Friday Night Lights

Throughout the high school football season, BuckeyeSports.com will be following the progress of Ohio State's football commitments. Here is how the OSU verbal commitments and their teams fared Nov. 5-6. All are seniors unless noted.

Warren Ball (junior), RB, Columbus DeSales – The Stallions entered the playoffs with a 5-5 record but still put a scare into rival Columbus Bishop Watterson before falling 14-7 in an Ohio High School Athletic Association Division III Region 10 quarterfinal.

Eighth-seeded DeSales led 7-0 at halftime on a 2-yard touchdown run by Ball in the second quarter. Watterson (10-1) reached the end zone on a Ray Cook 7-yard score in the third quarter, but the Eagles missed the extra point, allowing DeSales to hold a 7-6 lead in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for Ball and company, Watterson quarterback Patrick Rhomberg led his team on a 14-play, 84-yard drive that culminated with an 11-yard touchdown run by Rhomberg himself with 19 seconds left on the clock.

Rhomberg then completed a two-point conversion pass to Connor Geraghty to complete the comeback. DeSales did have one last gasp when the ensuing kickoff was returned to the Watterson 35-yard line, but the Stallions ran out of time.

Michael Bennett, DT, Centerville, Ohio – Centerville's triple-option offense was firing on all cylinders and a key defensive stop in the third quarter helped the fifth-seeded Elks knock off No. 4 Cincinnati Moeller 27-17 in a OHSAA Division I Region 4 quarterfinal.

Centerville had 404 yards of total offense en route to winning a game against Moeller for the first time since 1984. Quarterback Jon Overstreet rushed for 172 yards on 27 carries, and running back Chris Barr added 147 yards on 24 carries. The Elks (9-2) led 21-17 at halftime and extended that lead to 10 points on a pair of field goals by Chris Kuzma. The Centerville defense then stepped up by stopping the Crusaders (7-4) on a crucial fourth-and-1 play from the Elks 5-yard line.

"Anybody that watches us every week knows our defense is pretty good," Ullery told the Dayton Daily News. "I don't know how much respect people down here have for our defense, but our defense is pretty good."

The Centerville defense held Moeller running back to 83 yards and held the Crusaders to 276 yards of offense. Bennett recorded one tackle in the win.

Up next for the Elks is a rematch against Braxton Miller and Huber Heights Wayne in a regional semifinal.

Brian Bobek, C, Palatine (Ill.) Fremd – A season in which Fremd had to show resilience just to make the Illinois High School Association Class 8A playoffs came to an end with a 14-7 loss in the second round to second-seeded Wilmette Loyola Academy.

Fremd (6-5) had a chance to tie it near the end of the game, driving to the Loyola Academy 26 before Ramblers defensive back Robert Dooley sealed his team's victory with an interception in the back of the end zone with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter.

Despite having his final pass picked off, Fremd quarterback Sam Beutler put his team's points on the board in the fourth quarter when he threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Jeffrey Diegel with 8:42 left on the clock. Loyola Academy (10-1) was able to hold on for the win.

"The kids played their (butts) off," Fremd head coach Michael Donatucci said in the Palatine Peach. "You can't fault them for anything."

Chris Carter, OG, Cleveland John F. Kennedy – Kennedy made the postseason for the first time in school history, but the Eagles' stay in the OHSAA Division II playoffs ended quickly in a 41-12 loss to third-seeded Olmsted Falls in a Region 6 quarterfinal.

No. 6 JFK (7-4) showed some jitters in the loss, committing several turnovers and penalties. Olmsted Falls (8-3) led 14-0 after the first quarter on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Brennan Laird to tight end Eric Meehan and an 8-yard TD run by Jeremy Ortiz. The Bulldogs cruised from there. The Eagles cut it to 21-6 in the second quarter on a 68-yard touchdown pass from Antonio Howard to Marcus Martin, but that was as close as the margin would get.

Jeremy Cash, S, Plantation, Fla. – Plantation kept its playoff hopes alive with a 27-13 win vs. South Plantation in both teams' district finale.

Cash sealed the victory with a 30-yard fumble return for a touchdown. The victory for the Colonels (4-5, 2-2 District 6A-10) created a three-way tie for the second district playoff spot. Davie Western (4-5, 2-2), Plantation and South Plantation (4-5, 2-2) will participate in a three-way tiebreaker on Monday. Two teams will play a quarter of football, and the winner then faces the third time. The last team standing gets the final playoff spot.

South Plantation led 13-6 after the first quarter before Plantation took control. Rijante Randall led the attack with 189 yards on 17 carries. In addition to his touchdown on defense, Cash also threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Errin Andrews in the first quarter.

Connor Crowell, LB, Waldorf (Md.) North Point – The newest Ohio State verbal had a big week. Not only did he commit to the Buckeyes on Friday, but he led his team to a 45-0 home win vs. winless Waldorf Thomas Stone in the regular season finale.

Crowell scored a touchdown on a 2-yard run in the third quarter of the rout. He finished with 40 rushing yards on eight carries as North Point (9-1, 7-1 Southern Maryland Athletic Conference) won on senior night. Defensively, Crowell helped the Eagles blank the Cougars (0-10, 0-8).

