FNL: GWOC Battle Highlights Playoff Action

Several Ohio State football verbal commits continue their postseason runs this weekend, capped by a rematch between Braxton Miller's Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne team and Michael Bennett's Centerville squad. Six future Buckeyes play do-or-die games, while a pair of Florida prospects end their regular seasons.

A Greater Western Ohio Conference rematch highlights games featuring Ohio State verbal commits this weekend.

Welcome Stadium in Dayton will be the scene Saturday night when quarterback Braxton Miller and Huber Heights Wayne (8-3) face defensive lineman Michael Bennett and Centerville (9-2) in a Division I, Region 4 semifinal. Wayne routed Centerville 34-10 on Oct. 14 in a game televised nationally on ESPNU. In that game, the Warriors raced out to a 27-3 halftime lead and never looked back. Miller threw two touchdowns on 18-of-24 passing with 225 yards. Meanwhile, Wayne stifled the Elks' triple-option offense, holding Centerville to 155 yards on the ground. Bennett had three stops in the contest.

The win for Wayne was the second of four in a row to end the regular season. That allowed the Warriors to earn the eighth and final playoff spot in Region 4. Wayne took advantage of its opportunity last week by blanking top-seeded Middletown 21-0. Miller threw a 20-yard touchdown pass and ran for a 6-yard score. He completed 7 of 14 passes for 62 yards and rushed for 46 on the ground.

Fifth-seeded Centerville bounced back with a pair of wins after the Wayne loss and defeated No. 4 Cincinnati Moeller last week. The Elks piled up 404 yards of offense in a 27-17 victory. Bennett recorded one tackle, and quarterback Jon Overstreet rushed for 172 yards on 27 carries.

Moving from southwest Ohio to the northeast part of the state, junior offensive lineman and OSU commit Kyle Kalis will lead Lakewood St. Edward in a matchup against fellow state power Cleveland Glenville in a Division I, Region 1 semifinal Saturday night at Parma Byers Field.

The second-seeded Tarblooders (11-0), who once again feature several top prospects, did not have a letdown in a 41-6 blowout of Warren Harding in the first round after cruising to another Senate League championship. Glenville was led by Shane Wynn, who returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and later added a 32-yard TD run in the fourth. Quarterback Cardale Jones added two more scores on a pass and a run. He had 140 yards through the air and 42 on the ground. Warren Harding did have some success on offense, however, reaching the Glenville 35-yard line four times without scoring points.

Third-seeded St. Edward (11-0) will give Glenville a major challenge in the trenches. Kalis and his linemates led the way in a 35-21 win vs. No. 6 Mentor last weekend. Reggie Terrell, Terrell Bates and Kevin Burke combined to rush for 305 yards in the victory. 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.

The final OSU commit still alive in the OHSAA playoffs is defensive end Ken Hayes of Toledo Whitmer. The top-seeded Panthers will face off against No. 7 Twinsburg Saturday night in a Region 2 semifinal at Ashland Community Stadium.

Whitmer (10-1) defeated No. 6 Massillon Washington last weekend in a game that featured two future Buckeyes. Wide receiver Devin Smith caught a touchdown pass and finished with 100 yards on five catches for the Tigers, but Whitmer was too much for Massillon. The Panthers got a pair of touchdown runs by Jody Webb in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Webb finished with 220 yards on 22 carries.

Twinsburg (10-1) knocked off second-seeded Sylvania Southview 35-21 in the regional quarterfinals. The Cougars earned their upset victory at Southview in overtime. Kicker Jake Russell sent his team to the second round with a 20-yard field goal after the Twinsburg defense prevented Southview from scoring to start overtime.

The Cougars feature a potent defense. They allowed 7.7 points per game during the regular season.

No. 3 Whitmer is the highest-seeded team left in Region 2 after Southview and No. 1 Canton McKinley fell last weekend.

Wide receiver Evan Spencer and Vernon Hills, Ill., will face No. 1 Maple Park Kaneland in an Illinois High School Athletic Association Class 5A quarterfinal Saturday afternoon. The Cougars (10-1) are a No. 4 seed, but they will host the Knights (11-0) this weekend. Vernon Hills defeated 12th-seeded Tinley Park 37-22 last week in the second round, while Kaneland crushed No. 8 Crystal Lake Central 34-7.

Spencer scored a touchdown in Vernon Hills' last victory on a 55-yard touchdown run. Notre Dame recruit DaVaris Daniels added three touchdown runs on gallops of 9, 15 and 87 yards.

Kaneland has a talented defense. The Knights held Crystal Lake Central rusher Gage Harrah, who rushed for 1,528 yards during the regular season, to 45 yards on 15 carries.

The newest Ohio State verbal commit, linebacker Conner Crowell of Waldorf (Md.) North Point, begins his playoff push Friday night in Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association Class 4A East region action.

North Point (9-1) earned a No. 3 and will face second-seeded Gambrills Arundel in a regional semifinal. Arundel (9-1) could have been the region's top seed if not for a loss last weekend to Harwood Southern. Arundel will have a quarterback question to answer before the game. The starting quarterback at the beginning of the season, Nick Rosati, has missed the last two weeks with mononucleosis but should be back for the playoffs. Backup Jack Gordon did not look out of place in the past two weeks, and it has not been announced who will start.

North Point is coming off a 45-0 regular season-ending rout of Waldorf Thomas Stone. Crowell scored a touchdown on a 2-yard run in the win. He also helped the Eagles' defense keep winless Stone off the scoreboard.

Turning from the Old Line State to the Sunshine State, a pair of Ohio State verbals will end the regular season on Friday with non-district games. Safety Jeremy Cash of Plantation (4-5) will travel to Miramar Everglades (6-3), while tight end Jeff Heuerman and Naples Barron Collier (7-2) host Naples Gulf Coast (3-6). Heuerman's season will continue in the Florida High School Athletic Association 3A playoffs after this weekend. Cash's prep career will end after Plantation failed to earn a playoff spot in a district tiebreaker on Monday.


The following players have concluded their season: Warren Ball (junior), RB, Columbus DeSales; Brian Bobek, C, Palatine (Ill.) Fremd; Tommy Brown, OT, Akron Firestone; Chris Carter, OG, Cleveland John F. Kennedy; Bri'onte Dunn (junior), RB, Canton (Ohio) GlenOak; Chase Farris, DT, Elyria, Ohio; DerJuan Gambrell, CB, Toledo Rogers; Joel Hale, DT, Greenwood (Ind.) Center Grove; Steve Miller, DE, Canton (Ohio) McKinley; Josh Perry (junior), OLB/RB, Lewis Center (Ohio) Olentangy; Devin Smith, WR, Massillon (Ohio) Washington; Ron Tanner, S/QB, Columbus Eastmoor; Antonio Underwood, OG, Shaker Heights, Ohio; Nick Vannett, TE/DE, Westerville (Ohio) Central.


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