Have you ever wondered what it’s like being on the receiving end of a 90-mph fastball? That same question ran through the mind of Vandalia-Butler senior Lance Straley as he prepared to catch 6-foot-9 ace Taylore Cherry (pictured) this past offseason.
“It was pretty intimidating,” says Straley. “I was thinking, ‘Just don’t get hurt.’ When I caught him as a freshman, he was throwing in the 80s. Now, on a good day he’s pumping them in at 96.”
Straley underwent Tommy John surgery as a sophomore, which sidelined him from catching the last two seasons as Cherry blossomed into an elite pro prospect. With Straley now healthy, the Aviators feature one of the state’s top batteries, and the squad appears charged up for another deep playoff run after reaching the region finals in 2011.
“I definitely think us working together will benefit the team this spring,” says Cherry. The UNC-bound hurler was key to Butler’s ascension last season, sporting a 6-1 record with a 1.38 ERA and 94 K’s.
And Cherry could be even better this spring after adding a slider to his arsenal. Joining him in the rotation are formidable senior hurlers Kyle Fain and Austin Craine.
Straley, who batted .406 in 2011, should ignite an offense that graduated its top three hitters. Senior Dan Link and juniors John Myers and Pete Yorgen are also expected to help pick up the slack on offense.
As a team, Butler went 27-4 last spring and posted three come-from-behind victories in the postseason, leading head coach Trent Dues to affectionately compare his club to boxing speed bags.
“Every time we took a punch we bounced right back,” explains Dues. “We got behind and counter-attacked.”
With Cherry bringing the heat on the mound, look for the Aviators to land some haymakers on their foes this season.
Centerville defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo, Walsh Jesuit kicker Ross Martin and Colerain linebacker Joe Bolden will suit up for Team Highlight. Odenigbo is still uncommitted but will announce his decision on Jan. 7. His top seven includes Cal, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford, Northwestern, UCLA and USC. Martin plans to kick at Duke next season, while Bolden has pledged to Michigan.
Across the country, the high school football season is now complete, and Ohio's football champs join the list of state champions in every classification throughout the nation.
To see the full list of state champions as well as how this state stacks up, click here.
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After games ending Wednesday, Dec. 13
Taft has held on to the No. 1 spot with three convincing wins, but they will be tested all year by Division I powers Northland and Moeller and D-II standout Dunbar. SVSM and Garfield fell out the top five by virtue of a loss, allowing Shaker Heights to jump into the top five. New to the mix is No. 10 Middletown, which is off to a 3-0 start. Some other impressive teams early on are Cleveland Heights, Elida and Mentor.
Click here for the entire POWERADE Ohio Basketball Rankings.
Courtney, a senior setter/outside hitter, powered the Knights to a berth in the Division II state finals this past fall. She recorded 451 kills, 426 assists, 316 digs and 52 blocks. She is a three-time All-State first-teamer and earned a spot on this year's American Volleyball Coaches Association Under Armour All-American first team.
For a breakdown of Courtney's award, click here.
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Whether you’re putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you’re making that special list for Santa, there’s nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we’re bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!
Today: The top underclassmen in high school football.
The state championships are over and the Class of 2012 had a great run, but it’s never too early to start looking at the impressive players in the Class of 2013 and beyond. Who’s going to rule the gridiron in Ohio next season? We give you the early rundown of who to watch for.
5. Ja'Wuan Woodley (JR), Bishop Hartley, LB/WR
Credentials: Posted 85 tackles, forced four fumbles and two sacks on defense; rushed for 1,546 yards and tallied 20 total touchdowns on offense
4. Mitch Trubisky (JR), Mentor, QB
Credentials: All-Ohio first-teamer, accounted for more than 4,000 yards of offense and 53 total touchdowns this fall, has interest from Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State
3. Dymonte Thomas (JR), Marlington, DB/RB
Credentials: Michigan recruit recorded 102 stops and a pick on defense and added 837 rushing yards and 13 TDs on offense
2. Jalin Marshall (JR), Middletown, QB
Credentials: GMC co-Offensive Player of the Year, accounted for more than 2,00o total yards, holds offers from Notre Dame, Pitt and Ohio State
1. Cam Burrows (JR), Trotwood-Madison, DB
Credentials: Leader of Rams' secondary, All-Ohio first-teamer, holds nearly 20 offers
Click here to check out some of the other states in our Five Days of List-Mas.
Tomorrow: The POWERADE Ohio Weekly Basketball Rankings.
Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday
Whether you're putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you're making that special list for Santa, there's nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we're bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!
Today: Ohio A-Listers
What is an A-Lister? In Hollywood, it's the George Clooney and Julia Roberts crowd. In the NFL, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are A-Listers. In the NBA, it’s LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. The A-List is the best of the best. So which athletes can be considered A-Listers in Ohio this year? That’s where today’s list comes in. Regardless of sport, here’s our list of the top five A-List athletes in the state.
