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 Sept. 24-25. All are seniors unless noted.

DE Darryl Baldwin, Solon, Ohio – In a battle of unbeaten teams, Baldwin kept his perfect with two clutch plays in the fourth quarter against Hudson, Ohio.

With the score knotted at 14, Hudson had pushed the ball down near the red zone and the home crowd was roaring when Baldwin silenced them. With the Explorers dropped back to pass, Baldwin finally found himself not facing a double team and managed to bull-rush the Hudson right tackle, knocking him backward. In the process, he managed to get enough of the quarterback to force the intended pass to wobble through the air woefully short of its intended target.

The Comets came up with the interception, but then found themselves 95 yards away from a game-winning touchdown. A few plays later, the ball was at midfield when Baldwin – who also moonlights as a tight end – put his team on the board when he hauled in a short pass in the middle of the field and promptly rumbled 47 yards for the score.

It pushed his team ahead 21-14, and Solon (5-0) would tack on another score to set the final at 28-14.

"Before the fourth quarter started my coaches all came up to me and said, ‘Take over the game,' " Baldwin told "I felt like I needed to, and this was a huge win for us."

K Drew Basil, Chillicothe, Ohio – Basil made all three of his extra points, but the Cavalier offense could not keep up in a 34-21 loss to visiting Portsmouth in an Southeastern Ohio Conference South Division contest.

The game was not as close as the final score indicated. Chillicothe (1-4, 0-1) had less than 300 yards of total offense and didn't score until the final minutes of the fourth quarter.

"The biggest message I wanted to send in that last three minutes was that we weren't going to roll over and take it," Chillicothe coach Bill Davidson told the Chillicothe Gazette. "We wanted to at least make it interesting, and when we did that, it was nice to see some players come out and do what they are able to do well."

The Cavaliers trailed 27-0 before attempting to rally. Chillicothe scored three touchdowns, sandwiched by an interception return for a touchdown by Portsmouth (3-2, 1-1).

WR Corey Brown, Springfield (Pa.) Cardinal O'Hara – Brown scored two touchdowns and ran for 120 yards on 15 carries in a 39-20 victory against Drexel Hill Monsignor Bonner/Archbishop Prendergast Catholic.

Brown scored the game's first touchdown on a 34-yard scamper and capped the scoring with a 5-yard run. In between, Brown and fullback Dan O'Hara wore down the Friars. O'Hara rushed for 91 yards.

The teams traded scores early, but Bonner (2-2, 0-1 Pennsylvania Catholic AAAA) led 14-12 because of a pair of failed extra points. The Lions (4-0, 1-0 Pennsylvania Catholic AAAA) rallied for the lead at halftime with a 67-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Laughlin to Adam Dempsey.

The Friars took the lead back early in the third quarter, but O'Hara answered with a nine-play, 77-yard touchdown drive that put the Lions ahead for good.

LB David Durham, Charlotte (N.C.) Christian – The 4-1 Knights had an open week following its Sept. 18 loss to Indian Trail Jireh Prep. Charlotte Christian will next travel to Charlotte Latin on Oct. 2.

QB Taylor Graham, Wheaton (Ill.) North – Graham was still out with an injury, but his backup rallied the Falcons in a 24-13 victory at West Aurora.

Wheaton North (3-2, 2-1 DuPage Valley) scored 17 unanswered points to surge ahead. Junior Reece Butler recovered from a slow start in the first half to lead the Falcons. Butler scored the go-ahead touchdown with the first possession of the second half. He capped a six-play, 56-yard drive with a 25-yard touchdown run on a QB keeper.

"We came out firing in the second half," Butler said. "It was a total team effort. Both teams played great in the second half. It was a great ballgame."

West Aurora (2-3, 0-3) tripled Wheaton North's number of first downs and double its number of plays from scrimmage, but the Falcons kept the game close and took command after the break.

S/RB Chad Hagan, Canonsburg (Pa.) Canon-McMillan – Hagan rushed for 130 yards on 18 carries, and the Big Macs improved to .500 with a 31-0 victory over visiting Butler.

