Football: Grove City Christian coach pleased with progress made by program

Frank DiRenna
ThisWeek group
Josiah Bever (7) leads the Grove City Christian football team onto the field before the opener against Worthington Christian. Bever, a wide receiver/defensive back, was one of nine seniors for the Eagles, who finished 4-3.

Grove City Christian football coach Hank Patterson believes he has his program heading in a good direction after completing his fourth season. 

The Eagles stood at 4-1 before losing their final two games to finish 4-3 overall. 

“I’m happy,” Patterson said. “I wish it could go a couple more games just to see what we’re like against other competition. It was interesting to see the way the guys came at it. They wanted to finish their season whether it would be up or down. They just wanted to play 10 games.” 

Grove City Christian went 4-1 in the MSL-Cardinal Division to finish third behind  champion Berne Union (5-0). The Eagles and Rockets didn’t meet this season. 

Worthington Christian, which went 5-1 in the league, handed the Eagles their lone league loss 42-8 on Sept. 28. 

Christian Lautenschleger (RB/LB), who was one of nine seniors, capped a four-year career by being named first-team all-district and all-league. 

“I’m happy with the season and how good we did,” Lautenschleger said. “I’m really excited to see what they can do next year and the years coming. … It was a quick four years. It went by super-fast, and I’m just glad that I spent my time playing football and just enjoying my friends. It’s crazy how fast it goes by.” 

He rushed for 1,038 yards and eight touchdowns on 142 carries and added 10 receptions for 110 yards. 

“It’s tough not going to practice any longer,” Lautenschleger said. “I miss it a lot and I miss all the guys on my team.” 

Lautenschleger plans on playing in college but remains undecided where. 

“I would love to play football, that’s definitely my top priority,” he said. 

Senior Josiah Bever (WR/DB) and junior Jaylin Walker (WR/DB) were also first-team all-league, and seniors Henry Arias (OL/DL) and Andrew Heins (TE/DL) and junior Jayden Hanks (QB/DB) were second-team all-league. 

Earning honorable mention all-league honors were junior Kyle Graham (OL/DL) and sophomores Jalen Clemons (OL/LB) and Braydan Taylor (QB/LB), while Bever, Clemons, Heins, Walker and senior Collin May (TE/DL) were special/honorable mention all-district. 

Bever, Lautenschleger, May and senior Carson Dick (WR/DB) were four-year letter winners. 

Seeded 11th in the Division VII, Region 28 playoffs, Grove City Christian lost 47-7 at sixth-seeded St. Henry in the second round Oct. 16. Both teams had an opening-round bye. 

“The St. Henry game was a great experience for our team just seeing the playoffs and also seeing a juggernaut team like that,” Patterson said. “I looked at a positive way to look at it. You see what it’s like when you get to the so-called big-time.” 

The Eagles scheduled two regular-season contests following the loss to St. Henry, but both games were canceled. 

“I think the seniors left their mark on the program,” Lautenschleger said. “We tried to get in that mindset that we’re here to win games, we’re here to play football, we’re here to do good. Football is a passion and it's a privilege to play, so you have to act like it.” 

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekFrank 

•Record: 4-3 overall 

•MSL-Cardinal standings: Berne Union (5-0), Worthington Christian (5-1), Grove City Christian (4-1), Fisher Catholic (3-3), Fairfield Christian (2-4), Corning Miller (1-5), Zanesville Rosecrans (0-6) 

•Seniors lost: Henry Arias, Jacob Bapst, Josiah Bever, Carson Dick, Andrew Heins, Christian Lautenschleger, Collin May, Joseph Phillips and Sebastian Sosa 

•Key returnees: Kyle Graham, Jayden Hanks, Brayden Taylor and Jaylin Walker 

•Postseason: Lost to St. Henry 47-7 in second round of Division VII, Region 28 playoffs