Top 10 Football Stories
Top 10 Teams To Watch
Top 10 Surprises
10 Players To Watch
10 Prospects To Watch
Levies, losing streaks, injuries and more captured headlines in the first five weeks of the football season Issue 2
Managing Editor Eric Frantz Assistant Editor Matt Natali Recruiting Editors Mark Porter, Bill Kurelic Staff Writers Kirk Larrabee, Steve Helwagen, Jeff Rapp, Dave Biddle Contributors
Marty Gitlin, Jeff Williams, David Gatwood, Brad Morris, Shayne Combs, Jeff Rice
Stephanie Porter, Gary Housteau, Nick Falzerano, Joe Maiorana, Jim Rinaldi, Scott Grau, Jim Metzendorf, Os Figuero
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Ohio High Magazine is published online nine times a year and also produces an online and hard copy issue in July (Football Preview/Year in Review). Ohio High is an independent source of news and features relating to Ohio high school sports. Ohio High strives to report information based on fact, but assumes no responsability for any inaccuracies that may appear. Ohio High is not authorized, sponsored or sanctioned by any university, athletic conference or athletic governing body. Subscriptions are available and may be purchased online at jjhuddle.com. c Copyright 2009, Ohio High Magazine and MVP Magazine, LLC. All rights reserved. COVER PHOTOS: Jim Metzendorf, Impact Action Sports Photography
These teams deserve recognition...who are they? Ohioâ€™s weakest playoff region? State powers back on top...others have fallen flat. Who and what is on the list? Keep an eye on these guys down the stretch...they are special Who has helped themselves the most in the eyes of college recruiters? These 10 players have stock thatâ€™s soaring.
Team To Watch? Surprise? Toledo Whitmer is 5-0 and on the radar. Who else is? Turn the page...
Photo by Scott W. Grau / www.nwoprepsports.com
Photo by Gary Housteau
Cleveland Glenville head coach Ted Ginn, Sr. congratulates Wayneâ€™s junior QB Braxton Miller after the Tarblooders convincing Week 3 win.
HS Football Midseason Report
STORY BY ERIC FRANTZ & MATT NATALI Big School Sweet Spots: D-I, Region 4 & D-II, Region 7
Losing streaks, injuries, failed levies and more impacted the first five weeks of football
Teams snapping losing streaks
Suddenly the losers are winners. After five weeks of the high school football season, several programs have already notched season-saving victories. In Week 2 Whitehall-Yearling snapped a 36-game losing skid that dated back to 2005 with a 13-8 win over Columbus Linden McKinley. Channin Porter rushed for 133 yards and scored two TDs for the Rams, who rallied from an 8-0 deficit and turned momentum with a huge defensive stop in the third quarter when they denied Linden any points after the Panthers had first-and-goal from the Whitehall 2. Also in Week 2, New Paris National Trail snapped a 32-game losing streak of its own. The Blazers downed Bradford 20-18 thanks in part to three short TD runs by John Day. Ironically, National Trail’s last win was a two-point decision (14-12) over Bradford on Oct. 21, 2005. In Week 1, Akron Springfield ended a 34-game losing streak with a 23-13 win over Akron Ellet. The win was second-year head coach Kevin Vaughn’s first varsity victory. Also in Week 1, Rittman snapped a 27-game losing streak by beating Conotton Valley 27-0; Chillicothe Unioto snapped a 22-game losing streak with a 21-12 win over Vinton County; Elida snapped a 20-game losing streak with a 49-35 win over Liberty-Benton and Lyndhurst Brush snapped a 19-game losing streak with a 45-34 win over Eastlake North. In Week 4 Holgate snapped a 20-game losing streak with a 21-12 win over Ayersville. — EF
The GCL South is 18-1 against non-conference teams
Last year was an oddity for Ohio’s toughest big school football conference. Usually dominant, the Greater Catholic League South Division only got two teams into the D-I playoffs, one of which was Moeller who nabbed the No. 8 spot with a 6-4 record. The real stunner was Cincinnati St. Xavier – a year removed from winning the D-I title – missing the playoffs all together with a 4-6 record. This season things are back to normal. Through the first five weeks, the GCL South in 18-1 against non-conference foes. Moeller and Elder are 5-0 and St. Xavier and LaSalle are 4-1. LaSalle lost 23-13 to Elder, while St. Xavier lost 12-7 to Highlands (Ky.), the No. 23 team in the country according to USA Today. Elder is No. 3 and St. Xavier is No. 25. Not coincidently, Elder, St. X and Moeller are Nos. 1-3 in Region 4 playoff points. LaSalle is No. 8. — EF
Steubenville’s regular season win streak still intact – for now
