Central Crossing: Comets expect 'great test' from Lancaster
Although Friday, Sept. 4, will be the first official game between the Central Crossing and Lancaster football teams in 17 years, they are anything but unfamiliar with each other.
The teams have opposed each other in their final scrimmage each of the past three years, and before he came to Central Crossing in 2017, coach Trevor White's teams at Beechcroft and Brookhaven also scrimmaged the Golden Gales.
"They always provide a great test to see where we are," White said. "The wing-T (that Lancaster runs) isn't something we'll see all that often during the season, but they're a great test for us physically on both sides of the ball.
"They might get the ball outside and throw a little more now than they have, but the wing-T is still around because it works. We will have to play hard and smart."
Both teams are 0-1 entering their OCC-Buckeye Division opener.
The Comets fell 7-6 to visiting Grove City on Aug. 28. That same night, the Gales gave up the final 10 points of the game and lost 20-13 at New Albany.
Central Crossing outgained Grove City 169-103 and drove inside the Dawgs' 20-yard line three times but came away with no points, including a missed 25-yard field goal attempt by Tyler Terrell with 5 seconds left.
The Comets got their only points on Brodie Musto's 15-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter while losing their sixth consecutive opener.
The defense also came up with a goal-line stand in the third quarter, stopping Grove City at the 1-yard line, and sacked Zakk Tschirhart three times.
Grove City tied the game on Christian Isaacs' 2-yard touchdown run with 5:47 to play and won it on Tyler Lantzy's extra point.
Against New Albany, Gales quarterback Titan Johnson completed six of 16 passes for 156 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Parker Hill had 12 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown that put Lancaster ahead 13-10 in the second quarter.
The Gales also lost two fumbles.
"We have a lot of talent, but until you play under the lights, you don't know what it's like," Lancaster coach Rob Carpenter said. "That was a good football team we played, but you need two to three scrimmages, especially when you're inexperienced, to get to where you want to (be)."
Carpenter, who played 10 seasons in the NFL as a running back with the Houston Oilers, Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants, has led the Gales to eight playoff appearances since 2003 and has a 150-120 record at his alma mater.
Lancaster finished 2-7 last year and has not made the playoffs since 2016.
The teams have not played since 2003, when both were members of the OCC-Ohio.
Central Crossing lost to Lancaster 53-7 in its inaugural season of 2002 and fell 35-17 to the Gales the next year.
"We just can't defeat ourselves," White said. "Losing hurts, but we will get better."
LANCASTER at CENTRAL CROSSING
*When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4
*Last meeting: 2003, Lancaster 35-17
*Lancaster (0-1) to date: Lost to New Albany 20-13
*Central Crossing (0-1) to date: Lost to Grove City 7-6
*Top Golden Gales: Sam Finck (LB), Zindale Graf (OL/DL), Parker Hill (FB/LB), Titan Johnson (QB), Ajay Locke (FB), Christian Riley (TE) and George Sherrick (RB)
*Top Comets: Drew Basham (OL/DL), Freddy Burchett (OL/DL), Kyren Glaze (RB/DB), Jonathan Mathers (TE/LB), Tristen Needham (TE/LB), Jae'V'on Pass (RB/DB), Rudy Risinger (QB), Tyler Terrell (K/P) and Nick Tiegler (RB/LB)