Crusaders win inagural CHSAA State Title game

Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
March 17, 2015



The Crusaders from Canisius High School made history in 2014, capturing the inaugural CHSAA New York State Football Championship. The Crusaders did so in impressive fashion from season’s beginning, to season’s end, defeating Archbishop Stepinac, 23-10 in the season’s culminating game.



Canisius, paced by their quarterback-running back duo of Jakob Loucks and Mitch Thomas, ran their way to victory to open the season, providing glimpses of what would eventually take them to the State Championship.


Aside from their QB-RB duo, a key trait for the Crusaders in 2014 was special teams. In their season opener, Josh Huffman returned the game’s opening kickoff 93 yards for the first points of 2014, en route to a 48-3 rout of McQuaid Jesuit. Loucks threw for two scores and Thomas ran the ball just four times for 67 yards and a touchdown in the victory.


Avenging one of their two losses from 2013, Canisius scored early and often against Aquinas Institute before defeating the Little Irish, 34-0. A year prior, Aquinas had handed Canisius a 3-0 defeat.


Thomas ran in his first score of the game from 55 yards out, just over two minutes into the first quarter. Loucks threw for one score and rush for another and the Crusaders would receive six additional points from kicker and University of Connecticut commit, Michael Tarbutt, who connected on kicks from 28 and 52 yards away.


Two of Canisius’ next four games took place in the state of Ohio, traveling to take on Walsh Jesuit and Bishop Watterson.


Against Walsh Jesuit, the Crusaders saw Loucks toss three first half scores while Thomas ran for two scores himself en route to a 40-7 halftime lead. The lone seven points scored by the Warriors came off of a bad snap in the second quarter that was recovered for a touchdown.


Tarbutt added a 41-yard field goal in the second half to push the final score to 43-7.


After defeating Jamestown, 27-14 and St. Joseph’s Collegiate, 17-0, Canisius again traveled to Ohio, this time to Bishop Watterson, in Columbus. This game marked the fourth consecutive road game for the Crusaders.


The Eagles were able to force two Loucks interceptions in the game, but were unable to withstand the rushing attack of the Canisius offense. Thomas rushed 20 times for 159 yards and a touchdown while Loucks and Brad Zaffram added rushing scores of their own.


Despite Bishop Watterson QB Sam Maglicic’s best efforts – including a drive as time was dwindling to the Canisius 25 – the Eagles ran out of time and fall to the Crusaders, 21-14.


Playing a home game for the first time in over a month, Canisius welcomed Ohio’s Cardinal Mooney to Buffalo, a year removed from a loss at the hands of the Cardinals.


The 2014 contest proved to be another evenly matched game between the two schools, except this time, Canisius would come away victorious.


After opening up a 17-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter, Tarbutt closed the gap for the Crusaders, drilling a 37-yard field goal to trim the lead to 17-10. With 2:40 left to play, Cardinal Mooney quarterback Jon Saadey fumbled the ball after being hit by Jack Seminara.


Mitch Thomas picked up the fumble and score on the play for the proverbial ‘scoop-and-score’ that tied the game, but he wouldn’t be done there.


Just six plays later after the Canisius defense forced a quick Cardinal punt, Thomas scored from 26-yards away, giving the Crusaders their first lead of the game, 24-17, with just 0:23 seconds remaining. The score was enough to exact revenge from a 9-7 defeat in 2013.


Canisius rode the momentum of the dramatic victory over Cardinal Mooney in the regular season’s final two games, a 37-8 victory over Bishop Timon-St. Jude and a 48-13 victory over St. Francis.


The CHSAA New York playoffs started two weeks later and present two very familiar foes to the Crusaders.


Head Coach Rich Robbins’ team faceed off against their two most recent opponents in the first two rounds of the playoffs, handling both St. Francis (62-19) and Bishop Timon-St. Jude (35-8) easily once again.


The inaugural CHSAA New York State Football Championship had been long awaited for prior to the 2014 season beginning. Mother Nature would make fans wait just a little bit longer as the snow storms in November delayed the game a whole week.


16 days removed from their last game, Canisius took on Archbishop Stepinac in a battle of teams nicknamed Crusaders.


