During the first half of last season, the DeSales football team beat a pair of teams that ended up with winning records and averaged nearly 200 yards passing.
Whether the Stallions can pick up where they left off when senior quarterback Reno Godfrey sustained a season-ending injury in Week 5 will be among the things under the microscope when they open Saturday, Aug. 31, against Dayton Carroll.
The teams will meet for the first time as part of the Backyard Blitz at Huber Heights Wayne, the same site where DeSales opened last season with a 35-0 victory over Dayton Dunbar.
In that game, Godfrey threw for 190 yards and one touchdown and rushed for a score in his first varsity start after transferring from Westerville North.
"It's good having him back," said senior Owen Faulkner, a wide receiver and defensive back who returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown against Dunbar. "We really clicked those first five games and him going out was really tough, but we're excited to have him back. We're going to do really good things this year."
DeSales is coming off a 5-5 finish in which it lost its final three games with Godfrey sidelined and has moved up to Division II from Division III.
The Stallions have a multi-sport standout in senior two-way lineman Cole Potts, who placed fourth at heavyweight in the Division II state wrestling tournament last winter and has committed to play football at James Madison.
Senior Jaylen Ball (RB/LB) and junior Quintell Quinn (RB/LB) are among other key returnees for DeSales, which missed the postseason each of the past two seasons.
Carroll, which is in Division III, is coming off one of its better seasons in recent years, having finished 6-4 last fall, although all of its victories came against teams that finished with a losing record.
Cody Byrd took over as coach of the Patriots in February after serving as an assistant the past two seasons. Carroll went 18-32 in five seasons under former coach Ben Rulli, including 1-9 in 2017. From 1999-2010, the Patriots made nine playoff appearances, including reaching Division II state semifinals in 2004 and '05.
Senior linebacker Jon LaJeunesse was named second-team all-district and first-team all-Greater Catholic League last season, while senior quarterback Trent Fox threw for 1,340 yards with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions and rushed for seven scores.
Another key player for Carroll is senior wide receiver and defensive back Donovan LaJeunesse, who had 21 receptions and scored five touchdowns last season.
"(Carroll has a new) head coach who was their offensive coordinator last year and they return a lot of guys on offense, including their quarterback," Wiggins said.