At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and now in his third season as a starter, senior Sebastian Meehan possesses the size and experience to be at the center of the Delaware Hayes football team's defense.
He also has got a mentality that fits a middle linebacker.
"I've always liked playing defense," Meehan said. "I like to hit and be the one delivering the hits and making the tackles."
Meehan, who has been a starter since Week 3 of his sophomore season, has seen time at weakside linebacker as well as in the middle but plays only on defense.
On his side of the ball, the Pacers have shown signs of being the type of unit they expect to be, although they are seeking more consistency.
Delaware was 2-1 entering its OCC-Capital Division opener Sept. 20 at Olentangy Berlin and will play host to Dublin Scioto on Friday, Sept. 27. The Irish were 1-2 before beginning league action Sept. 20 against Dublin Jerome, but the teams they'd lost to were a combined 5-1 entering Week 4.
Scioto produced 337 yards of offense, including 299 on the ground, in a 49-14 victory over Whitehall on Sept. 13 as running back Pete Hrelec had 20 carries for 185 yards and five touchdowns and running back Tobias Thomas added 18 rushes for 112 yards and two scores.
Delaware opened with a 35-0 win over Buckeye Valley on Aug. 30 but gave up 232 yards and four touchdowns on 26 rushes to Marysville's Chase Kilgore and lost 35-14 to the Monarchs on Sept. 6.
The Pacers bounced back to beat Westland 49-6 on Sept. 13 as Jahi Broussard-Nash rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns and had a 41-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Blake Eiland. Logan Eubanks had 98 yards rushing and one score.
Through three games, Broussard-Nash had 301 yards rushing and Eiland had rushed for 190 yards and completed 25 of 50 passes for 312 yards with six touchdowns and one interception.
"We had a good win (against Westland), which is something we needed going into the league," coach Scott Wetzel said. "We were a lot more physical on defense. In our league, we have to slow people down because everybody can score. We controlled the ball offensively, and that's probably one of the big keys for us. Eubanks had a good game at fullback and we kind of spread out the wealth a little bit."
The Pacers' performance defensively against the Cougars was a major step forward compared to the week prior against Marysville, according to Wetzel.
"As good as we played against Buckeye Valley, we had a really poor game against Marysville, so we really challenged our kids to be more physical, control the line of scrimmage and not give up the run," Wetzel said. "I thought our kids did a good job."
The Pacers' linebacker corps, which is led by Meehan and also features senior Jacob Hunsaker and junior Kaleb Shaw, is "probably the strength of our team," Wetzel said.
Last season, Meehan had 91 tackles, six tackles for loss and two forced fumbles and earned first-team all-league honors while seeing most of his action at weakside linebacker.
Meehan expects to play middle linebacker in college. He has scholarship offers from Dayton, Morehead State and Valparaiso and also has received interest from Akron, which he plans to visit.
"Since (the Marysville) game, we've worked on having better pursuit angles and getting to our assignments," Meehan said. "(Westland) was a great game. We were flying around on both sides of the ball, offense and defense, clicking on all cylinders. It was a great team win."
Volleyball team seeks more wins in league
The girls volleyball team continues OCC-Cardinal action Tuesday, Sept. 24, at Hilliard Bradley and Thursday, Sept. 26, at home against Worthington Kilbourne.
The Pacers didn't win a set against either team in the first round of league play but hung with the Jaguars in all three sets, losing 25-22, 25-21, 25-23 on Aug. 29.
In a 21-25, 25-10, 25-21, 25-15 league loss to Scioto on Sept. 17, senior Rebecca Rocassin and sophomore Natalie Davis both had seven kills and junior Anna Johnson and sophomore Bailey Christiansen each had five kills.
Johnson and Rocassin, who both see time at setter, had 22 and 12 assists, respectively.
Senior libero Mia Thompson led the defense with 17 digs.
Delaware was 7-9 overall and 2-7 in the league after beating Thomas Worthington 25-12, 25-17, 24-26, 22-25, 15-9 on Sept. 18.
"We want our program to continue to grow in skill and character development," coach Raynard Martin said. "Growth mindset is very important in our program. Our program continues to talk about how important it is to be focused and work hard every time we step on the court. We don't want to take for granted this opportunity of playing a sport we love."
Girls soccer team to face Wolves
The girls soccer team will look to even the score against Kilbourne when it plays host to the Wolves on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
Since the teams became league opponents in 2016, Kilbourne has won two of three matchups, with the Pacers winning 4-1 in 2017.
Delaware was 2-6-2 overall before facing Big Walnut on Sept. 21 and is 1-2-1 in the OCC-Cardinal.
The Pacers had scored 12 goals through 10 contests and had been shut out in three consecutive games before facing Big Walnut.
In a 1-all tie with Reynoldsburg on Sept. 5, junior forward Marissa Lovett scored and goalkeeper Abby Weller made one save.
The Pacers defeated Buckeye Valley 5-0 on Aug. 16 and Hilliard Darby 4-1 on Aug. 27. Lovett had two goals and Weller made 14 saves against Darby.
Below are the coming schedules for the Delaware Hayes cross country, boys golf, girls golf, boys soccer, girls soccer, girls tennis and girls volleyball teams:
Sept. 28 -- Erin Nance Fall Distance Classic at London Country Club
Sept. 23 -- OCC Shootout at Moundbuilders
Sept. 24 -- Buckeye Valley at Oakhaven
Sept. 26 -- Delaware County Cup at Mill Creek
Sept. 28 -- Pickerington Central Invitational at Turnberry
Sept. 23 -- Worthington Kilbourne at Worthington Hills
Sept. 24 -- Dublin Scioto and Hilliard Bradley at Buck Ridge
Sept. 25 -- Olentangy Orange at Oakhaven
*Sept. 24 -- At Worthington Kilbourne
*Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Kilbourne
Sept. 23 -- Home vs. Buckeye Valley
Sept. 24 -- Home vs. Marysville
Sept. 26 -- Home vs. Caledonia River Valley
*Sept. 24 -- At Bradley. The Pacers lost to the Jaguars 25-22, 25-21, 25-23 on Aug. 29.
*Sept. 26 -- Home vs. Kilbourne. The Pacers lost to the Wolves 25-22, 25-18, 25-12 on Sept. 3.