Delaware Hayes High School football coach Scott Wetzel has seen steady development from his team's offensive line since the start of the season.

The line consists of Zach Pokorny at left tackle, Carter Covert at left guard, Dylan Seiler at center, Max Bruney at right guard and Jordan Wolfel at right tackle.

"We have a good running game and we can throw it some, too, and that's due to the improvement of our offensive line," said Wetzel, whose team was 6-2 overall and 3-2 in OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Hilliard Darby on Oct. 19 in its home finale. "I can't say enough about their improvement. They've provided a united front and they're all doing their jobs.

"You know, they had a new coach, new scheme and new terminology coming into the season and they've adapted well."

The Pacers, who rallied to beat host Thomas Worthington 21-20 in a league game Oct. 12, were averaging 16.6 points through eight games after averaging 9.5 last season when they finished 3-7.

"We pulled together to become a physical team and we believe in each other," said Pokorny, who at 6-foot-2, 255 pounds is the tallest and heaviest of the Pacers' offensive linemen. "I think we communicate well and play as a unit. If we mess up on one play, we have the mentality to get past that hiccup."

Wetzel saw the biggest improvement from the line after the first two games.

"We had trouble moving the ball against Buckeye Valley (in a 24-7 win in the opener Aug. 24), but after we beat Marysville (17-16 in overtime Aug. 31), we've had a handful of 400-plus yard games offensively," he said. "The line really took ownership of the offense. Zach has been a great leader as a junior. He works hard to get better and better in practice every day. Max started for us last year and Zach and Dylan saw time, too, so they've stepped up. Jordan and Carter are the seniors up there. The other three are juniors, so it's a good mix."

Delaware was seventh in the Division I, Region 2 computer ratings entering Week 9. The top eight teams in each region qualify for the playoffs.

The Pacers close the regular season Friday, Oct. 26, at Hilliard Bradley, which was 7-1 overall and 5-0 in the league before playing Worthington Kilbourne on Oct. 19.

Entering Week 9, Bradley was fifth in Division I, Region 3 and Darby was 11th.

The Jaguars possess a high-powered spread offense that was averaging 33 points through eight games.

"I think our defense can step up and if we can control the line of scrimmage on offense, maybe we can have some long, time-consuming drives against (Bradley)," Pokorny said. "If we play our game, we'll give ourselves a chance."

English leads girls runners in OCC meet

Lauren English led the girls cross country team in the OCC-Cardinal meet Oct. 13 at Hilliard Davidson, placing 12th of 75 runners in 20 minutes, 6.5 seconds to earn second-team all-league honors.

Delaware finished seventh (154 points) behind Thomas (29), Olentangy Berlin (99), Dublin Jerome (109), Kilbourne (113), Dublin Scioto (118) and Darby (119) and ahead of Bradley (180).

Also competing for the Pacers were Leila Bouziri (20th, 21:00.3), Miranda Gemberling (25th, 21:11.2), Allison Miller (58th, 22:24.6), Kailyn Smith (59th, 22:28.7), Mallory Bibler (70th, 23:28.8), Jordan Rutherford (74th, 24:27.1) and Grace Ulicny (75th, 24:27.3).

The boys team finished eighth (246) in the league meet, behind Kilbourne (55), Thomas (65), Darby (72), Jerome (90), Scioto (93), Bradley (145) and Berlin (155).

Competing for the Pacers were Avery Latta (42nd, 17:44), Padraig Mumper (53rd, 18:14.3), Sebastian Stewart (63rd, 18:39.5), Eric Stewart (68th, 19:20.4) Juan Tello (69th, 19:30.2), Eric Puthoff (70th, 19:51.8), Gary Weckerly (71st, 19:53.3), Liam Waselko (72nd, 19:56.8) and Issak Scheeler (73rd, 20:07.9).

Delaware competed in the Division I district meet Oct. 20 at Darby.

The boys were in district 3 and the girls were in district 2. In both races, the top six teams and top 24 runners advanced to the regional meet Saturday, Oct. 27, at Pickerington North.

At regional, the top five teams and top 20 runners advance to the state meet Nov. 3 at National Trail Raceway.

Boys soccer team defeats Whetstone

The 23rd-seeded boys soccer team opened the Division I district tournament Oct. 17 at home with a 3-0 win over 41st-seeded Whetstone.

Briggy Kannally had two second-half goals and had an assist and Kyle Klumpp scored in the first half for the Pacers, who improved to 7-7-3 and advanced to play at top-seeded Olentangy Liberty in the second round Oct. 20.

"Our fitness and our speed really took hold in the second half and that's our biggest asset," coach Robb Morgan said. "That's the advantage we had and we were able to use that in the second half when we wore them down a bit."

Goalkeeper Davidka McCammon made six saves against the Braves.

"It was a great way to finish our home season, especially for these seniors," Morgan said. "These seniors hadn't won a first-round game in the tournament until (Oct. 17), so I'm very happy for them and proud of them."

The second-round winner plays 12th-seeded Darby or 28th-seeded Pickerington Central in a district semifinal Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the home of the better seed. That winner likely will face eighth-seeded Westerville Central, 10th-seeded Bradley or 17th-seeded Gahanna in a district final Saturday, Oct. 27, at a site to be determined.

The district champion advances to a regional semifinal Oct. 31.

Delaware beat Darby 1-0 on Aug. 28 but lost to Bradley 3-0 on Sept. 18.

Volleyball team wins tournament opener

The 15th-seeded girls volleyball team rallied to beat 28th-seeded Thomas Worthington 27-29, 25-18, 25-13, 25-18 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 16 at home.

Sydney Krewson had 14 kills, Becca Rocassin had 11 kills, three blocks and nine assists, Mia Thompson had five aces and 28 digs, Anna Johnson had four aces and 18 assists and Hadlee Bruns added seven kills for the Pacers, who improved to 15-8.

Delaware played 37th-seeded Mount Vernon in the second round Oct. 18, with the winner playing fourth-seeded Olentangy Orange or 34th-seeded Westerville North in a district semifinal Thursday, Oct. 25, at Whitehall.

That winner faces seventh-seeded Grove City, 13th-seeded Watkins Memorial, 20th-seeded Westerville Central or 22nd-seeded New Albany in a district final Saturday, Oct. 27, at Whitehall.

The district champion advances to a regional semifinal Nov. 1.

The Pacers defeated North 22-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-15 on Sept. 11.

Girls soccer team rolls past Logan

The 27th-seeded girls soccer team cruised past 32nd-seeded Logan 6-1 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 15 at home.

Emma Vessels had a goal and an assist to lead the Pacers. Payje Wilson, Maddie Blair, Grace Miller, Taylor McMillin and Ava Bruns also scored and goalkeeper Abby Weller made four saves.

Delaware was 5-7-5 before playing at eighth-seeded New Albany in the second round Oct. 18.

The winner plays 15th-seeded Westerville Central or 23rd-seeded Watkins Memorial in a district semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the home of the better seed. That winner likely will face second-seeded Pickerington North in a district final Saturday, Oct. 27, at a site to be determined.

The district champion advances to a regional semifinal Oct. 30.

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek