The Centennial High School football team clinched its first winning season since 2001 by beating Mifflin 48-6 on Oct. 19.
The Stars did little celebrating, though, turning their focus to Whetstone and the regular-season finale Friday, Oct. 26, at home.
"The kids have been talking about (the Whetstone) game for two weeks, and we've had to try to keep them focused for (the two previous) games," said coach Donte Goosby, whose team is 6-3 overall and 3-2 in the City League-North Division. "We hit our stride after the second or third week, and even though we lost one that we felt we shouldn't have lost, we sensed this was the season to end that streak."
Centennial went 7-3 on the field in 2002 but was forced to forfeit the first three games and officially went 4-6.
"We celebrated a little (after beating Mifflin). We had some seniors like Lamont Rankin and Jamal Erby leading chants (about ending the streak)," Goosby said. "But other than that we enjoyed the moment like we do after every game. We danced and laughed and had some fun, but it turned pretty quickly from a celebration of officially having a winning season to officially being Whetstone week."
The Braves are coming off a 47-0 win over the Columbus Crusaders on Oct. 19 and will enter the game at 3-6 overall and 2-3 in the City-North.
"Whetstone has played some good football in the past four or five weeks," Goosby said. "They've won three of their past five and have played well even in some of their losses. They have a quarterback (Rashaun Broomfield) who is one of the top four or five athletes in the league. He's very athletic, and I think their kids are buying into things under (first-year coach Tom Jones). Their defense has been good all season, and their offense is finally catching up."
Against the Crusaders, Broomfield rushed for 141 yards to surpass 1,000 for the season and scored three touchdowns. Dorian Jordan added 118 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
Defensively, linebackers Mike Woodard and Ben Paugh and lineman Zane Fent have been team leaders. Paugh had three sacks and a fumble recovery against the Crusaders. Woodard had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, and Fent recovered a fumble. Gabe Jordan had an interception as the Braves forced four turnovers and limited the Crusaders to 73 total yards.
Against Mifflin, Erby and Luchene Davis both ran for a touchdown and caught a scoring pass from Jaylen Gilbert, and Syquee Womack ran for a touchdown and returned a kickoff 80 yards for a score. Davis rushed for 108 yards and Gilbert threw for 183 on 9-for-12 passing.
"Even though the kids have been waiting for this game, I'm happy we were focused enough these past games to play well and be clicking on all cylinders right now," Goosby said. "This is our playoff game. We've got seven or eight seniors and this is their crowning moment. They want to go out on a high note."
Boys' run ends in district meet
The boys cross country team was unable to qualify any runners for the Division I regional meet Oct. 27 at Pickerington North.
Competing in the district 1 meet Oct. 20 at Hilliard Darby, the Stars totaled 386 points to finish 12th behind champion Gahanna (63) in a 13-team field. The top five teams and top 20 runners advanced.
Kaleb Turner led Centennial, finishing 69th in 19 minutes, 1.9 seconds. He was followed by Jeff Kimball (77th, 19:35.2), Nick Loudner (78th, 19:35.9), Myles Martinez (79th, 19:39.5), Jabe Miller (83rd, 20:51.5), Jaylon Jackson (90th, 21:53.3) and Colin Murphy (91st, 21:58.8).
No members of the girls team competed at district.
Boys soccer coach enjoys season
The boys soccer team lost at third-seeded Bexley 5-0 in the second round of the Division II district tournament Oct. 20 to finish 7-5-1 overall.
The Stars trailed 1-0 with about 10 minutes left in the first half when goalkeeper Nathan Massey was injured and left the game. Shortly afterward, the Lions converted a penalty kick for a 2-0 lead. In the second half, Centennial lost center midfielder Max Lee to injury.
"This season ended up being a very good one and it was a real joy to coach this team," coach Scott George said. "We lost a lot of guys to graduation last year and several others decided to play with club teams rather than come back. So we started with a lot of sophomores and inexperience, but they're smart players and character kids and they really jelled when thrown into the fire."
The Stars were seeded 10th of 24 teams and defeated 12th-seeded Independence 3-1 in the first round Oct. 16 at home.
Centennial, which went 4-2 in the City-North to finish behind co-champions Mifflin and Northland (both 5-0-1), will lose six seniors, including Massey, Lee, midfielder Noah Schutte and defender Shawn Jacobsen.
Jacobsen was injured and lost for the remainder of the season during a 2-0 win over Whetstone on Oct. 1.
Among the expected key returnees are juniors Matthew Jacobsen (midfielder) and Jeremiah Upchurch (defender) and sophomores Kyengo Munywoke (midfielder/forward), Nicolas Oberdick (forward) and Vinny Slinders (defender).
Girls volleyball team ousted by Shamrocks
The 47th-seeded girls volleyball team lost at second-seeded Dublin Coffman 25-1, 25-9, 25-4 in the second round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 18 to finish 14-9 overall.
Centennial shared the City-North title with Whetstone, as each finished 13-1 after the teams split their matches. The Braves won 26-24, 16-25, 25-20, 26-24 on Sept. 11 at Centennial and the Stars won 14-25, 25-19, 25-23, 22-25, 15-13 on Oct. 4 at Whetstone.
Centennial was awarded a berth in the City championship match based on the fact Whetstone represented the City-North last season. The Stars lost to Eastmoor Academy 25-15, 25-16, 25-21 in the City final Oct. 13.
The Stars will have to replace four-year letterwinner Akea Hunter in the middle, as well as Shamara Bridges (right-side hitter), T'Anna Collins (right-side hitter) and Vena Triggs (defensive specialist).
Among the expected returnees are juniors Sky Harris (outside hitter), Rhian Jones (right-side hitter), Naa Dromo Korley (middle hitter), Jayana Harley (right-side hitter), Nikita Reynolds (outside hitter) and Izabelle Segovia (defensive specialist).
City title highlights girls soccer season
The 10th-seeded girls soccer team lost at ninth-seeded Licking Valley 6-0 in the first round of the Division II district tournament Oct. 15 to finish 6-7-1 overall.
The highlights in the Stars' season were finishing 4-0 in the City League and then beating Whetstone 4-1 on Oct. 11 at Mapfre Stadium to win their second consecutive City championship.
Senior forward Gwen Moran was named MVP in the City final. Other senior starters were Stacey Leach (midfielder), Danielle O'Leary (midfielder) and Hannah Wolfe (center back). O'Leary and Moran both scored in the City championship game.
Among expected key returnees are juniors Sarah Clifton (goalkeeper), Yana Napier (midfielder) and Nina Zimmerman (midfielder), sophomore Sophia Pizzurro (center back) and freshman Rachel Schutte (midfielder). Napier and Schutte also scored in the City final.