Month: September 2020

Piqua Takes Down Tipp To Win The MVL Title

Tipp City, Ohio — The 3-0 Tippecanoe Red Devils welcomed the 4-0 Piqua Indians at Tipp City Park for a matchup that would decide the winner of the MVL Miami division. Tippecanoe was coming off of one of the biggest wins in Matt Burgbacher’s second season since returning to Tipp. The Red Devils knocked off Burgbacher’s former school and longtime rival Troy on a last-second touchdown by senior Tyler Carlson.

“Winning the Troy game was huge for us this year and for the classes that follow us,” said Carlson. “It was pivotal for our program and was the first time we beat them in 81 years so that was extremely exciting for us.”

Piqua was also coming off a big win. The Indians defeated a previously unbeaten Stebbins team 27-0 last week. Piqua will be one of the top seeds in division two come playoff time and the Indians are playing their best football down the stretch of the regular season.

Piqua’s opening drive was stopped as sophomore quarterback Brady Ouhl was sacked by senior linebacker Kevin Thompson. This sack ignited the Tipp sideline and forced a punt from Piqua.

When asked about how that sack felt, Thompson said, “since the sack was on the first drive on 3rd down a stop would be crucial. Coming off the backside to run down the QB was just an electric feeling. I wanted that MVL title and needed to get my team rolling if we were going to beat Piqua.”

Tippecanoe had a three-and-out on their opening drive as senior quarterback Troy Taylor overthrew his intended target.

On the first play of Piqua’s second drive, Ouhl kicked it out to Keagon Patton on a screen pass. Patton was able to shed a tackler and take it 55 yards into Red Devil territory. The Indians were able to finish off the drive just a couple plays later, as senior halfback Ca’Ron Coleman took it 25 yards for a Piqua touchdown.

After Jerell Lewis forced a Tipp punt after a stop, he caught a seven-yard reception to set the Indians up. Jasiah Medley and Tanner Kemp both converted on 4th & 1 during the drive. That led to the eventual 10-yard touchdown carry from Kemp to put the Indians up 14-0 early on in the second quarter.

Tippecanoe’s next drive was cut short after they finished a yard short on 3rd & 6. They punted it to Piqua who then fumbled on their first play. The fumble was forced by Tippecanoe senior Caye Carmack and was recovered by the Red Devils leader in Tyler Carlson.

When asked what his though process was when he saw the ball on the ground, Carlson said, “I initially thought he was going to be tackled so I slowed up but they popped the ball out so all I was thinking was grab that ball and don’t stop running.”

The Piqua defense made another stand and held the Red Devils to just a field goal. This cut the deficit to 14-3 with 7:30 remaining in the second quarter.

The Red Devils got the ball back with little time remaining in the first half. Troy Taylor gave Tipp back the momentum with a miraculous 27-yard carry which could have easily been a sack. The senior quarterback then gave Piqua back the momentum as he forced a throw into the endzone on 3rd & 5 that was picked off by Piqua’s Aidan Meyer. The Indians led 14-3 at the half.

After three straight three-and-outs to open the second half, Brady Ouhl connected with his brother Blane Ouhl for a 12-yard catch. This setup a much more manageable 4th & 1. Ca’Ron Coleman would convert for the Indians as he carried two Tipp defenders on his back to get the first down. Coleman then converted on 3rd & 1 and finally finished off the drive with an 8-yard run to put Piqua up 21-3.

Jerell Lewis continued to step up for this Piqua defense. The senior sacked Taylor on 3rd down to force a punt. Ouhl then connected with Dre’Sean Roberts for an 11-yard reception before Ca’Ron Coleman put the dagger into Tipp with his 44-yard run to the house. This put the Indians up 28-3 and took all the momentum to the Piqua sideline.

The rest of the contest was mainly defensive stops. Ouhl barely overthrew Cory Miller who was wide open. This incomplete pass would have easily been another Piqua touchdown had it been caught.

Troy Taylor found Camden Swartout a couple of times on the final Tipp drive. One of those was a conversion on 3rd & 10 and then a diving catch to move the chains again. The drive ended after Taylor was sacked on 4th & 7 by Ca’Ron Coleman who let his presence felt as he put the game away.

Piqua running back Ca’Ron Coleman finished the game with 112 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Brady Ouhl went 13/21 and had 111 yards in the air. Jerell Lewis finished with 4 tackles and 2 sacks on the night to lead the Indian defense.

