Future Buckeyes Forge Ahead In Playoffs

A pair of future Buckeyes play for a title in Pennsylvania, while several verbals from Ohio play in state semifinals to highlight this weekend's high school playoff action. Read on to find out more about what lies ahead for the 11 Ohio State verbals still playing.

WLB Dorian Bell and CB/WR Corey Brown, Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway – The Gators will play for the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League Class AAAA title Saturday night at Heinz Field vs. Bethel Park.

Bethel Park (12-0) earned its trip to the championship game with a come-from-behind 20-13 victory over McKeesport on Nov. 14. The Black Hawks scored 14 fourth-quarter points and took advantage of a key fumble and several penalties. McKeesport committed eight penalties for 76 yards in the second half.

"We played a tough schedule, and they've been down before, and we've had tough times against certain teams," Bethel Park coach Jeff Metheny told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "We just had to hang in there ... and we got a couple turnovers, which helps."

The Black Hawks scored the game-winning touchdown with 1:40 remaining in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Erik Olson found running back Lyle Marsh for a short swing pass in the left flat. Marsh then burst through the McKeesport defense for a 71-yard score.

Marsh scored two of Bethel Park's touchdowns and finished with five receptions for 122 yards. Olson completed 10 of 14 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns.

Gateway earned its trip to Pittsburgh with a 38-23 win over Pittsburgh Penn Hills Nov. 14 in the semifinals. Bell ran for 121 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown, while Brown added four receptions for 83 yards and two scores.

The Gators (12-0) led 14-6 after the first quarter and extended the lead throughout. Gateway has outscored its three playoff opponents 104-23.

DT/OG Adam Bellamy, Aurora, Ohio – Bellamy and the Greenmen will face Sunbury Big Walnut Saturday night in an Ohio High School Athletic Association Division III state semifinal at Ashland.

The Golden Warriors (11-2) overcame the wind, snow and Avon in a 24-15 victory in the Region 10 final. Johnny Cannell scored two touchdowns in the second half for Big Walnut, one rushing and one passing. Patrick Daugherty added a 68-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

The Greenmen (11-2) earned their trip to the semifinals with a 28-7 win over Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit on Nov. 15. Running back Steven Yung led the Aurora offense with 16 carries for 159 yards and four touchdowns. Yung scored on runs of 28, 13, 65 and 27 yards.

RB Jaamal Berry, Miami (Fla.) Palmetto – The Panthers begin their Florida High School Athletic Association Class 6A playoff run with a regional quarterfinal game Friday at Southwest Miami.

Southwest Miami finished the regular season 8-2 overall with a District 15 title. The Eagles began the season with a 21-20 loss at South Dade before winning eight straight. Southwest Miami then lost its regular-season finale Nov. 13 at Coral Gables.

Berry was back in Palmetto's lineup in last weekend's regular-season finale vs. North Miami Beach on Nov. 14, but the Panthers (6-4) lost 38-14. Berry was held to 55 yards on eight carries.

Palmetto has lost three of its last four after starting the season 5-1.

LB/FB Zach Boren and DB/WR Jamie Wood, Pickerington (Ohio) Central – The Tigers are Dayton-bound this weekend for an OHSAA Division I state semifinal showdown against Cincinnati Elder at Welcome Stadium.

Elder (12-1) earned its trip to the semifinals with a 27-20 victory over Cincinnati Colerain in double overtime on Nov. 15. The Panthers scored the game-winning touchdown on the first drive of the second overtime when junior quarterback Mark Miller found senior Josh Jones for a 20-yard score.

"We call it ‘Special,' " Miller told the Cincinnati Enquirer about the play. "Josh goes out like he's going to block, then he bellies right to the pylon. Talk about special … that really was."

Colerain had a chance to tie in and force the game to a third overtime after Elder's score, but the Cardinals fumbled on a second-and-7 play from the Elder 17-yard line. Elder's Nick Daffin recovered, giving the Panthers the victory.

Miller led Elder's offense by completing 17 of 26 passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns. Tim O'Conner caught seven passes for 92 yards and two scores. Adam Brown led the Panther rushing attack with 18 carries for 67 yards.

Pickerington Central (13-0) defeated Hillard Davidson, 7-3, in the Region 3 final on Nov. 15 to earn its trip to the Gem City. The Tigers scored their lone touchdown on a pass from backup quarterback Josh Kristoff to Patrick White on a fake punt in the first quarter.

