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. 6-7. All are seniors unless noted.

DE Darryl Baldwin, Solon, Ohio – The Comets' Ohio High School Athletic Association playoff run started with a 10-7 victory against seventh-seeded Euclid.

No. 2 Solon survived a scare but may have lost Baldwin in the process. Baldwin left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury and spent the second half on crutches on the sidelines.

Euclid (6-5) outgained unbeaten 240-110, but the Comets (11-0) made their 10-0 halftime lead stand.

"We weren't in the playoffs last year and this is a new experience for a lot of our guys," Solon coach Jim McQuaide told the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer.

"We need to do a better job of adjusting to playoff football. Our defense has been the key to our success all year and tonight we needed them."

Kevin Hicks gave Solon a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter, and the lead extended before halftime when Devon McGowan capped an 80-yard drive with a 4-yard TD run.

The Comets will next face third-seeded Mayfield in the second round. The two teams met earlier this season on Oct. 2, with Solon taking a hard-fought 27-20 victory.

RB/WR/CB Corey Brown, Springfield (Pa.) Cardinal O'Hara – Brown scored two rushing touchdowns, but Wyndmoor LaSalle spoiled Senior Night with a 24-14 victory.

LaSalle (8-1, 5-1 Philadelphia Catholic League AAAA) built a 21-0 first quarter lead and held on for the win. Sam Feleccia's 13-yard reception, Drew Loughery's 1-yard run and Steve Jones' 9-yard haul resulted in early scores.

Brown put O'Hara (8-2, 4-2) on the scoreboard with a 73-yard touchdown run before halftime, and he added a 15-yard TD run in the third quarter. Yet it wasn't enough. The Brown touchdown runs were sandwiched by a Mike Bennett 23-yard field goal for LaSalle.

Brown finished with 163 yards on 20 carries.

The Lions won't have long to wait before having a chance at revenge. The two teams will meet next week in a Catholic League AAAA semifinal.

"We came out and we played the worst first quarter all season," Brown told the Delaware Country Daily Times. "We came out in the second half and played good, so (the Explorers) can expect that next weekend."

LB David Durham, Charlotte (N.C.) Christian – The Knights had the weekend off before starting their run in the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association Division 3A playoffs.

Top-seeded Charlotte Christian (8-2) will host Raleigh Ravenscroft (8-4) next week. Ravenscroft defeated Charlotte Providence Day 14-7 in the first round.

QB Taylor Graham, Wheaton (Ill.) North – The Graham-less Falcons continued their surprising postseason run with a 38-24 victory at Mt. Prospect Prospect.

Prospect (8-3) jumped on the Falcons early with a pair of long first-quarter touchdown drives, but Wheaton North (7-4) did not get rattled. The 15th-seeded Falcons responded with three trips to the end zone in the second quarter and used that momentum to earn the win.

"They're a great opponent," Wheaton North quarterback Reece Butler, who took over for Graham when the senior suffered a season-ending knee injury, told the Chicago Daily Herald. "But we just had a group of 11 guys that didn't want to lose and kept fighting."

The Falcons will face No. 11 Lake Zurich next week with a trip to the quarterfinals on the line. Lake Zurich (8-3) defeated Wheaton North in the second week of the season.

DE Ken Hayes (junior), Toledo Whitmer and DE Steve Miller (junior), Canton (Ohio) McKinley – In a battle of Ohio State 2011 verbal commits, Miller and Canton McKinley left the Glass City with a 34-13 victory in an OHSAA Division I, Region 2 opener.

The Bulldogs (7-4) were seeded eighth but had little trouble with top-seeded Whitmer. Senior running back Bryce Wilder led the offense with a game-high 150 yards on 24 carries. He rushed for three touchdowns and caught another. McKinley made the long trip worth it by building a 20-0 second-quarter lead and never trailing. Wilder set the tone early, scoring the first of his touchdowns on an 8-yard run only 1:43 into the game.

Miller and the rest of the McKinley defense took care of the rest, holding Whitmer to 290 yards of total offense and keeping the Panthers under 31 points for the first time this season.