Tippecanoe was led offensively by Troy Taylor. He went 18/37 in the air with 142 yards. Junior running back Griffin Caldwell had 57 yards on the ground. The Red Devil defense was led by Cayd Everhart who finished with 12 tackles. Everhart had established himself as one of the top defensive players in the MVL. Tyler Carlson also had 11 tackles and a fumble recovery for Tippecanoe.

This win gives Piqua the outright MVL Miami championship. This also improves their record to 5-0. Jerell Lewis said, “it was good all the time we put in the off season and all the hard work during quarantine and during the summer we expect no less then bring home the MVL tittle.”

Tipp falls to 3-1 with this loss and will take on Xenia next week to close out their regular season.

Northmont Completes Insane Comeback In OT Thriller

Clayton, Ohio — The game of the night on Friday was a battle for first place in the GWOC as #1 Springfield (3-0) traveled to Englewood to battle #2 Northmont (3-0). This game was also a big-time matchup between two of the top quarterbacks in the state in Te’Sean Smoot and Cade Rice.

When Rice was asked if he felt any pressure playing against another top-tier quarterback, he said, “going into the game I knew our defense would have to show up playing against a top tier offense in general. I was very focused on what I had to do and what adjustments I needed to make as the game progressed for us to come out on top.”

An interesting storyline entering the game was the pair of transfers on either side. Northmont’s star quarterback Cade Rice moved from Greenon high school outside of Springfield, while Springfield’s Ben van Noord moved from Northwestern high school which is another local school just outside of Springfield.

Rice said, “I knew of him being from the same Springfield area as me, and seeing what he has already done this year I figured it would be an exciting game to watch with loads of Clark County talent.”

Springfield’s high powered offense got off to a fast start. Smoot connected with Xenia transfer Shawn Thigpen for a 65-yard strike on the first play from scrimmage. He then found sophomore receiver Anthony Brown open for another first down. Te’Sean Smoot then finished off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run to put the Wildcats up 7-0.

When talking about that opening drive, Smoot said, “my mentality going into that first drive was strike fast and get ahead early. It felt good. It felt like we came ready to play and was prepared.”

Northmont’s three-star quarterback responded well. Rice connected with Michigan commit and three-star Rod Moore on 3rd down. He then hit four-star Markus Allen on a 3rd down that he took down the sideline for a big gain. Then Rice capped off the drive with a big-time throw to Rod Moore for 37 yards and a touchdown.

Te’Sean Smoot on the very next play hit Northwestern transfer Ben Van Noord for a 73-yard touchdown pass to put Springfield back up 14-7.

Springfield’s next drive stalled out and then Cade Rice threw an interception to Delian Bradley who returned it deep into Northmont territory. Smoot was able to punch the ball into the end-zone on just one play as he found Robert Jordan for six.

Following a Northmont punt, Smoot aired it out again to Anthony Brown. Brown was able to then break free and he took the ball all the way to the house for a 90-yard touchdown. This put Springfield up 28-7. Then Northmont fumbled the snap which was picked up by Springfield. Down by 21 points and with no momentum the game was starting to feel out of reach for the Thunderbolts.

“Being down 28-7 wasn’t easy to handle but I knew my teammates were looking to me so I did what I had to do and lead them out of it by staying positive and focused on working back into the game. I hate losing more than I love to win so I told myself as well to just lead with my mind and pick my teammates up.” Rice said when talking about the deficit Northmont faced in the first half.

Northmont’s defense led by senior standout Phillip Quansah and Michigan commit Rod Moore stepped up. They stopped Springfield on that drive despite the great field position. Then Rice led the Thunderbolts down the field and eventually found the end-zone on a four-yard quarterback keeper.

After Rice threw an interception right before halftime to Springfield’s Anthony Brown, the Wildcats went into halftime confident up 28-14.

Northmont was forced to punt on their first drive of the second half. Springfield, led by Smoot, drove the length of the field before Northmont’s defense stepped up again. This time they recovered a fumble off of a bad snap from Springfield.

Rice then found his favorite target of the night in Rod Moore. Moore caught what should have been a short 10-15 yard completion. But instead, the three-star broke off a pair of defenders and took it to the house to bring Northmont back within 7.

The Thunderbolt defense stepped up one more time. Phillip Quansah tipped Smoot’s pass at the line and then Zach Martin was able to pick it off. This gave Rice and the offense amazing starting field position. Rice used that to his advantage as he found Rod Moore for another touchdown. This time on a back-shoulder fade to complete the comeback and tie the game at 28-28.

After a three and out, Springfield punted it back. Cade Rice threw a deep route to Markus Allen who made one of the top plays of the night. Allen went up and caught the ball and then proceed to take it all the way for a touchdown. This gave the Thunderbolts a 35-28 lead with 4:08 remaining.