Stepinac and Canisius both entered the game undefeated and both teams looked very much the part in the first half. The only points on the board in the first half came by way of the aforementioned special teams. Stepinac forced a safety on a blocked punt in the first quarter before Tarbutt connected on two field goals in the second quarter.


The first of the two field goals permanently etched Tarbutt in Canisius history as he drilled a school record 60-yard field goal. He followed that up with a 28-yarder and the Crusaders took a 6-2 lead into halftime.


Stepinac regained the lead to start the second half as dual-threat quarterback Brandon Coleman rushed in the game’s first touchdown from eight yards out.

Loucks answered with a 16-yard rushing touchdown of his own to put Canisius back in the lead at 13-10. Tarbutt hit his third field goal of the game after that, a 35-yarder to push the Canisius lead to 16-10.


Coleman subsequently drove the Stepinac offense down the field, nearly scoring on a 50-yard rush that took the ball all the way to the Canisius 25 yard line. However, two Michael Kenefick sacks pushed the Stepinac offense to a 3rd and long. After gaining only six yards, Coleman would be intercepted by Jerome Brundidge on a 4th and 16 play.


Brundidge’s interception might have ended the game had he simply caught the ball and gone down, however 74 yards of green grass called his name as he returned the interception for the game-sealing touchdown. His pick six pushed the final score to 23-10 for Canisius.




The Crusaders were crowned the 2014 CHSAA New York Football State Champions.


Over the past three years, Canisius has combined for a 32-2 record but will have their work cut out for them in the years to come as they will graduate several seniors this summer including the quarterback-running back duo of Loucks and Thomas.


Among others, most notably the Crusaders will also be without the services of Tyrone Wheatley who signed his letter of intent with Michigan. Zaffram also signed a FBS letter to play at UTEP while Tarbutt will play at Uconn at the next level and Huffman will play at Maine next season.



Despite the challenges of losing many great players, coach Robbins and his staff will undoubtedly have the 2015 Crusaders ready to defend their inaugural CHSAA State Title.


Offensive stat leaders

Rushing: Mitch Thomas (1580 yards)

Passing: Jakob Loucks (1112 yards)

Receiving: David Thomas (316 yards)

All-Purpose: Mitch Thomas (1777 yards)

Touchdowns: Mitch Thomas (16)

Rush attempts: Mitch Thomas (167 carries)

Receptions: David Thomas (19 catches)


Defensive stat leaders

Total Tackles: Brad Zaffram (47/5)

Tackles for loss: Tyrone Wheatley (14)

Sacks: Tyrone Wheatley (9)

Interceptions: Jack Seminara (5)

Interception yards: Josh Huffman (132 yards)

Fumbles forced: Jacob Chaas (2)


Team statistics

Total scoring: 419 points

Opponent scoring: 119

Total offense: 3817 yards

Total rushing yards: 2688 yards

Total passing yards: 1129 yards

Opponent offense: 2062 yards

Opponent rushing yards: 769 yards

Opponent passing yards: 1293 yards

Third down conversions: 43/114 (37.7 %)

Opponent third down conversions: 33/137 (24.1 %)

Turnover differential: +16 (22 interceptions, 8 fumbles)

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.

Final week of the regular season in Ohio, who do you think will win

Digital Scout Staff (@DigitalScout)
October 30, 2014


Over the past several years, we here at Digital Scout have competed in a friendly game of who-knows-more-than-who when it comes to Ohio High School Football.


In a game dubbed as the "Digital Scout Ohio Pick 'Em", our staff members make selections each week on high school football games in our home state of Ohio. 


Whether they be our neighboring schools, big matchups in either the Ohio Capital Conference, Central Catholic League or the Greater Catholic League or just a marquee matchup from somewhere across the state, we at Digital Scout compete for office bragging rights in a cumulative score contest.


It is at this time, that we wanted to share this fun with our loyal readers and fans alike. 


Our staff will be making their selections soon, and we encourage you to do the same. Leave a comment with your picks, tweet your picks to us, let us know on Facebook which school you’re pulling for. Hashtag #OhioPickEm and mention @DigitalScout to be in the conversation!


