Westerville Central at Grove City: Warhawks, Dawgs out to even league records

FRANK DIRENNA
fdirenna@thisweeknews.com
Caden Gordon and Grove City play host to Westerville Central on Friday, Sept. 11.

The Grove City and Westerville Central football teams enter their game Friday, Sept. 11, at Grove City looking to rebound from opening losses in OCC-Ohio Division play.

Pickerington North pulled away in the fourth quarter to defeat Central 34-20 on Sept. 4, while Grove City dropped a 23-7 decision at New Albany on the same night.

It will be the first home game for Grove City coach Matt Shaul, who had served as an assistant coach since 2014. He replaced Tennyson Varney, who stepped down after three seasons to accept the same position at Hamilton Township.

“This is something I’ve thought about a lot,” Shaul said of his home debut. “Our community gets to evaluate our program only 10 times in a season and now this is the first home game for us.

“Our home stand capacity will be greater, so we should have more people in our stands to watch our kids perform. It’s a true evaluation of how our program is going to be run.”

After losing the first two games in the series in 2004 and 2005, the Warhawks have won the last two meetings.

“I remember from last season they had a lot of talent in their younger grades, so they’re starting a lot of young guys right now,” Central coach Brent Morrison said. “This coach has been at Grove City for a while now, so I don’t think it was that big of a transition.

“Their defense looks almost identical to last year. The offense is pretty similar as well. It’s just under center as opposed to being in the shotgun.”

After Central rallied to tie North at 20 in the fourth quarter, the visiting Panthers scored two touchdowns in the final 2 minutes, 7 seconds to pull away.

Warhawks quarterback Judah Holtzclaw completed 20 of 40 passes for 184 yards with a touchdown and interception, while Luke Swaney had nine catches for 59 yards.

“We have to make sure we don’t overreact to this and understand the situation that there’s a lot of football left,” Morrison said. “We have to take this thing week-by-week and continue to progress and hopefully, by the time we hit Week 7, we’re hitting our stride and we’ve taken care of all the little things.”

Shaul realizes his team will be facing a dangerous Central attack.

“Westerville Central is a really good team with a lot of talent,” he said. “They play hard and they play fast, so we definitely have our work cut out for us.”

Caden Gordon led Grove City against New Albany, rushing for 124 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. He scored on a 92-yard run in the fourth quarter to account for his team’s lone touchdown.

New Albany had a 422-202 advantage in total offense.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

WEEK 3

WESTERVILLE CENTRAL at GROVE CITY

*When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11

*Last meeting: 2019, Central 56-7

*Central (1-1 overall, 0-1 in OCC-Ohio) to date: Defeated Upper Arlington 28-23; lost to Pickerington North 34-20

*Grove City (1-1 overall, 0-1 in OCC-Ohio) to date: Def. Central Crossing 7-6; lost to New Albany 23-7

*Top Warhawks: M.J. Davis (WR/DB), Vince Francescone (LB/LS), Zeke Healy (RB/LB), Judah Holtzclaw (QB), Will Jados (OL), Logan Moore (LB), Michael Ross (RB), Luke Swaney (WR/DB), Mason Toomey (C) and Braden Weimer (OL/DL)

*Top Dawgs: Austin Allmon (TE/DL), Cole Becker (RB/LB), Tyler Biddle (LB), Carter Binford (WR/DB), Isaac Carter (OL/DL), Caden Gordon (RB/DB), Lukas Hamilton (WR/DB), Christian Isaacs (RB/DB), Trevor Mills (RB) and Hayden Yerian (RB/LB)