The Grove City High School football team enters OCC-Ohio Division play looking to build on its most competitive effort of the season.
Grove City led Canal Winchester 13-7 in the third quarter before the Indians rallied for a 28-13 win Sept. 21, dropping the Dawgs to 0-5.
Coach Tennyson Varney hopes that effort gives his team momentum heading its game Friday, Sept. 28, against visiting Lancaster.
"We're just working on competing, that's all we're trying to do right now," Varney said. "I thought our kids did a good job coming out and competing against Canal. We're going to try and come out and compete again and give ourselves a chance to be in the ballgame and see if we can pull one out."
After losing three games to start the season, the Golden Gales have won two in a row, including a 29-28 victory at Upper Arlington on Sept. 21.
Grove City had a season-high 224 total yards against Canal Winchester, with Cole Crager leading the way with 78 yards rushing on 20 carries.
Crager also threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Jevin Yors to give the Dawgs the lead in the third quarter.
Canal Winchester, however, scored two defensive touchdowns to take control.
"We've played with a running clock for most of our games this year, so playing the second half our kids didn't know what to do," Varney said. "They haven't been in a game. We started off all right in the third quarter, we scored, and from there we continually got a little worse as we went on, but that's an experience thing."
The Dawgs suffered another key injury as slot receiver Broderick Cook broke his right hand Sept. 17, according to Varney.
"We're down some skilled kids," Varney said. "We don't have that many left."
Lancaster, which is known for its power running game under veteran coach Rob Carpenter, got four touchdown passes from quarterback Tyler Monk in its comeback win at UA.
Monk's 5-yard scoring pass to Curtis Young and subsequent two-point conversion pass to A.J. Cook with 6 seconds remaining provided the winning points.
Monk completed 10 of 23 passes for 167 yards and the Gales rushed for 206 yards, led by Monk's 81 yards on 12 carries.
"Lancaster is a very good football program," Varney said. "They do what they do. They don't change much except for this year they have a guy who can throw a little bit, so that's a little bit different."