You are on page 1of 1

Franklin Heights

Visit ThisWeekNews.com for Live Friday Night Football Coverage


Falcons focus on working harder
By JEREMY STEWART
ThisWeek Staff Writer

First-year coach Jeff Pica of the Franklin


Heights High School football team was in the
middle of a practice Aug. 16 when he stopped
all the drills because he didn’t like what he saw.
He made everyone line up and do sprints.
There was a little grumbling, but Pica didn’t
mind that. Franklin Heights faded down the
stretch last season, losing its final five games,
and Pica was finding out which players were
ready to break out of the mentality that has
plagued the team.
“It’s been tougher (this preseason),” said senior
Mike Chandler, whose team opens Friday against
Riverside Stebbins. “But as a leader and as a
senior you have to work harder than what you
did (in the past). We just need team unity. We
have the physical ability that’s not even a con-
cern.”
The Falcons finished 4-6 last year. They won
four of their first five games, scoring more than
50 points twice, but then came the league sched-
ule. The Falcons were shut out twice on their By Chris Parker/ThisWeek
way to finishing last in the OCC-Capital Divi-
sion at 0-5. Big Walnut and Watkins Memorial The Falcons’ Kyle Powell pursues on a play against Northland in a scrimmage Aug. 11.
shared the title at 4-1, followed by Olentangy
Liberty (3-2), Dublin Scioto (2-3) and New offense with a slew of new talent. Taking over
Albany (2-3). at quarterback is senior Rian Kennedy (5-foot-
10, 150 pounds), and the main runner will be
At a glance
“First of all we’ve got to get these kids to
believe in themselves so they can raise their level junior Rico Jackson (5-8, 150). Jackson had two FRANKLIN HEIGHTS FALCONS
carries for 14 yards last season as a fullback. Colors: Gold and black
at practice, raise their level in the games,” Pica Coach: Jeff Pica, first season
said. “It’s starting with taking care of the little At receiver will be seniors Mike Chandler (5- Key players: Mike Chandler, Rico Jackson, Tori Jack-
things everyday, getting them to have some per- 11, 165), Tori Jackson (6-0, 180), Dominque son, Rian Kennedy and Kyle Powell
sonal discipline. It’s hard to break old habits, Watson (5-11, 165) and junior Jerrone Givens On the Web: swcs.k12.oh.us/fhhs.html
even if they’re bad habits, people want to hold (5-11, 165). Mike Hamilton (6-3, 175) will get 2007 SCHEDULE
onto them.” opportunities in the passing game as a tight end. Aug. 24..............Riverside Stebbins ............Home
Chandler, like many of the other seniors, was On the offensive line senior Josh Spillman Aug. 31..............Briggs...............................Home
Sept. 7...............West..................................Away
in second grade the last time the Falcons won (6-0, 240) is the lone returning starter. Sept. 14 ............Ready ................................Away
an OCC championship. That year was 1997 and Defensively the Falcons will run a 50 slant- Sept. 21 ............West Carrollton...................Away
the Falcons finished 8-2 overall and won their angle defense with a lot of the guys that will Sept. 28 ............Dublin Scioto......................Away
second OCC championship in three seasons. Oct. 5 ................New Albany.......................Home
start on offense. Oct. 12 ..............Watkins Memorial...............Away
Those teams were some of the reasons why In the defensive backfield Dominique Chan- Oct. 19 ..............Big Walnut ........................Home
he had interest in taking over as coach this sea- dler is the only returnee who had an intercep- Oct. 26 ..............Olentangy Liberty................Away
son. The former Bloom-Carroll coach remem- tion last season. The five other players that had 2006 RESULTS
bered the successful teams the Falcons had back one are gone. Graduate Devin Williamson led (4-6 overall, 0-5 OCC-Capital)
in the mid-1990s, and a big part of his job this that group with five. Riverside Stebbins .................................W, 28-21
season is getting the current roster of players to Whitehall .................................................W, 55-7
This year for pass defense the Falcons will West......................................................W, 54-27
realize that they, too, can have that kind of suc- turn to junior Kyle Powell (5-9, 170), who will Ready.....................................................L, 41-14
cess. St. Thomas Aquinas .................................W, 18-7
line up at strong safety next to Mike Chandler,
But he’s going to have to start from scratch. Dublin Scioto ..........................................L, 41-21
Both Victor Graham, the starting quarterback who will play free safety. Senior Dominique New Albany ...............................................L, 44-0
last year, and Dominique Chandler, the starting Watson (5-11, 150) is a probable starter at cor- Watkins Memorial......................................L, 33-6

August 22, 2007 • Central Ohio High School Football Preview ’07
running back and leading rusher, transferred. nerback. Tori Jackson will play a combination Big Walnut ................................................L, 29-0
of safety and linebacker.Another probable starter Olentangy Liberty ....................................L, 26-14
Graham, now playing at Africentric, threw for
905 yards last season on 58-of-136 passing. He at linebacker is senior linebacker Kyle Merz (5-
also threw five touchdown passes. He also gained 11, 210). BE THE ONE to
270 yards on the ground on 73 attempts and four “We’re showing great improvement through champion
scores. Chandler, now playing at South, had 789 two-a-days,” Powell said. “Our defensive backs life for patients in need.
yards rushing on 123 attempts. He also led all should be pretty good. We have some gaps to 1-800-GIVE-LIFE
Falcons with nine touchdowns. fill with people leaving. We lost a lot of starters, BloodSavesLives.org
Their leaving left Pica to install his spread but our speed I think will make up for our size.”

OCC-CAPITAL
Continued from page 41 Division II playoff appearance. No. 3 in the Division II state poll year. Olentangy Liberty has been
Big Walnut clinched a share of at the time. to the playoffs three years in a row,
to Big Walnut 16-10 at home and the league title with its win in a Liberty and New Albany also so you know they’ve got a good
New Albany 30-19 on the road. rainstorm at New Albany. New played a close game. Liberty won program. New Albany has a ton of
Scioto’s win over Liberty not Albany needed to win to guaran- 7-3 in a game in which the Eagles kids back. They might be the scari-
only ensured Liberty would need tee itself a playoff berth, but two advanced the ball inside the Patri- est of the bunch. Watkins tied us
help to win its third consecutive fumbles inside the 5-yard line ots’ 20-yard line four times, but for the league championship last
league championship, it snapped dearly cost the Eagles. The teams could manage only a field goal. year and they’ve got some good
the Patriots’ home winning streak meet in the season finale at Big Twice they fumbled and another players back. Franklin Heights has
that dated to its inaugural season. Walnut. time turned the ball over on downs. a new coach. I saw them in 7-on-
But Scioto couldn’t capitalize on Liberty and Watkins Memorial “I think (Scioto) will be back to 7 drills and they looked pretty good.
its new life. The Irish fell at home played an overtime game in the what we’ve come to expect from If they have some guys who can
to Watkins Memorial the next week second week of the league sched- them,” Big Walnut coach Scott block, they’ll have a pretty good
20-7 as Watkins Memorial clinched ule, which the Warriors won 21- Wetzel said. “I know they had a offense. I think Franklin Heights
a share of the title on is way to a 18 in overtime. Liberty was ranked lot of juniors on their team last will surprise some people.” 45