One of Dublin Scioto football coach Karl Johnson’s first thoughts after the Irish defeated Hard Road-rival Worthington Kilbourne 21-13 on Sept. 3 was about what he sees as parity from top to bottom in the realigned OCC-Capital Division.
“Our (league) is going to be very balanced. We match up well with everybody, but everybody is kind of in the same boat and we just have to get rid of some of those penalties,” Johnson said. “We did a great job not having turnovers (against Kilbourne). We created turnovers. I like the way we ran the ball and we had some explosive plays, too.”
Canal Winchester coach Josh Stratton, whose Indians will play host to the Irish on Friday, Sept. 11, largely felt the same way after his team routed host Franklin Heights 64-14 on Sept. 4. Both Scioto and Canal Winchester are 1-1 overall and in the league.
Stephan Byrd rushed for 98 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries, the Indians got interceptions from Bryce Barnes and Luke Twiss and outgained the Falcons 435-222 — with 399 of those yards on the ground.
Seven players scored touchdowns for the Indians, who led 30-0 after the first quarter and 57-0 at halftime.
“The big thing was we spread the ball out and ran effectively,” Stratton said. “We went from nine penalties (in a season-opening 33-14 loss to Kilbourne) to four, and two of them were on the second-team guys in the second half. If we stay focused, there’s a lot we can do, and we’ll have to be focused against Scioto. They’re crazy athletic and really fast. We have to tackle everything and be physical.”
Against Kilbourne, Scioto quarterback Andre Jenkins completed 15 of 27 passes for 158 yards. Ed Worthen rushed for 122 yards on 30 carries and Xavier Lopes caught five passes for 85 yards, including a touchdown that gave the Irish a two-touchdown lead in the first half.
They never trailed in defeating the Wolves for the fifth consecutive year.
Jenkins originally was scheduled to split time at quarterback with Ibby Abumallouh, but Abumallouh dislocated his right pinky finger in late August and then suffered a broken collarbone last week.
Scioto leads the all-time series with Canal Winchester 3-1. The teams have not played since 2015, the last of four consecutive seasons in which both were members of the OCC-Cardinal.