The Whetstone High School football team concluded its season with a 32-27 loss at Centennial on Oct. 26.
It was the third loss by 15 points or fewer this season for the Braves, who finished 3-7 overall and 2-4 in the City League-North Division.
"We spotted them seven points on the opening kickoff and then outscored them the rest of the way, so there's no doubt the big play was the kickoff," first-year coach Tom Jones said. "We fought hard and battled to the end and (Centennial) had to recover our onside kick in the final minutes to hang on."
Centennial's Syquee Womack returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. The Stars led 14-0 before quarterback Rashaun Broomfield pulled the Braves within 14-13 with a 15-yard touchdown run and a 24-yard touchdown pass to Ben Paugh.
Centennial, which led 20-13 at halftime, extended its lead to 26-13 in the third quarter, but Broomfield completed a 12-yard scoring pass to Antwan Allen to cut the Braves' deficit to 26-21 midway through the fourth quarter.
Whetstone missed a chance to take the lead with around four minutes left, as it lost a fumble and the Stars converted the turnover into a touchdown to extend their advantage to 32-21 with 2:18 left.
The Braves responded with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Broomfield to Khris Watkins, but the Stars recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.
Broomfield was 7-for-10 passing for 103 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 94 yards and a score on 13 carries, and Dorian Jordan ran 20 times for 139 yards for the Braves.
Centennial running back Luchene Davis rushed for 243 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries and quarterback Jaylen Gilbert added 110 yards rushing on 15 carries for the Stars, who finished 7-3 overall and 4-2 in the City-North.
"They finished 7-3 and we finished 3-7, but we were mirror images of each other and I knew it would be a close game," Jones said. "They were led by standouts at tailback and quarterback and so were we. We played our butts (off), so it was a tough loss.
"The difference between us and them is that we didn't win some of our close games. From where we started the season, and for not having the depth of most of our opponents, it was a good season."
Cross country teams looking to add depth
Coach Joe Monda will be looking to add runners to the boys and girls cross country teams next season.
The boys team struggled with numbers all season until finally competing as a team in the City League meet Oct. 10 at Walnut Ridge, while the girls squad will be losing three seniors.
Both teams finished their seasons in the Division I district meet Oct. 20 at Hilliard Darby.
The boys team placed 11th (354 points) of 16 teams in district 2, behind champion Hilliard Davidson (30), as the top five teams and top 20 individuals advanced regional Oct. 27 at Pickerington North.
"We'd like to get more people involved to make sure we can score as a team all of next year," Monda said. "We've got some good runners (coming back), but we need to add some depth."
Sophomore Thaine Nederveld finished 38th (17 minutes, 48.6 seconds) of 112 runners at district to lead the Braves, followed by sophomore Mathew Conroy (42nd, 17:51.7), seniors Emil Adams (83rd, 19:42.1) and Colin Ramsby (94th, 20:13.5), junior Hassan Sesay (104th, 21:24.7) and freshman Reed Wilson (112th, 25:33.7).
The Braves placed third (84) of 12 teams in the City meet, behind Centennial (60) and International (79). Conroy (third, 18:09.2) and Nederveld (seventh, 18:30.7) were first-team all-league, while Adams (20th, 19:43.8) and Ramsby (21st, 20:20.2) were honorable mention.
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 to regional.
Senior Harper Daniel placed 84th (23:47.3) of 104 runners to lead the Braves, followed by senior Elizabeth Cobbs (85th, 23:47.5), sophomore Micah Stromsoe-DeLorenzo (91st, 25:38), freshman Anya Ramey (93rd, 26:02.2), junior Megan Sharp (96th, 26:46.1) and sophomore Olivia Cobbs (97th, 26:47.6).
Whetstone placed second (51) of five teams in the City meet, behind Northland (29), as Daniel (third, 23:09.8) and Elizabeth Cobbs (sixth, 23:57.2) made first-team all-league and Ramey (15th, 25:20) and Stromsoe-DeLorenzo (17th, 26:01.8) were honorable mention.