Considering the events of this week, the Upper Arlington High School football team thought of its Oct. 19 home game against Central Crossing as a distraction from the distractions that threatened to derail its season.

Playing without their head coach, the Golden Bears dominated the Comets up front and held Central Crossing’s run game in check while thriving on the ground themselves in a 24-7 win that kept UA alive in the Division I, Region 2 playoff race.

Eli D’Herete rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries and Chris Schweisthal added 19 carries for 84 yards and a score for the Bears, who improved to 5-4 overall and 3-1 in the OCC-Central Division without fifth-year coach Joel Cutler on the sideline.

Cutler is on administrative leave while the handling of health and wellness issues for his players is being investigated.

“With what they’ve had to go through this week, our kids were just glad to have a football game to play,” interim coach Barry Fox said. “We just banged it, banged it until it worked out and we played good defense.”

UA was 10th in the region entering Oct. 19. The top eight teams make the playoffs.

Led by linebacker Ben Krimm’s five tackles and a combined 6.5 between defensive linemen Jackson Ness and Sam Schadek, the Bears held Central Crossing to 181 yards, including just 44 on the ground.

“It came down to coach Fox telling us to ‘do your job to the best of your ability,’” Ness said. “The message was short and sweet. That’s what needed to be done. There are no style points for wins. We just had to win.”

D’Herete scored from 1 yard out in the first quarter and Nick Fisanick, a linebacker brought in to play fullback, scored on a 1-yard run late in the second for a 14-0 lead. Schweisthal, who had missed the previous two games because of a concussion, had a 2-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.

Central Crossing broke the shutout with 6 minutes, 3 seconds to play on Kameron Peck’s 26-yard touchdown pass to Kameron Inks.

“Their defensive line made it difficult for us to do anything,” said Comets coach Trevor White, whose team fell to 4-5 overall and 1-3 in the league. “We had some flashes in there but couldn’t get going consistently.”

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

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Team 1 2 3 4 Final CENTRAL CROSSING 0 0 0 7 7 UPPER ARLINGTON
7 7 0 10 24

UA—D’Herete 1 run (Raish kick)

UA—Fisanick 1 run (Raish kick)

UA—Schweisthal 1 run (Raish kick)

CC—Inks 26 pass from Peck (Terrell kick)

UA—Raish 30 FG