Maroons successfully defend their title, win school's 5th Championship

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
January 30, 2015

 

All season long in 2014, the Dowling Catholic looked like a team on a mission. With one goal in mind, that mission was completed when the Maroons defeated Washington, 49-14 and hoisted the Iowa 4A State Championship trophy for the second consecutive year, and fifth time overall.

 

Senior quarterback, Iowa commit and undisputed Dowling leader Ryan Boyle led the charge in 2014 as he led the Maroons to the single greatest season in Iowa 4A history. The 697 points put on the board for Dowling last fall set the highest mark for points in a season in Iowa history.

 

On the other side of the ball, Dowling’s defense did more than its share while special teams also helped to set the Dowling offense in prime position all season long.

 

All three units were so good for the Maroons in 2014 that 11 of Dowling’s 13 victories, at one point or another, saw the 35-point, running-clock mercy rule take effect.

 

Boyle finishes his career at Dowling as one of the more decorated quarterbacks in Iowa history as well, throwing for nearly 8,000 yards (7,887) and nearly 100 touchdowns (97). His 2014 numbers nearly equaled his numbers from his junior season, throwing for 1,924 yards and 17 touchdowns while rushing for 1,082 yards and another 18 scores.

 

His senior year followed up an incredible 2013 season in which he threw for 1,751 and 18 touchdowns while he ran for 1,138 yards and 22 touchdowns. He finished his career with back-to-back State Championships. 

 

 

 

He was named as the 2014 Gatorade Iowa Football Player of the Year to boot. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound quarterback is committed to the University of Iowa and was rated on nearly every list as one of the top players across the entire state.

 

The 2014 season for Boyle and the Maroons may not have had as much success, had it not had a minor setback in September.

 

On September 19, 2014, Dowling traveled to rival Valley High School for a rematch of 2013’s state semifinals matchup. The Maroons found themselves trailing at halftime however, 24-7, as a Boyle pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown for the Tigers that stole any momentum at the break.

 

Despite Boyle’s best comeback efforts, Dowling found themselves on the losing end of a game for the first time since November of 2012, dropping the game to Valley, 24-21.

 

After the loss, head coach Tom Wilson rallied his troops and used the defeat at the hands of their rival as a wake-up call, a time to reflect and ideally, win-out.

 

Dowling did just that, ripping off 10 straight victories, and doing so in impressive fashion.

 

The Maroons tore in to Lewis Central a week after the loss to Valley, defeating the Titans, 51-10. They defeated Sioux City East by the same 51-10 margin a week later. Continuing the tear, Dowling finished the regular season with big wins over Johnston (50-13), Roosevelt (70-21) and Des Moines North (77-7).

 

Entering the postseason at 8-1 gave the Maroons the fourth ranked seed in the 4A Playoffs. They simply continued their impressive play, defeating Indianola, 62-21 to start the playoffs.

 

Dowling advanced to the state quarterfinals after defeating Ames, 59-24 and then advanced to the state semifinals by cruising past Ankeny, 48-14.

 

In their slimmest margin of victories in 2014, the Maroons jumped out to a 24-0 lead over Waukee before the Warriors would close the gap to 24-14. However, that would be the closest Waukee would get, as Boyle led two quick scoring drives before halftime, increasing the lead to 34-14 at the break.

 

Dowling would defeat the Warriors, 41-28 to advance to the state championship.

 

Undefeated Cedar Rapids Washington would await the Maroons in the 2014 Iowa 4A State Championship game. The Warriors, winners of every game in 2014 by double-digits, would prove to be no match for Dowling in the season’s biggest game.

 

Boyle would lead two scoring drives early in the first quarter to jump out to a quick 14-0 lead. Despite allowing a Washington touchdown before the second quarter, Boyle would lead two more scoring drives and give the Maroons a 28-7 advantage at halftime.

 

The onslaught wouldn’t stop there however as all three units, offense, defense and special teams would fire on all cylinders for the Maroons in the second half. Gray Gochenour would score just 1:59 in to the third quarter and Max Kasap would punch in a 22-yard touchdown with 7:11 left in the third, starting the mandated mercy rule’s running clock.

 

Gochenour would score again in the early stages of the fourth quarter to push the lead to 49-7, and all but ensure a continued running clock to the end.

 

The Dowling defense allowed just six yards through the air against the Warriors, a season-best.

 

The Maroons moved the ball with ease against Washington, partly because of Boyle’s control, but also because they started six of their 10 drives in Warrior territory.

 

Dowling, in the end, defeated Washington 49-14 behind four touchdowns accounted for. He carried the ball 19 times for 144 yards and three scores on the ground. Gochenour finished the game with 50 yards rushing and two touchdowns while Kasap finished with 42 yards and his score.

 

 

 

The Maroons repeated as champions and will surely go down in Iowa football history as one of the more prolific teams in the state’s prestigious prep school football history. Dowling is now 27-1 the past two seasons under the helm of Coach Wilson. 

 

 

 

Graduating a player like Boyle, who will continue his playing career with the Iowa Hawkeyes, will be a tough task for Coach Wilson and his staff, however, the winners of five State Championships since 2000 should be up for the challenge. 

 

 Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Ryan Boyle (1088 yards)

Passing: Ryan Boyle (1924 yards)

Receiving: Eric Fardel (811 yards)

All-Purpose: Ryan Boyle (1088 yards)

Touchdowns: Ryan Boyle (18)

Rush attempts: Ryan Boyle (166 carries)

Receptions: Eric Fardel (49 catches)

 

Defensive stat leaders

Interceptions: Dante Campero (8)

Interception TD: Dante Campero (2)

Fumbles forced: Cole Deskin (2)

 

Team statistics

Total scoring: 697 points

Opponent scoring: 208

Total offense: 6090 yards

Total rushing yards: 4102 yards

Total passing yards: 1988 yards

Opponent offense: 3002 yards

Opponent rushing yards: 1491 yards

Opponent passing yards: 1511 yards

Third down conversions: 43.4% (62/143)

Opponent third down conversions: 32.8% (61/186)

Turnover Differential: +21 (17 INT, 14 FR)

Dutch dominate their way to a 14-0 record, first Championship

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
January 29, 2015

 

The 2014 season was a dominant season for schools across the country. Some dominated on offense while others dominated on defense.

 

In Iowa, the Pella Dutch dominated on both sides of the ball last year, leading the way to the school’s first ever 3A State Championship.

 

Pella finished the season with a flawless 14-0 record and defeated defending champion Bishop Heelan Catholic, 38-17 to wrap up the perfect season.

 

 

The Dutch performed on all cylinders in every game in 2014 en route to the school’s first championship. In all but two games during their championship run last season, Pella’s defense allowed 0, 6 or 14 points. They recorded five shutout victories while allowing no more than 14 points to any opponent until the season’s culminating game.

 

While their defense was playing lights out, their offense would nearly equal that stellar play, averaging over 49 points per contest.

 

The offense and defense put together impressive games like their week one victory over Washington. Despite allowing 314 yards to Demons, Pella forced two opportune turnovers and quarterback Noah Clayberg accounted for five touchdowns in the 35-0 victory.

 

Their week one shutout announced that the Dutch were a team to be reckoned with in 2014 as they followed that up with a 45-14 victory over Dallas Center-Grimes. Clayberg threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another while running back Nathan Henry accumulated 101 total yards and three rushing touchdowns.

 

The season continued to roll along with wins against Oskaloosa (61-6), Norwalk Community (38-14) and Knoxville (28-0).

 

In their closest game of the regular season, Pella traveled to Carlisle in week six. The Dutch fell behind 3-0 early but would take the lead in the second quarter when Clayberg forced a fumbled, recovered and returned it for a touchdown. Despite a Carlisle field goal before halftime, Pella led 7-6 at the break.

