Ryan Wiggins has his DeSales football team cruising with five consecutive victories, but he is wary of his squad's next opponent, St. Charles.
The teams meet in a CCL contest Friday, Oct. 18, at St. Charles, which is 4-3 overall and 0-1 in the league. The Cardinals have scored only 14 points in their last two contests, a 30-7 league loss to Hartley on Oct. 4 and a 20-8 loss to Lucas on Oct. 11.
"When you look at (the Cardinals') season, they have been very solid defensively and they returned a lot of guys from a unit last year that just kept getting better and better," said Wiggins, whose team is 5-1 overall and 1-0 in the CCL. "I think it will be exciting. We have great crowds at CCL games and they are always a lot of fun. The kids put a lot of effort into these games."
The Cardinals are led by running back Luke Eversole, who has rushed for 976 yards and 10 touchdowns on 184 carries. Against Lucas, the senior rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.
"They do a good job scheme- and identity-wise," Wiggins said. "I like their back, Eversole, and they do a good job of running the ball. They do a great job with execution."
St. Charles coach Deke Hocker is glad to be returning home after the tough loss at Lucas.
"They beat us, and now it's time to turn the page and move on," he said. "We have to lick our wounds and get healthy. They controlled the line of scrimmage. It was that kind of game.
"I think we need to go back to the basics of pad level, playing fast and taking care of the football. We need to do all of the things that help win the line of scrimmage and win games."
The Stallions are coming off a 28-7 win at Dayton Belmont on Oct. 11. They had two running backs rush for more than 100 yards in Quintell Quinn (18 carries, 155 yards, 1 TD) and Jaylen Ball (19 carries, 108 yards, 2 TDs).
"They have got some good linemen, and they have some good skill guys," Hocker said. "You have to play a disciplined game against them.
"Also, it's a CCL game. We don't have time to sit around and think about (the loss to Lucas). We have to move on, get better and get back to work. We have no option. We have no choice."
Runners hope to reach next gear at district
The cross country team fell short of winning its 12th consecutive CCL championship, but coach Damien Brandon said the Cardinals can't worry about that now that the postseason has arrived.
That begins with the Division I, district 1 meet Saturday, Oct. 19, at Hilliard Darby. The top five teams and top 20 individuals qualify for regional Oct. 26 at Pickerington North.
"Going into district, it's the first time in a long time that we haven't been a seeded team," Brandon said. "We can go in loose and just try to run our race and get out to regional."
Last season, St. Charles finished fifth in the district 2 meet to take the final regional-qualifying spot.
Ethan Encarnacion led the Cardinals in the CCL meet Oct. 12 at Otterbein, finishing seventh in 17 minutes, 34.03 seconds as Watterson's Will Garey (16:31.04) won.
"It wasn't my best race," Encarnacion said. "It was fast, but not fast enough. We had been training in the excessive heat all season and this cold kind of ruined me. I couldn't breathe out there, probably because of the weather."
St. Charles, which had won 19 of the last 20 league titles, finished third (59) behind Watterson (35) and Hartley (46) and ahead of DeSales (71) and Ready (155).
Andrew Sarff (ninth, 18:00.24), William Ferris (10th, 18:01.06), Colin Hayter (14th, 18:14.86), Caleb Lipkin (19th, 18:30.51) and Samuel Lawler (23rd, 18:45.29) also competed.
"Our guys ran tough, but Watterson and Hartley came out and threw everything they could at us," Brandon said. "Our guys gave it all that they had, but it was more than we could handle."
Golf team falls short at district tournament
The golf team finished fourth (310) in the Division I district tournament Oct. 8 at Apple Valley as Dublin Jerome (300) and Olentangy Liberty (303) earned the two team berths to state Friday, Oct. 18, and Saturday, Oct. 19, at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
The two individual state qualifiers were Pickerington North's Carson Bellish and Westerville Central's Josh Qian. They won a three-player playoff with Gahanna's Mitchell Soma after all three shot 70.
Junior Reese Yakubov shot 71 to lead the Cardinals. Junior Jason Zehala had a 79 and senior Vince Campagni and juniors Luke Gutman and Jake Lowis all shot 80.
"We didn't have our best stuff and didn't play the way we had all year," sixth-year coach Brian Unk said. "Reece shot 71 and didn't make it (to state as an individual). That's a hard one to swallow. I've never seen a 71 left out, but it's always tough here."
St. Charles was second (304) in a sectional Oct. 1 at Denison Golf Club behind Jerome (294) as Campagni paced the Cardinals with a 73.
The Cardinals won their 12th consecutive CCL championship, going 8-0 in the two rounds of league play.
Below is the coming schedule for the St. Charles soccer team:
Oct. 17 -- Home vs. 33rd-seeded Lancaster or 41st-seeded Logan in second round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays 15th-seeded Groveport, 25th-seeded Chillicothe or 37th-seeded Whitehall in district semifinal Oct. 22 at home of better seed. The Cardinals are seeded third.