Thomas Worthington at Hilliard Darby: Cardinals, Panthers looking for second win of season

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Hilliard Darby's Blake Horvath tries to shake off Hilliard Davidson's Kyle Pepera during their game Aug. 27. The Panthers play host to Thomas Worthington on Friday, Sept. 25.

Correction: Based on an editor's error, the name of the Hilliard Darby quarterback and fullback were incorrect in the 10th paragraph in an earlier version of this story.

Both Thomas Worthington and host Hilliard Darby will be looking to rebound from losses in Week 4 when the teams meet in an OCC-Cardinal Division matchup Friday, Sept. 25. 

The Panthers lost 37-6 to Olentangy to fall to 1-3 overall and 1-2 in the league, while the Cardinals slipped to 1-3 and 0-3 with a 31-0 setback against Marysville.

Darby coach John Santagata and Thomas coach Mike Picetti said they are looking for better execution and fewer mistakes from their teams.

“We keep losing games because we’re hurting ourselves,” Santagata said. “We focused a lot on ourselves last week and I thought we did a better job defensively as far as stopping the run. But then they ... threw some passes that hurt us pretty bad.”

The Panthers held Olentangy to 51 rushing yards, but allowed Braves quarterback Kaden Doup to complete 12 of 16 passes for 207 yards and four touchdowns, while the kickoff team allowed a 97-yard touchdown return.

“And we have to work on ourselves offensively as well,” Santagata said. “We made some mistakes and turned the ball over. On special teams we made some costly errors. We have to fix ourselves going into this week.”

Darby finished with 189 yards of total offense — including 175 yards on the ground — but fumbled three times and threw an interception.  

Connor Jones led Darby’s wing-T offense in rushing with 14 carries for 54 yards, quarterback Blake Horvath had 11 carries for 49 yards and James Hakes added six carries for 39 yards and a score.  

Picetti said he’s familiar with the Panthers’ scheme, having faced them as the defensive coordinator at Hilliard Bradley.

“I’ve played them the past few years and I’m pretty familiar with how they run the offense. They have a great quarterback (in Horvath), and obviously their fullback (Jones is a pretty good runner as well.

 “It’s a complicated offense if you don’t do your responsibilities. That’s been a big focus for us the past two weeks here, and hopefully we can continue to stress that this week and continue to get better at it.”  

Against Marysville’s wing-T attack, the Cardinals allowed 405 yards rushing.  

Picetti said the Cardinals also need better production on offense, as the Cardinals were limited to 115 yards by Monarchs.

Isaac Settles completed six of 15 passes for 54 yards, and Jayden Harris led the team in rushing with seven carries for 42 yards. Cole McDermott caught two passes for 31 yards.  

“That’s going to be a big primary focus this week, focusing on the execution of what we want, and we’ll go from there,” Picetti said.

sborgna@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekSteve 

WEEK 5 

THOMAS WORTHINGTON at HILLIARD DARBY   

•When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25 

•Last meeting: 2019, HilDarby 35-7 

•Thomas (1-3 overall, 0-3 in OCC-Cardinal) to date: Defeated Newark 30-0; lost to Dublin Jerome 56-21; lost to Olentangy 43-7; lost to Marysville 31-0 

•Darby (1-3 overall, 1-2 in OCC-Cardinal) to date: Lost to Hilliard Davidson 17-13; def. Marysville 31-28; lost to Olentangy Berlin 48-41; lost to Olentangy 37-6 

•Top Cardinals: Camden Beatty (DB/WR), Sam Carver (OL/DL), Reese Dykstra (LB/LS), Ethan Gerding (OL/DL), Jayden Harris (RB/DB), Jayvaun Lane (DB), Brandon Ross (TE/DL) and Isaac Settles (QB) 

•Top Panthers: Jake Baird (WR/DB), Blayne Barnes (TE/DL), Sam Donnelly (OL/DL), James Hakes (RB/LB), Blake Horvath (QB/DB), Connor Jones (RB/LB), Kole Kendall (OL/DL), Luke Manche (RB/LB), Ben Marsh (RB/LB), Bradley Weaver (TE/DL) and Eric Williams (WR/DB)