 

Neither team could muster much in terms of moving the ball after that. Scoring was sparse in the second half, as the only points put on the board in the first 20 minutes of the final quarters were a 25-yard field goal from Seth Johnson that increased Pella’s lead to 10-6.

 

However, Clayberg would put the game out of reach for Pella, intercepting a Jordan Pierce pass himself and turning the change of possession into points of his own. After intercepting the pass, Clayberg led the Dutch on a seven play drive, rushing in the game-sealing touchdown from 17 yards away. The Dutch’s 17-6 victory would remain as the closest game of the season, in terms of final score, in 2014.

 

Following their thrilling victory over Carlisle, Pella ended the regular season on an impressive tear, consecutively scoring a season-high in points, a 69-14 victory over Newton followed by a 77-6 over Saydel.

 

Not to be out done by the offense’s season highs in points, the Dutch defense would shut out the next two opponents, 54-0 over Chariton and 41-0 over Fairfield.

 

In the second round of the playoffs, Pella would take on Newton once again. After dispatching Fairfield in the first round, they would handle their business against the Cardinals, jumping out to a 56-0 lead through three quarters. Newton would score twice in the final quarter before falling 56-14.

 

The Dutch would face another familiar opponent in the state quarterfinals when they squared off against Washington. Pella used a 28-point second quarter before shutting out Washington in the second half to win 31-14 and advance to the state semifinals.

 

Xavier, Pella’s state semifinal opponent, would prove to be no match for the Dutch in 2014. Henry ran for two first quarter touchdowns while Johnson would connect on two second quarter field goals to give Pella a 20-0 halftime lead.

 

The Dutch defense would shut the door after that, limiting the Saints to just 58 total yards of offense, just eight yards on the ground. Pella advanced to the state championship game with their 27-0 victory.

 

In the State Championship game, Pella would be pitted against the defending champion Bishop Heelan Catholic. In fact, the Crusaders had played in six of the past eight state championships and 13 all-time.

 

The Dutch would not be deterred however, not in the face of playing a storied program like Bishop Heelan, nor in the face of a 17-7 deficit that they found themselves in during the second quarter.

 

Despite allowing 17 consecutive points to the Crusaders, Pella turned to their leader. The junior signal-caller answered a Bishop Heelan field goal with an impressive 10-play drive that covered 60 yards before Clayberg would punch the ball in from four yards out.

 

Clayberg’s drive spanned just under three minutes off the clock and successfully took the momemtum away from the Crusaders in favor of Pella.

 

The Dutch would take the lead back from Bishop Heelan on their first possession of the second half when Clayberg touted the ball in for a score from 14 yards out. His second rushing score of the game put Pella back in the lead, 21-17.

 

The Dutch would maintain the lead forcing two Crusader punts before Henry took a carry 72 yards and an empowering touchdown. Henry’s score increased the lead to 28-17. Again, the defense would clamp down for the Dutch, forcing two punts and an interception on the Crusaders’ next three possessions.

 

Meanwhile, Pella would score on two of those turnovers, a 28-yard Johnson field goal and Clayberg’s third rushing score of the game with 4:45 left in the fourth quarter. Clayberg’s score increased the lead to a comfortable 38-17 for the Dutch.

 

However, after forcing a Bishop Heelan turnover on downs, Pella fumbled the ball away, breathing life into the Crusaders. That was until Quinton Murphy delivered a hit to Bishop Heelan receiver Tucker Spears that jarred the ball loose. When Pella’s Payson Vande Lune recovered the ball, the Dutch faithful in attendance would erupt.


Two quick kneel downs by Clayberg would be all that was left as Pella would be crowned Iowa 3A State Champions for the first time.

 

Clayberg, behind his three rushing touchdowns and 154 rushing yards would be named the game’s most valuable player. Henry ran for 150 yards himself and another score while Murphy finished with a touchdown on the ground and having forced the game’s sealing fumble.

 

Pella finished the game scoring 31 unanswered points en route to the 3A Title.

 

 

With Clayberg and Henry returning for their senior seasons, it is no doubt that the Dutch will open the fall camp of 2015 as the preseason No. 1 as they will look to successfully defend the school’s first state crown.

 

Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Noah Clayberg (1637 yards)

Passing: Noah Clayberg (1256 yards)

Receiving: Will Warner (652 yards)

All-Purpose: Noah Clayberg (1784 yards)

Touchdowns: Noah Clayberg (22)

Rush attempts: Noah Clayberg (172 carries)

Receptions: Will Warner (42 catches)

 

Defensive stat leaders

Total tackles: Garret Jansen (59.5)

Tackles for loss: Garret Jansen (25.5)

Sacks: Garret Jansen (6)

Pass break ups: Will Warner (13)

Interceptions: Will Warner (5)

Fumbles recovered: Logan Heerema (5)

 

Team statistics

Total scoring: 617 points

Opponent scoring: 107

Total offense: 5513 yards

Total rushing yards: 4109 yards

Total passing yards: 1404 yards

Opponent offense: 2729 yards

Opponent rushing yards: 1244 yards

Opponent passing yards: 1485 yards

Third down conversions: 40.2% (49/122)

Opponent third down conversions: 28.9% (57/197)

Turnover Differential: +20 (19 INT, 16 FR)

 

Giants defeat five repeat opponents en route to Championship

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
January 27, 2015

 

The Ben Davis High School football team lived life on the edge in 2014. With impressive offensive performances and exhilarating finishes, the Giants captured the school’s first State Championship since the 2002 season – their eighth title overall – when they exacted revenge on Carmel High School at Lucas Oil Stadium, 42-24.

 

Ben Davis was paced during their 2014 campaign by Columbia University commit, quarterback Kyle Castner who threw for 3,410 yards a season ago. The senior’s passing game was imperative to the Giants success during their championship run, but he also received some help along the way.

 

The rushing combination of Dorian Tate and Chris Evans provided Castner with two running backs more than capable of lightening the load. Tate finished the season with 1282 yards on 213 carries while Evans totaled 1249 yards on 185 carries. They notched 20 and 18 touchdowns, respectively.

 

The Giants could seemingly score at will in 2014, averaging just under 42 points a game. In some cases during their championship run, every score was necessary.

 

In their week three matchup against Pike High School – the team who eliminated Ben Davis from the playoffs in 2013 – the Giants looked well in charge, taking a 28-7 second quarter lead. A quick 97-yard kickoff return for Pike however shrunk the lead to just two possessions at halftime and the Red Devils used that momentum to take a 50-46 lead with 2:01 left in the fourth quarter.

 

Pike was in prime position to defeat Ben Davis when they intercepted a Castner pass with 1:54 left, but after a quick three and out gave the ball back, Castner would not be deterred. The senior led his Giants down the field in seven plays and 80 yards in just 42 seconds for the game-winning touchdown pass to Evans with eight seconds remaining.

 

The 53-50 victory would be the smallest margin of victory for Ben Davis during the 2014 season.

 

The Giants were dealt a hard dose of reality in weeks five and seven, falling to both Warren Central and Carmel, respectively.

 

Despite leading 21-14 to Warren Central, Ben Davis fell to the Warriors 28-21. They found themselves in a deep 30-0 hole to the Greyhounds before ultimately falling 37-14 to Carmel.

 

In the face of their two losses, the Giants still finished the regular season at 7-2 and would square off against a familiar foe in the opening round of the playoffs.

 

Pike would be that foe. The same Pike team that almost came from behind in week three to shock Ben Davis. The same Pike team that ousted the Giants from the playoffs in 2013.

 

Much like their regular season victory, the Giants needed some late magic to pull off the win. Up by just three points with under four minutes to play, Jailyn Harden intercepted a Jordan Marshall pass and returned it for a touchdown, giving Ben Davis a 49-38 lead that would ultimately seal the game.

 

Tate finished the opening round game against the Red Devils with 43 carries, 259 yards and three touchdowns. His carries and yards were good enough for season-highs, while his three touchdowns matched a season high.

