Three weeks are in the books, and many of central Ohio’s top football programs are living up to expectations.
There’s nothing surprising about Pickerington Central, Hilliard Davidson, Olentangy Liberty, Dublin Coffman and Hartley all being out to perfect starts.
It may be more jarring that big-school programs such as Hilliard Bradley and Gahanna are winless considering both made the playoffs last season, although both have played brutal schedules. All of the Lions’ losses have come against teams that are now 3-0, and the Jaguars’ opponents are a combined 7-2.
Here are five things we learned in Week 3:
1. Grove City got to experience a victory for the first time in nearly two years.
Losers of 33 of their last 34, the Dawgs finally put it together Sept. 13 with an 18-15 victory at Central Crossing.
Grove City finished with 261 yards rushing and held the ball for nearly 31 minutes on its way to beating the Comets for the first time after losing the previous three matchups.
Cole Crager rushed for 101 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries to lead the Dawgs, who snapped a 17-game losing streak that spanned to Sept. 22, 2017.
2. Canal Winchester found its mojo in an impressive Week 3 victory.
After barely getting past Olentangy Berlin 24-21 on Sept. 6, the Indians scored eight first-half touchdowns and dominated Teays Valley 66-7 on Sept. 13 to improve to 3-0.
Teays Valley is no slouch considering it won its first two games after going 7-3 last fall, including falling to Canal Winchester 14-7.
The Indians just had too many weapons for the Vikings to handle, as Stephan Byrd rushed for 90 yards and four touchdowns and Jack Beeler threw two touchdown passes.
3. Hartley continues to show that it isn’t a typical Division III program.
Now in its third consecutive season of being pushed up into Division III, Region 11 because of competitive balance, the Hawks have beaten a small-school state power in Wheelersburg (44-6 on Sept. 6) and a Division I program in Gahanna (38-21 on Sept. 13).
Against the Lions, Hartley built a 24-14 halftime lead and then used a 73-yard interception return by George Dunor to set up an early third-quarter touchdown that sealed the win.
4. Coffman and Davidson won rivalry matchups.
The Shamrocks beat Dublin Jerome 31-14 and the Wildcats beat Hilliard Bradley 17-9 as both improved to 3-0.
Davidson was outgained 294-257 and committed two turnovers, but it held the ball for more than 28 minutes and got touchdown runs from Kristopher Thornton and Jonathan Weir.
Coffman got 110 yards rushing from quarterback Connor Mathews on 18 attempts and 100 yards and three scores on 20 carries from Moussa Diallo.
5. Undefeated Columbus South is a team to watch.
After winning their first three games and six of their first seven last fall, the Bulldogs finished 6-4.
South again is out to a strong start, beating Whetstone 50-21 on Sept. 13 to improve to 3-0, and would seem to be in position to extend the streak considering its next three opponents have gone a combined 1-8.
Dawson Clark-Croone and Daivion Greene-Tucker each rushed for two touchdowns as the Bulldogs finished with 433 yards on the ground against the Braves.