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O H I O C A P I T A L C O N F E R E N C E- OH I O
Overview

No clear title favorite has emerged


By ANDERS LARSON
ThisWeek Staff Writer Inside the division
When Westland High School 2006 STANDINGS Lancaster at Hilliard Darby
Team League Overall Newark at Westland
switched spots with Upper Arlington Lancaster 5-0 10-1 Oct. 12
and jumped into the OCC-Ohio Divi- Westland 4-1 7-5 Hilliard Darby at Gahanna
sion last season, most believed the Gahanna 3-2 8-4 Groveport at Westland
league was swapping out one of its Hilliard Darby 2-3 4-6 Lancaster at Newark
Groveport 1-4 3-7 Oct. 19
top dogs for a new bottom-feeder. Newark 0-5 4-6 Gahanna at Lancaster
But Westland, just 1-9 in 2005, raced 2007 SCHEDULE Groveport at Newark
to a second-place league finish and its Sept. 28 Westland at Hilliard Darby
first Division I playoff berth, proving Westland at Gahanna Oct. 26
that the OCC-Ohio indeed was more Groveport at Lancaster Newark at Gahanna
wide-open than predicted. Hilliard Darby at Newark Hilliard Darby at Groveport
Oct. 5 Lancaster at Westland
This year, add in the fact that reign- Gahanna at Groveport
ing champion Lancaster lost nearly
three-quarters of its starting lineup to always a top priority for his players. Westland will have its work cut out
graduation and Gahanna — last year’s “I’m not a big playoff guy,” Car- to repeat last year’s success and again
third-place finisher — has virtually penter said. “We base our standards establish itself as a contender for a
all of its skill position players back, around here on regular-season record. league title. The key loss to gradua-
and it looks like several horses will be We want to win the league, we want tion was quarterback Kasey Wendal,
in the race again. to beat our two rivals, Newark and a two-year starter who was named
In fact, Newark coach Scott Beery (Pickerington Central), we want to captain of last year’s ThisWeek Super
predicts that last year’s fourth-place make the playoffs and our fifth goal 25.
finisher, Hilliard Darby, will be one as a team is to see how far we can go The Cougars also will have to deal
of the front-runners . in the playoffs.” with a coaching change for the sec-
“Darby’s loaded and Gahanna’s Lancaster will play host to Gahanna ond time in three years as Brian Smith
loaded,” Beery said. “After that, I think on Oct. 19, in week four of confer- takes over for Jeff Jones.
there’s a lot of questions.” ence play. Darby looks like the team that could
Last season, Lancaster ran through Gahanna should be, along with make the biggest leap in the stand-
league play undefeated, winning every Darby, one of the league’s fastest teams ings, although expectations were sim-
game handily except a 34-33 home after graduating only its tight end, ilar last season.
win over Newark. Westland was 4-1, quarterback and one linebacker out of Darby returns virtually all of its skill
followed by Gahanna (3-2), Darby By Karen Carter/ThisWeek its 13 skill positions. positions, including dual-threat quar-
(2-3), Groveport (1-4) and Newark Coach Mike Lanza enters his 13th season with Gahanna, which finished Gahanna, which has reached the terback Jeremy Ebert.
(0-5). 8-4 last season. playoffs in four of the last six seasons, Linebacker B.J. Machen returns in
Lancaster had its best regular-sea- appears to be on the upswing after the middle, but a young defense must
son record at 10-0, but it was no fluke back Georgie Carpenter is playing at Gahanna, as it has done to other jumping from fifth in the league in answer questions after losing 10
as the Gales have been in the playoffs Marshall. The Golden Gales have been teams in years past, avenged a regu- 2005 to third last year. starters.
for four consecutive years. one of the best rushing teams in the lar-season loss to Lancaster with a Inexperience along the offensive Newark ended up at the bottom of
There are question marks this sea- area, and senior Jesse Reed (7 touch- 33-28 win in the first round of the Divi- and defensive lines is the biggest con- the conference a year ago despite a
son, however. Only three starters return downs last year) will look to step to sion I playoffs. But to Lancaster coach cern for the Lions and prevents them
on each side of the ball, and star tail- the forefront. Rob Carpenter, the league title is from being prohibitive favorites. See OCC-OHIO, page 14

