Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association High School Football Notebook: Week 10
COLUMBUS – The regular-season wrapped up on Saturday night and the 2023 OHSAA football playoffs are set. Here are the top performances from around the state in the final weekend of the regular-season as compiled by the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association for this week’s high school football notebook.
Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association High School Football Notebook – Week 10
* With a 34-0 win over Madison, the Mansfield Senior Tygers clinched their first outright Ohio Cardinal Conference championship since 2013 and their first league title since 2017 in the 58th edition of the Battle for Mansfield. The win also gave Mansfield Senior head football coach Chioke Bradley his 100th career victory making him the all-time winningest coach in program history. He is 100-52 and in his 13th season at the helm. It was the Tygers’ sixth OCC title under Bradley. Overall, Mansfield Senior leads the Madison series 33-22-3 and has won 16 of those season finales including eight of the last nine.
* During a 34-20 win over Highland, Ontario’s junior quarterback Bodpegn Miller completed 15-of-25 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown while also running for 85 yards and two more scores as the victory netted the Warriors a share of their first league championship since 2004 with a co-Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference title. Senior running back Chase Studer piled up 96 yards with a TD and senior wide receiver Dylan Floyd had a massive day with nine catches for 124 yards. The Warriors finished the regular season 9-1 for their most wins in a season since going 10-0 in 2001.
*In a 23-0 win over Pleasant, the Shelby Whippets laid claim to the program’s 25th league championship as the Whippets earned a piece of the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference championship sharing the title with Ontario. The 2023 Whippets join teams from 1946, 49-50, 52-54, 56, 59-60, 65, 67-69, 71, 74, 77, 80, 84, 98, 2000, 2017 and 19-21 as league champions. The Whippets ended the regular season 8-2 and with just one loss in the MOAC. The Whippets now have 701 wins in program history.
* For the 10th straight season, the Lucas Cubs are headed to the playoffs. After a 30-0 win over Arlington in Week 10, the Cubs secured the No. 9 spot in Division VII Region 25 behind a monster performance from Logan Toms who ran for 204 yards on 26 carries and two touchdowns while the Cubs piled up 346 yards rushing on 50 carries. The Cubs were stout defensively allowing just 171 total yards, 170 of those on the ground, and forced a fumble while pitching a shutout for their first one of the 2023 season and first since shutting out Malvern 37-0 in the 2021 playoffs.
* The Lexington Minutemen closed out the regular season with an inspiring 24-14 win over Ashland in Week 10. That win did several things. First, it made the Minutemen 5-5 for their first .500 record or better since 2018. It got them on the plus side in their conference schedule going 4-3 in a tough OCC. But most of all, it got them a playoff berth for the first time under head coach Andrew Saris.
* The Clear Fork Colts saw their 8-game losing streak snapped with an 8-0 upset win over River Valley in Week 10 in a muddy mess of a game. Kasey Swank ran for 80 yards while Marcus Hoeflich had 58 yards rushing and the game’s only touchdown as the Colts also added a safety on defense.
* The McClain Tigers used a ground game that caused the Hillsboro Indians problems in Week 10, earning a 21-13 win at McClain Field. McClain senior Andrew Potts finished the game with 34 rushes for 177 yards and three touchdowns. MHS quarterback Drake Stapleton rushed for 56 yards on nine carries, plus he was 5-of-15 for 79 yards passing. Also thanks to McClain’s win, for the first time ever — not counting the COVID-19 2020 season — McClain earned a playoff berth.
* Ryan Montgomery, a four-star junior quarterback who has already received offers from many of the top college programs in the country, played only the first half of Findlay’s game with Sylvania Northview, but threw for 236 yards and four touchdowns and ran for a score in the Trojans 48-0 victory. Montgomery surpassed 3,000 yards passing for the season, upped his passing touchdown total to 35 and his total TD count to 43. Senior receiver Ja’vonte Hill caught his 15th and 16th TD passes of the season as Findlay, picked to finish fourth in the Buckeye Division of the expanded Northern Lakes League, won a share of the 2023 championship with Toledo Whitmer and Anthony Wayne. It was Findlay’s first football league title since 2011, and first Week 10 title clinching victory since 2009.
