story courtesy OHSAA
August 23, 2022
COLUMBUS – Ohio welcomed back high school football in grand style last week with the kickoff of Week 1 of the 2022 season.
In a combined effort, the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association would like to highlight athletes and teams who had standout performances with the OPSWA High School Football Notebook. Each week, the OPSWA will release its top performers from all around the state.
In no particular order, here are Week 1’s standouts:
After playing football at the historic WW Skiles Field for 94 years, the Shelby Whippets closed the venue out with style. Junior Casey Lantz drilled the game-winning field goal as time expired to help the Whippets beat the Madison Rams 10-7 in the final game ever on Friday night. Lantz moved from quarterback to receiver during the week leading up to the contest and scored the final 10 points in Skiles Field history with a 65-yard receiving touchdown, an extra point and the game-winning field goal. Shelby will move to the new Whippet Athletic Complex in week 3 against Bellevue bringing and end to a stadium in which they played at since 1928.
Steubenville coach Reno Saccoccia became Ohio’s all-time winningest football coach with 402 thanks to Big Red’s 21-0 victory over Louisville. In his 40th season, Saccoccia is now 402-80 since taking over in 1983. He surpassed Jim France (Akron Coventry/Akron Manchester) who posted a 401-129-4 career record.
Mansfield Senior’s Amarr Davis caught everything thrown his way in the Tygers’ 41-19 win at Norwalk on Friday. The junior receiver and defensive back had three catches for 84 yards, including touchdown grabs of 24 and 52 yards, and intercepted two passes. In the same game, senior Ricky Mills was electric every time he touched the ball with four rushing TDs on nine carries and 84 yards. He also added eight tackles, two for a loss, and a sack on defense.
Ashland Crestview’s Hayden Kuhn and Adison Reymer helped the Cougars extend their regular-season winning streak to 12 games in a 49-14 win over Loudonville on Friday night. Kuhn was 14-for-19 for 230 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Reymer piled up 124 yards on the ground on 21 carries with two TDs.
The Plymouth Big Red piled up 378 yard on the ground in a 41-14 win over Oberlin in Week 1. Shae Sparks ran for 132 yards on nine carries while Caiden Allen added 70 yards on three carries. Plymouth had just 37 attempts averaging more than 10 yards per carry.
Ontario’s sophomore quarterback Bodpegn Miller threw for 166 yards and a touchdown while running for two more scores in the Warriors’ 21-17 win over Lexington.
Lexington’s Carter Newman broke the program record for longest rushing touchdown when he scored from 97-yards out in a 21-17 loss to Ontario. He bested Mike Zigelhofer’s 1999 record of 94 yards.
Shenandoah freshman QB Braxton Barnett made a big splash in his varsity debut, completing 18-of-23 passes for a school record 322 yards with 5 TD passes in two and a half quarters as the Zeps beat Newcomerstown, 48-8.
St. Clairsville had three 100-yard rushers in a season-opening 48-34 win over Canton South – Andrew Vera (143), Dino Burk (111) and Jacob Walker (107).
Caldwell and Buckeye Trail endured a two hour, 55-minute weather delay and finished their game at midnight, with Caldwell winning, 17-6.
Jackson’s Cade Wolford ran the ball eight times for 111 yards and two touchdowns, while also catching three passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns in the Ironmen’s 35-8 victory over Logan.
Paint Valley’s Cavan Cooper completed 10-of-18 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns, while additionally carrying the ball 16 times for 137 yards and two touchdowns in the Bearcats’ 42-26 victory over Blanchester.
Portsmouth senior quarterback Tyler Duncan, making his first career varsity start, completed 18-of-30 passes for 285 yards and four touchdowns in the Trojans’ 42-28 victory at Valley. Devon Lattimore made six receptions for 158 yards, and caught three of Duncan’s four touchdown passes.
The victories came nearly 10 months apart, but Utica finally is on a winning streak. A 31-0 victory against Hebron Lakewood in the 2021 season finale ended a 19-game losing streak, and Utica followed up Friday with a 26-19 victory against Centerburg.
