Schoenhoft Hopes to Lead Ohio to Victory in Big 33

Quarterback Rob Schoenhoft knows it might be a few years before he starts another game. Therefore, he is anxious for the Big 33 Classic this Saturday in Hershey, Pa. Schoenhoft will likely be Ohio's starting QB and he is focused on leading his team to a win. We caught up with Schoenhoft for more.

Future Ohio State quarterback Rob Schoenhoft from Cincinnati St. Xavier is more than ready to play in his final high school game this Saturday.

The 6-6, 230-pound Schoenhoft will likely be the starting QB for Ohio in the Big 33 Classic in Hershey, Pa.

"I can't wait; it's gonna be fun," Schoenhoft said. "I'm excited to play in the game more than anything, but also for the other experiences that go along with this week. They are very, very well organized in Hershey. It's one of the longest running high school all-star games in the country (the Ohio North-South Classic is the longest) so they've had some experience. It's very well put together for charities and all that stuff. It's really giving back to the Hershey community."

But Schoenhoft says it's still a business trip for the boys from Ohio.

"Yeah, the first practice we had, our coach (Steve Channell) made sure we knew we were going out there to win first and foremost," Schoenhoft said. "He told us, ‘We have to remember what we're there for and that's to win the game.' And all the letters he's wrote us reminding us about the equipment, he always says, ‘Remember what we're there for and that's to win and represent Ohio.'"

Schoenhoft and Dominic Goodman are the only quarterbacks on the roster for Ohio. Goodman led Cincinnati Colerain to the Division I state championship in 2004 and later signed with the University of Cincinnati and head coach Mark Dantonio.

Ohio also has a host of talented wide receivers, led by future Buckeyes Brian Robiske, Brian Hartline and Andre Amos, as well as future Michigan Wolverine Mario Manningham.

"We should have a nice little offensive group if we gel together," Schoenhoft said. "So, I think we're going to be pretty darn good. A force to be reckoned with. I think the plan is I am going to start and Dominic is going to come in. He's a heck of quarterback and hopefully the two of us can get the job done."

Last year in the Big 33 game, Ohio used three quarterbacks (Brian Hoyer, Grant Gregory, Anthony Turner) and rotated every series. This did not allow the quarterbacks to get in a rhythm.

"Even going two series in a row like we did in the North-South is kind of tough," Schoenhoft said. "So, it's going to be nice – maybe we'll have a different strategy than we did in the North-South. But you never know. But hopefully we can stay in there for a few series in a row and get a good feel for the game."

Last year, Pennsylvania only used two quarterbacks: Chad Henne and Anthony Morelli. But led by Most Valuable Player Ted Ginn Jr., Ohio emerged with a 34-30 victory.

Ginn caught five passes for 142 yards and a touchdown, and also added a 36-yard touchdown pass.

This year, Schoenhoft hopes the aerial attack continues for Ohio. But he warns that Ohio might have some surprises in store offensively.

"I want to throw the ball a lot, just like we did at the North-South," he said. "We're gonna spread it out and throw it. And I think Dominic and Mister (Simpson) are gonna do some options. But, you never know. It's gonna be a good time and you never know what we might have up our sleeves."

Ohio's 2004 Mr. Football – running back Tyrell Sutton – pulled out of the Big 33 game. He was the MVP of the North-South game, but wanted to be fully rested for his freshman season at Northwestern.

However, Ohio received good news when Sutton's replacement was announced.

"Javon Ringer will be our tailback," Schoenhoft said. "He had played in another all-star game and apparently he did very, very well. We've scrimmaged him for the past three, four years, so I've seen him play a lot. He's up there with Tyrell, if not better. He's a little bit stronger than Tyrell. So, it will be interesting to see how he comes back from that injury and how he plays."

Another player returning from injury is Hartline. He had an excellent track season, winning two state titles, but this will be his first football game since breaking his leg last August.

"Yeah, we had practice at the end of the school year – around that time – and we had Hartline and Brian Robiske and Andre and it was a really good time throwing to Ohio State receivers," Schoenhoft said. "It was real nice seeing (Hartline) out there. It was good throwing with him. I've thrown with him one other time at the Michigan camp when we were both juniors and they were recruiting us. We had that experience together. It was nice throwing with him again and seeing him run his routes and seeing how fast he is and getting acquainted with him."

Schoenhoft knows he will most likely redshirt this season at Ohio State, but says he is still excited to begin his college career.

"Yeah, I went up there last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday," he said. "And I got a whole different experience with the speed of the receivers up there. And I got to throw with the bigger ball that I had trouble with that they use up at Ohio State and every other college.

"Just how nice Troy (Smith) and Justin (Zwick) and (Todd) Boeckman were to me, it was awesome. I felt very welcome. Even though I wasn't doing my best and they knew I wasn't doing my best, they were back there supporting me and saying, ‘You can only go up from here.'"

Yes, that's right. A bigger ball is used in the NCAA.

"It's wider and longer," Schoenhoft said. "I had a tough time with that. I could not throw the ball well. I always thought college and high school used the same size ball, but I found out that wasn't true. But, I'll be fine. I was getting used to it and it just takes reps."

* The game will begin at 7:30 p.m. It will be televised live by ONN. For out-of-staters that want to watch the game, there will be a live webcast on ABC 27 out of Harrisburg, Pa. (www.abc27.com).


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