When asked about his big catch, star receiver Markus Allen said, “I felt like I had to go make a play and that’s when I went to go make a play. When I caught the ball, in my head I was like ‘be a playmaker.’ I was saying ‘go score’ and I took off running, I beat the opponent to the end zone and was off to the races.”

Te’Sean Smoot wasn’t ready to go down like that. He hit his top target of the night, Anthony Brown, on a deep ball for a huge first down. Smoot then jumped the pile a couple plays later to tie the game at 35-35. With only 1:40 remaining, neither team was able to do anything and we were headed to overtime.

Springfield started with the football. On 3rd & 9, Smoot’s pass intended for Shawn Thigpen was broken up. This forced a long field goal from Springfield kicker Cole Yost. Yost’s 37-yard attempt just barely missed right and that opened a door for Northmont.

Northmont put all their trust in junior kicker Xavier Vuong. “Going through my head was ‘game over.'” Markus Allen said. “I trusted Xavier from the start and I knew everyone wanted to win as bad as us and he wasn’t going to let us down.” They used their three downs to set him up with a straight attempt. Then Vuong made the kick of his life as he nailed a 28 yarder to win the game for Northmont.

The Thunderbolts rushed the field as they completed an incredible comeback after trailing 28-7 early in the game. Cade Rice finished with 295 yards and 4 TD’s while also having 91 yards on the ground with 1 TD. Rod Moore had 150 yards and 3 TD’s and Markus Allen had 121 yards and 1 TD.

Despite the loss, Springfield’s Te’Sean Smoot had the best first quarter of his life. The Springfield junior finished with 400 yards passing with 3 TD’s and 2 TD’s on the ground.

Springfield will have to bounce back fast, as they welcome a very talented Springboro team next week at Springfield. Northmont will be traveling on the road to Miamisburg to battle the 1-2 Vikings. They will come in fresh off of a 21-7 loss to Fairmont.

Dunbar Knocks Off Juggernaut Belmont In City League Opener

Dayton, Ohio — A rivalry that has controlled the City League the last couple of seasons has been Belmont and Dunbar. Belmont hadn’t lost a City League game coming into this matchup since they fell to Thurgood in October of 2014. The five-time defending City League champs have built a legacy the past couple of years and they look to extend that this season.

Dunbar senior quarterback Gregory Packnett said his thoughts coming into the game were “to stay calm, because I know there was going to be a lot of talking from both sides.” Packnett did just that.

Dunbar QB Gregory Packnett superman dives into the end-zone to put the Wolverines up 6-0.

The Wolverines controlled the tempo from the start. On the opening kickoff, Dunbar forced a fumble and then recovered it. Then Packnett kept it himself for 12 yards to put Dunbar up 6-0.

Because both teams had just two weeks to prepare for this game, there were a lot of penalties in the early going. Both teams followed up with three and outs. On the next drive however, Packnett delivered a beautiful ball to Jaquan Lusbourgh who found himself wide open for a touchdown. This put Dunbar up 12-0 with 8:37 remaining in the half.

Belmont quarterback Tavon Hardwick brought the Bisons back within one score as his draw play took him 50 yards and into the end-zone for a score right before halftime.

The score heading into the locker rooms was Dunbar leading 12-6. It was anyone’s game heading into the second half.

When asked how the team felt at halftime, Packnett said, “the team was very humble. We all put in our head that the score was 0-0 coming out from halftime and we had to keep the pressure on.”

Dunbar RB Jacare Morris celebrates with this teammates after he scored a TD to put Dunbar but 19-6.

The Wolverines applied the pressure right away, as on the opening drive of the second half, Packnett was able to convert on 4th & 4. He found Jamar Payton wide open on a slant route for the first down. Then a couple plays later he handed it off to running back Jacare Morris. Morris took it 18 yards to the house to put the Wolverines up 19-6.

Late in the third quarter, Dunbar had the ball on the 19 yard line on 4th & Goal following a sack. Packnett avoided pressure as he threw a beautiful ball which dropped off the hands of the receiver. This mistake opened the door for Belmont who took back over.

On that following drive, Belmont took the ball the length of the field and eventually found the end-zone. Hardwick handed it off to Tay Arnold who took it six yards for a touchdown. This brought Belmont back within six.

On the ensuing kickoff, Shaun Huffman brought the kickoff back for a touchdown for Dunbar. There were however a pair of penalties that would negate the touchdown. Huffman’s long return still setup Dunbar with good starting field position.