 

In the second round of the playoffs, Ben Davis would, again, face another familiar opponent. Winners of their week two matchup over Avon, 57-27, their playoff meeting would be much different.

 

In their first meeting of the season, the Giants ran off to a 33-12 halftime lead before eventually winning by 30 points. In the playoffs, it was Avon who took an early 14-12 lead before the Giants stormed back with 22 unanswered points to win 34-27. Evans ran for two second half touchdowns, his second of the two in the end became the game-winner for Ben Davis who advanced to the state quarterfinals.

 

In a rematch of one of their two blemishes on the season, Warren Central stood in their way of a semifinals berth.

 

The Warriors and Giants would keep things close the entire way before heading to the final quarter with Ben Davis leading, 33-26. However, unlike their first meeting, the Giants would be the last to score.

 

After 10 unanswered to start the game’s final quarter that gave Warren Central a 36-33 lead with 1:41 left, it was Castner who would play spoiler to the Warriors. The senior led the Giants down the field, 84 yards in 14 plays that took just 1:33 off the clock before hitting Stori Emerson for the 14-yard game-winning touchdown.

 

Ben Davis defeated Warren Central 40-36 to advance to the state semifinals and keep the impropable run alive.

 

In yet another rematch from the regular season, the Giants squared off against Center Grove. After defeating the Trojans 28-0 in their regular season game, Ben Davis was again in need of some Kyle Castner magic if they were to advance.

 

Finding themselves down 45-28 late in the third quarter, Castner orchestrated two quick scoring drives, one in the third quarter and another in the early stages of the fourth that cut the lead to 45-42. After allowing a long drive, the Giants defense would stand tall on a fourth and one from their own 16 yard line against the Trojans, giving their offense the ball back with  just 2:29 left, down by three points.

 

It was Evans, not Castner, however that pushed Ben Davis ahead as he ripped off a 74-yard touchdown run, giving his team the 49-45 lead. After the defense shut the door with three straight incompletions for Center Grove, the Giants were headed to the State Championship against Carmel.

 

The Indiana 6A Playoffs can go down in the history books as one of the more exciting and improbable runs in recent memory, credited mainly by its State Champion and their run.

 

In defeating Carmel for the title, Ben Davis would finish the playoffs a perfect 5-0 against teams they had played previously in the regular season. For the Giants, their 42-24 victory over the Greyhounds for the title was extra sweet. Their rout of Carmel would atone for their aforementioned defeat in the regular season.

 

The 42-24 score, while maybe not indicative to the tone of the game, can serve as an adequate reminder for Giants players, coaches, fans, friends and families of the incredible journey that was the 2014 season.

 

Down 17 points early to Carmel for the second time in as many games, the Giants rallied behind their offensive onslaught of Castner, Evans and Tate. Behind those three, Ben Davis scored 42 consecutive points before the Greyhounds could muster any more for themselves. Carmel's last touchdown came in the final seconds with the game already in hand for the Giants.

 

Their 42-point stampede over Carmel accurately depicts the will to keep going in the face of adversity for the Giants in 2014. Despite falling behind on occasion, dropping two games in the regular season and having to play five familiar adversaries in the postseason, Ben Davis would not be deterred from the final goal – a State Championship.

 

The Giants were crowned champions for the eighth time in school history and won their first since 2002.

 

 

Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Dorian Tate (1282 yards)

Passing: Kyle Castner (3410 yards)

Receiving: Stori Emerson (883 yards)

All-Purpose: Chris Evans (1998 yards)

Touchdowns: Chris Evans (28)

Rush attempts: Dorian Tate (213 carries)

Receptions: Brennan Gillis (57 catches)

 

Defensive stat leaders

Interceptions: Chaz Stringer (6)

Interception return: Chaz Stringer (90 yards)

 

Team statistics

Total scoring: 586 points

Opponent scoring: 373

Total offense: 6438 yards

Total rushing yards: 2953 yards

Total passing yards: 3485 yards

Opponent offense: 5049 yards

Opponent rushing yards: 2844 yards

Opponent passing yards: 2205 yards

Third down conversions: 43.3% (88/203)

Opponent third down conversions: 36.0% (76/211)

Turnover Differential: +3 (15 INT, 12 FR)

QB Hendershot leads Bruins to 4th State Championship

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
January 27, 2015

 

For many football teams, the quarterback is the undisputed leader of the team. The extension of the coaching staff onto the field. The signal-caller.

 

When your quarterback is also arguably the best player on the field and the remaining 10 players rise with him, chances are, success will follow. For the Indiana 3A State Champion Tri-West Hendricks Bruins, when their leader on offense got things rolling in 2014, they were hard to stop.

 

Winning their first State Title in over a decade and the fourth in school history, the 2014 Bruins cemented their legacy with an impressive season that finished with a dominant performance in a 49-27 victory over Andrean in the Championship game.

 

The Signal-Caller

 

His name is Jake Hendershot. He stands 6-feet-3 inches tall and tips the scale at 230 pounds.

 

The senior leader on an impressive Bruins offense, did more than just toss the pigskin around in 2014. Hendershot topped the team with his 151 rushing attempts last fall while tallying 605 yards and another eight scores.

 

Those rushing numbers, impressive in and of themselves, were in addition to the senior throwing for 2619 yards and 27 touchdowns. Hendershot completed over 63 percent of his throws in 2014 and connected with six different receivers for multiple touchdowns.

 

Hendershot spread the ball around, ending the season with 31 completions to Peyton Hendershot, 34 to Judd Grubbs and 44 to Casey Coll to lead the team.

 

Rolling along to start 2014

 

When Hendershot got things rolling in 2014, the Bruins were very successful.

 

Even during the lone blemish on Tri-West’s record from a year ago, the season’s opener against West Lafayette, Hendershot seemingly played well. Despite losing to Red Devils, 18-17, Hendershot’s Bruins played with the lead for nearly the entire game.

 

It wasn’t until the final play of the game that West Lafayette regained the lead when they went for a two-point conversion that would have either won the game, or lost the game for the Red Devils.

 

Hendershot still finished that game completing 21-of-32 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns.


The rest of the season, however, would be a different story. Starting a week after their heart-wrenching season opener.

 

In week two against South Putnam, Hendershot turned in a 329-yard passing performance, tossing for five touchdowns and rushing for an additional score during the 59-0 drudging.

 

Week three was a little different as the only touchdown registered by either team would be a rushing score from Hendershot, as the Bruins defeated Lebanon, 11-5.

 

Other early season notable performances from Hendershot came against North Montgomery, 10-16 for 191 yards and three touchdowns and also against Frankfort, throwing for two scores and rushing for 103 yards and another touchdown.

 

Bruins helping when needed

 

In the offset chance that Hendershot did struggle during their championship run, his teammates were more than willing to step up. Mainly, running back Wesley Cook.

 

During their week four matchup against Danville and with the Warriors seemingly grabbing momentum in the third quarter, it was Cook’s 43-yard touchdown run that stole momentum back, and ultimately would ice the game. Colton Jobe added a rushing score late, his second of the game, to increase the final score to 28-6.

 

In a close game against Western Boone in early October, it was Cook’s three rushing scores that proved to be the difference in the 20-13 victory for the Bruins. He finished the game with 157 yards on the ground, more than the Stars gained on the ground as a team.

 

Big stage, big performances

 

The most important of times in the life of a football team are when your season is on the line. While these times can be regular season games, more often than not – the most important games of the season are the win-to-move-on-or-lose-and-go-home playoff games that every high school team covets.

 

For Jake Hendershot, the playoffs games were his shining moments in 2014. With everything on the line, and his team depending on the signal-caller the most, Hendershot delivered.

 

To start the postseason off with a bang, Hendershot broke a 7-7 tie game against Brebeuf Jesuit Prep with his game-winning 5-yard touchdown score early in the fourth quarter. He finished the game accounting for 192 total yards and his lone touchdown, the game-winner, during the 14-7 victory. 

