After suffering its first loss of the season, the Westerville Central football team continues OCC-Buckeye Division play against a team it knows well -- and to which it hasn't lost in more than a decade.
The Warhawks will travel less than three miles south Friday, Oct. 11, to visit Westerville North and try to get back on track after losing 17-7 to undefeated Olentangy Liberty on Oct. 4 despite outgaining the Patriots 251-125 in total yards and allowing just eight rushing yards.
Central, which is 5-1 overall and 0-1 in the league, took a first-quarter lead on quarterback Judah Holtzclaw's 22-yard touchdown pass to Jace Jarvis but fell behind in the third when Kaden Tong returned Rickey Hyatt's fumble 15 yards for a touchdown.
Aidan Kenley's 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter gave Liberty insurance points to win a game in which Central missed four field goals, one of which was blocked.
That same night, North dropped to 1-5 overall with a 30-7 loss at Olentangy Orange in its OCC-Buckeye opener. Quarterback Wyatt Buxton, who was making his third consecutive start, threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Coby Darlington in the second quarter to account for the Warriors' only points.
Buxton completed 13 of 20 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted three times.
Running back Maximus Plaxico had 113 yards on 25 carries.
Central is 10-1 all-time against North, including a 48-12 win last year.
"All the games we play in this league, we know the players and we know the (coaching) staffs," Warhawks coach Brent Morrison said. "Every week, we get excited to play football and those rivalries are a fun part of this league."
North has lost 24 consecutive league games dating to the 2014 season, when it was in the OCC-Cardinal, and hasn't defeated either Central or Westerville South since beating the Warhawks 21-17 on Sept. 19, 2008, a span of 21 games.
"We want to get a win in Westerville. That's one of the goals our kids talk about," Warriors coach Bryan Johnson said. "We want to ring that (victory) bell. We've had opportunities with our schedule so far. We've been tested and we've held our own for the most part even though our record hasn't shown it. But when you get a chance to play the Olentangys and Westervilles, our kids give their best shot every time. When it happens, it's going to feel pretty good."