* For the sixth time in the past eight seasons, the Week 10 showdown between Liberty-Benton and McComb decided the Blanchard Valley Conference championship. McComb won the 2021 and 2022 matchups to claim outright BVC titles in those years. This season, L-B’s 44-22 win capped a 7-0 BVC season for the Eagles. Liberty-Benton quarterback Mason Modd threw for 207 yards and three touchdowns and added 139 yards and two TDs rushing. McComb’s Braxton Althauser, who entered the game with almost 2,200 all-purpose yards, carried 28 times for 204 yards and scored his 31st and 32nd touchdowns.
* Entering Friday’s Northwest Conference showdown, Bluffton had not allowed a single point in seven straight games. Columbus Grove ended that streak with a second-quarter score, broke a 7-7 tie in the fourth quarter and edged the Pirates 14-7 win the outright league title.
* Lakewood St. Edward edged Akron Hoban, 14-7, in a Week 10 game that Max Preps pegged as the No. 1 game in the country. It shifted St. Edward’s way with sophomore Brandon White’s 13-yard touchdown run with 3:39 left in the fourth quarter. White rushed for 126 yards on 25 carries, while St. Edward’s defense held Hoban to 124 yards in total offense. Junior linebacker Nate Gregory led that effort with four tackles for loss, five solo hits and 12 assists.
* Lorain senior John Salaman broke his own school rushing record with 341 yards and four TDs on 34 carries in leading Lorain to a share of the Lake Erie League title. Lorain’s 53-34 victory against Maple Heights forced a three-way tie between the Titans, Mustangs and Bedford.
* Cleveland Heights junior Marquise Davis Northeast rushed for 144 yards and three TDs on 24 carries in a 41-31 win at Shaker Heights, sealing the outright Greater Cleveland Conference championship. Davis has 2,087 yards and 32 TDs on 217 carries on the season.
* A week after his game-sealing interception made ESPN’s top plays on SportsCenter, Aurora’s Dylan Crasi scored the winning touchdown at Medina Highland on a 25-yard pass from Ryan Dwyer with 1:35 left in the fourth quarter. It was Crasi’s only reception, but not his only catch, as he had another interception and four solo tackles to lead the Greenmen to a 9-7 win at Highland for the Suburban League American Conference crown.
* Keegan Sell of Garrettsville Garfield scored six TDs and rushed for 324 yards on just 13 carries in a 60-25 win for the G-Men against Brookfield. Garfield closed the regular season at 10-0.
* With a hard-fought 14-13 defensive slugfest victory at rival Wayne Trace, Paulding made history on Friday by qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in school history. Not counting the 2020 playoffs, the win earned the Panthers (6-4) the No. 15 seed in the Division VI Region 22 playoffs and clinched the program’s first winning season in 15 years.
* Colton Kruse’s 137 yards and three TDs on 19 carries led Division V No. 2 Liberty Center to a 42-0 victory over Wauseon and the Tigers’ second straight unbeaten regular season. LC now has 25 regular-season wins in a row.
* Holgate’s Xavier McCord passed for 128 yards and a touchdown, rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns and returned a kickoff to paydirt as the Tigers closed out the regular season at 8-1 with a 30-22 win at Morenci (Mich.).
* A week after scoring a rushing, receiving and return touchdown, Archbold’s Jack Hurst scored three TDs on Friday – all rushing – as the Bluestreak senior helped power his team to a 42-21 win at Bryan. Hurst has 10 touchdowns the last three weeks and 18 total this season.
* Alex Pero of Athens rushed for 212 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries in the Bulldogs’ 19-13 Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division victory over visiting Nelsonville-York. Athens ended its regular season with five wins in a row, capped off by its first win over Nelsonville-York since 2018 — for their first winning season since 2018. The two teams play annually for the Doc Kroner Trophy, as the contest has been the regular-season finale for both teams starting in 2010. For many years and ending with the 2007 meeting, this was the two teams’ regular-season opener.
* The Ironton Fighting Tigers defeated the Portsmouth Trojans 21-6 on Friday night, winning their 33rd consecutive Ohio Valley Conference game as Ironton is exiting the league. It is the Fighting Tigers’ fifth consecutive and final conference championship, as they also won the OVC in their first two years in —in 2015 and 2016. Ironton is now 66-60-7 all-time against archrival Portsmouth, having now won the last seven meetings in this series —the second-oldest rivalry in the entire state. Ironton will continue to play OVC members Portsmouth, Fairland and Gallia Academy —as part of its independent schedule starting next year.