North Point qualified for the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association Class 4A playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the East region. The Eagles will travel to No. 2 Gambrills Arundel (9-1) next week in a regional semifinal.

Ken Hayes, DE, Toledo Whitmer and Devin Smith, WR, Massillon (Ohio) Washington – Top-seeded Whitmer got a challenge from No. 6 Massillon, but the Panthers escaped with a 28-24 win in an OHSAA Division I Region 2 quarterfinal.

Two fourth-quarter touchdown runs by Jody Webb gave Whitmer (10-1) the victory. Webb finished with 220 yards on 22 carries, and two of those runs – touchdown runs of 59 and 44 yards – were the most important. Webb's heroics stood when the Panthers' defense held the Tigers (7-4) on Massilon's final drive.

Smith did his best to keep the Tigers' season going. He caught a 69-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Kempt to start the scoring in the first quarter, and he finished with 100 yards on five receptions.

Next up for Whitmer is a regional semifinal matchup with No. 7 Twinsburg.

Jeff Heuerman, TE, Naples (Fla.) Barron Collier – The Cougars capped District 3A-12 play with a 49-10 thumping of visiting Naples Lely.

The Cougars (7-2, 5-1) had already clinched one of the district's playoff spots, but they did not have a letdown against Lely (2-8, 1-5). Barron Collier led 14-0 after the first quarter and 28-3 at halftime. Eight different players scored touchdowns for the Cougars, and the defense scored twice.

Kyle Kalis (junior), OT, Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward – No. 3 St. Edward outlasted sixth-seeded Mentor 35-21 in an OHSAA Division I Region 1 quarterfinal.

As usual this season, St. Edward (11-0) earned the victory thanks to its running game. Reggie Terrell, Terrell Bates and Kevin Burke combined to rush for 305 yards. Bates led the way with 122 yards on 19 carries, with Terrell adding 98 on 12 attempts and Burke rushing 18 times for 85 yards. Terrell iced the victory with an 8-yard TD run with 3:58 remaining. It gave the Eagles a 35-14 lead.

The Cardinals (7-4) played two days after junior defensive back Brandon Shima died unexpectedly on Thursday. A moment of silence was held before the opening kickoff.

Next for St. Edward is a showdown with No. 2 Cleveland Glenville. The Tarblooders (11-0) beat Warren Harding 41-6 in their playoff opener.

Braxton Miller, QB, Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne – Miller and the Warriors set up a rematch against Greater Western Ohio Conference foe Centerville and fellow OSU commit Michael Bennett with a 21-0 win against top-seeded and previously unbeaten Middletown in an OHSAA Division I Region 4 quarterfinal.

Wayne (8-3) started the scoring after a scoreless first quarter with a 6-yard touchdown run by Miller. He later added a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Morgan in the fourth quarter, and Anthone Taylor scored on a 19-yard touchdown run in between the Miller scores.

Miller did not light up the scoreboard in the passing game, completing 7 of 14 passes for 62 yards. But the senior added 46 yards and was aided as usual by Taylor, who rushed for 157 yards on 22 carries. Wayne's defense held Middletown's talented quarterback Jalin Marshall to 21 yards rushing and 35 passing.

Steve Miller, DE, Canton (Ohio) McKinley – Top-seeded McKinley's stay in the OHSAA Division I playoffs came to an abrupt end when No. 8 Medina upset the Bulldogs 31-28 in comeback fashion in a Region 2 quarterfinal.

McKinley (8-3) led by three touchdowns in the first half but could not put away the Bees (9-2), who overcame deficits of 21-0 and 28-14.

"It's extreme disappointment for us and our program," McKinley coach Ron Johnson told the Canton Repository. "The hardest week to play is Week 11 after a big Week 10 win (versus Massillon). But we've got to overcome that."

Medina took its first lead of the game at 31-28 when Justin Letts kicked a 31-yard field goal. The Bees won a playoff game for the first time in school history.

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel was among those in attendance.

Evan Spencer, WR, Vernon Hills, Ill. – Spencer scored on a 55-yard touchdown run as No. 4 Vernon Park dispatched No. 12 Tinley Park 37-22 in an IHSA Class 5A second round game.

DaVaris Daniels, a Notre Dame recruit, added three touchdown runs on bursts of 9, 15 and 87 yards, and Marcus Bradford scored a 42-yard TD. The Cougars (10-1) led 30-7 at halftime, but Tinley Park (7-4) did not quit, getting as close as 30-22 in the fourth quarter before Vernon Hills pulled away.

Next for the Cougars is a Class 5A quarterfinal vs. top-seeded and unbeaten Maple Park Kaneland.

Ron Tanner, S/QB, Columbus Eastmoor – A 39-yard field goal by Caden Chapman sent No. 3 Tiffin Columbian to a 17-14 win against sixth-seeded Eastmoore in a OHSAA Division III Region 10 quarterfinal.

Eastmoor (6-4) had its season end despite leading 14-6 at halftime on a pair of touchdown runs by Tanner. He scored on runs of 25 and 3 yards in his final prep game and finished with 61 yards on 12 carries.

Columbian (10-1) tied the game in the third quarter on a 49-yard touchdown pass that came after an Eastmoor fumble.


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