Hayes finished with 18 tackles, while Miller collected 10 stops and two sacks.

Whitmer (9-2) played the game without two of its best players. Senior quarterback Joe Missler missed all but one play with a hip-pointer injury, and senior linebacker Shane Brown was out with leg fractures suffered in the regular-season finale against Toledo Start.

McKinley will face Canton GlenOak (9-2) in a regional semifinal next week.

WR James Louis, Delray Beach (Fla.) Atlantic – A pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns kept Atlantic's playoff hopes alive in a 21-7 victory against visiting Palm Beach Central.

The Eagles (5-4) moved into a three-way tie for second place in District 8-6A. Atlantic, Seminole Ridge and Park Vista all have 2-2 district marks. The teams are scheduled to meet on Monday to determine who will join district champ Boca Raton in the playoffs.

As for the win over the Broncos, Atlantic saw its 6-0 halftime lead erode thanks to a third-quarter touchdown and successful extra point by Palm Beach Central (2-7, 0-4). The Eagles' rushing attack then helped Atlantic take command. Quarterback Mark Leal rushed for a 26-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, and Donnell Kirkwood added a two-point conversion run to give Atlantic a 14-7 lead. The Broncos fumbled on the first play of their next offensive possession, which set up another trip to the end zone by the Eagles. Kirkwood ran six times on the drive and capped the march with a 2-yard score.

Kirkwood finished with 131 yards on 23 carries to lead the Atlantic offense. Leal completed 11 of 22 passes for 86 yards. Louis caught two passes for 15 yards.

No matter what happens in Monday's meeting, Atlantic will still have one more game to play. The Eagles host Palm Beach Lakes (6-3) in a non-district battle.

LB Scott McVey, Cleveland St. Ignatius and DE J.T. Moore, Youngstown (Ohio) Boardman – McVey and the Wildcats began their defense of the OHSAA Division I title with a 17-0 Region 1 victory against Moore and the Spartans.

The defenses told the story. Boardman (7-4) allowed only 64 rushing yards on 35 carries. St. Ignatius allowed 53 yards on 24 carries. The difference was Wildcats quarterback Mark Myers, who threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns.

"You want to get some yards running when you can, but it's an eight-man front," St. Ignatius coach Chuck Kyle told the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, referring to Boardman's 4-4 defense. "Why pound it out and run yourself into a wall? They played tough. They're a good football team. We felt with Mark, we were going to find some seams and ended up hitting a few big plays because it ended up 1-on-1 with the receivers and you have to take advantage of that when it happens."

Blake Thomas caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Myers in the first quarter, and David Joseph added a 79-yard haul in the second period. Jesse Franklin capped the scoring with a 23-yard field goal in the third quarter.

The Wildcats (11-0) will next face Cleveland Glenville (10-1) in a rematch of a season-opening showdown. St. Ignatius won that game 14-13.

OT Andrew Norwell, Cincinnati Anderson – Kicker Tommy Chapman made a 43-yard field goal with 2:39 to play to send the Norwell-less Redskins to the second round of the OHSAA Division I, Region 4 playoffs. His boot gave Anderson a 24-21 victory over OSU recruiting target Jordan Hicks and West Chester Lakota West.

Even without Norwell, who has missed most of the season with a broken his left tibia, the Anderson running game continued to show the way. Senior running back Kyle Slater carried the ball 33 times for 327 yards with two touchdowns - one coming on a 98-yard kickoff return.

"I give it all to my line," Slater told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "They blocked great. I had great holes all night. It was great. They just did an extremely awesome job."

Hicks had an interception in the first half and finished with 7.5 tackles and a sack. Lakota West (9-2) lost for the first time since the opening week of the season.

Top-seeded Anderson (11-0) will host No. 7 Middletown next week. The Middies (10-1) shocked Cincinnati Moeller 45-10 in their playoff opener.

LB/TE Jamel Turner, Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy – The Blue Devils traveled to Pennsylvania and left with a 23-20 win over Wayne Valley Forge Military Academy.

Fork Union (7-3) answered a first-quarter Valley Forge touchdown with 23 unanswered points. Turner had two tackles.

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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