Let it be known! Show your school pride.


Make your picks!


Games list:

Wayne vs Centerville Friday, October 31, 7:00

Archbishop McNicholas vs Badin Friday, October 31, 7:00

La Salle vs Elder Friday, October 31, 7:00

St. Xavier (Kentucky) vs St. Xavier (Ohio) Friday, October 31, 7:00

Trinity (Kentucky) vs Moeller Friday, October 31, 7:00

Hillard Darby vs Hilliard Bradley Friday, October 31, 7:30

Bishop Ready vs Bishop Hartley Friday, October 31, 7:30

Cadinal Mooney vs Austintown Fitch Friday, October 31, 7:30

St. Edward vs St. Ignatius Saturday, November 1, 7:00



Coffman, Liberty square off to stay atop the Ohio Capical Conference

By: Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
October 21, 2014


Remember way back in early September when Olentangy Liberty hosted Olentangy High School? Two cross-town rivals, both pegged to finish near the top of their divisions, squaring off against one another in an early season marquee matchup.


Remember when that game went all the way down to the wire with two of the Ohio Capital Conference’s top teams squaring off? Tied at 28 at the end of regulation, the Braves score first in the extra period and force the Patriots to retaliate with a touchdown of their own.


Remember when Liberty scored and could have seemingly tied the ball game once again to force a second overtime with a simple extra point? How about instead, do you remember when their two-point conversion attempt from Alex Lando to Jacob Wiseman fell incomplete and the Patriots were cut short of an upset over their bitter rivals?


Of course you remember all of that. Or well, at least now you remember.


That game should seem like mere peanuts however, come this Friday when Dublin Coffman comes to town.





While that 35-34 overtime loss to an undefeated Olentangy team remains the Patriots lone blemish, this season has turned out to be an incredibly successful 2014 campaign for the Patriots.


Liberty is averaging nearly 30 points per game this season and have gained a total of 2794 total yards of offense through eight games.


Both the rushing and passing attacks have seen equal shares of success in 2014 as the Patriots have gained 1468 yards on the ground while accumulating 1326 through the air.


The Liberty offensive attack averages over five yards per play (5.3) while averaging just under 350 yards per game (349.3).


Led by sophomore quarterback, the aforementioned Alex Lando, the Patriots have thrown for 12 touchdowns this season and have scored 20 touchdowns on the ground. Senior Nicholas Durtschi leads all rushers with 958 yards and nine touchdowns while fellow senior, Wiseman has recorded eight touchdowns and 342 yards on the ground.


He also has seven touchdowns on the receiving end of Lando throws.


Durtschi himself leads the team by averaging 195.4 yards per game between rushing, receiving, kick and punt return yards. Wiseman and Durtschi have combined for 1979 of the teams 2784 offensive yards this season.


When the Patriots take the field this Friday night at 7:30, they will be facing their stiffest test to date lining up against an undefeated, 8-0 Dublin Coffman team.


The Shamrocks will head to Powell, bringing with them an eight-game winning streak and a prolific offense that averages 37.4 points per game.


Coffman, similar to their foe on Friday, has seen a fair share of success both in the rushing and passing attacks this season. The ’Rocks have scored 20 rushing touchdowns and 19 passing touchdowns this season, compared to just five turnovers.


Maybe even more impressive than their offense this season – is their defense.


Through eight games in 2014, the Coffman defense has held opponents to just 50 points combined. They have forced 12 turnovers, are holding opponents to 171 yards of offense per game and have held two of their past three opponents to 153 total yards or under.


Led by Isaac McKinney and Griffin Grady on the defensive side, the ’Rocks will battle this Friday night at 7:30 in a game that should not only decide the ever-important playoff seeds, but also for who can call themselves the outright leader of the Central Division of the Ohio Capital Conference.


Digital Scout will be live at the game this Friday night and keeping fans up to date with up-to-the-minute stats and breaking plays as two of Central Ohio’s top teams duke it out in the second to last week of the regular season.


Follow live on Twitter (@DigitalScout) and tell us you’re going to the game by signing up at our event page on Facebook to possibly be featured next week on our site. You can also follow live on the NFHS Network.

