Football: High-powered offense carried Westerville South Wildcats
With a potent offense paving the way, the Westerville South football team enjoyed a banner season.
The Wildcats won their first seven games to advance to a Division II, Region 7 semifinal, where they lost 45-36 to second-seeded Massillon Washington on Oct. 30.
Third-seeded South, which was fifth in the final state poll released Oct. 26, finished 7-1
“We’re blessed that we played as much as we did,” said coach Matthew Christ, who was named the OCC-Capital Division Coach of the Year. “We would have struggled playing the ‘what if’ game because we knew how special of a group this was. This senior class is special. The commitment they’ve shown over the last four years is unique.
“They once again pushed the bar higher and more importantly, they expect the bar to go higher in the future. That to us is what the program and culture is all about – leave it better than you found it.”
South averaged 46.7 points, with its season-low coming in a 32-28 win over Westerville North on Sept. 11
The Wildcats went 5-0 in the OCC-Capital to finish ahead of Dublin Scioto and North, who tied for second at 5-1. It was South’s first league title since 2011, when it tied Olentangy Liberty and Westerville Central in the OCC-Cardinal at 5-2.
The league finale against Franklin Heights on Oct. 2 was ruled a no-contest after the Falcons backed out because of COVID-19 coronavirus concerns. South opened league play with a 42-28 win over Scioto on Aug. 28.
Quarterback Peter Pedrozo, one of 20 seniors, completed 130 of 214 passes for 2,622 yards with 30 touchdowns and five interceptions and was named Offensive Player of the Year in the district and OCC-Capital.
“It’s always good to get recognized for accomplishments, but football will always be a team-first sport,” Pedrozo said. “I have to give it out to my coaches and teammates, because without them I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
Junior Kaden Saunders (WR/DB), a Penn State commit, had 45 catches for 946 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was first-team all-district and all-league.
Junior Brandon Armstrong (RB/DB) rushed for 741 yards and 11 touchdowns on 85 carries and was first-team all-district and all-league along with junior Tyler O’Reilly (OL/DL).
Senior Khali Horton-Campbell (H-back/LB) was first-team all-district and second-team all-league.
Junior Javi’er Wills (WR/DB) had 24 catches for 532 yards and five touchdowns and was first-team all-league and special mention all-district. Senior Matthew Bame (WR/DB/K) had 35 receptions for 514 yards and six touchdowns and was first-team all-league and second-team all-district.
Junior Nadir Carpenter (OL/DL) was second-team all-district and all-league.
Senior Jesse DeVore (WR/wing-back) finished with 32 receptions for 464 yards and five touchdowns and was second-team all-league and special mention all-district.
Senior Ethan Gray (OL/DL), junior Jack Bates (WR/LB) and sophomore Jalen Wheeler (WR/DB) were second-team all-league
Sophomore Ethan Hanna (RB/LB) rushed for 362 yards and six touchdowns on 53 carries to earn special mention all-league honors, and senior Devin Oteng-Achamfour (H-back/LB/DL) was honorable mention all-league.
Junior Thomas Zerman (H-back/LB) and sophomore Craig Horton (OL/DL) are other key players eligible to return.
“”I’m mad the way it ended, but all things considered, I couldn’t ask for a better senior year,” Pedrozo said. “I got to play with my brothers one last time. Ended on a great 7-1 note, made it to regional semis. We’ve done something that South hasn’t done in a long time, and that’s a great feeling that I’ll keep and cherish.”
•Record: 7-1 overall
•OCC-Capital standings: Westerville South (5-0), Dublin Scioto and Westerville North (both 5-1), Big Walnut and Worthington Kilbourne (both 3-3), Canal Winchester (2-4), Franklin Heights (0-5), Delaware (0-6)
•Seniors lost: Malique Ahmad, Matthew Bame, Zane Boszor, Shamar Brittman, Mikhai Brown, Liam Dailey, Jesse DeVore, En-brass Fofanah, Ethan Gray, Elvis Gyabeng, Cole Holbrook, Kahli Horton-Campbell, Unisa Kamara, Jordan Nazario, Devin Oteng-Achamfour, Peter Pedrozo, Ryan Phillips, Chaz Spencer, John Wells and Marcus Western
•Key returnees: Brandon Armstrong, Jack Bates, Nadir Carpenter, Ethan Hanna, Tyler O’Reilly, Kaden Saunders, Jalen Wheeler and Javi’er Wills
•Postseason: Defeated Watkins Memorial 56-28; def. Olentangy Berlin 56-29; lost to Massillon Washington 45-36 in in Division II, Region 7 semifinal