That was all the scoring Central needed, as Boren, Wood and the rest of the defense held the Wildcats at bay.

WR Duron Carter, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas – The Raiders dominated throughout the regular season and will begin their FHSAA Class 5A playoff run with a regional quarterfinal game vs. Coconut Creek on Friday.

After starting the season 2-2, Coconut Creek has won five of its last six. Included in those wins was a 37-7 victory over Parkland Douglas on Nov. 14. The Cougars (7-3) erased a 7-0 deficit in the rout. Quarterback Eric Wallace threw for 167 yards.

St. Thomas Aquinas (10-0) has outscored its opponents 464-67 and has not allowed a touchdown since a 49-8 win over Hollywood South Broward on Oct. 24. The Raiders closest game of the season was Aug. 30 vs. Cincinnati Elder in the Kirk Herbstreit Ohio vs. USA Challenge. St. Thomas Aquinas beat Elder, 35-24.

CB/WR Justin Green, Louisville (Ky.) Male – Green and Male will continue its Kentucky High School Athletic Association Class 6A playoff run Friday vs. Madison Central.

Madison Central (9-2) started the postseason with a 38-26 win over visiting Bullitt Central on Nov. 14. The Indians rushed for 295 yards in the victory, led by a 135-yard effort by Isaiah Kavanaugh.

Green rushed for 132 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries in a 59-31 opening-round victory for Male (7-4) over Shelbyville Shelby County. The Bulldog defense held the Rockets to 89 rushing yards.

FB Carlos Hyde, Naples, Fla. – Hyde and the Golden Eagles will start the FHSAA Class 3A playoffs with a regional final game against visiting Fort Myers Riverdale Friday.

Naples, the defending state champs, began the season with a 24-23 loss Miami Monsignor Edward Pace before winning its last nine games. The last three of those wins were on the road. Naples has not played at home since Oct. 17.

Riverdale finished second in District 13 with a 3-1 record. The Raiders were 7-3 overall.

LB/RB Storm Klein, Newark (Ohio) Licking Valley – The only thing in the way of the Panthers and a return trip to the OHSAA Division III state final in a game Saturday night at Gahanna Lincoln vs. Columbus Eastmoor Academy.

Eastmoor Academy (12-1) blanked Logan Elm, 23-0, on Nov. 15 to earn a trip to the semifinals. Former third-straight running back Touche Hopkins rushed for a career-high 205 yards on 13 carries in the win. Hopkins took over as the starter midway through the season due to injury.

The Warriors are making their first state semifinal appearance.

Klein and the Panthers defeated Dover, 35-28, in the Region 11 final Nov. 15. The senior led Licking Valley (12-1) with 115 yards on 32 carries with three touchdowns. His scores came on runs of 1, 1 and 2 yards.

LB Jordan Whiting, Louisville (Ky.) Trinity – The Shamrocks will host Louisville Ballard in the second round of the KHSAA Class 6A playoffs Friday.

Ballard (6-5) blanked Henderson County, 30-0, Nov. 14 in a first-round matchup. The Bruins were led by Jamar Kirksey, who scored two touchdowns and finished with 180 all-purpose yards.

Trinity (11-1) routed Mayfield Graves County in the first round Nov. 14. Tim Phillips led the Shamrocks with 111 yards rushing and four touchdowns.

The following OSU verbal commits have finished their seasons: CB C.J. Barnett, Clayton (Ohio) Northmont; CB Dominic Clarke, Frederick (Md.) Tuscarora; DE Melvin Fellows, Garfield Heights, Ohio; WR Chris Fields, Painesville (Ohio) Harvey; TE/OL Reid Fragel, Grosse Pointe (Mich.) South; RB/CB Jordan Hall, Jeannette, Pa.; LB/FB Adam Homan, Coldwater, Ohio; WR/CB James Jackson, Grand Ledge, Mich.; OG Corey Linsley and J.T. Moore (junior), Youngstown (Ohio) Boardman; OT Sam Longo, Bellbrook, Ohio; OL/DL Jack Mewhort, Toledo (Ohio) St. John's Jesuit; DE Jonathan Newsome, Cleveland Glenville; DT Johnny Simon, Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney.

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