Westerville Central weathers early mistakes, fight past rival Westerville South

By: Cameron Mellor (@CamMellor)
October 17, 2014


All week long, the city of Westerville, Ohio had been abuzz. Beat South. Beat Central. Each plastered on school specific social media accounts and all around town. A true cross-town rivalry and battle for city supremacy was put on a night early for students, fans, parents and thousands of viewers on live TV this Thursday night.




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In the end, it was the Warhawks from Westerville Central who 'ruled the ’Ville' after defeating Westerville South, 45-32.



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Westerville Central (8-0, 5-0) fell behind early, throwing a pick-six on the second play of the game, relinquishing a 6-0 lead to the Wildcats (4-4, 2-2) just 34 seconds in to the game. It was that play that may have paced the Warhawks for the rest of the game, en route to staying blemish free thus far this season.


“Well obviously you can’t let something like (the pick-six) bother you that early in the game,” Westerville Central head coach John Magistro said. “We’re good enough to score some points and we did.”


The Warhawks took whatever coach Magistro’s halftime speech contained to heart as points were scored at a furious pace in the third quarter.


Junior quarterback Gavin Lyon ran in a 10-yard touchdown just over a minute into the third. After a quick Westerville South score, Lyon and junior running back Benny Snell answered right back, leading Westerville Central on a long, sustained drive that ultimately led to three points by way of a 29-yard Alex Barnhart field goal.


The Warhawks defense would step up on the next Wildcats’ possession, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Ty Holmes at their own 39 yard line.  After the turnover, Westerville Central’s next possession took just a mere 1:12 off the clock before Lyon punched in his second rushing touchdown of the game, pushing the score to 31-19.


Westerville South would not go away quietly however. On the Wildcats ensuing possession, senior all-purpose player Abu Daramy took a bobbled hand-off, spun off two defenders in the backfield before sprinting to the left sideline, dancing around Warhawks defenders and beating the last line of defense to the pylon for an impressive 56-yard touchdown run.


“We knew it was going to come down to us making some big plays because they were going to make big plays,” Magistro said. “You talk about two really good football teams with a lot of speed. I feel as if we held our composure.”


Hold their composure they did as after Daramy’s electrifying run, Lyon and Snell combined for a quick 49 yards in just 55 seconds to increase their lead to 38-26 after a Snell three-yard touchdown rush.


After a quick three and out for the Wildcats, Lyon would put the proverbial dagger in Westerville South’s chances at the upset, finding fellow junior, wide receiver Cedric Frierson for a 17-yard score and a 45-26 lead.


Westerville Central would hold on, despite a late TD from Westerville South, to defeat their rival 45-32 on Thursday night.


When asked who caught attention for the Warhawks, coach Magistro complimented nearly his entire team.


“Believe it or not, our entire offensive line did a good job,” Magistro said. “Benny runs so hard. Our defense, we put them in a bad situation a few times with field position. We made some big plays when we had to.


“They are a big play team. I think, just coming out with a win we’re happy.”


Lyon finished the game completing 20-of-29 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns. He ran the ball seven times for 18 yards and another two scores. Frierson finished the game with eight receptions for 126 yards and one touchdown.


Setting the pace for the Warhawks all night long with his tough running, Snell finished the game with 228 yards on 34 carries and two touchdowns. Following the game, Snell was one happy running back.


“(This game) means so much to me,” Snell said. “We’ve been preparing for this game ever since we started two-a-days, in practice, running as hard as we can. Hard work pays off.


“I’m just so proud of my team.”


Westerville Central remains one of four undefeated teams in the Ohio Capital Conference. While the Warhawks can relax knowing they will, regardless of how games finish on Friday, remain atop the OCC leaderboard heading into next week’s game against Hilliard Darby. Fellow undefeated teams Dublin CoffmanOlentangy and Pickerington Central are in action Friday night against Westland, Worthington Kilbourne and Newark, respectively.


Westerville South falls to 4-4 on the season, now in need of some victories to ensure their playoff hopes this season. With remaining games against Dublin Jerome and Westerville North, the Wildcats will need a short memory after losing to their rival.


