2nd round playoff games offer much interest

Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
November 12, 2014


There is much to be said for the OHSAA Football Playoffs. Exciting, entertaining, heaps of fun, interesting, water-cooler worthy.


While the intrigue is bountiful, one thing that cannot be said about the OHSAA Football Playoffs, is that they are boring.


The second round of the OHSAA Playoffs offer many intriguing matchups across all seven divisions, from all over the state.


Division I:


Lakota East vs Lakota West, Saturday, 7:00


In the most improbable of possible round two matchups, Lakota East will take on Lakota West. A rematch of a game from earlier in the 2014 season. A rematch, in which the game earlier in the season now lacks some relativity. Not because it wasn’t a good game, or not because this game won’t be exciting, but rather because of how Lakota West advanced to the second round.


Facing arguably the toughest challenge in the 2014 OHSAA Playoffs, a 5-5 Lakota West team drew No. 1 seed, 10-0 Centerville in the opening round. That tough draw in their first game would not stop them, or phase them in the slightest as they traveled to Centerville and took care of business, 21-15 over the Region 2 top seed.


The victory over Centerville marked the first ever playoff win for the Firebirds while it also handed Centerville their first loss of the season.


Lakota East on the other hand, played a stingy defensive game against Springboro, shutting out the Panthers, 7-0 to advance to the 2nd round.


Both Lakota programs winning sets up for a huge matchup at Mason High School this Saturday, November 15 at 7:00 pm.


The Lakota East-Lakota West game will mark the second time in three weeks that these programs have squared off. West defeated East in the final week of the regular season, 24-7. Will the ‘Cinderella Story’ continue or will Lakota East seek revenge from their last time meeting?


The winner will face off against the winner of the Dublin Coffman-Huber Heights Wayne game that will be live on our site.



St. Xavier vs Colerain, Saturday, 7:00


In a rematch of their week 2 matchup – St. Xavier and Colerain will take the field at Hamilton High School this Saturday night at 7:00. St. Xavier won their earlier matchup 31-12 before Colerain would win their final seven regular season games to finish the year as arguably one of the hotter teams in Division I.


St. Xavier led the entire way through the game against Colerain as both Bomber quarterback Sean Clifford and running back Sean Prophit found success against the Cardinals.


Clifford completed 11-of-19 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown while Prophit ran the ball 21 times for 144 yards and another touchdown.


Colerain carried their success into the first round of the playoffs by upsetting host Hilliard Darby, 28-7. The Cardinals dominated from the opening whistle, outgaining the Panthers 345-168 in the game. Quarterback Deshaunte Jones ran the ball for three scores while completing his only three pass attempts for 50 yards.


They limited Darby star Nick Powers to just 79 yards passing and an interception. They held the dual-threat quarterback to just 45 yards on the ground – his lowest output since week two against Hilliard Davidson (37).


Colerain and St. Xavier meet at Hamilton on Saturday, November 15 at 7:00 with the winner getting to play the victor of the Pickerington Central vs Moeller game.



Division II


Dublin Scioto vs Worthington Kilbourne, Friday, 7:30


If their first game of the season was anything – it was exciting. A 17-14 Scioto victory that had it’s fair share of excitement and promise for the 2014 season for both teams.


Kilbourne is still finding ways to win without their starting quarterback Griffin Dahn. They hold victories over Big Walnut, Franklin Heights, New Albany, Olentangy Orange and Watkins Memorial after dropping their first game without their senior QB.


Their victory against Watkins came last week, in their opening round playoff game, in what might be considered as an upset. Watkins was the higher seed sitting at No. 3, but didn’t play like one. Kilbourne controlled the game from the beginning and built an 18-0 lead by halftime.


Isaiah Young, who has carried the lead for the team since Dahn's injury, touted the ball 20 times for 117 yards and a touchdown en route to the 32-9 victory.


Scioto has had a different story in 2014. The Irish have had a mixed bag of success and puzzling losses. They defeated Marysville, Westerville North and Westerville South but managed to drop a game to their cross-town rival Dublin Jerome and came out flat in the second half against Hilliard Darby.