Senior quarterback Zach Heckman threw a pair of touchdown passes and later scored the game-winner on the ground with less than two minutes left. It marked Utica’s first victory against its former Mid-Buckeye Conference foe since 2010.
Newark Catholic’s final game of the 2021 season kicked off at 10:30 a.m., and it’s first game of 2022 nearly kicked off after 10 p.m. The Green Wave, the Division VII state runners-up last season, waited more than three hours Saturday night to kick off its season opener against Columbus Ready, but persistent storms forced the cancellation of the Week 1 matchup between old rivals.
Bellevue senior Tyler Ray caught nine passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns. He also completed a 37-yard pass and a 2-point conversion in a 24-14 win over Port Clinton.
Jake Boggs ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns to lead Margaretta past Vermilion, 34-7. It was the first win for Gary Quisno at Margaretta. Quisno, an OHSFCA Hall of Famer, is in his 34th season as a head coach. His career record is 254-95. He previously coached at Danbury, Oak Harbor (29 years) and Perkins. His last head coaching stop was at Perkins, where he stepped down in 2009 due to health reasons.
Moeller receiver Tennel Bryant had seven catches for 227 yards and three touchdowns in their 49-31 win at Massillon.
Jordan Marshall had 16 carries for 139 yards and three touchdowns in Moeller’s 49-31 win at Massillon.
New Princeton quarterback R.J. West, a transfer from Boone County (KY) was 10-for-17 passing for 209 yards and three touchdowns in a 61-36 win over Anderson. He also ran for 132 yards and two scores.
Oak Hills quarterback Jaxon Schreiber was 10-for-17 passing for 118 yards and a touchdown, plus ran for 109 yards and two scores in a 31-20 victory over Turpin.
Hamilton senior Semaj Aldridge had two second-half touchdowns – runs of 75 and 85 yards respectively – to help lead Big Blue to a season-opening win over West Clermont 28-9 on Friday. Aldridge finished the game with 20 carries for 198 yards and the two scores.
Quarterback Ben Schoster in his first start for Elder was 15-for-17 for 165 yards and a touchdown, plus ran for 32 yards and two scores as the Panthers defeated Covington Catholic (KY) on the road 42-21.
Kings quarterback Will Kocher was 26-for-40 for 355 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-0 win over Sycamore.
Taft running back Gavin Crawford ran for 179 yards and four touchdowns in the Senators 32-0 win over Roger Bacon.
Taft defensive lineman Geneo Jackson had seven tackles and three sacks for the Senators in the 32-0 shutout of Roger Bacon.
Western Brown quarterback Drew Novak was 17-for-25 passing for 309 yards and four touchdowns as the Broncos blanked Hillsboro 55-0. Novak also ran for 39 yards and a touchdown.
Miamisburg 62, West Carrollton 26: The two teams combined for 952 yards in offense in the Backyard Brawl. Miamisburg’s Christian Davis finished with three touchdowns and 114 yards rushing on just 10 carries. Baylor Stickel had the big play on the night, returning an interception 95 yards for the final score of the night for Miamisburg.
Waynesville 14, Clinton-Massie 7: Waynesville used a full out run blitz the entire game to defeat the defending state champions. Matt Wilkerson (6’4” 225 Jr) had a pair of sacks, Conner Berry (6’0” 168, Jr.) had two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Berry scored the game winner on a 11-yard scoop six in the third quarter.
Centerville 9, Lakota East 6: The Elk defense held Lakota East to 151 yards in total offense and forced their third turnover of the night with Lakota East at the Centerville 29 in the final two minutes of the game to seal the victory.
Pete DeSocio rushed for 266 yards and five touchdowns and also returned a 65-yard kickoff return for a TD as Columbus St. Charles beat Columbus Northland 48-28.
Matthew Papas of Grove City completed 24 of 43 passes for 313 yards and four TDs in a 35-28 win over Dublin Scioto.
