Coach Jason Peters hopes his Grandview Heights football team makes the necessary adjustments entering its first road test of the young season.
The Bobcats visit Africentric on Friday, Sept. 6, for their fourth meeting with the City League-South Division program. They won 42-0 last year and have won the first three meetings by a combined 127-40.
It will be the second City League opponent that Grandview has faced in as many weeks, after the Bobcats edged City-North squad Centennial 21-20 on Aug. 29.
"Every team is different and they do different things," Peters said. "Right now we need to enjoy the (Centennial) win and watch film and get better."
The Nubians opened Aug. 30 with a 28-24 loss to Steubenville Catholic Central after finishing 0-10 last fall. They entered the game having lost 17 in a row, with their last win coming in the third week of 2017, 40-20 over Lockland.
Africentric's run-based offense has three key components back in senior quarterback Kquaon Hansard, junior running back Justin Fudge and senior wide receiver Joeson Russell.
"They are a sleeper team so we'll have to be ready," senior two-way lineman Joey Bertani said. "You have to have the same approach every week: Stay focused on the game at hand and be ready to play."
Centennial and Grandview opened with a game riddled with penalties and stoppages in play because of numerous leg cramps. The teams combined for 22 penalties totaling 188 yards, including 12 penalties for 118 yards for Grandview.
"(The) kids played hard and responded when they needed to despite putting themselves in bad situations," Peters said. "They found a way to get it done. I'll take an ugly win over a pretty loss, and this definitely wasn't a pretty win."
Senior quarterback Kyle Casey was 21-for-28 passing for 214 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions and ran for one score. Senior running back Darreion Davis rushed for 113 yards on 19 carries, with 70 yards in the second half as Grandview ate up the clock in the fourth quarter.
"(Peters) told us that we needed to ground and pound them in the second half," Davis said. "We were controlling the line of scrimmage throughout the night, but we just had to be getting people in the right spots."
Peters said the offensive push made a difference.
"Darreion runs hard," Peters said. "The dude runs hard, and that's why we love him.
"The line blocked hard and (slotback) Trey (Cook) blocked his butt off. I'm so proud of our kids because they found a way to get the job done when they had to."
Grandview lineman Matthew Taylor recovered a fumble by Centennial quarterback Jaylen Gilbert with 3 minutes, 43 seconds left in the third inside the Stars' 30-yard line. That set up a 26-yard touchdown pass from Casey to Luke Lachey, who finished with 10 catches for 128 yards.
Hallie Georskey kicked the extra point to give Grandview a 21-20 lead with 3:09 left in the third, and the Bobcats made the advantage stand. The senior was perfect on all three of her extra points.
"I ask my kickers for two things: Don't miss and don't get the kicks blocked," Peters said. "Hallie did that on all three of her kicks."
Casey also had a 7-yard touchdown pass to Cory Culp with 45 seconds left in the first quarter to give the Bobcats a 14-6 lead.
"We knew we had to come out stronger in the second half and finish," said Bertani, who forced a second-half fumble that was recovered by Davis. "We're well-conditioned and we were ready to go. We were creating holes for Darreion, and we were making big plays when we needed them."
Amicon, Miller to lead boys runners
Senior Chris Miller and junior Derek Amicon are back to lead the boys cross country team after competing in the Division III state meet last fall.
Amicon finished 22nd (17 minutes, 4.8 seconds) at state, and Miller was 51st (17:35.5).
The two started the season strongly in the Hartford Twilight Invitational on Aug. 24, as Amicon was runner-up (16:12.2) and Miller was 22nd (16:49.5).
"Both Chris and Derek have continued to run well for us," said fifth-year coach Chris Szabo, who also leads the girls team. "Derek started strong with a 4:58 (in the first mile) and it worked well for him. Now he'll work to try to sustain that pace."
The Bobcats finished ninth (256 points) of 13 teams behind champion Olentangy Orange (53).
Junior P.J. Tingler (151st, 21:06.2), freshman Alasdair Schlesinger (152nd, 21:11.0), senior Josh Roemer (156th, 21:20.4), junior Brady Long (159th, 21:22.5) and freshman Nathan Reese (160th, 21:26.4) also competed.
Freshmen Christopher Kowalcyk and Matthew Sanzo complete the roster.
"We have a pretty young team and (Amicon and Miller) can provide some good leadership," Szabo said. "They are maturing so they know how to have different race strategies. They don't take it out too quickly and work up to the pack without panicking. They are a lot stronger and have the stamina to keep up with the pack."
Amicon finished first (16:06.6) in the Canal Winchester Invitational on Aug. 28 as the Bobcats were 11th (315) of 20 teams behind champion New Albany (51).
Miller was fourth (16:35.3), followed by Schlesinger (130th, 21:04.1), Reese (147th, 21:24.3) and Roemer (157th, 21:34.5).
Girls runners have strong senior class
Four of the seven athletes on the girls cross country team are seniors, providing ample leadership to help Szabo.
The senior class is led by Liza DeVere, who finished 19th (20:38.4) in the Hartford Twilight Invitational.
Freshman Greta Tew had a strong race, finishing 28th in 20:54.9.
The Bobcats placed 10th (282) of 15 teams behind champion Granville (56). Also competing were sophomore Nina Brown (89th, 23:03.6) and seniors Amelia Sturbois (90th, 23:04.3), Emmalyn Kukura (97th, 23:15.8) and Jenna Richards (117th, 23:53.8).
"I'm really excited about the girls team," Szabo said. "The thing that's most exciting is they have a great dynamic between all of them. They are positive and encouraging, and they always are asking me what else they can do, which is a coach's dream."
Sophomore Sosi Mahdasian rounds out the roster.
DeVere was sixth (20:10.7) as the Bobcats finished fifth (128) of 15 teams at Canal Winchester behind champion Bexley (40). Tew (14th, 20:49.0), Brown (41st, 22:48.9), Kukura (45th, 22:52.6) and Sturbois (57th, 23:34.9) also scored.
"Liza is having a strong start for us, and we're looking for big things from her," Szabo said. "Greta Tew is pretty focused for a freshman, and she wants to accomplish a lot."
Below are the coming schedules for the Grandview Heights cross country, boys golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 7 -- Tiffin Carnival
Sept. 5 -- Ready at Hickory Hills
Sept. 10 -- Ready at National Road
Sept. 11 -- Hartley at National Road
Sept. 7 -- Home vs. Liberty Union
Sept. 9 -- Home vs. Fairbanks
*Sept. 11 -- Home vs. Buckeye Valley
*Sept. 5 -- Home vs. Buckeye Valley
*Sept. 11 -- At Whitehall
*Sept. 5 -- Home vs. Buckeye Valley
Sept. 10 -- Home vs. Marion-Franklin
Sept. 11 -- Home vs. Worthington Kilbourne
*Sept. 5 -- Home vs. Whitehall
Sept. 9 -- Home vs. Harvest Prep
*Sept. 10 -- At Bexley