Playoffs Begin For Several OSU Commits

High school playoffs begin this week in Ohio and four Ohio State verbal commitments will face off in a pair of Division I regional contests. OSU recruits in other states also continue playoff marches or edge closer to the end of their regular seasons.

DE Darryl Baldwin, Solon, Ohio – The Comets will open their Ohio High School Athletics Association Division I playoff run Saturday as a No. 2 seed in Region 1 and will host seventh-seeded Euclid.

Solon finished the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record and won the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division outright. The Comets will face a Euclid team earned its trip to the postseason by defeating Ohio State verbal Tyrone Williams and East Cleveland Shaw in the final week of the season.

The Panthers bring a 6-4 record to Stewart Field this weekend and are led by running back Devon McGowan. The senior has rushed for 13 touchdowns this season. Euclid finished the season with three straight victories after beginning the season 3-4.

RB/WR/CB Corey Brown, Springfield (Pa.) Cardinal O'Hara – O'Hara still has one more regular season game left on its schedule before beginning the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association playoffs. The Lions (8-1) will travel to Wyndmoor LaSalle on Saturday.

Last weekend Brown helped O'Hara put its only loss of the season in the past by piling up 305 yards of total offense in a 49-10 win over Philadelphia Father Judge. Brown has been slowed by a knee injury at times this season but, when healthy, has been able to lead the Lions on both sides of the ball. In addition to his offensive exhorts, Brown has been a lock-down cornerback.

LaSalle will give the Lions a strong challenge in the regular season finale. The Explorers are 7-1 and are tied with O'Hara for second in the Philadelphia Catholic AAAA league with identical 4-1 conference marks. Running back Jamal Abdur-Rahman will lead LaSalle's offensive attack.

LB David Durham, Charlotte (N.C.) Christian – Durham and the Knights have the weekend off before hosting either Charlotte Providence Day or Raleigh Ravenscroft School in the quarterfinals of the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association Division I playoffs.

The playoffs begin Friday, but top-seeded Charlotte Christian (8-2) has a bye into the second round, as does No. 2 Charlotte Latin (9-1). The top trio are very close in talent. Christian defeated Latin this season, but lost to third-seeded Charlotte Country Day (9-1). Latin beat Country Day.

QB Taylor Graham, Wheaton (Ill.) North – Graham may be out for the season with a knee injury, but the Falcons are still alive in the Illinois High School Association Class 7A playoffs. Wheaton North will face Mt. Prospect Prospect this weekend.

Both the Falcons (6-4) and Knights (8-2) are coming off upset victories in the first round. Wheaton North traveled to Rockford and knocked off previously undefeated and second-seeded Boylan 17-13. Mt. Prospect routed No. 7 Mundelein Carmel, 33-13.

The Falcons will have to slow Prospect quarterback Miles Osei if they want to advance. Osei scored four touchdowns against Carmel and has 35 trips to the end zone this season.

DE Ken Hayes (junior), Toledo Whitmer and DE Steve Miller (junior), Canton (Ohio) McKinley – Two teams coming off major highs meet Saturday night in the Glass City when Whitmer hosts McKinley.

The Panthers (9-1) earned their first Toledo City League championship last week with a 21-7 win at Toledo Start. While Whitmer received the TCL hardware, McKinley (6-4) slipped into the final OHSAA Division I, Region 2 playoff spot with a 35-21 victory at Massillon Washington.

Miller recorded a sack against the Tigers. The Bulldogs defeated a pair of playoff teams in Boardman and Washington in the final two weeks of the regular season to sneak into the playoffs.

"I really think they do have a great appreciation for it," McKinley head coach Ron Johnson told the Canton Repository. "We kept locked in and focused on the task at hand these last two weeks of the season."

Miller finished the regular season with 36 tackles, including team highs in tackles for a loss (12) and sacks (five).

WR James Louis, Delray Beach (Fla.) Atlantic – The Eagles finish District 8-6A play with home game Friday night against 2-6 Palm Beach Central.

