Delaware Hayes Roundup: Football team looks to seal wins

STEPHEN BORGNA
sborgna@thisweeknews.com
Delaware Hayes junior quarterback Austin Dowell surveys the defense during a 14-6 loss to host Big Walnut in the opener Aug. 28. Dowell has been making steady progress in his first season as a starter for the Pacers, who were 0-3 before playing Westerville South on Sept. 18.

The Delaware Hayes football team has endured a rough start, but coach Scott Wetzel believes better days are ahead if the Pacers can figure out ways to "finish a game."

The Pacers opened Aug. 28 with a 14-6 loss at Big Walnut, fell to visiting Westerville North 24-7 on Sept. 4 and lost at Worthington Kilbourne 31-17 on Sept. 11, leaving them 0-3 overall and in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Westerville South on Sept. 18.

Despite those losses, Delaware kept pace with its first three opponents for stretches. The Pacers trailed Big Walnut and North 7-3 and 10-7 at halftime, respectively, and led Kilbourne 17-14 at halftime.

"We were in the position to win those games," Wetzel said. "We just have to keep playing hard and finishing. Our kids are giving great effort, they're coming to practice and they work hard. We (have) just got to get to the point where we can finish a game."

The offense, which averaged 10 points through three games, began to click in the second quarter against Kilbourne, scoring 17 unanswered points to take the lead.

"As good as we played in the second quarter, we had some kids banged up a little bit and we had some kids in and out," Wetzel said. "But I thought in the third and fourth quarter, we had opportunities to score that we didn't take advantage of. We still moved the ball; we moved the ball quite well. Again, it's the finish -- to get to that point in the game and take control of it."

Junior quarterback Austin Dowell has been guiding the offense. Senior Blake Eiland was the starting quarterback entering the preseason, but is no longer with the team.

Wetzel said Dowell has shown consistent improvement over the last several weeks.

"Austin has answered the bell, he really has," Wetzel said. "I couldn't ask any more out of a kid than him stepping in, and he's getting that Friday night experience. I think that's going to be good for us down the road."

Against Kilbourne, Dowell completed 13 of 27 passes for 86 yards while rushing for 53 yards on 12 carries. He completed three of 12 passes for 81 yards against Big Walnut.

"He's getting more and more comfortable (in the offense), and as he gets more comfortable we can add things in," Wetzel said.

"We're getting more comfortable with it," Dowell said. "With the (COVID-19) coronavirus pandemic and all that, it was hard to get into the swing of things. But we're starting to understand each other and kind of get the chemistry going.

"It's gotten way easier. It was my first varsity start a couple weeks ago. (The game) has started to slow down, and I'm getting the hang of it."

Delaware, which plays host to Dublin Scioto on Friday, Sept. 25, in an OCC-Capital contest, has a regular-season game scheduled against Newark the week the playoffs begin in Week 7, along with games against Mount Vernon in Week 8 and Buckeye Valley in Week 10. Nothing was scheduled for Week 9 as of Sept. 16.

Girls golfers place second in league

The girls golf team finished second (368) behind Dublin Jerome (333) in the final round of the four-round OCC-Cardinal tournament Sept. 2 at New Albany Links to place second (24-4) in the league behind the Celtics (28-0).

Hayley Dye led the Pacers with a 75.5 average in league play, followed by Faith Eden (88.3), Lauren Girouard (98) and Isabel Crissinger (99).

Dye earned league Player of the Year honors for the third year in a row, sharing the award this season with Jerome's Audrey Ryu.

Eden was second-team all-league, and Girouard and Crissinger were honorable mention.

Boys golfers also take second in OCC

The boys golf team finished second (330) behind Kilbourne (324) in the final round of the four-round OCC-Capital tournament Sept. 9 at Denison Golf Club to place second (24-3) in the league behind the Wolves (21-0).

Mark Sulek and Brady Gazarek each averaged 79.5 in the tournament and were first-team all-league. Colin Bibler and Tyler Brown each averaged 82 and were second-team all-league, and Ben Madden averaged 83 and was third-team all-league.

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve

At a glance

FOOTBALL -- WEEK 5

DUBLIN SCIOTO at DELAWARE HAYES

*When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25

*Last meeting: 2019, Scioto 29-17

*Scioto (2-1 overall, 2-1 in OCC-Capital) to date: Lost to Westerville South 42-28; defeated Worthington Kilbourne 21-13; def. Canal Winchester 28-21; played Franklin Heights on Sept. 18

*Delaware (0-3 overall, 0-3 in OCC-Capital) to date: Lost to Big Walnut 14-6; lost to Westerville North 24-7; lost to Kilbourne 31-17; played South on Sept. 18

*Top Irish: Ibby Abumallouh (QB), Tysen Boze (WR/DB), Xavier Jeffy, (WR/LB), Amare Jenkins (QB/DB), Maxwell Martin-Lee (OL/DL), Xavier Lopes (WR/DB), Mason Salvator (RB/LB/K/P), Koel Shaw (OL/DL), Joe Trent (TE/DL) and Vernon Williams (TE/DE)

*Top Pacers: Alex Blevins (WR), Austin Dowell (QB), Logan Eubanks (RB), Ty Gillman (RB), Matt McGeath (OL/DL), Logan Gibson (OL), Gavin Kenney (OL), Braeden McGrady (WR), Kaleb Shaw (LB) and Orion Ward (DB)

Faith Eden was second-team all-league for the Pacers girls golf team, which finished second in the OCC-Cardinal behind Dublin Jerome.