Big Red has won 65 straight regular season games and is trying to put together its seventh straight undefeated regular season. So far so good. Steubenville, which was the D-IV state runner-up last year, is 5-0. Big Red should be 6-0 after playing Wheeling Park (W.Va.) in Week 6, but then things get interesting. In Week 7, Steubenville hosts Massillon Washington. In Week 8 Poland Seminary comes to town, and in weeks 9 and 10, Big Red hosts Inkster (Mich.) and Cardinal O‘Hara (N.Y.). Also at stake heading into the final four weeks of the season is Steubenville’s 57-game home win streak. — EF
No D-I region in the state is as deep as Region 4. The same can be said in DII for Region 7. Both of these brackets are where the big boys play. In Region 4, 22 of the 31 teams have winning records and only one team is winless. Centerville – which has a 4-1 record – is No. 16 in computer points. That’s how deep it is. Region 4 is also home to seven of Ohio High’s Top 10 college prospects. Enough said. In Region 7, an undefeated Athens team – should it happen – could possibly be left out of the playoffs. Right now the Bulldogs are 5-0 and No. 14 in the region in points. Undefeated Vincent Warren is No. 9. In this region – with the likes of Lousiville, Logan, Big Walnut, New Philadelphia, Zanesville and Columbus St. Charles – some first round games will basically be regional finals. — EF
Don’t forget the little guys: D-V, Region 19 & D-VI, Region 21
In Region 19, over half the teams (16 of 29) have records of 4-1 or better. A regional favorite? The list of names includes: Baltimore Liberty Union, Nelsonville-York, Coal Grove Dawson-Bryant and Fredericktown. It’s wide-open. Region 21 is loaded with six of the Top 10 teams in the JJHuddle D-VI Power Poll, including: Bucyrus Wynford (No. 2), Norwalk St. Paul (No. 3), Mogadore (No. 5), Berlin Center Western Reserve (No. 7), Dalton (No. 8) and McDonlad (No. 9). Coincedently, the six also lead Region 21 in points. Hopewell-Loudon, which is looking for its third straight D-VI state final appearance, was ranked in Week 5 before losing in overtime to Fremont St. Joseph. — EF
Friday Night Lights Turned Off
The Ohio Capital Conference in Central Ohio lost four teams from its lineup August 5 following a rejected levy in the South-Western City School District. The four-year, $8.3-million property tax failed for the second straight time thus eliminating all extra-curricular activities at Central Crossing, Franklin Heights, Grove City and Galloway Westland high schools and their accompanying middle schools. As a result, many football players elected to transfer out of those schools to schools fielding football teams, including Williamsport Westfall, Grove City Christian, Teays Valley, London and others. Some players reluctantly refused to transfer to play because it just didn’t feel right. “I couldn’t play anywhere else,” former Grove City linebacker Ryan Mullins told JJHuddle.com early in the season. “It just wouldn’t have been the same. I’ve grown up with Grove City football all my life and I’ve gone to all the games. This just doesn’t have the same feel.” Grove City senior Kyle Schneider chose to forgo his senior season as well. “(Football) is pretty much life and death in Grove City,” he said. “Either you play or you don’t. That’s the mentality.” The levy will be on the ballot again in November but for multiple-sport athletes like Grove City senior Adam Boggs, who plays baseball, leaving Grove City isn’t an option even if the levy is defeated again. “Even if the levy fails again (in November) I’m probably going to stay,” Boggs said. “It’s hard to leave Grove City.” — MN
On The Shelf
Ohio High’s top two players in the Class of 2010 Top 150 got their senior campaigns off to a rough start. And for one, it also ended. Cincinnati Anderson offensive lineman and Ohio State recruit Andrew Norwell, the No. 2 ranked player in the state, suffered a season-ending injury in Week 4 in a 28-25 win over Columbus St. Francis DeSales. On the second series of the game, Norwell limped off the field with an apparent ankle injury. “I broke my tibia just above my left ankle,” Norwell told Bucknuts.com. Norwell (6-7, 275) underwent surgery the following Monday and will also miss his senior basketball season. A U.S. Army All-American Bowl nominee, it was unclear whether or not he would be able to participate in the game in January. “I’ll be ready for next (football) season (at Ohio State),” he said. While West Chester Lakota West linebacker Jordan Hicks didn’t have quite as rough a start as Norwell, the Under Armour All-American was on the shelf early. Hicks, who is rated as the top player in the state by Ohio High, sat out of Lakota West’s 20-6 win over Hamilton Week 4 with a bout of strep throat. “It was difficult (sitting out) but I didn’t want to risk getting (sicker),” said Hicks.
