Westerville North High School football coach Bryan Johnson is emphasizing perspective as the Warriors prepare to finish their season Friday, Oct. 26, at home against Olentangy Liberty.
North comes in at 3-6 overall and 0-4 in the OCC-Buckeye Division, having lost four consecutive games and six of seven.
"We're going to do our best to make sure that this is the best possible week for the seniors that have given so much to this program. This is a special week," Johnson said. "There will be tears of joy and tears of sadness. The big thing for us is keeping things in perspective and working as hard as we can to end the season the right way."
The Warriors are coming off a 42-14 loss at Olentangy on Oct. 19. Rondale Smith rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.
He scored from 75 and 6 yards and surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season. He now has 1,146 yards and 14 touchdowns on 217 carries.
At 5-4 overall, Liberty squandered a chance to win at least a share of the OCC-Buckeye championship Oct. 19 when it lost 17-3 to Olentangy Orange. Liberty, Olentangy and Orange all are 3-1 in the league.
The Patriots were held to 82 total yards against Orange and had a four-game winning streak snapped. Mitchell Okuley completed just two of 14 passes and had an interception returned for a touchdown.
Aidan Kenley ran for 62 yards on 18 carries and the Patriots' only points came on a 34-yard field goal from Mitchell Kershner.
Nonetheless, the Patriots still were projected to be fifth in this week's Division I, Region 2 computer ratings. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs and the top four teams earn first-round home games.
"(Okuley) is savvy. He's just as good with his legs and his arm," Johnson said. "They have a three-man front defensively and they fly to the ball. You no sooner snap the ball than their linebackers are up there penetrating the gaps."
North is 0-7 all-time against Liberty and is trying to break a 21-game losing streak in league play that dates to the 2014 season.