After experiencing defeat for the first time this season, the Delaware Hayes High School football team looked to get back on track against Worthington Kilbourne on Sept. 28.
The Pacers struggled to defend the pass in a 45-31 loss at Dublin Scioto on Sept. 21, as Irish quarterback Kyron Rogers threw for 302 yards and five touchdowns and caught a 6-yard touchdown pass.
"We're young in some areas and we were a bit exposed in the secondary," said coach Scott Wetzel, whose team was 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Kilbourne. "We're trying to tidy some things up there, but you have to give Scioto some credit. They have weapons on both sides of the field and they spread you out and can pick one side or the other. They're athletic and they took advantage. At times, we had guys there to make plays and they still slipped away from us."
The Pacers will play host to Dublin Jerome in a league game Friday, Oct. 5.
"Jerome is very talented and has played a lot of close games," Wetzel said. "They've lost some tough ones. They held Scioto down and lost that one (17-14 on Sept. 14)."
Delaware knows the importance of its three-game stretch against Kilbourne, Jerome and Thomas Worthington (Oct. 12). The Pacers close the regular season with games against Hilliard Darby (Oct. 19) and Hilliard Bradley (Oct. 26).
Entering play Sept. 28, Kilbourne and Jerome both were 1-4 and Thomas was 2-3, while Darby was 3-2 and Bradley was 4-1.
"Our schedule is a bit back-loaded with the Hilliard schools to finish," Wetzel said. "So, yes, these (three) games are important. But they all are. Every game in our league is important and every team on our schedule is good. We've got to focus one at a time and play them one at a time."
Jerome was 0-2 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing Thomas on Sept. 28. Three of the Celtics' four losses were by a combined 17 points. In addition to their three-point loss to Scioto, they lost by seven points to both Pickerington North (35-28 on Aug. 31) and Darby (14-7 on Sept. 21).
"They don't give you style points for losing close ones," Celtics coach Bob Gecewich said. "Our system awards points for wins. It's not like the old college polls. You either win or you don't, and we're not winning. We've been in position to win those three games but have not made that extra play, that decisive, winning play."
The Celtics planned to make some personnel changes against Thomas. Hayden Schell was expected to move from quarterback to receiver and also could see time at running back, while Ryan Miller was expected to take over at quarterback.
The Celtics also planned to use Ray Prochko at running back along with Ezra Strickland.
Through five games, Schell was 62-for-124 passing for 764 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions and had rushed for 241 yards and four touchdowns on 61 carries. Strickland had 223 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 34 carries and Prochko had 18 carries for 70 yards.
Against Scioto, quarterback Blake Eiland was 19-for-27 passing for 262 yards and two touchdowns, both to Nabil Abdus-salaam (27 yards and 1 yard). Eiland also scored on runs of 9 and 38 yards, finishing with 165 yards rushing on 29 carries.
Girls tennis team preps for sectional
The girls tennis team will compete in a Division I sectional Thursday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 6, at Pickerington Central.
Senior Grace Brinkmoeller and sophomores Alana Kay and Grace Martin will compete in singles. In doubles, senior Renae Haferman and freshman Evelyn Mignanou will compete together, as will seniors Sarah Midura and Kailah Breece.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to the district tournament Oct. 11 and 13 at Reynoldsburg.
"We have a decent draw," coach Dede Hibinger said. "I think we have the ability to win at least one match in every spot. If they have a good day and put the work in, they should have the chance to win at least one (match).
"Our doubles team of Renae Haferman and Evelyn Mignanou has a good draw and, if they play well, they could qualify for district. Grace Brinkmoeller has had some big wins. Against Jonathan Alder (in a 3-2 loss on Sept. 19), she won (7-5, 5-7, 7-6) and finished in the dark. Against Hartley (on Sept. 10), she lost the first set and came back to win (0-6, 6-4, 7-6), and that was the decisive court in our 3-2 win."
The Pacers defeated Buckeye Valley 4-1 on Sept. 26 and were 7-9 before playing DeSales on Sept. 27. They will close the regular season at home against Marion Harding on Monday, Oct. 1.
"We finished 5-12 last year and I think we're pretty pleased with the improvement we've shown this year," Hibinger said. "It's been a good year and we've all had fun."
Golfers to compete at sectionals
The boys and girls golf teams will compete in Division I sectionals Tuesday, Oct. 2.
The boys squad will compete at Denison Golf Club, where the top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team advance to the district tournament Oct. 9 at Apple Valley.
Delaware competed at Denison Golf Club in the last round of the four-round OCC-Cardinal tournament Sept. 12 and again three days later in the Rodney Butt Classic. On the course in the OCC tournament, the Pacers shot a 338, with Luke Gazarek's 77 leading the way. He was followed by Mark Sulek (86), Brady Gazarek (87), Colin Bibler (88) and Jake Ross (89).
Delaware competed at Apple Valley on Aug. 7 in the first round of the league tournament, shooting a 319, with Sulek's 78 leading the way.
Last season, the Pacers finished 13th in a sectional at Darby Creek and did not have any individual district qualifiers.
The girls team will compete in a sectional at Royal American, where the top three teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team advance to district Oct. 9 at Cooks Creek.
The Pacers competed at Royal American on Aug. 15 as part of the four-round OCC-Cardinal tournament, shooting a 376 as Hayley Dye led the way with a 75. She was followed by Kenzie Collett (93), Alyssa Stultz (98), Faith Eden (110) and Isabel Crissinger (111).
At Cooks Creek on Aug. 29 in the third round of the league tournament, the Pacers shot a 368, as Dye carded a 78 and Sophie Zehner posted a 93.
Last season, Delaware finished ninth in a sectional at Mentel Memorial and did not have any individual district qualifiers.
Below are the coming schedules for the Delaware Hayes cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 6 -- Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington
Oct. 2 -- Division I sectional at Denison Golf Club
Oct. 2 -- Division I sectional at Royal American
*Oct. 2 -- Home vs. Dublin Jerome
Oct. 4 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian
*Oct. 2 -- At Dublin Jerome
Oct. 1 -- Home vs. Marion Harding
Oct. 4, 6 -- Division I sectional at Pickerington Central
*Oct. 2 -- Home vs. Hilliard Bradley. The Pacers lost to the Jaguars 25-20, 23-25, 26-24, 25-17 on Aug. 30.
*Oct. 4 -- At Worthington Kilbourne. The Pacers lost to the Wolves 25-18, 21-25, 25-21, 25-22 on Sept. 4.