Coming off the biggest win in program history, the Centennial football team enters its regular-season finale needing another stellar performance.
The Stars won 33-7 at Northland on Oct. 25, capturing at least a share of their first City League-North Division title while beating the Vikings for the first time.
They can win the outright league title and perhaps clinch their first playoff berth with a victory Friday, Nov. 1, at Whetstone.
"(Beating Northland) was incredibly fulfilling," coach Donte Goosby said. "It was an awesome feeling. It was an amazing feeling to be able to celebrate such an accomplishment against a team like (the Vikings)."
The Stars, who are 8-1 overall and 5-0 in the league, were projected to be seventh in this week's Division III, Region 11 computer ratings, according to joeeitel.com. The top eight teams make the playoffs.
"We've done it on our terms," Goosby said. "We haven't changed the way we've done things since I've been here. We've always felt that if we got good football players that we had a good enough set of values, a good enough (scheme) on offense and defense."
Whetstone is 3-6 overall and 2-3 in the City-North after a 20-6 loss to East on Oct. 25. The Braves might be motivated to end the Stars' playoff bid, but Goosby thinks the rivalry itself is all his opponent needs for motivation.
"That's added incentive," he said. "They don't need the extra incentive, but when you add the extra opportunity to knock your archrival out of a position they've never been in before, I'm sure those guys are going to be fired up."
The series has been even since Goosby took over in 2013. Centennial has won three meetings and Whetstone likewise, although the Stars have won the last two matchups by only a combined eight points.
"I believe they're a better team this year than they were last year, a more complete team," Goosby said. "They're multifaceted in terms of being able to run the football and pass it."
Alex Hurd threw for a season-high 311 yards on 29-for-41 passing against East. He had a touchdown and two interceptions. Rashaun Broomfield was Hurd's leading target with 12 catches for 181 yards, including a 36-yard score in the third quarter.
Centennial's defense held the Vikings to 192 total yards. Kelvin Gilliam had 8.5 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, and Justin Grimes added six tackles with two for loss and a sack.
But Goosby praised his interior defense, led by Dejwar Ali, Blake Bennett and Kevin Motley, for helping to slow down Northland.
"Those guys were the catalysts for the success we had on defense," Goosby said. "In order to stop Kalil (Branham), we would have to stop the dive. If we had to focus too many of our resources on the dive, we wouldn't be able to key in on him."
Luchene Davis carried 22 times for 147 yards and two touchdowns and made 5.5 tackles on defense.
Jaylen Gilbert scored three touchdowns on the ground and finished with 93 yards rushing on 13 carries. He added 129 yards passing while completing five of 12 attempts.
Boys soccer team falls in district semi
Junior goalkeeper Nathaniel Yang had 11 saves to lead the boys soccer team in a 4-0 loss at fourth-seeded Bexley in a Division II district semifinal Oct. 22.
"They played a pretty aggressive style against us," coach Scott George said. "We were pretty equal in skill, they just dominated winning balls in the air. They were challenging everything and keeping (the ball) on our half and that was something that we should have been doing, but we weren't and it came back to bite us."
The Stars, seeded fifth in the district tournament, finished 7-7-3.
Junior Derrick Ibrahim led Centennial with 15 goals. Junior Nicky Oberdick had seven goals and nine assists, and sophomore Ryan Lele had nine goals.
Goalie Milosz Rehfus, a junior, also is expected to return. He had 103 saves this season.
Juniors Braden Lee and Ayoub Benaaouinate and freshman Taiyo Norris are expected to anchor the defense next season.
Freshman Alexio Sophocleous and juniors Kyengo Munwoki and Linton Frimpong are expected to be back in the midfield and up front as well.