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. 13-14. All are seniors unless noted.

Revenge On Minds Of Commits, Foes Rematches highlight weekend slate of playoff games. If familiarity actually does breed contempt, emotions could be running even higher this weekend when several Ohio State football verbal commits continue their postseason runs. Led by a highly-anticipated Cleveland St. Ignatius-Cleveland Glenville matchup, this weekend is lined with rematches.

DE Darryl Baldwin, Solon, Ohio – The Comets advanced to the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I, Region 1 final with a 13-10 overtime victory over Mayfield at Parma Byers Field.

Senior kicker Kevin Hicks, who had earlier missed a 41-yard field goal in the first quarter, booted a 37-yard kick to send Solon (12-0) into a regional final showdown against Cleveland Glenville. Mayfield (10-2) had a chance to answer the field goal in its overtime offensive possession, but kicker Carey Spear's 35-yard attempt went wide left thanks in part of a bad snap.

Hicks received some fatherly advice after missing his first-quarter kick. His father told Hicks to "step it up" when the two spoke at halftime.

"My dad's words were words of motivation but I wanted (the game) to come down to me," Hicks told the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. "When there was two minutes left in the game, I was hoping we'd drive it down the field because I wanted to kick the game winner. But I got my game-winner in the end."

The game also featured a state record late in the first half. Mayfield went into halftime with a 7-3 deficit after Spear tied a state mark with a 61-yard field goal off a free kick. He attempted the boot after Ohio State baseball recruit Tim Wetzel made a fair catch of a Comet punt with 10 seconds remaining at his own 49-yard line.

"Carey's over there kicking himself but I told him we wouldn't have been in the game without him," Wetzel told the Plain Dealer. "He made a 61-yard field goal to get us going. What kicker can even do that?"

Mayfield took its only lead on its first offensive possession of the second half when Wetzel, who rushed for a game-high 151 yards, threw a 19-yard halfback pass to Dan Coleman for a touchdown. Hicks later tied the game with 5:47 remaining in regulation.

Kyle Hammonds rushed for a 5-yard touchdown to start the scoring for Solon, but he ended the game on the sidelines after spraining his ankle with 3½ minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Solon will next face Cleveland Glenville Saturday in the regional final. The site of the game has yet to be determined.

RB/WR/CB Corey Brown, Springfield (Pa.) Cardinal O'Hara – Brown caught a 28-yard touchdown pass but it came in what was his final high school game. The Lions lost their Philadelphia Catholic League Class AAAA playoff opener 31-21 against Wyndmoor La Salle.

The picture-perfect touchdown pass from Ryan Laughlin looked to give O'Hara (9-2) the momentum it would need to upset the Explorers (9-1). The score tied the game shortly before halftime and the teams went into the break knotted 14-14. The momentum did not last, however, as La Salle scored twice in the third quarter to pull away.

After the Lions were held to a three-and-out to start the second half, the Explorers quickly drove downfield and reached the end zone on a 2-yard run by Jamal Abdur-Rahman. O'Hara could not answer, and after another punt, LaSalle scored again – this time on a 74-yard touchdown pass from Drew Loughery to Connor Hoffman.

"The opening drive of the third quarter was key for us," O'Hara coach Danny Algeo told the Delaware County Daily Times. "We needed to come out and sustain something and put some pressure on them. We didn't do that. We didn't get anything going."

A Dan O'Hara 1-yard touchdown run cut the deficit to 28-21 early in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for the Lions, that was as close as they could get. Mike Bennett set the final margin with a 38-yard field goal midway through the final period.

Brown was held to 42 yards on 12 carries.

LB David Durham, Charlotte (N.C.) Christian – The Knights moved a step closer to repeating as state champions with a 45-22 victory over Raleigh Ravenscroft in the semifinals of the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association Division 3A playoffs.

Charlotte Christian (9-2) raced out to a 38-14 lead at halftime and will next face Charlotte Latin for the state championship game. The Knights had little trouble with the Ravens (9-5), scoring on their first five possessions of the game.

"It's huge and I can't wait," Charlotte Christian quarterback John Kincaid told the Charlotte Observer. "I've been in the championship game ever since I was a sophomore and I've been waiting to have my turn (to start)."

Kincaid led the offense with 137 yards passing and four touchdowns (three passing and one rushing). Matthias Farley caught two of those touchdowns on receptions of 13 and 35 yards. Running back Ty Linton added a 27-yard touchdown run, and Simms McElfresh scored on an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

QB Taylor Graham, Wheaton (Ill.) North – The Falcons' surprising postseason run ended with a 24-17 loss to Lake Zurich in the Illinois High School Association Class 7A quarterfinals.

Fifteenth-seeded Wheaton North almost pulled off an improbable comeback, though. The Falcons (7-5) trailed 24-3 at one point with the No. 11 Bears (9-3) facing a fourth-and-goal from the 2. Wheaton North stopped Lake Zurich on the fourth-down play and used the momentum gained to go on a 12-play drive that ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Reece Butler to Hunter Thorson on a fourth-and-goal play.

Lake Zurich fumbled on the first play of its next possession, allowing the Falcons to quickly score again with 6:25 left in the fourth quarter. Butler, who led Wheaton North after Graham suffered a season-ending injury midway through the campaign, found Shaniel Katariwala for a 13-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 24-17.

