The Westerville Central and Westerville South high school football teams will have more than just community bragging rights on the line when they meet Thursday, Oct. 18, at South.
Both teams are looking for a season sweep of their community rivals while also remaining in their respective postseason chases.
"Ruling the 'Ville is definitely a goal every year," South coach Matthew Christ said. "All the players in all the high schools take pride in that and it's something they'd like to accomplish. We're looking forward to that opportunity."
Central defeated Westerville North 48-12 on Oct. 5 and South ended a four-game losing streak with a 23-13 win over the Warriors on Oct. 12.
"It's just like when we play Westerville North, any time there's a Westerville game our kids always get pretty excited for it," Central coach Brent Morrison said. "That's one of our goals for the season, (beating North and South), so our kids are already amped up and it's something we talk about all year long."
The Warhawks, who are 4-4 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Buckeye Division, were projected to be fifth in Division I, Region 2 this week. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.
Central closes the regular season Oct. 26 at home against Olentangy, which is 3-5.
"Obviously, playing Week 11 is a primary goal for us," Morrison said. "We haven't lost sight of that, but Ruling the 'Ville is also a goal of ours, so we will definitely be 100 percent focused on that."
South, which is 3-5 overall and 1-2 in the league, was projected to be 19th in Division II, Region 7 this week but had yet to be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
The Wildcats close the regular season Oct. 26 at Olentangy Orange, which is 5-3.
South won the first six meetings in the series, which began in 2007, but Central has won the last five to pull to 6-5. The Warhawks have averaged just over 43 points in their five wins.
Central is looking to bounce back from a 14-10 loss to Orange on Oct. 12. Rickey Hyatt rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown on eight carries and had 10 tackles and a sack on defense.
"Central is more spread (than North) and they have multiple guys that have some real speed," Christ said. "Defensively, they have guys that run to the football well, so we're going to have to put some stuff together and play a pretty clean football game."
South opened a 14-0 lead over North on its way to its first league win. Ta'Veon Falls rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns, and Peter Pedrozo completed 11 of 22 passes for 165 yards and one touchdown.
"They have a lot of athletes, but I think we match up well with them," Morrison said. "We're probably just as athletic as they are and we have pretty evenly matched teams in that regard."