ThisWeekSports Central Ohio Football Previews: Who, What, Where & When

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ThisWeek Sports

A look at key Central Ohio Week 4 matchups and players


 

WEEK 4 FOOTBALL PREVIEWS

*Newark at Pickerington North

The Pickerington High School North football team spent the non-league
portion of its schedule trying to find the right balance for using its
top two quarterbacks and fine-tuning a defense that it believed needed
work.

The performances of senior Godwin Igwebuike proved to be a more than capable margin for error.

During the Panthers’ 3-0 start, he has rushed for 685 yards and 10 touchdowns on 42 attempts for a 16.3-yard average.

Igwebuike, who ran for 1,046 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, is
the first running back in program history to put together back-to-back
games of at least 200 yards rushing. He made it three in a row in a
41-13 win over visiting Fremont Ross on Sept. 7 with 223 yards and four
touchdowns on 15 attempts.

North plays host to Newark on Friday, Sept. 14, in its OCC-Ohio Division opener. COMPLETE STORY

*Hilliard Davidson at Dublin Coffman

The Hilliard Davidson High School football team’s option offense has
been known to run the ball, run the ball again and run the ball some
more, taking time off the clock and keeping its opponent’s offense on
the sideline.

Despite employing a spread attack, Dublin Coffman has been even more
effective on the ground this season than the Wildcats. That would seem
to give the Shamrocks the advantage when they play host to Davidson on
Friday, Sept. 14, even though the Wildcats have won the last three
meetings, including a 14-0 victory last year.

The contest marks the OCC-Central Division opener for both teams.

Coffman, which improved to 3-0 with a 40-7 win over Massillon Perry
on Sept. 7, is averaging 244 yards rushing per game and Davidson, which
beat Beavercreek 14-13 on Sept. 7 to improve to 2-1, is averaging 196.
The Shamrocks are averaging 171 yards passing and the Wildcats are
averaging just under 40 yards through the air.

“I don’t think the teams are as evenly matched as…COMPLETE STORY

*Reynoldsburg at Grove City

Grove City High School football coach Matt Jordan loves players who
not only excel on the field, but also in the classroom and away from
school.

Senior center Hayes Davis fits that description.

Davis has been a three-year starter at center and leads an offensive line that has been a key in the team’s rushing success.

A second-team all-OCC-Ohio Division selection last season, Davis
scored a 35 of a possible 36 on the ACT and has a 4.34 GPA, which ranks
fourth in his class.

He may pursue a pre-medical degree and is considering whether to attend Harvard University.

“I’m a student-athlete and education is always going to be my first priority…COMPLETE STORY

*New Albany at Olentangy Orange

Cole Snowden is the epitome of toughness, at least in the eyes of Olentangy Orange High School football coach Brian Cross.

The 6-foot, 240-pound guard has started for three seasons for the
Pioneers, but it’s the senior’s tireless work off the field that has
made him a success on it.

“Cole is tough and is probably the hardest-working kid I have
coached,” said Cross, who is in his 31st season as a head coach and has
213 career victories. “He really has dedicated himself to the game for
the past two years in the weight room, trying to improve his foot speed
and quickness. He has great leg strength and good drive.”

Snowden was a wrestler until his sophomore year, when he decided to dedicate himself to…COMPLETE STORY

*Thomas Worthington at Upper Arlington

The Upper Arlington High School football team lost several of its
offensive threats from last season to graduation, including 6-foot-1
wide receiver Frank Epitropoulos, who is playing at Ohio State.

Epitropoulos had 25 receptions for 459 yards and seven touchdowns
last year, as the Golden Bears went 9-3 and qualified for the playoffs,
losing to Hilliard Davidson 15-6 in a Division I, Region 3 semifinal
after beating Troy 21-20 in overtime in the first round.

Among the other skill players who graduated were quarterback David
Smith, who was 101-for-175 passing for 1,315 yards, 13 touchdowns and
four interceptions last year, wide receiver Garrett Powers (26 catches,
381 yards, 3 touchdowns) and running backs Ryan McSheffery (594 yards, 5
touchdowns on 112 carries) and Francis Wilamosky (571 yards, 5
touchdowns on 85 carries).

The Bears did return their leading rusher, however, in 5-11,
181-pound senior Gus Ackley, who is playing a hybrid running
back-receiver role this season after rushing for 774 yards and 12
touchdowns on 126 carries last year.