When it all mattered however, Scioto came to play against Teays Valley in their opening round game of the playoffs. Quarterback Nathan Densel lit up the scoreboard with his arm, tossing four touchdowns and more than 300 yards. He hit Evan Wallace on two scores, Justin Schafer on another and Jake Keeley on a 39-yarder in the second.


Densel also ran for 98 yards while Francis Cutchember carried the ball across the goal line for Scioto in the 38-14 victory over the Vikings.


The two neighboring schools will travel a short distance to Upper Arlington in a game that could be considered to have home field advantage for both programs. They play Friday night at 7:30 with the forecast calling for a game-time temperate no higher than 35 degrees.



Mount Healthy vs Kings, Friday, 7:30


Two 11-0 teams will meet with everything on the line this Friday night from Lakota West High School when Mount Healthy takes on Kings Mills Kings High School.


Kings comes into the game, winners of their last 11 games, and have seemingly been in control of nearly every game this season from the start. Their closest final score of the season came just three weeks ago against Glen Este, where they had to score the 21 of the final 28 points to defeat the Trojans 24-20.


The Knights are averaging nearly 37 points per game and have scored 30 or more points in all but two games this season. Kings defeated Northwest, 42-7 in the first round.


Mount Healthy heads into the game also winners of 11 straight, and also with a high-scoring offensive attack. The Owls actually average more points per game (38) and have scored 30 or more points in all but one game this season.


In their opening round game, the Owls shut out Tecumseh39-0 to advance.


One team will face their first blemish of the season when it’s settled on Friday night, while the other will face off against the winner of the La Salle-Harrison game.


Kings and Mount Healthy square off Friday night at 7:30 at Lakota West High School.



Division III


Tri-Valley vs Athens, Friday, 7:30


Two prolific sides of the ball meet this Friday night at 7:30 when Tri-Valley takes on Athens.


The Scotties of Tri-Valley head into their 12th game of the season having allowed only 41 total points this season. Their defense has been nothing short of incredible as they have shut out six opponents this season and held all but one opponent under seven points this year.


Grant Nolder leads the team in tackles with 41 while his 16.5 tackles for loss are second on the team behind John Alford, who has 19 tackles for loss.


As a whole, their defense has recorded 26 quarterback sacks, forced 13 interceptions and help opponents to just 1212 total yards of offense through 11 games.


On the other side of the ball, the Scotties will be facing off against arguably their toughest opponent to date in 11-0 Athens High School.


The Bulldogs have scored no less than 48 points in all 11 games this season and are averaging 62 points per game this season.


Senior quarterback Joe Burrow has thrown for 2887 yards and 42 passing touchdowns this season, completing 136-of-180 pass attempts. He has also run for 270 yards and 2 touchdowns.


Senior running back Trae Williams has carried the ball for the Bulldogs offense very efficiently, accruing 1596 yards and 33 touchdowns despite just 122 carries. He averages over 13 yards per touch while averaging a touchdown on every four carries. Deshawn Horton has added to the rushing attack with 506 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.


Something will have to give in this game when arguably one of the state’s better defenses pits themselves against arguably one of the state’s best offenses. Check it out live on the NFHS Network, Friday night at 7:30.



Division IV


Bay vs Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin, Friday, 7:30


Two 7-4 teams will square off Friday night at 7:30 when No. 7 Bay takes on No. 6 Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin. Both underdogs in their first round matchups will now face off for the right to take on either Benedictine or Cardinal Mooney.


Bay has turned in an impressive season, despite their record. Three of their four losses came against teams from Division II (North Olmstead, Midview & Avon) while their other blemish came on some last second heroics. In an early season game against Elyria Catholic, the Panthers scored a successful 2-point conversion with under a minute to play to stun the Rockets, 43-42.


The Rockets defeated Crestwood, 18-7 to advance to the second round.


Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin saw similar fates as their counterpart during their regular season. They also lost three of their four games to higher classified opponents (Hubbard, Lake Catholic & Walsh Jesuit).


The Lions took care of Mogadore Field in their first round playoff game, 45-27 to advance.


One team will falter to a 7-5 record, while the other will be the highest seeded team left in the entire Division IV bracket.


The Lions and Rockets take the field this Friday night at 7:30 from Twinsburg High School. 



