Big Walnut vs. Frank Heights: Golden Eagles, Falcons aim to rebound after OCC losses
When sizing up an opponent, football coaches look for strengths and weaknesses, matches and mismatches, and anything else that might give them an edge.
Big Walnut and Franklin Heights might be looking more at themselves this week, however, ahead of their OCC-Capital Division contest Friday, Sept. 11.
Golden Eagles coach Rob Page pointed to cleaning up his team’s 95 yards in penalties and two turnovers in a 50-41 loss to Westerville South on Sept. 4, which dropped Big Walnut to 1-1 both overall and in the league.
“I think the unforced errors and self-inflicted wounds we had come back to us having to focus in practice with the same level of intensity that we have in the game,” Page said. “You can’t have one be less than the other.”
The game will be played at Central Crossing because of stadium-capacity issues at Franklin Heights, which has stands only on the home side.
Falcons coach Cory Fenner continues to focus on the need for better offensive execution following a 64-14 setback against Canal Winchester on Sept. 4.
The Falcons were limited to 222 yards of total offense in the loss, which dropped them to 0-2 overall and in the OCC-Capital.
“We’ve got to find a rhythm on offense,” Fenner said. “We’ve had a hard time the first two games. We’ll put a string of good plays together then we’ll follow it with a penalty, a turnover or some massive mistake.”
Junior quarterback Jeffery Beverly, a third-year starter, completed 14 of 24 passes for 119 yards and rushed for 54 yards on 11 carries against Canal Winchester.
Junior Artrell Saunders, who had 32 receptions a year ago to lead the Falcons, caught four passes for 45 yards against the Indians.
Big Walnut’s three-year starter at quarterback, senior Jagger Barnett, has completed 27 of 46 passes for 315 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He also has rushed for 109 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries.
Senior running back Caden Williams has rushed for 229 yards on 46 carries.
In trying to slow them, Fenner hopes to have “two key pieces” of his defense return in lineman Sam Rush and lineman/linebacker Collin Maynard. Both were sidelined by injuries against Canal Winchester.
“When you’re trying to find your rhythm and trying to execute, we’re asking some younger guys to step in and do that, and that’s hard,” Fenner said.
BIG WALNUT vs. FRANKLIN HEIGHTS
● When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11
● Where: Central Crossing
● Last meeting: 2019, Big Walnut 49-19
● Big Walnut (1-1 overall, 1-1 in OCC-Capital) to date: Defeated Delaware 14-6; lost to Westerville South 50-41
● Franklin Heights (0-2 overall, 0-2 in OCC-Capital) to date: Lost to Westerville North 17-0; lost to Canal Winchester 64-14
● Top Golden Eagles: Jagger Barnett (QB), Cam Gladden (WR/K), Brady Hershberger (WR/DB), A.J. Leasure (TE/LB), Lane Pritchard (WR/DB), Mark Ruffing (OL/DL), Mahlon Spangler (OL/DL), Gage Sutton (TE/DL), Cole Wecker (OL/DL) and Caden Williams (RB/DE)
● Top Falcons: Jeffery Beverly (QB), Adrian Bowers (RB/LB), Jacob Prince (OL/DL), Sam Rush (RB/DL), Artrell Saunders (WR/DB) and Bobby Watt (OL/DL)