His new role is anything but unfamiliar…COMPLETE STORY

*Hilliard Darby at Westerville North

History doesn’t always take into account the hard work put in by a
group of athletes. Wins and losses usually get all the recognition.

For first-year Westerville North High School football coach Rodger
Elander, he hopes he is building the foundation of a successful program.
For the seniors who have stuck it out for four years and now are
learning a new system, the hard work won’t be done until the final game
is played.

“They’re just solid kids,” Elander said of his seniors. “Their group
is a group I would love to have four years to work with, because they’re
buying in and they’d be easy (for other players) to follow.

“They always want to know what the coaches want and they’d be a core group to build around.”

With a 55-0 loss to Reynoldsburg on Sept. 7, the Warriors fell to 0-3
and dropped their 38th consecutive game. Their last win came Sept. 19,
2008, when they defeated Westerville Central 21-17.

North plays host to Hilliard Darby on Friday, Sept. 14, in the OCC-Cardinal Division opener.

According to Elander, the players and coaches aren’t concerned about…COMPLETE STORY

*Worthington Kilbourne at Westerville South

Worthington Kilbourne High School football coach Vince Trombetti
wants to see how good his team can be if it plays well for 48 minutes
every Friday night.

He has yet to see that, which is part of the reason the Wolves are
1-2 heading into their OCC-Central Division opener Friday, Sept. 14, at
Westerville South.

“We’ve lost two games by a total of five points and didn’t play well
for more than one half in either of them,” said Trombetti, whose team is
averaging 23.3 points and allowing an average of 13.7. “Even in our win
(37-3 over Thomas Worthington on Aug. 31), we didn’t play well in the
first half. Turnovers have hurt us in many ways, stopping our own drives
and also setting up a short field for (our opponent) and putting our
defense in bad situations.”

The Wolves will need to step up their game if they are to pull the
upset against South, which is 3-0 and dominated its first three
opponents, winning by an average of 30 points. The Wildcats’ smallest
margin of victory occurred Sept. 7, when they beat visiting Grove City
42-20. They are allowing an average of 18.3 points.

“Westerville South is impressive…COMPLETE STORY

*Olentangy at Big Walnut

The contest is the OCC-Capital Division opener for both teams, which
haven’t met as league foes since 1996 when both schools were members of
the now-defunct Buckeye Athletic Conference. The rivalry dates to 1954,
with Big Walnut holding a 24-23 edge in the series. The Golden Eagles
have won the last two meetings, including 41-13 last season.

The Braves are 3-0 for the first time since 2008. That season, they
won their first five games en route to going 7-4 and losing to Sylvania
Southview 28-14 in the first round of the Division II, Region 6
playoffs. They haven’t been to the playoffs since…COMPLETE STORY

*Watterson at Winton Woods  

This marks the fifth consecutive season that the teams have faced
each other. They split the previous four meetings. The Eagles’ only
setback in their Division III state championship season in 2010 was a
23-14 loss to the Warriors. Watterson avenged that loss last season.

Winton Woods, which has employed a triple-option offense the past few
seasons, is led by Hooks, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound junior who was
17-for-28 passing for 257 yards and had 129 yards rushing through two
games. In the loss to Wayne on Aug. 25, he was 14-for-21 passing for 198
yards and rushed for 74 yards and one score.

Davis, Grissom and Tyler Gist are the top running backs for the
Warriors and Grissom, Jetter and Stephen Tucker are among their
receiving threats…COMPLETE STORY

*Hilliard Bradley at Dublin Jerome

At first glance, this would appear to be a game featuring two running
offenses, but Bradley has been effective in its passing game with Horn
behind center in its spread-option offense. In three games, Horn has
completed 23 of 38 passes for 437 yards and two touchdowns. Horn and
Martin lead the Jaguars’ ground game.

Wilson, a Georgia Tech recruit, leads Jerome’s double-wing spread
attack with 377 yards rushing and six touchdowns on 74 carries…COMPLETE STORY

*Lancaster at Pickerington Central

Central showed a mix of the run and pass in its first two games, with
Simkins throwing for 152 yards and eight players carrying the ball at
least one time against Marion-Franklin. Reyes has shown ability at wide
receiver.

Lancaster rushed for 441 yards on 39 carries against Logan on Aug. 24
but was limited to 144 yards on 37 rushes against Mason on Aug. 31 and
144 yards on 33 carries against Twinsburg on Sept. 7. King and Shishler
should get the bulk of the carries and Theiss has thrown for 266 yards
on the season…COMPLETE STORY

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