 

In round two, Hendershot stole the show in a rematch against Western Boone. He completely 18-of-22 passes for 329 yards and five touchdowns, the latter two stats both matched season-highs. The Bruins defeated the Stars, 54-28

 

The state quarterfinals proved to be no match for Hendershot as he, Cook and Jobe stole the show in the 23-15 victory over Guerin Catholic. Jobe scored first before Hendershot hit Cook for a 52-yard passing touchdown. It was Cook’s second touchdown of the game, a 5-yard rush that increased the lead to 23-7 and an insurmountable lead over the Golden Eagles.

 

While the final score of the state semifinals game against Heritage Hills stood at 14-6, Hendershot’s Bruins never lost control.

 

Cook scored first before Hendershot connected with, who else but Colton Jobe for a 51-yard touchdown that gave Tri-West a 14-0 halftime lead. A lead that they would hold on to all the way until 1:21 left in the fourth quarter when Heritage Hills finally got on the scoreboard.

 

It wouldn’t be enough however as the Bruins advanced to the State Championship game behind Hendershot’s 166 yards through the air and another 64 yards on the ground.

 

 

State Championship number four

 

For the fourth time in school history, the Tri-West Bruins would be crowned State Champions, knocking off previously undefeated Andrean, 49-27.

 

The 59ers entered play against Tri-West, winners of 29 straight games dating back to 2013, defending 3A Champions and undeniably the favorites against the Bruins.

 

In the opening moments of the game, Andrean looked very much the part, scoring two quick touchdowns to take a 14-0 lead just four minutes in.

 

However, the Bruins rallied in the waning stages of the first quarter, outscoring Andrean 49-13 the rest of the way. It was none other than Hendershot who started the rally for Tri-West, tossing a 15-yard touchdown to Casey Coll in the first quarter to cut the deficit to 14-7.

 

After a lucky bounce into the end zone that was recoved by the Bruins for a touchdown, Cook scored on four straight possessions for Tri-West, capping his scoring onslaught with a 59-yarder early in the fourth quarter that increased the lead to 42-21.

 

Hendershot put the icing on the cake himself, as he engineered a long scoring drive that culminated with the quarterback touting the ball across the goal line one final time in his career. His score with 2:36 left put the game assuredly out of reach at 49-21 and secured the fourth state title for the Bruins.

 

Hendershot’s successful final season came a year removed from an impressive junior campaign in which he threw for 2,686 yards and 20 touchdowns. The school’s first Championship since 2004 should be enough to cement Hendershot’s legacy for a long time to come.

 

While Hendershot will no longer call the shots in 2015 with the senior being actively recruited by Illinois State and set to graduate this spring, the Bruins can rest assured that rising-senior Cook will be ready to shoulder a heavier load this fall.

 

Cook finished the season with 1506 rushing yards, 26 rushing touchdowns, 2078 all-purpose yards and 33 total touchdowns, all tops on the team.

 

Either way, defending a State Championship is a welcome task for a Bruins team, who successfully completed that duty in 2003, securing back-to-back State Championships in ’03 and ’04.

 

Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Wesley Cook (1506 yards)

Passing: Jake Hendershot (2619 yards)

Receiving: Judd Grubbs (655 yards)

All-Purpose: Wesley Cook (2078 yards)

Touchdowns: Wesley Cook (33)

Rush attempts: Jake Hendershot (151 carries)

Receptions: Casey Coll (44 catches)

 

Defensive stat leaders

Interceptions: Keith Poland (3)

Fumbles Recovered: Cameron Cole (2)

 

Team statistics

Total scoring: 564 points

Opponent scoring: 159

Total offense: 5668 yards

Total rushing yards: 3006 yards

Total passing yards: 2662 yards

Opponent offense: 2864 yards

Opponent rushing yards: 1068 yards

Opponent passing yards: 1796 yards

Third down conversions: 43.2% (63/146)

Opponent third down conversions: 28.9% (54/187)

Turnover Differential: +9 (15 INT)

Wildcats finish perfect season with first State Championship

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
January 22, 2015

 

Capturing a State Championship requires a lot of differing factors. From the coaches to the players to the community and all in between, a State Title requires skill, talent, dedication, a little luck and a lot of hard work.

 

For the Wilmington Wildcats, securing the school’s first ever State Championship in 2014 will go down in history as a run for the ages, for all involved.

 

From start to finish, the 2014 campaign was filled with exciting plays, dramatic runs and improbable finishes en route to the Wildcats first title.

 

Take game one for instance. Against Sandwich High School, despite leading 19-7, Wilmington found themselves on the verge of losing the lead at halftime when the Indians rattled off 10 straight points. With a 19-17 advantage at halftime, the Wildcats stormed back behind the legs of quarterback Mason Southall to 20 unanswered points and the 39-17 victory.

 

In game two, despite surrendering the first points to Coal City, Southall and running back Nick McWilliams tore through the Coalers defense for 322 total yards and a 26-7 victory. In game three, more of the same as Wilmington found themselves yielding the first points to Lisle Senior. Down 3-0, the Wildcats used momentum from a 20-point third quarter to defeat the Lions, 34-3.

 

After defeating Reed-Custer, 34-7, the Wildcats put forth arguably their best offensive game against Westmont in week five. Despite once again surrendering the first points, Wilmington rattled off 21 points in the first quarter and 28 unanswered points before taking a 35-13 halftime lead.

 

Continuing to find their stride against the Sentinels, the Wildcats totaled 529 yards on offense, despite completing just one pass – a 4-yard Southall-Joe Mann touchdown. Nick Hawkins ran for 193 yards while McWilliams tallied 127 and Gavin Hawks accrued 119 in the 54-20 victory.

 

Just a week after running away with the game against Westmont, Wilmington found themselves searching for answers on the offensive side against Herscher. Up only 21-12 at halftime against the Tigers, neither team could muster much on offense until Austin Berns scored from five yards out for Herscher.

 

After allowing the opponents to pull within three points and not being able to move the ball on offense, Wilmington’s Mann intercepted a Brendan Powell pass with just 1:35 left in the game to secure the triumph, 21-18.

 

Few may know or even assume, that heading in to the fourth quarter of their next game against Seneca, the Wildcats were up on the Fighting Irish by merely seven points, 27-20. However, after scoring 13 unanswered and subsequently shutting out Seneca’s offense, the final score of 40-20 would be more indicative of just how the game played out. Wilmington outgained Seneca 407-182 as Southall tossed three touchdowns and McWilliams gained 135 yards on the ground.

 

The Wildcats defeated Peotone, 43-14 a week later before wrapping their regular season up with a 21-7 victory over Manteno despite a lackluster performance through the air. In their victory over the Panthers, Wilmington finished the game with negative yards through the air. Where their passing game struggled, their rushing game more than made up for it however.

 

McWilliams and Hawkins both carried the ball over 20 times for 145 and 127 yards, respectively. The Wildcats tallied 280 rushing yards as a team against a previously undefeated Manteno.

 

 

After finishing the regular season at 10-0, Wilmington squared off against an overmatched Paxton-Buckley-Loda team, winning 49-7 after holding the Panthers to just 37 total yards of offense. Five different Wildcats would score rushing touchdowns in the game as Wilmington would advance to play Monticello in round two of the IHSA 3A Playoffs.

 

For many teams, not gaining positive yards through the air would spell disaster. For the Wildcats however, it was just par for the course, as every yard gained was on the ground against Monticello. The Owls were outgained on the ground by a margin of 336 yards to just two of their own.

 

Monticello was outdone by four turnovers as Wilmington would win 40-0 to advance to the quarterfinals and a game against St. Joseph-Ogden.

 

In their closest game of the season, the Wildcats played a very evenly match St. Joseph-Ogden team – poised to ruin the perfect season for Wilmington. The Spartans would score first before the Wildcats would answer before halftime, tying the game at 7-7 at the break.
 

