Senior quarterback Drew DeYarmon understands what's at stake when the Central Crossing football team plays host to Grove City on Friday, Sept. 13.
DeYarmon's team has won the first three games in the series, but the Comets aren't taking the Dawgs lightly. Not when community bragging rights are on the line.
"Grove City is a great ball club over there," DeYarmon said. "They haven't been on the right side of the win column lately, but it's definitely a different atmosphere when we play them. It's the Super Bowl of the city and anything can happen in that game as we've seen the last three years."
DeYarmon competed against Grove City players while attending Pleasant View Middle School and has been part of the series since it began in 2016.
"They have a lot of experience," DeYarmon said. "It's going be to fun Friday. I grew up playing against a lot of them over the years, especially towards my middle school career. There's definitely a lot of atmosphere when it comes to those games, there always is."
The Comets defeated Grove City 38-14 last season after narrowly winning the first two games in the series, 28-21 in 2016 and 49-48 in 2017.
"Motivation is not a concern this week," Central Crossing coach Trevor White said. "It's the opposite. A lot of it is calming down the emotional part of it, realizing it's the same thing as any Friday. In order to win, we have to execute our best."
The Dawgs are 0-2 and looking to snap a 17-game losing streak. They haven't won since Sept. 22, 2017, when they beat Franklin Heights 55-23.
Grove City opened with a 27-0 loss at Hilliard Davidson on Aug. 30 and fell to visiting Westerville Central 56-7 on Sept. 6 after taking a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on Carter Binford's 29-yard touchdown run. The Dawgs managed just 50 yards of offense against the Warhawks while allowing 424.
"We made mistakes and it hurt us," Grove City coach Tennyson Varney said. "That's the biggest thing."
The Comets aren't concerned about the Dawgs' struggles to begin the season.
"There's no overlooking anybody," White said. "They played two extremely good opponents. If anything, this is a battle-hardened team. They've had two top-quality opponents and some great competition. That generally makes you better, so we're expecting a focused and hungry battle-hardened team coming in."
Grove City senior lineman Joey Woolard is looking forward to his final contest against the Comets.
"This is a game we want to win if we're undefeated or haven't won a game yet. (Our record) doesn't matter," he said. "This would mean more than anything. It's the battle of Grove City. Every year since I was a freshman, we knew Week 3 was what we were preparing for the entire offseason. ... I believe in my team and once we get our stuff together we're going to be a force."
After opening with a 34-3 loss at Dublin Jerome on Aug. 30, Central Crossing rebounded to win 10-0 at Beechcroft on Sept. 6 as Jahaan Upchurch rushed for 91 yards on 20 carries and Kyren Glaze added 47 yards on 13 carries.
"(The win) was definitely huge because we wanted to win that game in Week 1," DeYarmon said. "We thought we really had a shot against Dublin Jerome, but we just didn't play very well as a team. We had to get back at it and we bounced back pretty well in Week 2."
White is in his third season at Central Crossing after coaching Beechcroft from 2014-16.