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The Top 10 Stories
Photo by Brian Swartz
Cincinnati Moeller and Centerville hooked up for a Week 3 slugfest which the Crusadres won 21-19.
“My immune system has already down so they just decided it would be better if I sat the game out and let the team take over.” Hicks, rated the No. 2 player in the country by ESPN Scouts, Inc., is entertaining offers to Ohio State, Texas, Florida, USC and Alabama. — MN
Speaking Of DeSales…
Oh, how the mighty have…stumbled. Ranked No. 1 in Division III in the Ohio High preseason Power Poll, Columbus DeSales has hit a wall. After opening the season with a 38-0 win over Gahanna Lincoln, it looked as though DeSales was well on its way to its third straight undefeated regular season. But the Stallions fell to Youngstown Cardinal Mooney 21-14 the following week then barely squeaked by New Albany 13-6 before losing to Cincinnati Anderson in Week 4 to start the season 2-2. The Stallions bounced back in Week 5 against Findlay with a 56-23 win but the task doesn’t get any easier with, Columbus St. Charles, rival Columbus Watterson, Division I/No.1-ranked Cincinnati Elder, Division I Cincinnati LaSalle and Cleveland Benedictine left on the schedule. “With our schedule, we have to regroup and bring our ‘A-Game’ every week if we want to win any games on our schedule,” DeSales head coach Ryan Wiggins. “We’ve got to look at ourselves and get our mistakes corrected and look at our next opponent. We’re going to do that each and every week.” With a program used to winning coming off back-to-back undefeated regular seasons, DeSales is in unfamiliar territory. “I think you get a spoiled sometimes when you go 10-0,” Wiggins said. “The bottom line is we’ve got some goals and all the goals we’ve set are well within reach. We need to keep improving and take it one (game) at a time. “We’ve been down this road before and that’s what happens when you play a difficult schedule.” — MN
And Speaking Of Difficult Schedules…
To be the best, you have to play the best. That was the mantra of several Greater Western Ohio Conference teams when it came time to putting together their 2009 schedules. Having struggled in recent years against the Cincinnati powers in Region 4 come playoff time, Centerville, Huber Heights Wayne and Clayton Northmont beefed up their nonconference schedules. “I think you see (the Cincinnati schools) playing such a competitive schedule
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down there because they have to,” Wayne head coach Jay Minton said. “I think we all that if we don’t up our level of play in the regular season, we’re not going to be ready at the end of the season. I think we’re all trying that and I think we’re all responding well.” But the GWOC powers went 0-3 in Week 3 against a few of the state’s top teams. Centerville lost to Moeller 21-19 in a Region 4 clash to drop to 2-1. Wayne, with wins over Canton McKinley and Princeton, lost to Cleveland Glenville 57-28 for its first loss, while Northmont dropped a 17-7 road decision at Westerville South. Northmont, now a deceiving 3-2, owns a win over Lakota West and a loss at Cleveland St. Ignatius. Northmont led that game 20-0 before falling 2720. “I don’t think anyone can accuse the GWOC of scheduling patsies,” Centerville head coach Ron Ullery told JJHuddle.com before the season. And after being tested by fire early in the season, the GWOC powers are hoping that experience will carry over into the postseason to get over the Region 4 hump. “You divide your season into sections,” Minton said. “The first three games is the part where you establish yourself.” — MN
Cleveland St. Ignatius won an unprecedented tenth state title last season finishing 14-1 and the Wildcats haven’t skipped a beat in the first half of this season boasting an undefeated record and a 19-game winning streak dating back to Week 2 of last season. Ignatius tallied big wins over Cleveland Glenville, Clayton Northmont and Mentor scoring 33.6 points per game. But the second half of the season will show whether or not Ignatius is a contender or pretender with Massillon Washington, Warren G. Harding, Inkster (Mich.) Cincinnati St. Xavier and Lakewood St. Edward on the schedule “As for our regular season schedule, it’s always tough and we look forward to that challenge with St. Ed’s and Glenville and the other teams we play,” head coach Chuck Kyle said before the season. “We look at it like it gets us ready for the playoffs so we want to learn from those 10 games.” Ignatius is powered by senior quarterback Mark Myers and Louisville running back recruit Kevin Johnson on offense. Ohio State linebacker recruit Scott McVey, who is ranked as the No. 12 prospect in the state by Ohio High, is the leader on defense despite suffering an early season knee injury. — MN