Grove City Christian: Eagles look to respond from opening loss

FRANK DIRENNA
fdirenna@thisweeknews.com
Grove City Christian, led by Josiah Bever (7), takes the field before playing Worthington Christian on Aug. 28.

The Grove City Christian and host Fisher Catholic football teams enter their game Friday, Sept. 4, with both looking to rebound from disappointing outcomes in Week 1.

The Eagles opened MSL-Cardinal Division play with a 42-8 loss to visiting Worthington Christian on Aug. 28, while the Irish lost at Berne Union 44-0 in another league opener.

Grove City Christian coach Hank Patterson is optimistic his team will respond.

"(Fisher Catholic) was (once) a dominant team, but right now they're like us," Patterson said. "They lost 44-0, so it will be interesting. Week 2 is probably the week where you find out where your guys are going.

"That first game everybody is nervous. The second game, people maybe have settled down a little bit and we're more stern on what we're doing in practice. Hopefully we'll see that this week."

Worthington Christian won the program's first league title last season, finishing 4-0 in the MSL-Cardinal, ahead of runner-up Fisher Catholic (3-1). The Eagles went 1-3.

The Irish, who are coming off back-to-back Division VII postseason appearances, lost 13 players to graduation and had 19 players on the roster in the preseason.

"We're still young, younger than the previous year," Patterson said. "We're just trying to get things done. Hopefully in a couple of weeks we'll probably look a little bit better than we did (Aug. 28)."

Senior running back Christian Lautenschleger led Grove City Christian against Worthington Christian, rushing for 105 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.

The Warriors, who led 21-0 at halftime, outgained the Eagles 380-215.

The game was delayed late in the first quarter by bad weather and in the third quarter by a power outage.

"We started off slow," said senior Josiah Bever, who plays wide receiver and defensive back. "The rain delay didn't help and then the lights went out. After we came out of the rain delay, we really picked up the intensity.

"I'm really proud of our younger guys. Our linebackers are really young. They stepped it up. I know they're going to grow more as the season goes on."

Luke Thimmes is in his first season as coach at Fisher Catholic. A 1997 graduate of the school, he played linebacker for the Irish. He then played at Muskingum before returning as an assistant with Fisher Catholic, where he is in his 17th season with the program.

"Now that our younger guys and our new starters have seen what it's like to actually play in a game, they're more comfortable," Bever said. "They're going to feel more at home in a game situation. We're just hungry for a win, so we're going to take it to them."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

WEEK 2

GROVE CITY CHRISTIAN at FISHER CATHOLIC

*When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4

*Last meeting: 2019, Fisher Catholic 41-0

*Grove City Christian (0-1) to date: Lost to Worthington Christian 42-8

*Fisher Catholic (0-1) to date: Lost to Berne Union 44-0

*Top Eagles: Josiah Bever (WR/DB), Jayden Hanks (QB/DB), Andrew Heins (TE/DE), Christian Lautenschleger (RB/LB/P), Colin May (TE/DL), Jimmy Suhayda (RB/LB), Braydan Taylor (QB/LB) and Jaylin Walker (WR/DB)

*Top Irish: Jonathan Crook (OL/DL), Kavanaugh Frank (WR/DB), Anthony Preece (OL/DL), Alex Smith (RB/LB), Jack Tencza (QB/DB), Colton Yeager (WR/DL) and Waylon Yeager (OL/DL)