Canal Winchester at Westerville South: Indians hope to end skid against unbeaten Wildcats

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Westerville South's Peter Pedrozo has completed 78 of 105 passes for 1,321 yards, 16 touchdowns with two interceptions this season.

On paper, state-ranked Westerville South is not necessarily the team Canal Winchester coach Josh Stratton wanted to be facing coming off consecutive losses.

Ranked third in Division II in last week’s state poll, South is 4-0 overall and in the OCC-Capital Division while averaging 45.8 points and 492.8 yards per game. The Wildcats rolled up 610 yards, including 333 in the air, in a 59-20 win at Delaware on Sept. 18.

“They have great athletes, guys who can score on every play. We have to do our best to keep them in front of us,” coach Josh Stratton said. “What a great challenge, though. I want to see if our guys can rise to the occasion. We’re struggling, and we’re trying to find answers. We want to find guys who can play hard and with passion on every play.”

The Indians are coming off back-to-back setbacks for the first time since a playoff loss in 2017 and their season opener in 2018, having lost 21-7 at home to Westerville North on Sept. 18 to fall to 1-3 overall and in the league.

Canal Winchester running back Stephan Byrd was held to 39 yards on 16 carries but still has 517 yards and six touchdowns on 64 carries this season. Quarterback Reese Musick ran for the Indians’ only score, a 1-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Wildcats quarterback Peter Pedrozo has completed 78 of 105 passes for 1,321 yards, 16 touchdowns and two interceptions to an array of receivers, including Matthew Bame, Penn State commit Kaden Saunders and Jav’ier Willis.

Pedrozo was 15-for-22 for 333 yards with five touchdowns and an interception at Delaware.

Saunders has 20 catches for 430 yards and five scores, and Bame has 20 catches for 247 yards and five touchdowns.

“Our passing game is what we envisioned, but I’ve been most impressed with our offensive line,” coach Matthew Christ said. “(Canal Winchester) has had some adversity but they show a lot of looks. You have to get to (Byrd) and gang-tackle him. 

“Defensively, we’ve seen several things depending on who they play, whether it’s a 3-4 look or man-to-man.”

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

WEEK 5

CANAL WINCHESTER at WESTERVILLE SOUTH

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25

Last meeting: 2015, South 42-30

Canal Winchester (1-3 overall, 1-3 in OCC-Capital) to date: Lost to Worthington Kilbourne 33-14; defeated Franklin Heights 64-14; lost to Dublin Scioto 28-21; lost to Westerville North 21-7

South (4-0 overall, 4-0 in OCC-Capital) to date: Def. Scioto 42-28; def. Big Walnut 50-41; def. Westerville North 32-28; def. Delaware 59-20

Top Indians: Stephan Byrd (RB), Jonathon Chandler (DL), Mason Fry (OL), Andre Heglar (WR), Korbin Martino (DB), Joey Moreno (OL), Reese Musick (QB), Blaine Riley (LB/P) and Luke Twiss (LB)

Top Wildcats: Brandon Armstrong (RB/DB), Matthew Bame (WR/K/P), 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) and Javi’er Wills (WR/DB)