NEWARK — Newark came oh so close to its first win of 2015 last Friday, and it was easy to see the reason.
The Wildcats showed good balance in the 28-21 loss to Grove City, rushing for 145 yards and throwing for 177. Newark outgained the Greyhounds 322-289.
“When you’re 0-6, it’s hard to look at improvements, but we’re a little more balanced, our yards per game are up and so is our scoring,” coach Mike Kopachy said. “We’re still pretty young and most will be back next year, but we’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel for this season.”
Sophomore quarterback Ty Scott completed 17-of-32 passes for 177 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions against Grove City. On the season, he’s 58-of-131 for 606 yards and three touchdowns with eight interceptions.
“He’s been going to his second and third progressions, is throwing the ball well and overall, has just gotten better,” Kopachy said.
“I’m more comfortable running the offense and reading my keys,” Scott said. “Overall, I’ve become better at leading the offense and becoming a better football player.”
While the Wildcats still lean heavily on sophomore tailback D’Ante Woods (he had 107 yards and two touchdowns against Grove City), Scott has some tall and talented options at receiver.
Sophomore Ashton Gilkey (6-foot-2) has 23 catches for 351 yards, including seven for 86 yards against Grove City. Junior Taveon Swift (6-3) caught six passes for 59 yards and a TD. The Wildcats also have 6-foot-5 freshman Keyshawn Heard and 6-1 sophomore DeJaun Shackleford to throw to.
“We’ve been showing a lot of balance,” Swift said. “Gilkey is a tremendous receiver, and Scott has shown tremendous improvement. Everyone is getting a lot better, and we’re getting really close” (to putting it together).
“I have a lot of confidence in my receivers,” Scott said. “It’s good to have them out there to throw to. We’re really close. We just need to come out and get off to a good start.”
Groveport (4-2, 1-2) comes to White Field on Friday for homecoming and an Ohio Capital Conference-Ohio Division meeting. Kopachy sees some similarities between the two programs.
“Their coach has been there three or four years, and they’ve bought into his system,” he said. “They play hard and have good athletes in the secondary and at running back. Their quarterback is a threat, running and throwing.”
Aug. 28: @Zanesville 20, Newark 17
Sept. 4: Mount Vernon 48, Newark 22
Sept. 11: @Heights 48, Newark 26
Sept. 18: Pick. North 41, Newark 0
Sept. 25: @Gahanna 45, Newark 7
Oct. 2: Grove City 28, Newark 21
Oct. 9: Groveport, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 16: @Pickerington Central, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 23: Reynoldsburg, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 30: @Lancaster, 7:30 p.m.