The Thomas Worthington High School football team continues to battle a rash of injuries as it prepares to play host to Delaware in an OCC-Cardinal Division game Friday, Oct. 12.
Both teams are coming off losses Oct. 5, as Thomas fell 38-14 at Hilliard Darby and Delaware lost to Dublin Jerome 35-21 at home. The Cardinals are 2-5 overall and 1-3 in the league, while the Pacers are 5-2 and 2-2.
"Our secondary was back intact (against Darby), but we lost Isaac Settles to injury in the third quarter, so our top two quarterbacks have concussions," coach Matt Zingery said. "I don't expect Isaac back this week, but I'm not sure about Charlie (Rhoades). We'll coach up whoever is there in practice and try to prepare them for a strong Delaware team."
The Cardinals had been without three injured defensive backs in recent games and have used nine offensive linemen who have rotated in and out of the lineup because of injuries. Junior lineman Jacob Suncire is out with an injury and could be lost for the remainder of the season, Zingery said.
"The good news is that our offensive line continues to improve and all nine of them are underclassmen," Zingery said. "They're doing much better and I'm super positive about their progress. Plus, we're growing some depth there because we're being forced to use so many guys."
Zingery noted the recent line play of Ethan Hughes and Aleksander Aleksic.
Against Darby, the Cardinals were outscored 17-0 in the second quarter to trail 31-7 at halftime, and their defense allowed 462 yards rushing. Connor Jones led the Panthers' rushing attack with 221 yards and three touchdowns and Evan Grose added 118 yards on the ground and a touchdown.
"We wanted to take away one aspect of their running game, but we didn't and it showed," Zingery said. "We gave them the full playbook. Our top players defensively last week were Austin Parsons at end and Kobe Faire in the secondary."
Running back DiJahn Davis rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries for Thomas, and Settles was 4-for-4 passing for 84 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown to Sheron Phipps.
"Delaware looks to be a very good team this year and (coach) Scott Wetzel will have them ready to go," Zingery said. "They'll be coming in here mad."
The Pacers, who are battling for a playoff spot in Division I, Region 2, have lost two of their last three games.
Against Jerome, Delaware allowed 21 consecutive points in the second quarter and trailed 28-7 at halftime, but pulled within 28-21 entering the fourth quarter.
The Pacers lost standout running back Jahi Broussard-Nash to an injury in the second quarter and he did not return. His status against Thomas was uncertain.