Lancaster
Gales must overcome key losses to graduation

August 22, 2007 • Central Ohio High School Football Preview ’07
By ANDERS LARSON in Division I in Region 3. But for the run the wing-T, so that’s obviously
ThisWeek Staff Writer At a glance fourth consecutive year, Lancaster
bowed out in the first round when it
geared toward the ground game. We’ve
never been a big passing team, and
At Lancaster High School, the LANCASTER GOLDEN GALES Oct. 26 ....Westland .......................Away was upset 33-28 by Gahanna — a team that’s something that if we’re ever
expectations for the football team Colors: Blue and gold 2006 RESULTS it had routed 34-3 two weeks earlier. going to make a run in the playoffs,
Coach: Rob Carpenter, 11th season (10-1 overall, 5-0 OCC-Ohio)
always are high. Key players: Ed Hebb, Chad Maynard and With the numbers already down we have to be better passing the ball.
Logan........................................W, 38-0
This season, however, coach Rob Jesse Reed
Columbus West..........................W, 77-8
slightly because of a new pay-to-play But we still base everything on run-
Carpenter might face one of his biggest On the Web:lancastergoldengales.com policy, Lancaster also suffered heavy ning the ball.”
Grove City..................................W, 31-8
challenges in reaching those expec- 2007 SCHEDULE Parkersburg (W.Va.) South ..........W, 56-0 losses to graduation. Carpenter now Defensively, the Golden Gales will
tations. Aug. 24....Logan ..........................Home Pickerington Central .................W, 24-10 will be faced with the challenge of use a 4-4 defense as its base for a sec-
Aug. 31....Worthington Kilbourne ....Away Groveport ................................W, 47-21
That’s thanks in part to the fact that Sept. 7.....Grove City ....................Home replacing eight starters on each side ond season, after playing a 50 front
Hilliard Darby ...........................W, 42-28
last year’s squad set the bar higher Sept. 14 ..Parkers. (W.Va.) South ..Home Newark....................................W, 34-33 of the ball. the year before.
than just about any team the program Sept. 21 ..Pickerington Central .......Away Georgie Carpenter and Trent Crow- Just 15 letterwinners are back,
Gahanna ...................................W, 34-3
Sept. 28 ..Groveport.....................Home
has had, going undefeated in the reg- Oct. 5 ......Hilliard Darby .................Away Westland .................................W, 42-14 ell, two of the three leading rushers, although Carpenter pointed out that
ular season for the first time. Oct. 12 ....Newark..........................Away PLAYOFFS are gone, but senior tailback Jesse letters are awarded only for signifi-
With only a quarter of last year’s Oct. 19 ....Gahanna ......................Home Gahanna ..................................L, 33-28 Reed is back after scoring seven touch- cant contributions at Lancaster. He
starting lineup returning, repeating downs. also added his team should be tal-
that success will be a challenge. Be a champion for life — donate blood! The other returning starters are Chad ented enough to overcome its inex-
But Carpenter said the goals don’t 1-800-GIVE-LIFE S www.BloodSavesLives.org Maynard (OL/DL), Ed Hebb (OL/DL), perience.
really change much at Lancaster. Trevor Griffith (RB), Ryan Cheek (LB) “We were a senior-dominated team
“Our goal is to win the (OCC-Ohio and Jordan Anthony. last year, so a lot people are probably
Division) and we’ve won it three out Despite the success, there is one been tricky for us trying to advance. The Golden Gales again will pride going to label this a rebuilding year
of the past four years,” he said. “Then goal that has eluded the Golden Gales We’ve had some good teams and some themselves on their running game, and and all that,” he said. “But we’ve got
we’ve got our two big rivals, Newark in recent years. tough draws, and it’s a tournament, so Carpenter said he’s sticking with the good kids, they just don’t have a lot
and (Pickerington Central, and that’s “The last goal is to try to go as far it’s just a one-game deal.” wing-T. of experience due to the fact that we
going to be the same every year. Then as we can in the playoffs,” Carpenter Last season, Lancaster won the “We’re always one of the leading had 22 seniors last year and they
we’ve qualified for the playoffs four said. “We’ve been good at achieving OCC-Ohio, finished the regular sea- rushing teams in the state, especially pretty much played offense, defense
years in a row.” the goals, but playoffs have kind of son 10-0 overall and was the top seed in central Ohio” Carpenter said. “We and special teams.” 7