Lincoln Flood finished the game completing 12-of-25 for 127 yards and two touchdowns for the Wildcats while Devin Wade paced them on the ground, rushing 17 times for 108 yards. Daramy totaled 126 yards and two scores on the evening. 

DS/State Associations partnerships to provide state football scoreboards

By: Cameron Mellor (@cammellor)
August 8, 2014


Digital Scout football viewers across the country will now be treated to a unique, one-of-a-kind experience starting this fall. Due to a new partnership with several different state athletics & activities associations, viewers will now be able to stream data in real time from a variety of states, across our nation in one solidified place. 


For the first time in Digital Scout's nearly 20 years, users will be able to view data casts of football games on a state scoreboard for Washington D.C., Wyoming, North Dakota, Alabama, Ohio, Tennessee and areas of Texas with many more to come. 


This unique treat is due to a partnership between Digital Scout and each individual athletic or activities association.


Housed on each athletic or activities association state website, viewers will be able to watch the data stream in from any and all schools who are utilizing Digital Scout to track their stats on Friday nights.


Have a program in Texas that you want to check up on? Visit Dave Campbell's to check them out. How about your nephew's game in D.C. that you can't make it to? Maybe your alma mater has a committed athlete playing in Ohio on Friday night? With this new platform, viewers can check out scores from all across the nation as they happen.


Follow along with the Digital Scout Twitter at @digitalscout for up-to-the-minute news and further information regarding which states are partnering with Digital Scout and which games are happening live on Fridays. Make sure your favorite high school or alma mater has and will use Digital Scout this fall!


Published on 08/08/2014 at 03:28PM under . Tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Digital Scout partners with state associations


Eagles-Truckers matchup set for Division II Championship game in Ohio


By: Cameron Mellor
March 20,  2014


Norwalk High School and defending champion Bishop Watterson High School became the first two teams to punch their tickets their respective Championship games in the Ohio Divisional Semifinals at the Jerome Schottenstein Center Thursday. 


Norwalk (28-1) defeated Thurgood Marshall, 72-64 while in a rematch of the Div. II Championship game from a year ago, Watterson (26-2) knocked off St. Vincent St. Mary, 56-51. Each team earned the right to play for the Division II Championship this Saturday at 10:30 at the Schottenstein Center on Ohio State University's campus.


Norwalk was paced by guard Ben Haraway and forward Jeff Thomas as each scored 20 points against Thurgood (22-6). The Truckers bounced out to an early 13-6 lead before the Cougars closed the gap and the two went to half time tied at 30. 


The second half was much of the same as the two traded scores before Norwalk finally pulled away late in the fourth quarter, closing the game on a 16-7 run. Grant Hull chipped in with 17 points for the Truckers.


The Cougars were led by RaChaun Martin with 17 points and Derrick Daniels with 15.


In the second game of the day, a rematch of the 2013 Division II Championship game pitted the Bishop Watterson Eagles against the St. Vincent St. Mary Fighting Irish (19-10). 


STVM started the game quickly, scoring the first two points on an impressive alley-oop dunk by sophomore VJ King. The Irish would score the games first seven points and jump out to an early 9-2 lead in the first quarter before Watterson found their stride. Opening the second quarter down 15-10, the Eagles pushed a streak of their own as they 12 straight points and outscored STVM by 14 in the 2nd quarter.


Watterson led 30-21 at halftime.


The third quarter would start as the second ended for the Eagles as they scored another four and opened up a 14-point lead. The Irish put up a determined effort after a third quarter timeout and closed the gap to just six points at the end of three. They would even tie the game at 44 points a piece with just under four minutes to play. 


That would be the closest the Irish would get to the lead again however, as free throws were key in a Watterson victory. The Eagles were good on 17-of-20 free throws in the game, including several key shots down the stretch, keeping the lead at two-possessions. Watterson would win the game 56-51, led by 19 points from Matt Lehmann. Matt Hughes added 11 points while Joe DiOrio notched 10 points and six rebounds.


The Irish were led by Jalen Hudson with 18 points and VJ King who finished with eight points and seven rebounds.


