One program will be looking for a positive moment heading into the offseason while the other will be aiming to win a league title and cement its entry into the postseason when the Westerville South High School football team visits Olentangy Orange on Friday, Oct. 26.
Orange is 6-3 overall and 3-1 in the OCC-Buckeye Division and likely will secure a Division I, Region 2 playoff berth with a victory. The Pioneers were projected to be seventh in the region this week as the top eight qualify for the postseason.
The Wildcats are 3-6 overall and 1-3 in the league. Coach Matthew Christ said a victory would jump-start their offseason.
"If you glance at our win-loss record, 3-6 was not the record that we had envisioned," Christ said. "If you look, there were a handful of games that if we would have had a couple more plays go our way then things would have been different. Now we're looking to send our seniors out in a good way and give us some momentum heading into the offseason."
The Pioneers also are focusing on their seniors as they prepare for South.
"We're trying to put all of the postseason scenarios aside and focus this week on our seniors," coach Zebb Schroeder said. "If we go all in on practice and keep prepping to win, the fruits of our labor will take care of that. That will allow us to enjoy what may come later."
Orange defeated Olentangy Liberty 17-3 on Oct. 19 to tie the Patriots and Olentangy for the league lead. It was the first time the Pioneers had beaten Liberty since a 22-8 victory in 2011.
The Pioneers held the Patriots to 82 total yards, including 13 passing, while Orange had 256 total yards.
I think (defensive coordinator Matthew) Berndt and the defensive staff did a great job," Schroeder said. "With high school football, you're just better off in your base defense and coach your kids up on what they need to attack. We don't want to overcomplicate things."
All-state defensive end Zach Harrison came up big on both sides of the ball. He caught four passes for 134 yards and had four tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
The Wildcats lost to Westerville Central 35-23 on Oct. 18. Peter Pedrozo was 12-for-24 passing for 153 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, and Ta'Veon Falls rushed for 163 yards and one score on 30 carries.