Division V


Badin vs West Jefferson, Saturday, 7:00


In a battle of two lower ranked teams, both Badin (No. 7) and West Jefferson (No. 6) were not expected to advance to the second round of the Division V playoffs. Badin knocked off a 9-1 Shroder team, 23-13, while West Jefferson defeated a 7-3 Madeira squad, 36-14, ranked No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.


Badin has been paced by quarterback Zach Larkin and running back Cody Boxrucker during the 2014 campaign. Larkin has thrown the ball well, completing over 58 percent of his passes for 1646 yards and 21 touchdowns. Boxrucker has carried the ball for 1033 yards and 13 scores on the ground.


Larkin has hit his two favorite targets, Phillip Dozier and Dominic Valentino, for a combined 56 receptions, 860 yards and 11 touchdowns. Dozier leads the team in receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and all-purpose yards as he has accrued 1278 yards either through the air, on the ground or in the return game.


On the defensive side, it’s more of the same. Boxrucker leads the team in tackles with 69.5. Valentino leads the team with his 10.5 tackles for loss while Dozier himself has chipped in with 18.5 total tackles, 11 passes defended and four interceptions (tied for the team lead).


West Jefferson has also seen success in the ground game, but rather with two separate attacks. Quarterback Mitch Denes has carried the ball 140 times for 544 yards and five scores while running back DJ Braithwaite has been the workhorse. Braithwaite has carried the ball 177 times for 985 yards and 17 touchdowns.


The Rough Riders defense is led by Trevor Ferguson who’s 79.5 tackles leads the team.


West Jefferson and Badin meet this Saturday at 7:30 from Kettering Fairmont High School and on the NFHS Network, while the winner will face off against either Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy or Greeneview.



Division VI


Garaway vs Kirtland, Friday, 7:30


It’s not often that a defending state champion is an underdog. It’s especially rare when an undefeated defending state champion is given a No. 3 seed in their respective playoff bracket.


That’s exactly what happened when defending Division VI State Champion Kirtland was ranked in the No. 3 seed in Region 19. Kirtland, winners of 26 straight and 76 of their last 78 games, was ranked third in Region 19 behind undefeated Loudonville (No. 1) and Garaway (No. 2).


Not putting anything past Garaway or Loudonville, but it’s hard to pick against a team whose last regular season loss came back in 2009 and who has won 2-of-the-3 state championships.


The Hornets have seen much success this season on the ground. Running backs Jacob Boyd (1401, 20) and Adam Hess (997, 21) have combined for 2398 rushing yards and 41 touchdowns. Quarterback Sam Skiljan has carried the ball 62 times for 717 yards and another 10 touchdowns. Skiljan is averaging 11.6 yards every time he carries the ball.


Additionally, he has completed 55-of-91 pass attempts for 1019 yards and another 12 touchdowns. Boyd leads the team with 1887 all-purpose yards and 24 total touchdowns this season.


Garaway, on the other hand, has had the majority of their success through the air. Quarterback RJ Jacobs is 200-299 through the air for 3368 yards and 42 touchdowns against just five interceptions. His favorite target has been Connor Troyer who has brought down 53 receptions for 1127 yards and 14 touchdowns.


Ethan Slentz (47-657), Quinn Miller (33-535) and Josh Werker (30-515) each have over 30 receptions and over 500 yards this season, while Werker is second on the team with 11 touchdowns. Slentz leads the team with 339 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the ground.


The Pirates tough rush defense will be tested against the Hornets run game. Garaway has held opponents to an average of just 11.5 points per game while Kirtland averages just under 49 points per contest (48.7).


One this is for sure, despite who wins. Their road will get no easier as the winner of this game will have to face off against the winner of Loudonville-Mogadore, both of whom are also 11-0 this season. Next week’s matchup will see two 12-0 teams battle it out for Region 19’s spot in the Division VI final four teams.


Kirtland and Garaway square off, live on the NFHS Network this Friday night at 7:30 from Green High School.



Division VII


Trimble vs Caldwell, Saturday, 7:00


In a battle of two of the last remaining four undefeated teams in Division VII, Trimble will face off against Caldwell at New Lexington High School.