Another St. Joseph-Ogden score would be answered by Wilmington, however, each team would miss the ensuing point after touchdown attempts. Tied at 13 points apiece, Hawks would break the game open with his 60-yard touchdown run in the opening stages of the fourth quarter and a 20-13 lead for the Wildcats.

 

The Spartans, however, would answer with a long touchdown drive. Conversely, the point after attempt would again be missed by St. Joseph-Ogden who couldn’t muster any more points and fell to the Wildcats by a final score of 20-19.

 

Wilmington cruised past Byron in the state semifinals, scoring more points in each consecutive quarter in a 46-13 rout over the Tigers.

 

 

 

The State Chapmionship game would again prove to be an absolutely thrilling contest as the Wildcats would play fellow undefeated Williamsville. After seemingly feeling each other out through three quarters, Wilmington took a 10-3 lead into the fourth.

 

Each time the Bullets would tie the score in the final quarter, the Wildcats would answer. Each time, including the last points of the game – a 31-yard field goal by Jordan Sarr as time expired – came after a Williamsville TD.

 

Sarr’s second field goal of the game came as the final seconds ticked off the clock after Wilmington had driven down the field in 11 plays that took 5:15 off the game clock. Sarr’s memorable field goal came off of his foot perfectly, winning the game for Wilmington 20-17, pleasing the Wildcat fans in attendance and much to the chagrin of the Williamsville faithful.

 

A perfect season culminated with a perfect, storybook ending for Wilmington in 2014 as they brought home the school’s first ever State Championship.

 

 

 

Southall finished his senior season completing 59-of-108 passing attempts for 1090 yards and 12 touchdowns. He ran for six additional touchdowns and another 274 yards.

 

McWilliams and Hawkins each ran for over 1000 yards in 2014 as McWilliams led the team in carries (209), yards (1468) and touchdowns (24). Hawkins would finish second in each category with 193 carries for 1188 yards and 13 touchdowns.

 

With Hawkins returning to guide the Wildcats offense, the 3A State Championship will be theirs to defend for the first time in school history. A challenge, greatly appreciated, and surely accepted by the Wildcats.

 

Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Nick McWilliams (1468 yards)

Passing: Mason Southall (1090 yards)

Receiving: Al Zlomie (627 yards)

All-Purpose: Nick McWilliams (1489 yards)

Touchdowns: Nick McWilliams (25)

Rush attempts: Nick McWilliams (209 carries)

Receptions: Al Zlomie (31 catches)

 

Defensive stat leaders

Total tackles: Joe Mann (82)

Tackles for loss: Derek Kirchner (19)

Sacks: Derek Kirchner (7)

Pass breakups: Mason Southall (25)

Interceptions: Al Zlomie (4)

Interception return: Mason Southall (60 yards)

 

Team statistics

Total scoring: 487 points

Opponent scoring: 169

Total offense: 4847 yards

Total rushing yards: 3757 yards

Total passing yards: 1090 yards

Opponent offense: 2767 yards

Opponent rushing yards: 1722 yards

Opponent passing yards: 1045 yards

Third down conversions: 43.4% (63/145)

Opponent third down conversions: 35.1% (59/168)

Turnover Differential: +17 (19 INT, 13 FR)

Knights repeat as 4A Champions, 6th title overall, 3rd in past 5 years

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
January 20, 2015

 

Led by a very balanced attack this past fall, the Bishop Kelly Knights found themselves in a very familiar place to end the season in 2014.

 

That place was hoisting the trophy that signified them as Idaho’s 4A best, repeating as State Champions.

 

How they got there in 2014 however, is quite different than the year prior.

 

2013 was a year full of impressive offensive performances scoring 28 points or more in all but one game and equally impressive defensive performances holding seven opponents under 10 points. All of that led to a convincing 12-0 record and a 42-34 victory over Skyview in the State Championship in 2013.

 

2014 however, would see its share of ups and downs.

 

After traveling to Nevada and handling business against Bishop Manogue, 42-6, the Knights returned to Idaho to take on Vallivue. Against the Falcons, Bishop Kelly needed 14 straight points in the final quarter to win, 35-21.

 

After narrowly escaping Vallivue, the Knights would return home to host their first opponents of the 2014 season – the Timberline Wolves. Bishop Kelly had never lost to Timberline, but dropped their first home game of the season, 35-34 after Scott Bennett’s extra point in the second overtime was missed.

 

Head coach Tim Brennan righted the ship however after the one-point loss to the Wolves, as his Knights would then rattle off impressive performances, five to be exact, in a row. Victories against Borah (35-7), Mountain Home (52-14), Caldwell (41-6), Kuna (42-10) and Middleton (28-8) put Bishop Kelly in prime position to receive a first round bye week in the IHSAA 4A Playoffs.

 

However a regular season finale against Skyview would damper the team’s hopes heading into the playoffs.

 

The Knights could never get the ball rolling against the Hawks in the regular season culmination, surrendering a season high in points while posting their worst offensive performance of the season in a 39-9 loss.

 

Despite the loss, the Knights were granted a bye week to start the IHSAA 4A Playoffs. After the dust settled on the first round, a familiar foe would present itself as Bishop Kelly’s next opponent – the Skyview Hawks.

 

Left with a sour taste in their mouths from the last meeting, Bishop Kelly’s defense would let that be known. On Skyview’s first possession, the Knights blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead. On the Hawk’s ensuing possession, Will Heffner intercepted a pass and returned it for a pick six, and a 14-0 lead.

 

After that, the Knights would pour it on, adding 24 more points and defeating Skyview 38-14 when all was said and done.

 

Bishop Kelly would handle business against Rigby in the state semifinals, 23-14, and would appear in their second consecutive State Championship game, this time against a team with just as much big-game experience as themselves.

 

Blackfoot High School and Bishop Kelly had combined for the five previous State Championships heading in to the 2014 final game, with the Broncos winning in 2012, 2011 and 2009 and the Knights in 2013 and 2010.

 

The 2014 version of the 4A State Championship should have been billed as a ‘good, ole fashioned slobber-knocker.’ Two evenly matched teams squared off and neither team could seemingly take control against the other. Bishop Kelly would score first on a Tyler Allumbaugh 2-yard touchdown run in the opening quarter.

 

The Broncos would answer with a touchdown pass early in the second quarter to knot the game at halftime, 7-7.

 

A scoreless second half was broken up with 2:46 left in the fourth quarter on a 21-yard field goal by Blackfoot that gave the Broncos their first lead of the game at 10-7.

 

Down three points and with time dwindling, Allumbaugh would orchestrate a 10-play drive, going 80 yards in just 2:12 seconds. Running back back Vincent Galindo III punched the ball into the end zone from a yard away to give the Knights a 14-10 lead with just 0:32 seconds remaining.

 

After stopping the Broncos on their ensuing possession, Galindo’s touchdown would be the difference in a 14-10 victory for Bishop Kelly.

 

 

 

The 14-10 victory marked the sixth State Championship in school history and their third title in the last five years.

 

Galindo III finished the season with the game-winning touchdown as well as Idaho’s 4A Player of the Year selection. He was joined by quarterback Allumbaugh, offensive lineman Caden Finkley, defensive lineman Sam Mallane and linebacker Conner Charles on the 4A All-Idaho First Team.

 

It may be a challenge for the two-time defending State Champions as they will have to replace a host of offensive and defensive starters in 2015, while also playing as title defenders.

 

The Knights can enjoy their second consecutive title for now, and sure enough will welcome the challenge of being the favorites this coming fall. 

