The Westerville South football team is in uncharted territory as it prepares to visit Thomas Worthington on Friday, Sept. 13.
The Wildcats haven’t started 3-0 – or 2-0, for that matter – since 2012, which also was the last time they made the playoffs.
If South can beat the Cardinals and run its season-opening winning streak to three, it will reinforce to coach Matthew Christ and his players that they’re on the right track.
“Our big focus has really been on us,” Christ said. “I really believe, and I think our guys believe, that if we take care of what we need to take of we’re really (going to) have a shot to beat whoever we’re facing on Friday night.”
Thomas coach Matt Zingery, whose team improved to 1-1 with a 24-14 win at Westerville North on Sept. 6, understands that his defense faces a tough task.
South senior running back Michael Mansaray has 11 touchdowns – 10 rushing – after scoring six times in a 49-6 win over Worthington Kilbourne on Sept. 6.
Junior quarterback Peter Pedrozo completed his first five passes for 85 yards on the opening drive against the Wolves, capping it off with the first of his two touchdown passes. He has passed for 417 yards with three touchdowns and an interception and has a 68.6 completion percentage.
“They’ve done that (in) back-to-back weeks,” Zingery said. “They have one of the most explosive offenses around. What does pop out to me on film is that their defense is playing really well. We’ll try to limit their opportunities … and hope that they make a mistake or two because right now they’re really clicking.”
Thomas bounced back against North after a 35-17 opening-night loss Aug. 30 at Canal Winchester.
“Our offense wasn’t quite clicking in Week 1 against Canal Winchester, so we were able to improve on that,” Zingery said. “What I liked the most is that we didn’t take our foot off the gas. The defense really played well against Westerville North.”
Senior quarterback James Gaiters threw for 148 yards and two touchdowns, including a 41-yarder to junior receiver Sheron Phipps, who had three catches for 71 yards and added 45 yards rushing and a touchdown on nine carries.
Phipps also had an interception and forced a fumble as a defensive back.
Gaiters has four touchdown passes. Phipps has three receiving touchdowns and a rushing score.
“They’re very physical and they run the ball well,” Christ said. “They’re going to be well-coached and they’re going to give us everything they have, so we have to make sure we do a great job preparing.”