This season has been a growing one for the Thomas Worthington and Olentangy Berlin high school football teams.
One of the teams will enter the offseason with some momentum after their season finale Friday, Oct. 26, at Thomas.
"It's been a disappointing season in terms of our record, but being a young team and getting pretty much decimated with injuries, we've got a lot young guys who have gained experience and have gotten better and better every week," Thomas coach Matt Zingery said. "I've seen a lot of positives these past four or five weeks."
The Cardinals are 2-7 overall and 1-5 in the OCC-Cardinal Division after losing to Dublin Scioto 39-10 on Oct. 19. That same night, the Bears lost to Dublin Jerome 37-17 to fall to 1-8 overall and 0-6 in the league.
"We're chasing the same thing (Thomas is)," Berlin coach Mark Nori said. "We're both in search of a season-ending win that would help us feel better going into the offseason. Our kids have played well enough to compete and it's important that we're learning lessons and moving forward.
"With no seniors on our team, our perspective is that we need to go out and compete hard and close this season strong. A win would be special, but as long as we continue to improve like we have been doing, we'll be pleased."
In the Cardinals' loss to Scioto, DiJahn Davis rushed for 123 yards on 30 carries and quarterback Keymani Peyton was 6-for-13 passing for 52 yards with a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brandon Ross. Peyton also kicked a 28-yard field goal.
"I wish we had all our available weapons around DiJahn, because he's finally recovered from his knee surgeries and has his burst back," Zingery said. "He's playing at such a high level. He's playing both ways now and has really helped us on the defensive line. He had 30 carries last week, too. He's a workhorse.
"Linebackers Habib Bundu, Reese Dykstra and Bassil Hasan are playing real well right now, too."
In the Bears' loss to Jerome, receiver Corey Hill had seven catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Jacob Moeller was 16-for-30 passing for 312 yards.
"Corey Hill and Colin Pethel have had some great games at receiver lately and they pretty much don't come off the field for us," Nori said. "Our offensive line has really jelled and they're blending together and growing together. They're best friends, too, and I like that a lot.
"But defensively, we're going to have to play well to slow (Davis) because he's such a hard and powerful running back. If we don't get a number of guys to the ball, he'll cause us some trouble."