 

Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Peyton Judy (474 yards)

Passing: Tyler Allumbaugh (1595 yards)

Receiving: Will Heffner (728 yards)

All-Purpose: Will Heffner (895 yards)

Touchdowns: Vincent Galindo III (17)

Rush attempts: Peyton Judy (84 carries)

Receptions: Will Heffner (41 catches)

 

Defensive stat leaders

Interceptions: Conner Charles (5)

Interception return: Conner Charles (121 yards)

 

Team statistics

Total scoring: 397 points

Opponent scoring: 184

Total offense: 4103 yards

Total rushing: 1873 yards

Total passing: 2230 yards

Opponent offense: 2881 yards

Opponent rushing: 1063 yards

Opponent passing: 1818 yards

Third down conversions: 44.4% (59/133)

Opponent third down conversions: 35.2% (58/165)

Turnover Differential: +3 (15 INT, 13 FR)

Pirates score early, often – win first State Title in six years

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
January 19, 2015

 

A lot can be said for the Prairie High School Pirates 2014 football season. Whether it was their offensive onslaught game in and game out, or their ball-hawking defense recording multiple takeaways in all 12 games this season – the 2014 campaign culminated in the proper way – with an Idaho 1A I State Championship.

 

After two seasons hampered by injuries to quarterback Jake Bruner that ended too soon, the 2014 season was a memorable one – on both sides of the ball – for the Pirates.

 

Prairie seemingly controlled every minute of play this past season en route to their first State Championship since 2008.

 

On the offensive side of the ball, Prairie scored. When they scored, they scored a lot.

 

The Pirates scored 60 or more points in all but two games and totaled 752 points in 2014. In nearly every contest, they dictated the game with their offense scoring and their defense, conversely, holding their opponents off the scoreboard.

 

In 11 of 12 games, Prairie scored first jumping out to leads such as 56-0 over Clearwater Valley or 50-0 over Wallace. In fact, during those 11 games in which the Pirates scored first, collectively they notched 350 points before their opponents even get on the scoreboard themselves.

 

In the lone game that the Pirates didn’t score first, a state semifinals matchup against Kamiah who took an early 8-0 lead, Prairie would answer with 38 unanswered points themselves. Head coach Ryan Hasselstrom’s team would advance to the State Championship after ultimately defeating the Kubs, 62-28.

 

In the biggest of games of a year ago, the Pirates leaned heavily on their quarterback.

 

Bruner, the Idaho 1A Player of the Year, would deliver on the biggest stages, and more importantly in the State Championship Game against Valley. Not only on the offensive side, but also on defense as Bruner accounted for six touchdowns at quarterback and two interceptions at safety.

 

The 6-foot-6, 205-pounder completed 17-of-18 pass attempts for 319 yards and two scores, while touting the ball nine times for 49 yards and four rushing scores. He recorded his two interceptions in the second half that dashed any hope of a Viking comeback and sealed the 72-18 victory.

 

When arguably one of the best players across the state got things going in 2014, the Pirates rolled. The bad thing for opponents a year ago – Bruner was always on. He threw multiple or rushed for multiple touchdowns in every game last season.

 

Bruner finished the year completing 120-of-182 pass attempts for 2527 yards and 35 touchdowns against just eight interceptions. He ran the ball 63 times for another 370 yards and 19 touchdowns.

 

Bruner has also helped Prairie capture State Championships in both basketball and baseball.

 

Running back Hunter McWilliams handled the majority of the rushing duties for the Pirates in 2014, carrying the ball for team highs in attempts (141), yards (1541) and touchdowns (22). He also brought down 18 receptions for 358 yards and another two scores.

 

On the defensive side, the Pirates held five opponents to under 10 points in 2014 while allowing no opponent to score over 28. They recorded at least two turnovers in all 12 games and recorded 23 interceptions and 15 fumble recoveries last season.

 

Calvin Hinkelman led the way for the Pirates last year, totaling 101 tackles (64 solo, 74 assisted). He also led the team with 19.5 tackles for loss.

 

Bruner led the team with his six interceptions while Terran Perry, who was second on the team with 73 tackles, led the way with two interceptions returned for touchdowns. Mason Dalglliesh tied for the team lead with three forced fumbles and topped the team with his six fumble recoveries.

 

Joining Bruner on the postseason awards list were Hinkelman, McWilliams, Dilgliesh, wide receiver Rhett Schlader, offensive lineman John Mager and defensive linemen Isaiah Shears and Lucas Arnzen on the 1A All-Idaho First Team.  

 

Riding their 12-game winning streak into the 2015 season, the Pirates will look to defend their state title and win back-to-back championships for the first time in school history. With the Idaho 1A Player of the Year returning to guide Prairie this fall, hopes should understandably be high when games begin.

 

For now, the Pirates can relish in their utterly impressive performance in 2014 and not only call themselves State Championships for the first time in six years, but also arguably one of the better 8-man teams across the entire country.  

 

Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Hunter McWilliams (1541 yards)

Passing: Jake Bruner (2527 yards)

Receiving: Rhett Schlader (983 yards)

All-Purpose: Hunter McWilliams (1955 yards)

Touchdowns: Hunter McWilliams (24)

Rush attempts: Hunter McWilliams (141 carries)

Receptions: Rhett Schlader (19 catches)

 

Defensive stat leaders

Total Tackles: Calvin Hinkelman (101)

Tackles for loss: Calvin Hinkelman (19.5)

Pass break-ups: Jake Bruner (15)

Interceptions: Jake Bruner (6)

Fumbles recovered: Mason Dalgliesh (6)

 

Team statistics

Total scoring: 752 points

Opponent scoring: 182

Total offense: 6040 yards

Total rushing yards: 3336 yards

Total passing yards: 2704 yards

Opponent offense: 3162 yards

Opponent rushing yards: 1685 yards

Opponent passing yards: 1477 yards

Third down conversions: 53.5% (46/86)

Opponent third down conversions: 31.5% (51/162)

Turnover Differential: +16 (23 INT, 15 FR)

 

Red Devils win first title since 2004 behind stellar defense

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
January 15, 2015

 

They say ‘defense win championships.’

 

That adage is tried and true with plenty of examples from this season to many years ago and across all levels of sport. From the Seattle Seahawks' ‘Legion of Boom’ to the Pittsburgh Steelers' ‘Steel Curtain’ defenses from the 70’s, a good defense is a great place to start when looking for examples of great football teams.

 

Allow me to add another example.

 

Take Hawkinsville High School in 2014. The Red Devils not only played great defense en route to the GHSA Class A State Championship, they stymied opponents on multiple occasions throughout the 2014 season.

 

The Red Devils great defense started out their campaign last year with a bang, defeating Bleckley County, 41-7. The Royals lone score came on the opening kickoff of the game when Tae Holiday scampered up the field for 89 yards for a touchdown.

 

Holiday’s 89 yards on the opening kickoff would be more than the entire Bleckley County offense could muster through the rest of the game. Hawkinsville limited the Royals to just 84 total yards of offense and just six first downs on 36 plays. Bleckley County was limited to just 12.5% on third down conversions, finishing the game 1-of-8 on third down.

 

The Red Devils also forced three turnovers against the Royals to open the season.

 

Following up their impressive defensive performance from week one, was a 28-0 shutout victory over Wilcox County. The Patriots finished the game with just 83 total yards of offense and surrendered five turnovers to the Red Devils.

 

Week three brought in a new opponent, but essentially the same result. Hawkinsville blanked Taylor County, 21-0, behind another great defensive performance. The Red Devils limited the Vikings to just 87 total offensive yards on 45 plays while their offense racked up the yards on the ground totaling 311 rushing yards.

 

The list of impressive defense continued limiting Brookstone to just 69 yards, Central (Talbotton) to just 66 yards and Greenville to just 51 yards

 

Hawkinsville’s defense limited each of their first six opponents to under 100 total yards of offense to kick off the 2014 season, outgaining them by a combined margin of 1674-446 yards.

 

After finishing the regular season at 9-1, the Red Devils advanced to the GHSA Class A Playoffs riding their defense and the play of their quarterback Dakota Sloan. Also pacing Hawkinsville was the stacked rushing attack that included Reginald McDonald, Hilliard Wright, Phillip Thompson, Malik Holliman, Warren Singletary and Tyrone Wright.

