Friday Night Lights

Throughout the high school football season, will be following the progress of Ohio State's football commitments. Here is how the OSU verbal commitments and their teams fared Nov. 27. All are seniors unless noted.

Braxton Miller, QB, Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne – A Dayton-area squad will play for a Division I state championship for the first time since 1999 thanks to a 28-14 victory by Miller and Wayne Saturday night against Hilliard Davidson in an Ohio State High School Athletic Association state semifinal game.

The Warriors (11-3), playing not too far away from home at Welcome Stadium in Dayton, joined Division II's Trotwood-Madison as Greater Western Ohio Conference teams that will play for a state title next week.

"We wanted to show the whole national what we were coming with. We got to show the state of Ohio; don't sleep on the GWOC," Wayne running back Anthone Taylor told the Dayton Daily News. "We weren't just doing this for us. We were doing this for all of Dayton."

Wayne, which barely made the playoffs as an eight-seed in its region, earned its trip to the finals by doubling up the defending state champions. Taylor rushed for 182 yards on 26 carries, and Miller impressed. He completed 12 of 16 passes for 134 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

The Warriors put their stamp on the game quickly, leading 28-7 at halftime and outgaining the Wildcats 314-97 in total yards. Twenty-one of those points came in the second quarter, and Miller had a hand in all three. He rushed for a 3-yard score and tossed an 11-yard scoring pass to Jordan Morgan and an 18-yard strike to the end zone to Marcus Bonner.

Davidson (13-1) had only allowed 72 points all season coming into the game.

"We knew what Braxton Miller was capable of doing, just not against our defense," Davidson quarterback Jimmy Curtis told the (Columbus) Dispatch. "We also knew he wasn't a one-man team, but we didn't know they had so many great players. I don't think I've ever seen a team move the ball and execute so well."

Only two Dayton-area teams have played for the Division I title. Centerville has done it twice. Wayne did so in 1999. None have ever won.

Ken Hayes, DE, Toledo (Ohio) Whitmer and Kyle Kalis (junior), OL, Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward – A year after posting a 4-6 record, St. Edward is heading to the state title game to face Miller and Wayne. The Eagles outsted Hayes and Whitmer 23-13 in a semifinal game at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.

St. Edward (14-0) will be playing for their first state championship.

"Words can't describe it," wide receiver Frank Finotti told the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. "I've been coming to St. Eds games since the second grade and I have been here every season. To have the chance to be the first ever (state champ), it's unreal."

Kalis and the Eagles' beefy offensive line made holes for running back Terrell Bates, who finished with 157 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles piled up 372 yards of offense against Hayes and the Whitmer defense, including 253 on the ground. Quarterback Kevin Burke added 68 rushing yards and a touchdown and completed 8 of 12 passes for 119 yards and another score.

Burke's rushing score broke a 7-7 halftime tie in the third quarter and came one play after Hayes leveled him. Burke rushed 22-yards and broke two tackles en route to the end zone.

The extra point was blocked, making the score 13-7, but the Eagles had taken the lead for good.

"We knew we were going against two great guys in (defensive ends) Kenny Hayes, who's going to Ohio State, and Chris Wormley," Kalis told the Plain Dealer. "We just played our game and came out hard, and I don't think they could handle it."

St. Edward outscored Whitmer 16-6 in the second half, also getting a 23-yard field goal by Mike DiNunzio and an 8-yard touchdown pass from Burke to Quincy Jones.

Whitmer ends its season with a 12-2 record.

"It's been an unbelievable year and an unbelievable ride," Whitmer head coach Joe Palka told the Toledo Blade. "I thought this team was capable of getting to a state championship game. We fell a little bit short, but not for lack of effort.

"I couldn't be prouder of what we accomplished – (Toledo) City League champions, regional champions. I think we gave St. Ed their game of the year so far."

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