A 38-15 loss at Canal Winchester on Sept. 14 was made all the more disappointing for the Westerville North High School football team because for the first time this season, the Warriors found themselves unable to stem an opponent's momentum.
Trailing 14-3 at halftime, North punted on its first three possessions of the second half, unsuccessfully ran a fake punt on another fourth down and did not earn a first down until there were about five minutes to play in the game.
The Warriors enter a Friday, Sept. 21, home game against Franklin Heights at 2-2, hoping for their first Week 5 win since 2008.
"They had a physical defense and didn't really let us do much," coach Bryan Johnson said. "We shot ourselves in the foot with some penalties and turnovers and you just can't win games doing that. Most games are going to be determined by those two categories and we lost both of them. It's something we have to get better at. (Canal Winchester) controlled the line of scrimmage and it was hard for us to get going on offense, plus we left our defense on the field way too long."
Rondale Smith rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries to pace North. Jahi Glass returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter, and Micah Tillman had an interception in the first quarter.
Shorthanded Franklin Heights fell to 1-3 with a 38-7 home loss to Westland on Sept. 14.
Malachi Martin accounted for the Falcons' only score with a 69-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, in which they gave up 24 points.
Franklin Heights lost starting quarterback Cody Little to a broken leg early in a 20-0 loss to Harvest Prep on Aug. 31. Dane Fenice, who began the season at wide receiver, took over for Little.
The Falcons started 0-2, with losses to now 3-1 Eastmoor Academy (45-14 on Aug. 24) and 4-0 Harvest Prep, before a 44-14 rout of Briggs on Sept. 7.
No current North student was in high school the last time the Warriors played the Falcons, a memorable game in program history. North snapped a 45-game losing streak with a 48-21 win over Franklin Heights on Aug. 30, 2013.