 

All of the aforementioned rushers, including Sloan at quarterback, notched two or more rushing touchdowns, 200 or more rushing yards and 38 or more rushing attempts in 2014.

 

McDonald led all rushers with 665 yards while Sloan and Singletary finished the year tied for the most rushing touchdowns for the Red Devils at 10.

 

In their opening round game against Jenkins County, despite finding themselves up 12-0 at halftime, Hawkinsville relinquished the lead early in the fourth quarter after two unanswered Eagles touchdowns pushed the score to 14-12. However, Singletary would cap quick nine-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown in the final quarter.

 

A two-point conversion would increase the lead to 20-14 before Thompson would intercept Jenkins County quarterback Travis Bonner’s pass with 2:13 left. Despite utilizing their timeouts and forcing the Red Devils to give the ball back, the Eagles could not muster enough to score again on the Hawkinsville defense, allowing HHS to advance to round two.

 

Hawkinsville’s second round matchup against Charlton County was just as exciting as their first round game, if not more. The Red Devils took an early 6-0 lead after Wright scored from one-yard out. Tyler Brown’s extra point attempt, however, was blocked, giving Hawkinsville only six on the possession.

 

Despite being shut out for 47 minutes, the Indians finally hit the scoreboard with just 0:26 seconds remaining as quarterback Jimmy Nettles hit Scott Birchall for a 24-yard touchdown. Charlton County was an extra point away from shocking the hosting Red Devils but Thomas Johnson pushed his extra point attempt wide however, breathing life back into the Hawkinsville faithful.

 

The teams would head to overtime tied at six points apiece.

 

After 48 minutes of play, overtime would finish in just two plays. Sloan hit Royce Owen for a 15-yard touchdown to start the extra period and give Hawkinsville a 12-6 lead. On their very first play of overtime, Charlton County running back Andrew Lee would be hit by Devin Adams, fumbling away the ball and the game for the Indians.

 

Hawkinsville advanced in dramatic fashion, 12-6 into the state semifinals where a rematch of their only loss in 2014 would await.

 

Marion County would be the familiar foe for the Red Devils in the semifinals, however, in the playoffs, the result would differ than their regular season matchup. In their week eight meeting, the Eagles topped Hawkinsville, 13-6. In their playoff meeting, Marion County would not be able to hold off the Red Devils, as HHS would top the Eagles 15-13 to advance to the Class A State Championship game.

 

The two teams fought hard, both exchanging scores in the first three quarters as Marion County led 13-6 leading in to the final frame. The Red Devils defense would make a statement in the fourth quarter, holding Marion County to a three-and-out on their first possession. However, a 31-yard go-ahead field goal attempt from Brown would be blocked and the Eagles would take over with 5:30 left.

 

After another three-and-out by the Red Devils defense, Sloan and McDaniel would march Hawkinsville down the field to the Marion County nine-yard line. It was with 0:13 seconds remaining that Brown would gain redemption for himself and his team, nailing a 26-yard field goal attempts that gave his team the victory, 15-13.

 

In the State Championship game against Irwin County, the Red Devils defense, much like how they started the season, would prove crucial once again. Limiting the Indians to just 179 total yards of offense and forcing three second half fumbles, Hawkinsville would score all they needed – two Singletary touchdown runs and a safety – to win the game, 15-6.

 

The State Championship would be the first for head coach David Daniell, the school’s first since winning back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004 and sixth championship overall.

 

 

On defense, the Red Devils were paced by Kesun Wright who led the team with 66.5 total tackles and Adams who led the way with 27.5 tackles for loss. Cal George recorded seven interceptions while Hawkinsville’s defense turned in a +15 turnover margin in 2014.

 

The Red Devils will have to find a way to reload in 2015 as they will be losing Sloan, McDaniel, Thompson, Wright, Holliman and Singletary from their offensive backfield.

 

One thing is for sure though, one of the better ways to reload and bolster the confidence with a young offense – have a great defense. That is something that Red Devils will have for sure.

 

Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Reginald McDonald (665 yards)

Passing: Dakota Sloan (674 yards)

Receiving: Cal George (199 yards)

All-Purpose: Reginald McDonald (748 yards)

Touchdowns: Dakota Sloan (11)

Rush attempts: Reginald McDonald (137 carries)

Receptions: Cal George (19 catches)

 

Defensive stat leaders

Total Tackles: Keshun Wright (66.5)

Tackles for loss: Devin Adams (27.5)

Sacks: Royce Owen (7)

Interceptions: Cal George (7)

Fumbles recovered: Dakota Sloan (5)

 

Team statistics

Total scoring: 326 points

Opponent scoring: 102

Total offense: 3477 yards

Total rushing yards: 2796 yards

Total passing yards: 681 yards

Opponent offense: 1816 yards

Opponent rushing yards: 967 yards

Opponent passing yards: 849 yards

Third down conversions: 32.3% (54/167)

Opponent third down conversions: 23.6% (38/161)

Turnover Differential: +15 (19 INT, 16 FR)

 

Eagles record 23rd consecutive winning season, cap 2014 with State Title

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
January 14, 2015

 

Much like years past, the Northside Eagles continued their winning ways in 2014. What they did differently in 2014 however, was return to the State Championship game for the first time since 2009.

 

The Eagles made the most of their Championship game appearance, knocking off Mays High School in ar hard fought, instant classic, 25-18.

 

With their most recent successful season, Northside has now finished each season since 1998 with double-digit victories. Coach Kevin Kinsler has won 10 or more games in each of his five seasons at the helm and the program itself has recorded 23 consecutive winning seasons, dating back to 1992.

 

Senior running back Willie Jordan paced the Eagles in 2014 during their championship run. Jordan averaged just under 150 rushing yards a game (149.7) and a whopping 7.0 yards per carry.

 

The 6-foot-1, 225-pound running back also tied for the team-high in receptions (15) and receiving touchdowns (2). Jordan’s 2470 total all-purpose were more than twice as much as the next closest on the team, quarterback Tobias Oliver (921).

 

When Jordan got things going, the Eagles flourished in 2014. Against Richmond Academy mid-way through the season, he rushed for 266 yards and three touchdowns, two of which came during the fourth quarter of the Eagles 24-7 victory.

 

Jordan followed his performance against Richmond Academy with his second highest rushing total a week later. Against rival Warner Robins, Jordan rushed the ball 34 times for 249 yards and one score. It was however, nine of his carries that would be crucial in the Eagles holding off the Demons in their annual rivalry game, 24-21.

 

With just over eight minutes remaining and Northside up by just three points, the Eagles were in need of some clock management. Who else to turn to but Jordan.

 

The bruising running back rushed nine times over the final two drives to help Northside chew up nearly six minutes before the defense clamped the door on Warner Robins.

 

Jordan and Oliver would lead the team down the stretch of the regular season, finishing the year with a 9-1 record, having shut out two opponents (Greenbrier, 55-0; Cross Creek, 51-0). Their lone blemish in 2014 came at the hands of a week four 45-37 loss to Jones County.

 

The Eagles cruised in to the GHSA AAAAA Playoffs, handling the Patriots from Northside High School, 48-0 in the first round. A back-and-forth game against Dalton in round two saw Oliver put the proverbial 'nail in the coffin' on a 1-yard touchdown run with under a minute remaining, giving the Eagles a 30-21 victory.

 

Northside then defeated Glynn Academy, 31-7 before squaring off against Allatoona in the state semifinals. The Eagles built a 20-point lead over the Buccaneers before a furious fourth quarter that saw Allatoona jump back into the game behind two Conner Larson touchdown passes. A late 23-yard field goal by Justin Alonso however, put the game out of reach by a familiar score, 30-21.

 

In the GHSA AAAAA State Championship game, Northside would square off against Mays High School, winners of eight straight games and who had knocked Jones County, the Eagles lone imperfection, out of the playoffs.

