playoffs in 2011.