The Bears were forced to punt after the Katariwala score, and Wheaton North then drove all the way to the Lake Zurich 14. However, that's where the rally ended. Butler had a jump-ball pass intercepted in the end zone. The Falcons did get one more offensive possession in the waning seconds, but the Bears ended the threat when Anthony Blechschmidt knocked down a fourth-down pass from Butler. "This one's on me," Butler told the Chicago Daily Herald. "I turned the ball over four times. I can't do that. My team played great tonight."

DE Steve Miller (junior), Canton (Ohio) McKinley – The Bulldogs punched their ticket to the OHSAA Division I, Region 2 final with a 48-7 shellacking of crosstown rival Canton GlenOak at Massillon Paul Brown Stadium.

Eighth-seeded McKinley (10-2) scored touchdowns on its first three possessions and gained 473 yards of total offense in a dominating performance. Quarterback Kyle Ohradzansky threw for 183 yards and two touchdowns. Angelo Powell caught four of those passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Bryce Wilder led the rushing attack with 137 yards and four trips to end zone.

"Give them credit. They're playing great football right now," GlenOak head coach Scott Garcia told the Canton Repository. "We knew all along they had as much talent as anybody in the state. They're a dangerous team."

Miller and the McKinley defense had little trouble against the Golden Eagles, only allowing a second-quarter touchdown. GlenOak was held to only 222 yards of total offense.

The Bulldogs will face Massillon (9-3) in the Region 2 final in a game that will be played at the University of Akron's InfoCision Stadium.

WR James Louis, Delray Beach (Fla.) Atlantic – Louis ended his high school career with two touchdowns on five receptions for 116 yards, but the Eagles fell to .500 with a 31-21 home loss to Palm Beach Lakes.

Louis caught both of his touchdown passes in the second quarter. Lakes (7-3) built a 14-0 lead through the first quarter, but three trips to the end zone by Atlantic (5-5) in the second quarter send the game into halftime tied 21-21.

The game remained knotted into the fourth quarter before Wilbrt Cornette broke the stalemate with a 26-yard field goal and Cody Bonea closed the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run.

Virginia Tech-bound quarterback Mark Leal led the Eagles offensive attack with 231 passing yards on 12 of 22 passes with three TD scores. He also led the team in rushing with 46 yards on seven carries.

LB Scott McVey, Cleveland St. Ignatius – No drama this time. Just an unlikely blowout. Fifth-seeded Cleveland Glenville earned a decisive 30-13 victory over St. Ignatius in an OHSAA Division I, Region 1 semifinal at Lakewood Stadium.

A crowd extimated to be larger than 11,000 saw the Tarblooders (11-1) end the Wildcats' 25-game winnings streak and knock off the defending Division I state champions. Latwan Anderson led Glenville's effort by intercepting four passes and returning them for a combined 196 yards. That total was only 50 yards short of the total offense put up by the Wildcats (11-1).

Turnovers told the story of the game. All of Glenville's points came off turnovers. The key play of the game came in the third quarter with the Wildcats trailing 23-14 but driving deep into Tarblooder territory. On a third-down play from the Glenville 9, Anderson stepped in front of a St. Ignatius receiver and intercepted a pass. He returned the pick 99 yards for a back-breaking touchdown.

"That was the best game of my life," Anderson told the Plain Dealer. "All week long everyone was telling me that I'm ranked as one of the best players in the country and that I had to play like it."

The play extended the lead to 17 points with slightly more than four minutes left in the third quarter. The Wildcats never seriously threatened again on a night that went sour from the start. St. Ignatius committed five turnovers on its first six offensive possessions. That allowed the Tarblooders to build a 23-0 lead.

Glenville will face Solon next Saturday for the regional title.

OT Andrew Norwell, Cincinnati Anderson – The talented Redskins rushing attack wore down seventh-seeded Middletown as No. 1 Anderson pulled away for a 41-20 victory in an OHSAA Division I, Region 4 semifinal at Nippert Stadium.

Running back Kyle Slater continued his impressive senior season by rushing for 250 yards on 36 carries. He also scored four touchdowns. The Redskins (12-0) rushed for 399 yards of offense on the ground.

"I didn't even know that yet," Slater told the Cincinnati Enquirer when told of his rushing total. "It was great. Our coaches called great plays all night. The defense did a heck of a job, stepping up when we needed them. We put the ball in the end zone. The offensive line blocked great like every other night.

"We just prepared like every other week. We watched film on them, executed, stopped them, scored, did our thing."

Middletown (10-2) held a 20-19 lead in the third quarter before Anderson exerted its will. Slater's final two touchdowns proved to be the difference. His 2-yard touchdown run with 1:05 left in the third quarter put the Redskins ahead for good. He later added a 29-yard score to give Anderson some breathing room. Quarterback Brandon Bornhauser capped the scoring with a 16-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter. Bornhauser finished 130 yards on 23 carries.

The Redskins will face No. 4 Cincinnati Elder in the regional final next Saturday.

LB/TE Jamel Turner, Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy – Fork Union's season came to an end with a 35-13 loss to Richmond Collegiate in a semifinal of the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division I playoffs.

Jake McGee led Collegiate (9-1) on both sides of the ball. The University of Richmond commit completed 21 of 36 passes for 406 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown.

Tailback Andre Parker led the Blue Devils (7-4) with 98 yards on 12 carries.

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

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