The total attendance of the two games totaled 18,841 fans at the Schottenstein Center on Thursday.


The Eagles will now look to defend their first state championship this Saturday at 10:30 against Norwalk. Tickets are on sale, but if you can't make the game, follow along live at by clicking here: Norwalk vs Watterson, or on Twitter (@HSGameCenter). 

Published on 03/20/2014 at 08:29PM under . Tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Watterson, Norwalk advance to Championship

Senior shooting guard powers Golden Bears past No. 1 seed Northland


By: Cameron Mellor
March 17,  2014


It was the start of the fourth quarter in the Ohio Division I Columbus Regional Final basketball game and a mere point separated Upper Arlington and Northland. The winner earning a spot in the Ohio State Championship Semifinals. The winner, eight minutes away from a Regional Championship.


Senior shooting guard Kevin Vannatta had been the work horse for the Golden Bears through the first three quarters, much like he had been all season long for UA. Having already compiled 18 points and 11 rebounds through the first three, it would come as no surprise as the University of North Carolina-Asheville commit propelled his team to victory with an impressive performance just when his team needed him most.


Vannatta notched nine points and grabbed seven rebounds in the final eight minutes, leading Upper Arlington over Northland, 50-36. Vannatta single-handedly outscored the Vikings 9-to-5 as he and the Golden Bears’ defense held NHS to just one field goal in the final period.


For his efforts in leading UA to the Regional Championship and a trip to the State Semifinal, Vannatta has been tabbed as our HSGC National Player of the Week.


Vannatta celebrates UA's Regional Championship


The 6-foot-3 guard finished the game against Northland with 27 points, 18 rebounds, two assists and a steal. While the points were close to a season high for him, Vannatta’s 18 boards were six more than his previous high. It was also his fourth double-double this season.


Vannatta has now scored 20 or more points in three consecutive games this postseason and dating back to January, has scored in double figures in 14 consecutive games.


He and the Golden Bears have now won 25 straight games and are arguably the hottest team heading in to the Ohio Division I Semifinal. Included in those 25 are victories over No. 12 seeded Grove City (55-45), No. 6 Pickerington Central (63-53) and No. 2 Gahanna-Lincoln (55-49).  With their defeat over the No. 1 Vikings, Upper Arlington doubled (4) any other team’s total of victories over top 15 ranked opponents in the Columbus Region. Dublin Coffman and Northland were the only other teams with more than one victory over a top 15 team.


Upper Arlington will face Trotwood-Madison next in the Ohio Division I State Semifinal on this Friday at 8:30 PM. HSGC will be at all of the Ohio Divisional Semifinals as well as each of the State Championship games this weekend at the Jerome Schottenstein Center on Ohio State University campus.


The Division I State Championship game will be Saturday at 8:30 PM between the winner of Trotwood-Madison-Upper Arlington and the winner of St. Edward-Cleveland's East Technical.


If you can’t make all of the games, follow along live on or @HSGameCenter on Twitter or HSGameCenter Facebook during the games for up-to-the-minute updates.

Published on 03/17/2014 at 05:32PM under . Tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Vannatta Shines in UA Victory

12 top seeds still alive with District Semis just a day away


By: Cameron Mellor
March 3, 2014


While the top teams in some divisions of high school basketball are often easy to spot, postseason play usually allows for a few surprises in the opening few rounds, if not a complete upheaval of the top seeds. But sometimes, these surprises or upheavals do not take place and the brackets fill themselves out.


Save for one game here or there, the Ohio Division I District Tournament has nearly stayed par for the course throughout the first two rounds.


Of the 16 remaining teams in the Division I Tournament, only two are seeded outside of the top 20 when the brackets were decided. Of those two teams – Teays Valley (No. 21) and St. Charles (No. 27) – only St. Charles could have wins classified as upsets through two rounds. The Cardinals defeated No. 14 Thomas Worthington in the first round and No. 19 Groveport-Madison in the second.


Teays Valley defeated lower-ranked Hilliard Darby in their second round matchup to advance to their position. Darby had received the No. 24 seed during the bracket-making process.


