The Centennial High School football team has its eye on its first winning season since 2001 when it finished 6-4.
The Stars improved to 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the City League-North Division with a 33-6 win at East on Sept. 28. They will play host Friday, Oct. 5, to Beechcroft, which is 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the league.
The Cougars beat Dayton Meadowdale 33-0 on Sept. 28.
"This is a big one for us in terms of trying to reach the goals we set at the beginning of the season," said coach Donte Goosby, whose team finished 4-6 a year ago. "Beechcroft is big and physical up front and they play with a mean streak. They also have blazing speed. If you blink, they're in the end zone.
"We've got athletes we think can match up with anybody, so this will come down to how well we execute up front on both sides of the ball."
The Cougars won last year's meeting 32-0.
The teams have played one common opponent in East. Beechcroft beat the Tigers 15-12 on Sept. 21, as running back Tahjon Francis scored the winning points on a 6-yard run with 7 minutes, 18 seconds remaining.
The Stars led East 27-0 through three quarters and appeared poised to force a running clock before back-to-back poor possessions. The first was thwarted by three penalties and the second produced a loss of 12 yards on a bad third-down snap to quarterback Jaylen Gilbert.
"We made some stupid, silly mistakes and just got sloppy," Goosby said. "We weren't dialed in. We'll have to stay focused for the entire game against Beechcroft."
Gilbert rushed 11 times for 106 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown, and also was 5-for-12 passing for 106 yards with two scores. Marquese Scott had three touchdowns, catching scoring passes of 40 and 43 yards and rushing for a 30-yard score.
Scott finished with three catches for 87 yards and rushed four times for 35 yards. Luchene Davis rushed for 96 yards on 14 carries, including a 37-yard touchdown.
Linebackers Jamal Erby and Xyion Newton both had 6.5 tackles. Newton had 2.5 tackles for loss and Erby added two.
Defensive lineman Kelvin Gilliam had four tackles, including one for loss.
"We've got some guys playing very well defensively," Goosby said. "Cornerback Taemar Gunnell has done well in coverage and is coming up and playing the run very well, too. He's been a bit under the radar, as has his brother, Tyreek, at free safety. I think Lamont Rankin is the best combination defensive and offensive lineman I've seen all year. He's a very tough kid."
Volleyball team seeks berth in City final
The girls volleyball team has been looking forward to its rematch with Whetstone since a 26-24, 16-25, 25-20, 26-24 loss to the Braves in the first round of City-North play Sept. 11.
The Stars play at Whetstone on Thursday, Oct. 4, before concluding City-North action Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Mifflin.
Centennial was 11-7 overall and 10-1 in the league before playing East on Oct. 2. Whetstone was 11-0 before playing Beechcroft on Oct. 2. The Braves finish league play Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Northland.
"It looks pretty much like whoever wins the match with Whetstone will go to the City championship (match) and that's our goal," coach Brittani Lewis said. "The tiebreaker in volleyball is based on who went to the City final the latest. (Whetstone) went last year, so if we end up tied, we'll go this time."
But the Stars know it won't be easy.
"We'll have to play better than we played them the first time," Lewis said. "Our adrenaline was too high when we played them at home. We've been preaching to them that they have to stay calm. We want smart, aggressive play. We can't be passive and we can't be reckless aggressive. We've got to be between those things."
The Stars lost to Grandview 25-22, 25-18, 25-18 on Sept. 24, but defeated Northland 25-16, 28-26, 25-17 the next day and Beechcroft 25-16, 25-20, 25-15 on Sept. 27.
"Akea Hunter has played well in the middle all season and Nikita Reynolds has really stepped up on the outside," Lewis said. "(Outside hitter) Sky Harris continues to be scrappy, hit well and serve well and Naa Dromo Korley has come into her own in the middle.
"We're getting good spot serving and the girls are communicating much better now. I like where we're at."
Girls tennis team set for sectional
The girls tennis team will compete in a Division I sectional Thursday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 6, at Upper Arlington.
In singles, senior Emma Young and sophomore Nicole Kaiser will compete in play-in matches while sophomore Michaela Smith will open in the first round.
In doubles, sophomore Champa Bista and freshman Erica Natividad will be teamed while freshmen Brianna Richardson and Foune Traore will be the other entry.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 11 and 13 at Reynoldsburg.
Postseason begins for boys golfers
Senior Chris Sfikas and junior Turner Wolfenberger represented the boys golf team in a Division I sectional Oct. 2 at Turnberry. They were seeking to be among the four individual qualifiers to the district tournament Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Apple Valley.
At district, the top two individuals not on the top two teams advance to state Oct. 19 and 20 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
Centennial also will compete in the City tournament Thursday, Oct. 4, at Airport. The tournament was postponed Sept. 27.
Below are the coming schedules for the Centennial cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 10 -- City League meet at Walnut Ridge
Oct. 4 -- At Olentangy Berlin
Oct. 4 -- Home vs. Marion-Franklin
Oct. 9 -- Home vs. Hamilton Township
*Oct. 4 -- At Whetstone. The Stars lost to the Braves 26-24, 16-25, 25-20, 26-24 on Sept. 11.
*Oct. 9 -- At Mifflin. The Stars beat the Punchers 25-16, 25-14, 25-12 on Sept. 13.