 

The 2014 Championship game started off well for Northside as Jayllen Kendrick intercepted a Asahnia Aderhold pass and returned it for a touchdown and seven points.

 

Those, however, would turn out to be the lone points the Eagles would score in the first half as Aderhold would throw three touchdowns, two to Randrecous Davis, and an 18-7 lead at halftime.

 

A different Northside defense would take the field in the second half. A defense that would hold the Raiders to just 28 offensive plays, 125 offensive yards and a missed field goal over the final two quarters. The Eagles offense however scored both on quick strikes and a slow, methodical drive.

 

Their first score of the second half came on a one-play drive, a 70-yard Oliver to Nate Greene scoring connection. Their second score of the half came after an 11-play drive that spanned 55 yards and chewed over six minutes on the clock, ending with a 32-yard Alonso kick to cut into the Raiders lead, 18-17.

 

After forcing three straight Aderhold incompletions, the Eagles needed just three plays before Oliver would scurry for 47 yards and the go-ahead touchdown. A two-point conversion put Northside up by a touchdown at 25-18.

 

The defense would shut down Mays on their last three consecutive drives in the fourth quarter, holding on to the lead and giving coach Kinsler his first State Championship at Northside and the school’s first State Championship since 2007.

 

 

 

Jordan was named the Georgia AAAAA Offensive player of the year while coach Kinsler was named the Coach of the year. Jordan and offensive lineman Brandon Sandifer were named to the Georgia AAAAA All-State team while linebacker Kam Burnett was nabbed as Honorable Mention on the All-State list.

 

Despite losing Jordan, the Eagles will return rising-junior Oliver and a host of other players this coming fall. That would lead one to believe that Northside’s 23-straight winning seasons very well may jump to 24 as they look to defend their State Championship in 2015.

 

Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Willie Jordan (2246 yards)

Passing: Tobias Oliver (1327 yards)

Receiving: Nate Greene (316 yards)

All-Purpose: Willie Jordan (2470 yards)

Touchdowns: Willie Jordan (33)

Rush attempts: Willie Jordan (322 carries)

Receptions: Two tied (15 catches)

 

Defensive stat leaders

Total Tackles: Tae Daley (66)

Tackles for loss: Isaiah Johnson (13)

Sacks: Tyree Williams (4)

Interceptions: Rakwon Young (5)

Forced fumbles: Josh Vickers (4)

 

Team statistics

Total scoring: 552 points

Total offense: 6261 yards

Total rushing yards: 4869 yards

Total passing yards: 1392 yards

Third down conversions: 44.1% (75/170)

Turnover Differential: +14 (15 INT, 12 FR)

CFB National Championship well represented with Digital Scout talent

 
Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
January 13, 2015

 

Fans of college football were treated to an incredible year during the 2014-15 season. From August all the way until the season's culminating game this past Monday evening, there was a little bit of everything this year.

 

In the first ever College Football Playoff, the Ohio State Buckeyes squared off against the Oregon Ducks. Two teams loaded with speed, talent and athletes from all over the country met in Dallas' AT&T Stadium. 

 

Ohio State defeated the Ducks by a score of 42-20 with a some help from youthful players on their team.

 

Upon further researching, we here at Digital Scout found that combined, Oregon and Ohio State totaled 32 athletes that played their high school ball for a team that utilized Digital Scout's stat-tracking software at one point or another. From Georgia to Ohio and Texas to California, we present our list of Digital Scout alumni who took part in the first ever CFP National Championship Game:

 

 

From Ohio State, 26 athletes:

(Players with available Digital Scout player profile pages are highlighted, click to view)

 

No. 2 - Dontre Wilson, RB, Sophomore, DeSoto High School, Texas

18 attempts, 100 yards; 21 receptions, 300 yards, 3 touchdowns

 

No. 11 - Vonn Bell, DB, Sophomore, Ridgeland High School, Georgia

91 total tackles, 56 solo, 35 assisted, 6 interceptions, 6 passes defended

 

No. 12 - Doran Grant, CB, Senior, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, Ohio

64 total tackles, 50 solo, 14 assisted, 5 interceptions, 8 passes defended

 

No. 18 - Nik Sarac, CB, Senior, St. Ignatius High School, Ohio

No statistics available

 

No. 21 - Parris Campbell, WR, Freshman, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, Ohio

No statistics available

 

No. 23 - Tyvis Powell, S, Sophomore, Bedford High School, Ohio

67 total tackles, 45 solo, 22 assisted, 4 interceptions, 4 passes defended

 

No. 23 - Isaiah Williams, S, Freshman, Northmont High School, Ohio

No statistics available

 

No. 24 - Guy Ferrelli, TE, Freshman, Bishop Ready High School, Ohio

No statistics available

 

No. 28 - Warren Ball, RB, Sophomore, DeSales High School, Ohio

18 attempts, 85 yards

 

No. 33 - Dante Booker, LB, Freshman, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, Ohio

7 total tackles, 2 solo, 5 assisted

 

No. 35 - Jeffie Johnson, RB, Junior, Hilliard Bradley High School, Ohio

1 attempt, 2 yards

 

No. 37 - Josh Perry, LB, Junior, Olentangy High School, Ohio

123 total tackles, 72 solo, 51 assisted, 1 interception, 2 passes defended

 

No. 38 - Craig Fada, LB, Junior, Bishop Watterson High School, Ohio

5 total tackles, 3 solo, 2 assisted

 

No. 39 - Kyle Clinton, K, Senior, Dublin Coffman High School, Ohio

3 extra points made, 3 extra points attempted

 

No. 41 - Bryce Haynes, LS, Junior, Pinecrest Academy, Georgia

No statistics available

 

No. 43 - Darron Lee, LB, Sophomore, New Albany High School, Ohio

81 total tackles, 54 solo, 27 assisted, 2 interceptions, 3 passes defended

 

No. 44 - Kyle Berger, LB, Junior, St. Ignatius High School, Ohio

No statistics available

 

No. 44 - Chris Rock, DL, Junior, DeSales High School, Ohio

No statistics available

 

No. 46 - Nick Snyder, LB, Senior, Westerville South High School, Ohio

1 total tackle, 1 assisted

 

No. 49 - Sam Hubbard, DE, Freshman, Archbishop Moeller High School, Ohio

No statistics available

 

No. 51 - Joel Hale, OL, Senior, Center Grove High School, Indiana

No statistics available

 

No. 71 - Kyle Trout, OL, Freshman, Lancaster High School, Ohio

No statistics available

 

No. 73 - Brady Taylor, OL, Freshman, Bishop Ready High School, Ohio

No statistics available

 

No. 77 - Michael Hill, DL, Freshman, Pendleton High School, South Carolina

2 total tackles, 1 solo, 1 assisted

 

No. 81 - Nick Vannett, TE, Junior, Westerville Central High School, Ohio

19 receptions, 220 yards, 5 touchdowns

 

No. 90 - Tommy Schutt, DL, Junior, Glenbard West High School, Illinois

10 total tackles, 8 solo, 2 assisted, 1 pass defended

 

 

From Oregon, six athletes:

 

No. 6 - Dominique Harrison, DB, Redshirt Senior, Tracy High School, California

2 total tackles, 2 solo

 

No. 9 - Arik Armstead, DL, Junior, Pleasant Grove High School, California

47 total tackles, 26 solo, 21 assisted

 

No. 27 - Jeff Bieber, WR, Freshman, Sunset High School, Oregon

No statistics available

 

No. 37 - Michael Manns, DB, Redshirt Sophomore, Molalla High School, Oregon

1 total tackle, 1 assisted

 

No. 60 - Jim Weber, OL, Freshman, Southridge High School, Oregon

No statistics available

 

No. 81 - Evan Baylis, TE, Redshirt Sophomore, Grandview High School, Colorado

15 receptions, 143 yards, 1 touchdown