The Whetstone High School football team achieved one of its goals by beating the Columbus Crusaders 47-0 on Oct. 19, but the Braves will look to accomplish a much bigger one when it visits Centennial in the season finale Friday, Oct. 26.
The Braves are 3-6 overall and 2-3 in the City League-North Division, while the Stars are 6-3 and 3-2 after beating Mifflin 48-6 on Oct. 19.
"We had a lot of guys not come back this year and with just three seniors on the team and this being my first year, we had a goal of at least matching last year's win total and we wanted to finish at least third in the league," coach Tom Jones said. "We matched last year's win total (with the victory over the Crusaders), and we can finish tied for third in the league with a win over Centennial."
The Stars, who are averaging 33.2 points, are led offensively by running back Luchene Davis, quarterback Jaylen Gilbert and receivers Marquese Scott and Syquee Womack.
Against Mifflin, Davis and fullback Jamal Erby both ran for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass from Gilbert, and 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.
"They've got a very good quarterback in Gilbert and some pieces around him," Jones said. "Overall, I think we're mirror images of each other. We really enjoy this game because they're going to come at us and we're going to go at them. ... As soon as we broke the huddle after the Crusaders game, the talk about Centennial started."
Against the Crusaders, quarterback Rashaun Broomfield rushed for 141 yards to surpass 1,000 for the season and scored three touchdowns, and running back Dorian Jordan added 118 yards rushing and three scores.
Defensively, linebacker Ben Paugh had three sacks and a fumble recovery, linebacker Mike Woodard had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, lineman Zane Fent recovered a fumble and defensive back Gabe Jordan had an interception as the Braves forced four turnovers and limited the Crusaders to 73 total yards.
"It was the first time this season that we didn't have a turnover," Jones said. "We ran for 341 yards and had 393 total yards. We had 23 first downs and punted just once. We're playing really well right now and we need to have the same formula against Centennial."
Runners conclude season at district
The boys and girls cross country teams completed their season in the Division I district meet Oct. 20 at Hilliard Darby, as neither squad had any runners qualify for the regional meet Saturday, Oct. 27, at Pickerington North.
The boys team finished 11th (354 points) of 16 teams in district 2 behind champion Hilliard Davidson (30), as the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced.
Thaine Nederveld finished 38th of 112 runners in 17 minutes, 48.6 seconds to lead the Braves, followed by Mathew Conroy (42nd, 17:51.7), Emil Adams (83rd, 19:42.1), Colin Ramsby (94th, 20:13.5), Hassan Sesay (104th, 21:24.7) and Reed Wilson (112th, 25:33.7).
The girls team finished 14th (441) of 15 teams in district 3 behind champion Davidson (25), as the top six teams and top 24 individuals advanced.
Harper Daniel placed 84th (23:47.3) of 104 runners to lead the Braves, followed by Elizabeth Cobbs (85th, 23:47.5), DeLorenzo Stromsoe (91st, 25:38), Anya Ramey (93rd, 26:02.2), Megan Sharp (96th, 26:46.1) and Olivia Cobbs (97th, 26:47.6).
Girls volleyball team eager for next season
The girls volleyball team finished 15-5 overall after losing to 14th-seeded Hamilton Township 25-7, 25-10, 25-4 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 15.
The Braves went 13-1 in the City-North to share the league title with Centennial after the teams split their matches. The Braves won 26-24, 16-25, 25-20, 26-24 at Centennial on Sept. 11 and the Stars won 14-25, 25-19, 25-23, 22-25, 15-13 at Whetstone on Oct. 4.
"We have seven of our top eight players coming back and the girls are already talking about winning the (City-North) and winning the (City) championship next year," coach Errole Rembert said. "I think that's definitely possible if they continue to work on their game and play during the offseason, especially all the girls who play club."
Starting outside hitter Ellie Henkaline was one of four seniors on the roster.
The expected returnees include junior Dahlia Kleen (setter), sophomores Sadie Hannah (defensive specialist), Megan Harrison (setter/right-side hitter) and Macy Staggs (middle hitter) and freshman Alivia Brello (libero).
Boys soccer team struggled to score
The boys soccer team will be looking to generate more offense next season after struggling to score this year.
The 41st-seeded Braves lost at 23rd-seeded Delaware 3-0 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 17 to finish 7-8-1 overall.
Whetstone trailed 1-0 at halftime but allowed two goals in the first three minutes of the second half.
"We played well in the first half, but (Delaware) made some adjustments at halftime and hit us with some quick stuff and we were down 3-0 right away," coach Larry Howell said. "After that, we had a few (one-on-ones) and didn't convert, and that was the story of our season. Our defense led us, and we had trouble scoring. We've got to find some offense next year."
Whetstone outscored its opponents 30-22 but 18 of its goals came in wins over Sparta Highland (7-0 on Aug. 20), Marion Harding (4-1 on Aug. 21) and South (7-0 on Oct. 4). The Braves were shut out six times and scored two goals or fewer in 11 games.
Whetstone went 1-4-1 in the City-North to place fifth behind co-champions Mifflin and Northland (both 5-0-1).
The Braves are losing four seniors in Kurtis Chenowith (defender), Tyler Coleman (midfielder), Nathan Hochstetler (goalkeeper) and Edmund Michel (defender).
"We're losing three seniors on defense and that was our strength this year," Howell said. "They'll be hard to replace, but we did have 36 kids in the program and the future looks bright."
Girls soccer team loses district opener
The 36th-seeded girls soccer team lost 10-0 at ninth-seeded Upper Arlington in the first round of the Division I district tournament Oct. 15 to finish 5-9-1 overall.
Whetstone went 3-1 in the City League and played Centennial in the City final for the ninth consecutive time, losing 4-1 on Oct. 11 at Mapfre Stadium. The Braves are 6-3 against the Stars in the City final, but Centennial has won the last two seasons.
Whetstone is losing three seniors in Olivia Evans (goalie), Sydney Kohler (midfielder/def-ender) and Ella Umbarger (midfielder/forward).
Among the expected returnees are juniors Lily Mathys (midfielder), Olivia Mullins (defender) and Misa Norris (forward) and sophomores Mira Dush (midfielder), Amelia Morris (defender), Annabelle O'Neal (defender) and Ellie O'Shaughnessy (midfielder).