As he's transitioned into the starting quarterback of the Worthington Christian High School football team this fall, junior Lucas Hartings knows he's always got at least two sets of knowledgeable ears at his disposal anytime he needs to break down a play.
That goes for when he's at home as well as on the field, considering his father, Jeff Hartings, is the Warriors' coach, and his brother, Michael Hartings, is a senior two-way standout for the Warriors.
"We've been doing well, learning every day and just getting better every day," Lucas said. "It's fun (playing with Michael) because I can always count on him."
The maturity of the Warriors' offense that features the Hartings brothers is a big reason the program is on the doorstep of making the playoffs for the first time in its five-year history.
After going 5-5 in Jeff Hartings' first season as coach last fall, Worthington Christian moved from Division V to Division VI this season. The Warriors were projected to be ninth in the Region 23 computer ratings this week with three games remaining on the schedule.
The top eight teams in the region make the playoffs.
The Warriors improved to 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the MSL-Cardinal Division with a 40-29 victory over Fisher Catholic on Oct. 5 as Michael Hartings rushed 18 times for 213 yards and three touchdowns. He also had five tackles and one tackle for loss on defense and averaged 37.5 yards on four punts.
Lucas completed 14 of 27 passes for 233 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions and ran for a score.
Two of eight children in a family that also includes girls soccer player Mianna Hartings, Lucas and Michael both have been involved with football for almost as long as they can remember.
The family grew up in Pittsburgh, where Jeff Hartings spent the final six of his 11 seasons in the NFL with the Steelers.
A graduate of St. Henry, Jeff Hartings was a first-team All-American offensive lineman for Penn State and a two-time Pro Bowl selection.
He also played for the Steelers' 2005 Super Bowl championship team and served as an assistant coach at a high school in Pittsburgh before moving his family to central Ohio four years ago.
"We've been playing (football) since first grade," Michael said. "I just like being physical. You can hit people without getting in trouble. It's fun to play, and I feel so alive when I play it."
On Friday, Oct. 12, Worthington Christian plays host to Cincinnati North College Hill, which is just 1-6. The Warriors then will play host to winless Fairfield Christian on Oct. 19.
Worthington Christian closes the regular season Oct. 26 at Berne Union, which is 5-2.
On the season, Lucas Hartings has completed 78 of 160 passes for 1,066 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions.
Michael Hartings rushed for 951 yards last season and has 698 yards rushing and nine touchdowns on 96 carries this season while also being among the team's top defenders with 43 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and one interception at linebacker.
Michael has hopes of playing collegiately and is planning a visit to Bowling Green, which has Grandview graduate James Lachey on its roster.
Lachey's father, Jim Lachey, also played at St. Henry.
"The relationship (with Lucas and Michael) is different (in the football locker room) than it is at home," Jeff Hartings said. "As a coach, you've got 28 sons. On the other side, it's a tremendous blessing to go out and compete and be in this position with them. I'm very proud of them in the way that they've improved."
Jones qualifies for state golf tourney
Although the boys golf team's hopes of defending its Division III state championship ended Oct. 3 in the district tournament at Denison Golf Club, senior Tyler Jones remains alive in his pursuit of the individual title.
Jones shot 68 to capture the district championship as only the winning individual advanced to the state tournament Friday, Oct. 12, and Saturday, Oct. 13, at NorthStar.
"I know I can contend individually," Jones said. "I've just got to prep for it this week, play well there and see what happens."
Last season on Ohio State's Scarlet Course, Worthington Christian shot 623 to win the state team title by 17 strokes as Jones led with a fifth-place tie (152).
At this year's district tournament, the Warriors shot 296 but Wellington carded a 295 to earn the lone state-qualifying berth.
Senior Will Evans shot 71 to tie for second, sophomore Ben Evans carded 78 to finish eighth and seniors Noah Elliott and Blake Lawson each shot 79 to tie for ninth.
Jones made five birdies on his way to medalist honors.
The 296 was Worthington Christian's best score of the season.
"(Jones) played really well really the whole round," coach Zac Hess said. "I told the guys I'm just proud of (us shooting 296). None of them gave up. To put that number together, that holds up almost every single year. We battled with (Wellington) all season long and hope they win the state tournament."
Mayottes make district in tennis
Senior Amanda Mayotte and her sister, sophomore Abby Mayotte, both will compete in singles in the Division II district girls tennis tournament Thursday, Oct. 11, at Columbus School for Girls.
The championship match will be held Saturday, Oct. 13, at Reynoldsburg.
Amanda Mayotte placed third at sectional Oct. 5 and 6 at CSG and will open district against Bloom-Carroll senior Stephanie Graham, who was runner-up at the sectional at Columbus Academy. Abby Mayotte was fourth at sectional and will play her district opener against Academy's Sydni Ratliff, who was last year's state runner-up.
Also at sectional, junior Laura King lost in the second round in singles, while senior Emma Morris and junior Amber Ralston lost in the second round in doubles and seniors Anna Kremnitzer and Caroline Mousa lost in the first round in doubles.
Girls soccer team shares league title
With a 3-1 victory over Zanesville Rosecrans on Oct. 6, the girls soccer team earned a share of the MSL-Ohio championship with Grandview at 4-0-2.
Worthington Christian played the Bobcats to a scoreless tie on Aug. 29 and also tied Wellington at 1 on Sept. 10. Grandview tied Columbus Academy at 1 on Oct. 3.
The Warriors earned the top seed for the Division III district tournament and open Tuesday, Oct. 16, at home against 16th-seeded Madison Plains, with the winner to play eighth-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek or ninth-seeded Ready in a second-round game Oct. 18 at the home of the better seed.
Worthington Christian was 9-0-5 overall after beating Fairbanks 4-0 on Oct. 8 and closes the regular season Thursday, Oct. 11, at Hartley.
Against Rosecrans, Mianna Hartings, Alanna Raikes and Grace Todd each scored and goalkeeper Alex Friedman had three saves.
Most of girls golf team should return
The only senior on the girls golf team was Abigail Stevenson, who shot 92 at the Division II district tournament Oct. 1 at Darby Creek to tie for ninth.
The Warriors won a sectional title Sept. 25 at Bent Tree with a 383 and shot four strokes better at district, but Bloom-Carroll also shot 379 and advanced to state on the fifth-score tiebreaker.
Eligible to return for Worthington Christian are juniors Anna Opava and Natalie Opava and sophomores Zoe Holston and Rena So.
At district, So was runner-up with a 78.
Below are the coming schedules for the Worthington Christian cross country, boys soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 13 -- MSL-Ohio meet at Grandview
Oct. 11 -- Home vs. Hartley
Oct. 13 -- At Olentangy Berlin
Oct. 15 -- Home vs. 11th-seeded Granville Christian in first round of Division III district tournament. Winner plays at fourth-seeded Tree of Life in second round Oct. 17. The Warriors are seeded fifth.
*Oct. 11 -- Home vs. Bexley. The Warriors lost to the Lions 22-25, 15-25, 25-15, 25-10, 15-6 on Sept. 20.
Oct. 20 -- At second-seeded Marion Pleasant or home vs. 23rd-seeded Mount Gilead in second round of Division III district tournament. The Warriors are seeded 19th.