Westerville South at Westerville North: Wildcats, Warriors look to stay undefeated

FRANK DIRENNA
fdirenna@thisweeknews.com
Peter Pedrozo and Westerville South will play at Westerville North on Friday, Sept. 11.

The Westerville North and Westerville South football teams will meet Friday, Sept. 11, at North with sole possession of first place on the line in the OCC-Capital Division.

Both teams enter the annual rivalry at 2-0 overall and in the league.

It is the first 2-0 start in league play for the Warriors since 2006, when they began 2-0 in the OCC-Buckeye. North also snapped a 28-game conference losing streak with its 17-0 win over Franklin Heights in the opener Aug. 28.

“It’s been awhile since they were 2-0 in the league,” North coach Bryan Johnson said. “The kids are playing well and there’s a little excitement going on over here.”

The Warriors improved to 2-0 with a 24-7 win Sept. 4 at Delaware, which is led by former North coach Scott Wetzel.

Sylvester Bockarie rushed for 141 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries to lead the Warriors. Coby Darlington had two catches for 64 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown reception, and James McCreary added six catches for 62 yards.

“Coach Johnson is doing a good job over there,” South coach Matthew Christ said. “In terms of the overall tradition of Westerville, this is the game. It’s a big game for both of us for a variety of reasons. I’m sure it will be a lot of fun.”

Johnson said his team is preparing for a Wildcats team that might have the most dangerous receiving group in the state.

Against Big Walnut, that unit was led by Javi’er Wills, who had five catches for 142 yards and a touchdown. Kaden Saunders, who has committed to Penn State, had a 78-yard touchdown reception.

“The four receivers they have over there, I don’t know if you’re going to find a better corps of receivers in the state than Saunders, the Wills kid, (Matthew) Bame and (Jesse) DeVore. They can flat-out play,” Johnson said. “They’re definitely the best group that we’ll face all year. … We like that challenge. Our defense has been playing really well.”

South quarterback Peter Pedrozo completed 24 of 30 passes for 409 yards and five touchdowns in Week 2. He has completed 45 of 60 passes for 733 yards and eight touchdowns in two games.

“I love what we’re doing offensively,” Christ said. “I’m frustrated because we were up 36-7 (against Big Walnut) and we just did stupid stuff and we gave up big plays and let teams hang around. We have to fix that because it’s going to come back to bite us if we don’t.”

South has won 13 consecutive games in the series, with North’s last victory coming in 2005 by a score of 14-10.

“It’s a different rivalry, the North and South game,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of mutual respect between the two. It’s a hard-hitting game.”

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank

WEEK 3

WESTERVILLE SOUTH at WESTERVILLE NORTH

•When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11

•Last meeting: 2019, South 49-21

•South (2-0 overall, 2-0 in OCC-Capital) to date: Defeated Dublin Scioto 42-28; def. Big Walnut 50-41

•North (2-0 overall, 2-0 in OCC-Capital) to date: Def. Franklin Heights 17-0; def. Delaware 24-7

•Top Wildcats: Brandon Armstrong (RB/DB), Zane Boszor (LB), Jesse DeVore (WR/WB), Elvis Gyabeng (H-back/DL), Tyler O’Reilly (OL/DL), Devin Oteng-Achamfour (HB/DL/LB), Peter Pedrozo (QB), Kaden Saunders (WR/DB), Jalen Wheeler (WR/DB) and Javi’er Wills (WR/DB)

•Top Warriors: Brennan Albertini (RB/LB), Sylvester Bockarie (RB/LB), Wyatt Buxton (QB), Coby Darlington (WR/DB), Nathan Dunfee (OL/DL), Mitchell Gillam (OL/DL), Mohammed Nasser (OL/DL), Ty O’Hearn (WR/DB/LS), Reuben Simiyu (OL/DL) and Hunter Weigand (WR/DB/K)