Worthington Christian Warriors hopes hard slate pays dividends
Keeping his regular season in perspective has been a major goal for the Worthington Christian men’s football team as they prepare for the Division III district tournament.
The Warriors have reached at least one district final in 16 straight seasons, last winning a district championship in 2017 before losing in district title games to Wellington in 2018 and Grandview in 2019 and 2020.
Worthington Christian was hoping to build momentum for the playoffs in the final two weeks of the regular season, especially after beating Columbus Academy 5-1 on October 6 to move to 6-6-2 overall and 2-2-2 in the MSL -Ohio Division.
Those records included a 3-1 loss to Grandview on September 1 and a 1-0 loss to Wellington on October 2.
The Bobcats and Jaguars are again the Warriors’ biggest hurdles in the District Tournament, as Grandview was first, Wellington second and Worthington Christian third in the region’s coaches poll released on Oct. 4. The tournament draw took place on October 10.
“Of the 16 teams we’ll be playing in the regular season, 14 are ranked in the top 10 in the district (in Divisions I, II and III),” said coach Dan Roads. “We remember that constantly. We have a bit of a deflated identity about us and the guys get mad when we lose, but we tell them, “There’s nobody we don’t play with. We play against great coaches and players. You have seen it all and nothing can really surprise you.
“It’s good that they get this experience, but there are no more excuses either. From now on he’s been there, done that. We try to use the lessons and apply them where our program seems to be.
There are 26 players on the program, but only six seniors.
Senior forward Cam Broadfoot – who is in his second full season with the Warriors after transferring from Delaware Christian after his first season – led the offense, according to Roads.
Senior Grant Woodfin, who is the football team’s kicker, is part of a defensive unit that also includes senior Caleb Stults, junior Jaedon Thomas, second student Sam Blank and senior goaltender Caleb Denorme.
Denorme was the replacement for 2021 graduate Ethan Kraynak a year ago.
Woodfin has said he hopes for a different outcome if the Warriors face Grandview again in the playoffs.
“I feel like we’ve improved a lot since the start of the year,” said Woodfin. “We knew we were losing a lot of seniors and at the start of the season we could start slowly, but we started to understand our identity a bit, I bounced back, played in different positions (in defense).
“We know that if we give up a game it’s not the end of the world. We weren’t showing Grandview all of our tactics. We learned a lot about their team and who were some of their good players and some of their weaknesses. It was a rewarding experience. ”
In addition to their MSL-Ohio schedule, the Warriors played four Division I programs and earned a 4-1 victory on August 13 against Tree of Life, which was fourth in the Division III standings released on October 4.
Worthington Christian closed the regular season on Oct. 12 against Hartley, a Division II district finalist last season and ranked third in the regional poll behind Watterson and DeSales.
“We know we are playing fierce competition,” Denorme said. “This year, I thought it was finally my turn to step up and lead the team from behind (as a goaltender). We were doing devotions the other week and I was talking about belief, and I told the guys I’m in the same boat as the younger ones because it’s a bit of a learning curve mentally and physically.
“Grant, Cam Broadfoot, Kael Oosterbaan, Matthew Yoder, all of these guys are going to be ready to step up. We’re growing together as a team.