Louis leads Atlantic's passing attack with 32 receptions for 519 yards and seven touchdowns. The latest of his trips to the end zone came last week in Atlantic's 34-27 loss to District 8-6A foe Boca Raton. Louis caught six passes for 107 yards but Boca Raton, led by former OSU great Keith Byars, sent Atlantic home with a loss.

The defeat severely hurt Atlantic's playoff aspirations. The Eagles sit fourth in the five-team district with a 1-2 record. There are two weeks left in the season but only one district game remaining.

LB Scott McVey, Cleveland St. Ignatius and DE J.T. Moore, Youngstown (Ohio) Boardman – Boardman earned a trip to the Division I postseason with a come-from-behind victory last weekend against Youngstown Austintown-Fitch, but its reward was a date with unbeaten St. Ignatius in the first round on Saturday in Cleveland.

The Spartans (7-3) rallied from a 21-7 fourth-quarter deficit to earn the last playoff spot in Region 1. Two fourth-quarter touchdowns forced overtime, and Boardman punched its ticket to the postseason with a 33-yard Trevor Ragan field goal and an interception by Tyler Blangero on Fitch's first offensive play in overtime.

Moore is the only one of Boardman's 23-member senior class to see significant playing time the last time the Spartans made the postseason in 2007. Moore was a defensive end then, too.

"They're only the second class in school history to make the playoffs twice in their careers, so it's an honor and they're excited," Boardman head coach D.J. Ogilvie told the Youngstown Vindicator of his upperclassmen. "They got a taste of it two years ago and we talked during the offseason of leaving a legacy and getting back to that feeling of accomplishing something really great."

Moore leads Boardman's defense in tackles for a loss and is the third-leading tackler.

"For a defensive lineman, that's pretty impressive," Ogilvie told the Vindicator.

Moore and the rest of the Spartans will have to be at their best against McVey and the powerful Wildcats. The defending state champions are coming into the game off a 28-0 rout of archrival Lakewood St. Edward.

McVey and the rest of the defense have had little trouble stopping opposing offenses. The Wildcats are allowing an average of 12.1 points per game.

St. Ignatius earned all 29 first-place votes in the final Ohio Division I AP poll.

OT Andrew Norwell, Cincinnati Anderson – The Norwell-less Redskins finished the regular season 10-0 and earned a No. 1 seed in the OHSAA Division I, Region 4 playoffs. Facing Anderson in the first round will be Ohio State recruiting target Jordan Hicks and West Chester Lakota West.

Anderson won the Fort Ancient Valley Conference Buckeye Division and cruised in most of its 10 victories. The running attack has fueled the Redskins offense all season, including in their 53-37 regular-season finale last week at Harrison. Anderson rushed for 453 yards on the ground in the victory.

"We were able to run the ball effectively like we have all year," Anderson head coach Jeff Giesting told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Our guys stayed focused on winning games and winning league.

"We knew we were going to have a good team."

The Redskins' rushing attack will face a tough challenge against Hicks and the Firebirds, champions of the Greater Miami Conference. Lakota West has not lost since the first week of the season, when it dropped a 7-6 decision to Clayton Northmont at Welcome Stadium in Dayton.

Hicks recorded two sacks and nabbed an interception in nine games this season. The five-star recruit is listed as the No. 2 outside linebacker prospect in the country by

LB/TE Jamel Turner, Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy – The Blue Devils (6-3) end the regular season with a trip to Pennsylvania against Wayne Valley Forge Military Academy.

Turner leads Fork Union with 61 tackles with two interceptions, three pass deflections a fumble recovery and three forced fumbles.

The following OSU verbal commits have finished their seasons: K Drew Basil, Chillicothe, Ohio; S/RB Chad Hagan, Canonsburg (Pa.) Canon-McMillan; RB/FS Roderick Smith, Fort Wayne (Ind.) Paul Harding; WR Tyrone Williams, East Cleveland (Ohio) Shaw.

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