Canal Winchester High School football coach Josh Stratton got to guide his team against his alma mater last year, and this week he will match wits with an old friend.
Stratton, who graduated from Westland in 1998, will coach against 2000 Westland graduate Bryan Johnson on Friday, Sept. 14, when the Indians play host to Westerville North. Johnson was a classmate of Stratton's wife, Stacey.
"We text each other a lot. Both of us want success for the other. I'm a big Bryan Johnson fan," Stratton said. "This week, of course, is a little different. I know they're going to give us all we can handle."
Canal Winchester improved to 2-1 with a 14-7 win at Teays Valley on Sept. 7. North has the same record and is coming off a 31-21 loss at Mansfield Senior that same night.
"They're really athletic and their skill guys, especially their running back (Rondale Smith) and quarterback (Auri Dover), can really run," Stratton said. "They have a lot of wrestlers on their team who are athletic. Our linebackers coach (Harrison Rosch) is also our wrestling coach, so he knows those guys."
The Indians are 1-4 all-time against the Warriors, including a 47-21 loss last year.
Tyler Toledo rushed for two touchdowns on seven carries at Teays Valley, capping a 95-yard drive in the first quarter with a 9-yard score before a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter. He also had a fumble recovery and an interception at defensive back.
Running back Stephan Byrd rushed for 132 yards on 27 carries, quarterback Jack Beeler completed 13 of 17 passes for 126 yards and the Indians' defense recovered three fumbles and twice held on fourth down.
"Tyler is an impact guy. He's getting better every game," Stratton said. "We're improving all around. Offensively, we started well and got a little conservative later in the game, but we were able to establish ourselves pretty well."