Hagan also scored two touchdowns in the victory, which concluded Canon-McMillan's non-conference slate with a 2-2 record. Hagan's rushing partner Mike Hull added 103 yards and two more scores.

Butler (0-4) managed only 81 yards of offense.

DE Kenny Hayes (junior), Toledo Whitmer – Whitmer improved to 5-0 with a 20-7 victory over host Toledo St. John's Jesuit.

Hayes and the defense led the way in the victory, holding St. John's (2-2, 0-1) to 162 yards of total offense. While the defense wore down St. John's offense, Whitmer (2-0 TCL) used a pair of 12-play, 80-yard drives to grind on the Titans.

"Our defense is playing really well right now," Whitmer coach Joe Palka told the Toledo Blade. "We've got a resilient group. Week in and week out, we know we have tough opponents and we find a way to win."

The Titans actually scored first, using a 17-yard completion from Kent Kern to Zach Steinmetz to set up a 16-yard scoring sweep by Nate White with 1:37 left in the first quarter.

"Our defense kind of got down when they had that long pass, but we came back and played harder all throughout the game," Hayes told the Toledo Blade. "Our offense kept on pounding it and pounding it, and their defense was getting tired. This is a great win."

The Panthers answered with a pair of touchdown drives to take a 14-7 lead at halftime.

WR James Louis, Delray Beach (Fla.) Atlantic – Louis and the Eagles (2-1) had an open week. Atlantic is at Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer on Oct. 2.

LB Scott McVey, Cleveland St. Ignatius – The Wildcats crossed into New York and left with a 30-14 victory over host Athol Springs (N.Y.) St. Francis.

St. Ignatius (5-0) built a 10-0 halftime lead thanks to a 31-yard field goal by Jesse Franklin and a 26-year TD pass from Mark Myers to Brendan Carozzoni. The Wildcats added two more third-quarter touchdowns to make it 24-0 before St. Francis (2-2) got on the scoreboard.

DE J.T. Moore, Youngstown (Ohio) Boardman – The Spartans earned their first Federal League victory of the season with a 34-16 triumph at Massillon Perry.

Boardman (3-2, 1-1) was led by Nick Buonavalonta, who rushed for 117 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown. Ken Jones added a receiving touchdown, and Dan Fembach scored on an 82-yard interception return late in the third quarter.

Perry fell to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the Federal League.

OT Andrew Norwell, Cincinnati Anderson – Anderson remained unbeaten with a 57-6 win against visiting Batavia Amelia in the Redskins' first game since Norwell's season-ending injury.

The Anderson offensive line fared well without Norwell, leading the way for running back Kyle Slater. He finished with 191 yards of total offense and four touchdowns.

Anderson (5-0) led 43-0 at halftime. Amelia (1-4) scored its lone points in the third quarter.

Norwell is out for the rest of the season because of a tibia injury above his left ankle. He suffered the injury Sept. 19 at Columbus DeSales.

RB/FS Roderick Smith, Fort Wayne (Ind.) Paul Harding – Smith carried 19 times for 218 yards in Harding's 56-7 rout at Fort Wayne Northrop.

Behind Smith, the Hawks (4-2, 4-2 Summit Conference) outrushed Northrop (0-6, 0-6) 472-37. Harding used a balanced attack, rushing for 316 yards and passing for 156 more.

The Harding defense forced eight fumbles, recovering five.

LB/TE Jamel Turner, Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy – Turner caught a 16-yard pass and sealed his team's victory with a late interception in the Blue Devils' 13-6 victory at Alexandria (Va.) Episcopal.

Turner helped Fork Union (4-0) ice the victory when he intercepted a pass at the Blue Devil 40-yard line with 25 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Turner finished the game with 16 tackles, 13 of which were solo stops.

Andre Parker led Fork Union's offensive attack with 106 yards rushing on 15 carries with a touchdown.

The Blue Devils defense held Episcopal (1-1) to 163 yards of offense.

WR Tyrone Williams, East Cleveland (Ohio) Shaw – The Cardinals (2-1-1) had an open week. Shaw will travel to Lorain Admiral King on Oct. 2.

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