In a wild finish that made ESPN SportsCenter’s Top Plays segment, Westerville Central executed a hook-and-lateral as time expired to knock off Westerville North 23-20. Sitting at its own 23-yard line with 5.1 seconds remaining, quarterback Jaystin Gwinn completed a pass of 19 yards over the middle to Jacob Harris, who, moments before being tackled by three Warriors defenders, flipped the ball behind him to Kobi Davis, who caught the pitch in stride and outraced the secondary to the end zone.
Wynford junior halfback Kaiden Blair toted the pigskin 26 times for 142 yards in an 18-16 loss to Otsego, spoiling coach Cyle Skidmore’s debut as Royals head coach.
Knights quarterback Devin Farley was 17-23 passing for 214 yards in the victory.
West Lafayette Ridgewood senior defensive Jonas Paugh recorded three tackles-for-loss in the first half — one went for a sack — and the Generals allowed only 40 yards in that span in a 42-14 road win against rival Coshocton. Classmate Kaulean Smith added 94 yards and 3 TDs on the ground to lead the Ridgewood offense.
New Lexington’s Lukas Ratliff went 22-of-26 passing for 378 yards with three touchdowns and ran for two scores in a 41-14 win over Fairfield Union.
Morgan’s Logan Niceswanger was 10-of-15 for 193 yards with three touchdowns and teammate Wade Pauley ran for three TDs and 50 yards in a 54-34 victory against River View.
Zanesville’s Drew Doyle ran 15 times for 148 yards and two scores and threw two TDs in a 40-14 win over Newark.
Sheridan’s Alex Poirier churned up 83 yards on 18 carries and reached the end zone three times in a 35-28 victory against Licking Valley.
Kettering Fairmont senior Drew Baker rushed for 205 yards on 29 carries and scored on runs of 74 and 4 yards to lead the Firebirds to a 31-7 victory over Kettering Alter. Baker surpassed 2,500 yards for his career.
Dayton Wayne sophomore quarterback Tyrell Lewis threw for a career-high 241 yards in the Warriors’ 41-24 loss at Fairfield.
Fairfield junior quarterback Talon Fisher rushed for 174 yards in the Indians’ 41-24 victory over Dayton Wayne. The victory was No. 150 for head coach Jason Krause.
Wayne Trace junior quarterback Kyle Stoller had a memorable first start, completing 22 of 31 through the air for 214 yards with one touchdown pass while running for two scores to lead the Raiders to an 18-14 win at Fort Recovery in the season opener Friday night.
Three Morrow County running backs showed out in the opening week of the season. All-Ohio junior Dane Nauman ran for 300 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries in Highland’s 17-14 win over Fredericktown, while All-Ohio senior Maxton Lower produced 171 yards on 24 carries with three TDs in Northmor’s 45-0 win over Elgin, and Mount Gilead’s Garrett George ran just 15 times for 285 yards and five touchdowns in a 56-0 victory over Ridgedale.
After losing the state title game last season, ending a 55-game winning streak, the longest in the nation, Kirtland’s Hornets reloaded in a big way on opening night against Painesville Harvey. In a 34-8 victory, Kirtland had four rushers with over 60 yards on the ground, and two more with more than 50 yards on the ground.
Elyria Catholic senior running back Levi Ellis gained 153 yards on 31 carries with the game-clinching 3-yard touchdown in ECs 14-6 upset win over Elyria. He also went 1-for-1 passing for 16 yards, completing a pop pass on 4th down with 2 minutes left to set up his TD.
Minford junior running back Jeffrey Pica rushed for 206 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in the Falcons’ 33-14 win at Rock Hill.
Waverly junior running back Jase Hurd used 32 carries to rush 210 yards and scored 2 touchdowns in his team’s come from behind 42-39 road win at Miami Trace on Friday, Aug. 19.
Painesville Riverside senior safety Jake Elly, a returning All-Ohioan, recorded four catches for 119 yards with one touchdown, three tackles, and he picked off a pass in a 35-7 win over Perry in Week 1. Elly beat triple coverage on his touchdown catch.