The Canal Winchester High School football team is in control of its own destiny in regard to the OCC-Capital Division championship and a Division II, Region 7 playoff berth, but the Indians remember that neither of those things were the case a year ago.
Part of the reason was a trying 20-19 loss at Franklin Heights that cost Canal Winchester a chance to share the league title but did not prevent its first playoff berth since 2012.
"For one, our headsets did not work for the whole game, and we also missed an 18-yard field goal to win it," coach Josh Stratton said. "That said, they did a good job defensively against us. They did a lot of things right."
The Indians have a chance to avenge that loss when they play host to the Falcons on Thursday, Oct. 11.
Canal Winchester improved to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in the OCC-Capital with a 14-7 win over visiting Groveport on Oct. 5. Quarterback Jack Beeler completed eight of 13 passes for 132 yards and had a 3-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to tie the game at 7, and running back Tyler Toledo scored the winning touchdown with 3 minutes, 52 seconds left in the third quarter on an 11-yard run.
Linebacker Jared Mattox secured the win with a fourth-quarter interception of Cruisers quarterback Elyjah Aekins.
Canal Winchester was projected to be fifth in this week's Region 7 computer ratings. The top eight teams in the region make the playoffs.
Franklin Heights fell to 1-6 overall and 0-2 in the league with a 24-0 home loss to Big Walnut on Oct. 5. The Golden Eagles, who also are 2-0 in the OCC-Capital, visit New Albany on Friday, Oct. 12.
The Falcons 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 as a wide receiver, took over for Little.
Franklin Heights' only win was over another 1-6 team in Briggs, 44-14 on Sept. 7.
"They'll spread you out. They want to throw it 30 times a game and stretch your defense," Stratton said of the Falcons. "They have a young quarterback they're high on and their defense is very aggressive. You can't just sit back and run your base offense against them. You have to try and take advantage of their aggressiveness."
A win also would allow Canal Winchester to improve on last year's 6-5 record.
"We can't get complacent," Stratton said. "We'll be as hard on the guys (this week) as we've ever been."