Two consecutive wins have the New Albany High School football team in contention for a share of the OCC-Capital Division championship if not a playoff berth in Division II, Region 7, although the Eagles need help on both fronts.
New Albany also will be shorthanded when it plays host to Franklin Heights on Friday, Oct. 19, as one of its best special teams players and defensive backs will miss the rest of the season.
Senior cornerback Gabe Owusu-Antwi, who also was the Eagles' primary kick returner, suffered a broken fibula and dislocated ankle and tore two tendons in his left ankle during practice Oct. 8. He underwent surgery the next day.
"His last play ended up being an interception (Oct. 5 at Newark)," coach Bubba Kidwell said. "It's a big loss. He'll still be around us and be a part of the team, but it's really unfortunate. He's a great team player."
According to Kidwell, Dean Danflous and Kingston Mabatah will be the team's starting cornerbacks.
New Albany, which is 5-3 overall and 2-1 in the league, tied with Big Walnut and Groveport a game behind first-place Canal Winchester, was projected to be 12th in Region 7 this week. The top eight teams make the playoffs.
According to Fantastic50.net, the Eagles have a 76 percent chance of winning their next two games but only a 3 percent chance of making the playoffs.
New Albany finishes the regular season Oct. 26 at Groveport.
Running back Michiah Burton rushed for 212 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries and Alex Cox added 109 yards on 12 carries in a 41-7 win over Big Walnut on Oct. 12.
Franklin Heights was held to 90 total yards in a 45-0 loss at Canal Winchester on Oct. 11, falling to 1-7 overall and 0-3 in the league.
Freshman Jeffery Beverly alternated time at quarterback with junior Dane Fenice, who had held the job for most of the season after an early injury to starter Cody Little.
The Falcons' best chance to score came in the final minute of the first half, but they were stopped on four plays inside the Indians' 10-yard line.
The Eagles are 11-0 all-time against Franklin Heights, including a 55-36 win last year.
"They're well-coached and they're young," Kidwell said. "They have a lot of athletes to get the ball to. Our defense has to be ready for that."