Much more was at stake the last time the Big Walnut football team faced Shelby.

The two programs met in a Division III, Region 10 semifinal in 2007, when the Golden Eagles won 35-8 and went on to capture the state title three weeks later and finish 14-1.

Big Walnut will play host to the Whippets on Friday, Sept. 13.

"Shelby is a very tradition-rich program, and they have a community that's very proud of their program. They rally around it," said coach Joe Weaver, who was an assistant in 2007 under then-coach Scott Wetzel. "They are hard-nosed, tough, blue-collar kids who are going to go out and play tough football."

The game marks the home opener for the Golden Eagles, who were 0-1 before playing Buckeye Valley on Sept. 6.

Shelby, a Division IV program, was 1-0 before facing Lexington on Sept. 6. The Whippets opened their 125th season Aug. 30 against Mansfield Madison and trailed 14-0 in the first four minutes before scoring 29 unanswered points on their way to a 50-20 win.

Senior quarterback McGwire Albert and junior running back Owen Fisher lead the Whippets' offense, which amassed 556 total yards against Madison. Fisher rushed for 215 yards and four touchdowns.

Albert also has plenty of targets at receiver, with seniors Evan Bogner and Grant Gossom joining sophomore Blaine Bowman as starters.

The Whippets' defense features juniors Nathan Zehner and Marek Albert on the line.

Big Walnut opened Aug. 30 with a 21-7 loss to last year's Division V state runner-up, Johnstown.

Quarterback Jagger Barnett completed 12 of 22 passes for 114 yards and connected with Lucas Ronk on a 10-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter.

Turnovers and penalties thwarted several red-zone drives for the Golden Eagles.

"You can't make mistakes against teams like that," Weaver said. "(Johnstown is) a very talented team, and they're going to take advantage of (mistakes), and they did that. It just makes it tougher."

Tyler Crotinger led Big Walnut's running game with 63 yards on 14 carries.

"We were making stupid mistakes," Crotinger said. "We need to be more disciplined in the red zone. We had a couple of fumbles and personal fouls."

Boys golfers have eye on postseason

The boys golf team wraps up the four-round OCC-Capital Division tournament Wednesday, Sept. 11, at Apple Valley with an opportunity to finish second overall in the league.

But coach Charlie Brodhead is more focused on a different number -- getting the Golden Eagles to shoot a competitive score in time for the postseason in October.

"If we're going to qualify for (the Division I) district (tournament), the number has to be under 310," Brodhead said. "There are so many good teams. We're working on getting under that mark here in September."

The Golden Eagles' best 18-hole score entering last week came in the Kent Miller Invitational on Aug. 19 at Hiawatha, where they shot a 305 to finish fourth of 17 teams.

Kyle Williams was co-medalist in the event with a 70, while Tyler Garner (76) and Reno Overbaugh (79) also shot under 80.

"We've had some tournaments where each guy has broken 80," Brodhead said. "It's just having all four of them doing it at the same time. That's what we're working toward."

Entering last week, only Williams (77.0) was averaging under 80 for Big Walnut, which is 12-3 in the OCC-Capital through three rounds, behind New Albany (15-0) and ahead of third-place Canal Winchester (9-6).

Girls golf team concludes league play

The girls golf team shot a 401 in the fourth and final round of the OCC-Ohio tournament Sept. 4 at Mentel Memorial to place fifth behind Grove City (344), Pickerington North (370), Pickerington Central (373) and Gahanna (379) and ahead of Lancaster (483).

It was the Golden Eagles' best score in league play. Their previous best was 411, which they shot Aug. 28 at New Albany Links.

Big Walnut finished 4-16 in the league, fifth behind Grove City (18-2), North (16-4), Gahanna (13-7) and Central (9-11) and ahead of Lancaster (0-20).

Samantha Sellers led the Golden Eagles in the final round with a 91. Also scoring were Jenna Allen (96), Emma Doty (101) and Emily Kuederle (113).

"Overall, (our) team scores are better," coach Lloyd Huffer said. "Girls who were once in the 70s (for nine holes) are in the 60s to 50s. They are learning the type of work and dedication it takes to make the transformation from someone who can hit a golf ball to a golfer."

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Schedules

Below are the coming schedules for the Big Walnut cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:

CROSS COUNTRY

Sept. 14 -- Otterbein Invitational

BOYS GOLF

Sept. 9 -- Delaware at Oakhaven

Sept. 11 -- OCC-Capital at Apple Valley

Sept. 14 -- Rodney Butt Classic at Denison Golf Club

GIRLS GOLF

Sept. 10 -- Watterson at Bent Tree

Sept. 12 -- Dublin Scioto at Bent Tree

BOYS SOCCER

*Sept. 10 -- At Canal Winchester

Sept. 14 -- Home vs. Watkins Mem-orial

GIRLS SOCCER

*Sept. 10 -- Home vs. Canal Win-chester

Sept. 12 -- Home vs. Olentangy

GIRLS TENNIS

Sept. 9 -- Home vs. Granville

Sept. 10 -- At Worthington Christian

Sept. 12 -- At Watkins Memorial

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

*Sept. 10 -- At Newark

*Sept. 12 -- At Franklin Heights

Sept. 14 -- Wayne Roller Memorial Tournament at Pickerington North

*League contest