* The Portsmouth Notre Dame Titans captured a 50-42 Southern Ohio Conference Division I shootout victory at archrival Sciotoville East on Friday night. It indeed was a three-star night for the fast-paced and no-huddle offense Titans. Sophomore quarterback Ethan Kingrey completed 16-of-27 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns with one two-point conversion. Senior running back Jordan Davis rushed for 152 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries, and junior Myles Phillips made six receptions for 121 yards with one TD. Defensively, Phillips led the way with 13 tackles as Davis added 11. For the host and run-heavy Tartans, Norris McKinley amassed 318 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 24 carries, caught a pass for 12 yards, and made one defensive interception.
* The McDermott Northwest Mohawks ended their season on Friday night with a dramatic 40-37 Southern Ohio Conference Division II victory at Oak Hill. Jake Brown completed 13-of-17 passes for 205 yards with a 70-yard touchdown pass, and rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown on only six carries. Carter Runyon racked up an impressive two-way performance —rushing for 120 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries, making eight receptions for 91 yards, and defensively leading the way with nine tackles, two quarterback sacks, making a tackle for loss for a safety, and recording a 65-yard interception return for a touchdown. Maddix Spriggs kicked a 42-yard field goal with a second-and-a-half left for the win. This was the Mohawks’ first season returned to the SOC II, after competing in the smaller-school SOC I from 2014 thru 2022.
* The Lucasville Valley Indians, with only two seniors on the entire roster, advanced to the Division VI Region 24 playoffs for a second consecutive season —thanks to their 24-0 Southern Ohio Conference Division II victory at archrival Minford. Sophomore quarterback Carson Powell completed 8-of-10 passes for 201 yards with two touchdowns, as Jaekyn Ridout made three receptions for 130 yards with one score. Gabe McNeil rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries, as the Indians grounded the Falcons for 124 total yards in pitching the shutout. Valley won the Lucasville-Minford Road Rivalry game for the first time since 2020 —and for the first time at Minford since 2015.
* Wheelersburg senior all-purpose performer Creed Warren indeed had a Senior Night to remember, as the host Pirates defeated the Portsmouth West Senators 35-7 to capture their 36th all-time Southern Ohio Conference championship. Warren rushed for 158 yards and three touchdowns on only 13 carries, including a 73-yard scoring run on the game’s opening play. He also made three receptions for 95 yards, and scored on a second-half screen pass which covered 67. West won the SOC II last year for the first time since 2008, and defeated Wheelersburg for the first time since 2011. But the Pirates’ payback came on Friday night, as they snapped the Senators’ SOC II win streak at 10.
* Senior quarterback Brayden Bayles accounted for 300 total yards and six TDs, leading Heath to a 54-21 victory against Johnstown, giving the Bulldogs their third Licking County League-Cardinal Division championship in four seasons.
* Senior quarterback Steele Meister piled up 364 yards passing and 81 yards rushing, accounting for six total TDs for Newark in a 55-47 loss to Lancaster. Meister has had a hand in all 35 offensive TDs this season for the Wildcats.
* Chase Bennett’s interception of an option pitch and return for a score highlighted Utica’s 35-0 shutout of Hebron Lakewood to earn a Division V playoff spot. Utica at 7-3 has achieved the program’s first winning season since 2010 and qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2000.
* The Eastern Pike Eagles completed their quest for a perfect 10-0 season on Friday night with a 43-7 victory over the hosting Franklin Furnace Green Bobcats. Eastern has only had a full-fledged varsity program since the 2015 season. The Eagles also captured their second ever Southern Ohio Conference Division I title. Leading the offense was senior running back Landyn Reinsmith who had 16 carries for 211 yards and three touchdowns, working out to an average of more than 13 yards per rush. The Eagles also had a strong defensive night. Landon Cavinder and Boston Webb each had an interception, while Teagan Werner forced a fumble and Bryden Tomlison recovered one.
* In a Friday night shootout between the Piketon Redstreaks and Westfall Mustangs, Piketon junior running back Buddy Wilson had a 99-yard touchdown run on the way to a 256 yard and three touchdown night. Wilson covered those 256 yards on 25 carries for an average of 10.24 yards per rush. Piketon senior receiver Brent McGuire also had a big night, securing seven receptions for 101 yards and three touchdowns. The hosting Mustangs ultimately won the game 56-39 and just slid into the playoffs as the 16th seeded team in Division V Region 20. Westfall will travel to take on top-seeded Valleyview Friday night. Piketon’s season came to an end. The Redstreaks finish at 6-4 overall and didn’t make the playoff cut.