Both St. Charles and Teays Valley will face their stiffest competition to date as they will play the top two seeds. The Cardinals face the No. 2 seed Gahanna Lincoln Lions and the Vikings play No. 1 seed Northland.


No. 17 Marysville pulled what could also be seen as an upset as well, defeating No. 13 Olentangy Liberty in the second round, 68-64. But, upon further investigation, one would find out that the Monarchs and the Patriots actually split their regular season series, arguably negating the upset feel to the victory.


Having said that, it doesn’t mean the tournament hasn’t had its fair share of exciting and close finishes. Of the 29 games so far, nine have been within a single-digit scoring margin while four of those have been within one possession. Dublin Jerome and Delaware Hayes played to a 59-50 Hayes victory in overtime in the first round.


Some top seeds will be falling early this week as the District Semi-Finals take place on Tuesday, March 4 and Wednesday, March 5. The matchups are as follows:


District 1:

Tuesday March 4: No. 5 Newark vs. No. 15 Reynoldsburg 7:00 PM, at Olentangy Liberty High School

Wednesday March 5: No. 9 Dublin Coffman vs. No. 7 Walnut Ridge 7:00 PM at Olentangy Liberty High School


District 2:

Tuesday March 4: No. 1 Northland vs. No. 21 Teays Valley 7:00 PM at Olentangy Orange High School

Wednesday March 5: No. 8 Westerville Central vs. No. 10 Delaware Hayes 7:00 PM at Olentangy Orange High School


District 3:

Tuesday March 4: No. 4 Zanesville vs. No. 11 Westerville South 7:00 PM at Westerville Central High School

Wednesday March 5: No. 6 Pickerington Central vs. No. 17 Marysville 7:00 PM at Westerville Central High School


District 4:

Tuesday March 4: No. 2 Gahanna Lincoln vs. No. 27 St. Charles 7:00 PM at Marysville High School

Wednesday March 5: No. 3 Upper Arlington vs. No. 12 Grove City 7:00 PM at Marysville High School



Be sure to follow along live right here on HSGameCenter with the games you can’t make, or follow @HSGameCenter on Twitter or HS Game Center on Facebook to updated with up-to-the-minute scores.

Published on 03/03/2014 at 10:03PM under . Tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ohio Division I District Semi-Finals Set

Warriors face off against Circleville in a Division II quarter-final matchup


By: Cameron Mellor
February 27, 2014


Winners of 15 straight, Warren High School will put their streak, and their season, on the line against Circleville High School this Friday night at The Convo, where the Ohio University Bobcats play their home games. In one of the HSGameCenter Game’s of the Week, the Warriors (20-3) will square off against the Tigers (18-7) in an Athens District, Division II quarterfinal game at 6:15.


Warren has seen their fair share of success this season, outscoring opponents 1626-1018 this season, a total difference of 608 points. The Warriors defense has been front and center to their success, limiting opponents to 34 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent from behind the three-point line. WHS has a distinct advantage on the boards as well, securing 806 rebounds this season compared to their opponents 575.


They have outplayed their opponents in assists, steals and blocks as well, while taking better care of the ball with far few turnovers.


Paced by Evan French on offense, the Warriors have three players who average double-digits in points this season. French leads the way averaging 22.5 points per contest, while Michael Hall and Reece Patton average 14.9 and 13.3, respectively.


Hall holds the team high in rebounds a game, averaging 7.3, while Patton has a team high in steals with 43 to date.



During their 15-game winning streak, Warren has defeated each of their opponents by a double-digit margin, including 22- and 26-point victories in their first two playoff games.


The Warriors topped Athens High School, 83-61, behind French’s season-high 37 points and Meigs High School, 73-47, last week to get to where they stand now.


Part of Warren’s success this season can be attributed to their hot starts in the first half and, more specifically, the first quarter. The Warriors have outscored opponents 400-248 in the first quarter alone this season.


Look for Warren to start fast if they want to continue their hot streak and advance through to the next round. Tipoff is set for 6:15 EST. If you can’t make the game, you can watch the stats stream in live right here:



Published on 02/27/2014 at 09:22PM under . Tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Streaking Warren puts season on the line