Dunbar then drove down the field and milked a lot of time off the clock. They drove it all the way to the one yard line before a fumbled snap resulted in a turnover. This gave the run heavy offense of Belmont a chance to go 96 yards in two minutes to win the game.

On a 2nd down pass attempt, Shaun Huffman dropped what would have been the game ending pick-six. Then, on the very next play Huffman made the play he missed out on earlier as he picked off Hardwick and returned it for a touchdown.

Shaun Huffman waves to the crowd after his interception return for touchdown seals Dunbar’s victory over Belmont

“I was excited and proud of my team ’cause we showed that we wanted that W,” said Huffman when talking about his pick-six. That touchdown gave the Wolverines a 25-13 lead which would seal the victory.

This loss would be the first loss for Belmont versus a City League opponent in six years. The Bisons will look to bounce back next week as they take on Ponitz at Welcome Stadium. That game will be on Friday night at 7.

For Dunbar, this is a season-defining win. The Wolverines will look to take control of the City League and they can do just that as they have a matchup against Meadowdale next Thursday at 7.

Elmore makes the move to Dunbar official

Mekhi Elmore in a game last season versus Chaminade Julienne

Dayton, Ohio — It all started with rumors circulating in the Dayton area that Thurgood Marshall assistant coach and Team Flyght 17U head coach Tony Dixon had been named the new coach at Dunbar. This rumors turned out to be true as former head coach Lyle Cole has stepped down. Cole is the uncle of former Cleveland State and Miami Heat star Norris Cole.

Thurgood Marshall coaching staff pictured with Anthony McComb last season (Source: Thurgood Marshall)

Cole came into the Dunbar job with an uphill battle, as a fight broke out during a 2018 basketball game against Thurgood Marshall. The Wolverines had multiple players that left the bench during that fight and those players didn’t serve their full suspensions. This resulted in a suspension from the OHSAA tournament for Dunbar. They returned to the state tournament last year as they defeated Waynesville and Eaton but ended their tournament run against Trotwood-Madison following a 86-33 loss to the Rams.

Thurgood Marshall has seen a lot of recent success since head coach Shawn McCullough took over. The Cougars were co-champions of the City League in 2019 and won the the title outright in 2020. They made it all the way to the regional semi-final before a rematch against Trotwood-Madison that everyone wanted was cancelled due to concerns over COVID-19.

A lot of players wanted to transfer to Dunbar after Dixon got the job due to his well-liked personality in the community. Thurgood Marshall would have returned the majority of that district title team next season as Mekhi Elmore, Anthony McComb, Chanze Amerson, and Prophet Johnson were all returning. This was the main thing holding back those players from making the move to Dunbar. But when the news broke on July 5th, that McCullough had accepted the head coaching position at Springfield. Thurgood Marshall’s reign of success in Dayton was seemingly over.

Reigning City League player of the year Mekhi Elmore made the announcement Monday morning that he’ll be making the move to Dunbar this winter. This comes just days after Elmore just made the announcement he’ll be traveling to Switzerland next summer to play for Chris Wright’s Team Flyght World program.

Chanze Amerson will also be leaving Thurgood Marshall to transfer to Dunbar, while Anthony McComb will be making the move to Trotwood-Madison. Meadowdale standout Justin O’Neal will also be moving to Dunbar next season along with the trio of talented sophomores from Belmont. Twin brothers Antone and Antaune Allen and guard Randy Latham will all be making the move to Dunbar as well.

Looking at the rest of the City League, Belmont will struggle as they lost their trio of sophomores and 4-star big man Shawn Phillips who just recently transferred to Ypsi Prep to team up with Michigan State commit Emoni Bates.

Meadowdale is returning star Will Hill, who is coming off an ACL injury. But they do lose Justin O’Neal. The Lions have some other young pieces that can help them this season to contend for a City League title.

Ponitz is losing their key trio of seniors in Devon Perdue, Malik Simmons, and David Jordan but they are returning talented sophomore star Dayjuan Anderson.

The Stivers Tigers lose seniors Tre Ellis and DaJuan Allen and will also lose upcoming senior Allen Lattimore who is transferring to West Carrollton. Like the rest of the City, Stivers will have some younger players but with the lack of experience at the varsity level, the Tigers will have some growing pains this year.

And lastly will be the Thurgood Marshall Cougars. Thurgood will be losing a majority of its team and coaching staff. The two time reigning City League champions will have an uphill battle this season but still have some other players that can help them rebuild.

Elmore will look to lead a Dunbar team back to where Thurgood Marshall left off last season. With the chemistry still there from last year, the Wolverines have a chance to really make something special.