â¢ Gahanna Lincoln (3-1 overall, 0-0 OCC-Ohio) to date: Lost against Mason 15-7; def. Groveport 21-7; def. Centerville 26-24; def. Hilliard Darby 17-14
â¢ New Albany (6-0 overall, 1-0 OCC-Ohio) to date: Def. Watkins Memorial 50-7; def. Westerville North 35-14; def. Licking heights 49-14; def. Lancaster 34-20; def. Newark 77-0; def. Grove City 56-14
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Gahanna Lincoln and New Albany are both excited about the latest installment of their rivalry on October 1, which carries weight for a variety of reasons as the OCC-Ohio Division game continues.
The Eagles are trying their first 7-0 start since 2013, following a 56-14 victory at Grove City on September 24 in the league opener for both teams.
The Lions, meanwhile, recognize the challenge of building on a 3-1 start that includes handing Hilliard Darby back to his first loss two weeks ago. Gahanna hasn’t played since and has had two of the last three Fridays off due to cancellations.
âIt’s hard to keep having weeks off and staying sharp and ready for a good competition like Darby and now (New Albany),â said coach Bruce Ward. âI know they have racked up points this year offensively. I’ve heard this may have been one of the best attacks they’ve had in quite some time, so we’ll have our work cut out for us.
Gahanna canceled a game against Reynoldsburg in Week 4 due to COVID-19 protocols, and Westland called the league opener scheduled for both teams on September 24.
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The Lions were able to win games with both running and passing as well as a defense that only allowed more than two touchdowns once.
Led by quarterback Maxwell Cummings and running back Diore Hubbard, the Lions rushed for 170 of their 215 yards against Darby, had 167 of their 191 yards against Centerville and against Groveport had 251 rushing yards and 183 in. the airs.
“They are very, very athletic and they are able to give the ball to their playmakers,” New Albany coach Bubba Kidwell said. âThey have a good-sized offensive line that could give us some problems in the match, but it’s an opportunity these guys are looking forward to.
âI was very impressed with (Cummings). We have to contain it. He’s a threat with both his feet and his arm.
New Albany trailed for the first time in all season at Grove City, falling 7-0 in the first three minutes, but scored 49 points in the middle of the quarters to move up to 6-0. Jadyn Garnes ran for 216 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries, Christian Manville added 12 carries for 113 yards and one touchdown and quarterback Brock Kidwell completed five of his six passes for 107 yards and two scores.
The Eagles amassed a record 474 rushing yards and are averaging 50.2 points. They were 11th in the Division I poll released on September 27 and third in the Region 3 IT ranking, one place behind Gahanna.
Gahanna leads the all-time series 16-2, including a 42-41 overtime win last year. New Albany’s victories came in 1930 (32-0) and 2019 (41-17).