Trimble comes in as the defending state runner-up and with a head full of steam, holding their last eight opponents to a combined 45 points. They defeated Symmes Valley, 55-8, to advance to the second round against Caldwell.


Caldwell, on the other hand, is seeking revenge after a second round exit from the playoffs a season ago at the hands of No. 1 seed Shadyside.


The Redskins are winners of 11 straight and defeated Harvest Prep48-25, to advance to round two.


Since their 30-8 loss to Shadyside a season ago in the playoffs, Caldwell has been impressive. With running back Bricker Lori and quarterback Tanner Clark running the show, literally, have seemed unstoppable in 2014.


Lori has accumulated 1414 yards on the ground and 23 touchdowns. Clark has gained 1297 yards and 16 touchdowns with his feet this season. He has also throw for 13 additional touchdowns, six of which have gone to Tanner Baker.


Their defense has been led by Sheldon Archer. His 102.5 tackles nearly doubles the next closest on the team, while his nine tackles for loss are also tops on the team. David Ivey has recorded seven sacks while Jason Allen leads the team with four interceptions.


Caldwell and Trimble face off this Saturday at 7:00 from New Lexington High School, with the winner getting to play either Shadyside or Paint Valley. If Shadyside were to win, regardless of the Caldwell-Trimble result, that game would be a rematch of a 2013 playoff meeting. Shadyside defeated Caldwell, but was then thrust out of the playoffs at the hands of Trimble.


The game will be live on the NFHS Network this Saturday at 7:00.

Manchester travels to Cosby for the 'Battle for Chesterfield'

By: Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
October 16, 2014


The Manchester Lancers (Va.) will take the field at Cosby High School (Va.) this Friday night at 7:30, having not played a game on their home soil in over a month. The Lancers (6-0, 3-0) are seemingly unfazed heading in to their fourth consecutive road game as they have held all but one of their opponents under seven points or less en route to an unblemished 6-0 record so far this season.


The Lancers’ host this week, cross-town rival Cosby Titans (5-1, 1-1), had seen similar success heading in to their game last week against James River. Despite dropping their first game of the season a week ago, a close fought 13-6 defeat, the contest against Manchester is arguably the biggest game of the season for the two programs.


“It’s a really huge game, not only for me, but for our team,” Manchester quarterback Daniel Rose said. “It’s basically the battle for Chesterfield.”


Cosby has allowed just 20 points over the past four games, including two shut out victories over Huguenot and Clover Hill. Manchester is outscoring their opponents by a combined margin of 243-44 this season.


One of the major reasons for the Lancers success this season is Rose (@d_rose202), their dual-threat quarterback. The 6-foot-2 senior QB has thrown for 909 yards this season and nine touchdowns will also rushing for 308 yards and four touchdowns.


Daniel Rose has thrown for 909 yards and rushed for 308 yards this season. He has accounted for 13 total touchdowns.


Adding more intrigue to an already interesting matchup, Cosby scheduled Manchester as their opponent for their Homecoming game this Friday night. Something that did not sit well with the Manchester QB.


“The two schools absolutely dislike each other,” Rose said. “Plus they picked us for their Homecoming (game), which was disrespectful.”


When asked if that would be a little fuel to the fire for the Lancers this weekend, Rose replied very matter-of-factly.


“Yes sir, definitely,” Rose said.


Rose’s dual-threat ability has led to increased success from running back Justin Pendergrass so far this season. Pendergrass has rushed for 570 yards this season and 15 TDs through just six games. He also returns punts and kicks for the Lancers and is a threat out of the backfield in the passing game.


In the season opening victory over Matoaca, Pendergrass took a pass out of the backfield for 39 yards and a score early in the second quarter that was just the start of a four touchdown performance against the Warriors.


In addition to a strong offense, Manchester’s defense has been nothing to scoff at as they have held their previous two opponents under 100 yards of total offense. Since allowing 21 points to Meadowbrook all in the first half, the Lancers have allowed just three points before the fourth quarter of all four games (a field goal to Clover Hill in September). 


Manchester is led by a host of players, one in senior, James Madison University commit Andre Booker, who has accrued 10 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks so far this season. His biggest play however may have not been a sack, or even a TFL. Rather, Booker (@Lancer95_) stepped up not once, but twice in the aforementioned Meadowbrook game.

Booker has accumulated 24 total tackles, 5.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss. He will play football for JMU next fall.


Up 26-21 with time dwindling, Meadowbrook threatened to score with a 1st and goal at the Lancers three yard line. After a quick two-yard rush that put the Monarchs on the one, it was Booker’s two consecutive stops on second and third down that saved the game and sealed the victory as time ran out on Meadowbrook’s third and goal attempt.


Rose confirmed that Booker’s stops were crucial so far this season, but echoed that the defense certainly isn’t finished.


“It was a win or lose situation (for Booker),” Rose said. “It was huge, but we will definitely have more big plays this season.”


Raquan McCoy leads the team with 29 total tackles while Alex Robinson has the team lead in sacks (8) and forced fumbles (4).


The stout Manchester defense plays in to the hands of their prolific offense.


“We feed off of our defense and they feed off of us,” Rose said. “We are coached to compete and that’s what we do. When the defense scores, the offense puts up points.”


When Manchester and Cosby take the field this Friday night, emotions will be high not only because of the rivalry but also because it will be Cosby’s homecoming and the eighth consecutive regular season matchup between the two. Five of the last seven contests between these two teams have been one-possession games including last season’s 20-19 Manchester victory.


With all the anticipation for this game, Rose is preparing for something much bigger than just a victory over their rivals. He wants to make a statement.


“I love my team,” Rose said. “I love my school and the whole Manchester community.


“This is a statement game.”


Friday night’s game will be one to watch in southern Virginia and across the country as it will be featured on the NFHS Network live on Friday night with Digital Scout’s data-cast. Fans and viewers can also stay up-to-date by following Digital Scout on Twitter and liking on Facebook

Chargers record first victory after Raiders forced to forfeit amid injuries

By: Bryan Bedigrew
October 14, 2014


This past Friday, two 0-5 teams came together looking for their first win on the season. Senior running back Casey Willyard would lead the Jefferson County North Chargers (Ks.) with 105 yards rushing and two touchdowns in a 28-6 victory over the Immaculata Raiders (Ks.). The victory would also be the first district win for Jefferson County North.


The Chargers (1-5, 1-4) started the game with the ball and impressed with a 10-play drive that culminated with a Willyard five-yard rushing touchdown and a 7-0 Charger lead over the Raiders (0-6, 0-6). 


It wouldn’t be until the second quarter that the Chargers would score again. Quarterback Bryce Noll’s two-yard run plus a Joel Abel extra point would increase the Jefferson County North lead to 14-0. The Chargers would put together another second quarter scoring drive, one that was capped by a Kyle Noll five-yard up-the-gut score for a comfortable 21-0 lead for the Chargers. 


The Raiders would try to put something together just before the half however, an already slim roster was dealt a huge blow when Raiders senior Tanier Karigan would go down with an injury and not return. This left Immaculata with only 10 players to finish the game.


Not giving up however, the Raiders would receive a big momentum push as with just seconds left before halftime, a complete pass to Michael Valenca to the Chargers four yard line would give them hope heading into the second half. Leading off the third quarter, the Raiders attempted to put something together but gave up the ball on a Valenca fumble on the Chargers 48 yard line. 


The Chargers would run seven plays leading to a Willyard three-yard run for a Jefferson County score and a 28-0 lead. 


With impressive perseverance, the Raiders would score on their next possession after a six play drive. Valencia redeemed his earlier fumble by putting the Raiders on the board with a two-yard touchdown. The extra point however would fall short making the score 28-6 with 5:04 left in the third. 


After the ensuing Raiders kick off, just two plays later Immacaulata would suffer yet another injury as Valenca hit the ground. With the team now down to nine players Raiders coach Fred Elliot elected to forfeit the game with 4:39 remaining on the clock in the third quarter. The Raiders would fall to 0-6 while the Chargers would secure their first win and push their record to 1-5 this season.


Willyard finished the game with the game with 105 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns.


Jefferson County North will travel to Valley Falls this Friday at 7:00. The game will be live on the NFHS Network and you can also follow along and stay up to date on Twitter - @DigitalScout