Maty Mauk, Senior
Credentials: Gatorade State Player of the Year and Mr. Ohio pick broke national records for career passing yards and touchdowns; guided Kenton to the Division IV finals; committed to Missouri.
Matt Foldesy, Senior
St. Edward, Soccer
Credentials: All-Ohio selection scored 20 goals and added 18 assists to guide St. Ed to its second consecutive Division I state crown; will play at national power Akron next fall.
Bo Jordan, Junior
St. Paris Graham, Wrestling
Credentials: Rated nation's No. 1 junior by InterMat; two-time state champ also captured his second consecutive title at Walsh Ironman Meet this past weekend.
Terry Rozier, Senior
Shaker Heights, Basketball
Credentials: Won a gold medal at this summer's Nike Global Challenge; averaged 20.2 points and 5.6 rebounds last winter; committed to Louisville.
Taylore Cherry, Senior
Credentials: Posted a 1.38 ERA with 94 strikeouts to earn Gatorade Player of the Year honors last spring; potential first-round pick was selected to Perfect Game All-American Classic.
Click here to check out some of the other states in our Five Days of List-Mas.
Tomorrow: The top underclassman football players from Ohio.
Think we missed an athlete who should be on the A-List? Holla at me on Twitter (@ESPNHSAuguste) and let me know.
St. Ignatius began the year at No. 8 in our preseason rankings, fell out of the top 10 twice before regrouping and routing Pickerington Central in the finals for its state-best 11th title. Their topsy-turvy season ends with the No. 1 slot in our final rankings. Trotwood Madison went undefeated and claimed the Division II crown to place second. State semifinalist St. X and Whitmer also made the top 5, along with runner-up Pickerington Central. Also in the final rankings are state champs Cardinal Mooney (III), Norwayne (IV) and Kirtland (V).
Here's how the top three teams fared last week:
1. St. Ignatius — defeated Pickerington Central, 34-13 (final regular-season ranking: NR)
2. Trotwood-Madison — defeated Avon, 42-28 (final regular season ranking: No. 6)
3. St. Xavier — lost to Pickerington Central, 14-7 (final regular season ranking: No. 7)
NOTE: With the playoffs having ended, this will be the last Ohio weekly ranking of the season.
Click here for the full POWERADE Ohio Football Rankings.
David Auguste is an associate editor for ESPNHS and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @ESPNHSAuguste or email him at David.Auguste@espn.com.
St. Ignatius vs. Pickerington Central — 7 p.m.
It looks like the schedule makers saved the best matchup for last. Both of these teams fell out of our weekly rankings after slow starts but few teams were hotter than this pair coming down the stretch Defense has led the resurgence for Pickerington Central, as the Tigers have held foes to under 200 yards a game and 9.6 points a contest. They put the clamps on a formidable Hilliard Davidson team in the quarterfinals and kept St. X star Conor Hundley in check to reach the finals. On offense, look for Nick Jensen-Clagg and Bill Eakins to get things rolling on offense.
Ignatius has been a rock on defense as well but has really rallied behind first-year QB Eric Williams. The transfer from Oregon has been hot as of late and has tallied 1,835 yards and 21 scores this season. RB Tim McVey has solidified things in the backfield with 1,197 yards and 13 scores. On defense, LBs Zack Ryan and Rustom Khouri can get after the quarterback and Mike Svetina is a playmaker in the secondary.
Creston Norwayne vs. Kenton — 3 p.m.
QB Adam Wallace is having an outstanding season under center for Norwayne with nearly 3,000 yards passing and 36 touchdowns against eight picks, but all the talk in this game centers around Gatorade State Player of the Year Maty Mauk. The senior has fired 63 scoring passes this fall and has a ridiculous 4,992 passing yards and 1,718 rushing yards. He 's accounted for 86 total scores for unbeaten Kenton. Justin Sawmiller and Kieran Fetter are his main targets and each has topped the 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown mark. Gabe King and Bryce Fackler are impact players on defense.
Wallace and a three-headed rushing attack will look to silence Mauk and the offense by moving the chains on the ground and not engaging in a shootout, although they can do that as well. Jon Zimmerly has rushed for 1,038 yards and Adam Wallace has found the end zone 18 times for the one-loss Bobcats.
New Washington Bickeye Central vs. Marion Local — 11 a.m.
Both teams have matching 12-2 records and similar offensive and defensive stats, so we could see an extremely tight contest that comes down to the wire. The Flyers balanced attack is led by QB Adam Bertke (21 passing TDs) and RB Jake Heitkamp (1,763 rushing yards, 28 TDs), while Buckeye Central takes its cues from prolific passer Tyler Erwin (2,608 passing yards, 36 TDs) complemented by a strong running game powered by Michael Adkins (nearly 2,000 yards, 22 scores).
The first title game of the weekend pits undefeated Kirtland against 11-3 Coldwater. QB Austin Bruns has been lethal using both his arm (2,652 yards, 25 TDs) and his legs (699 yards, 6 TDs) for a balanced Coldwater offense that is putting up just over 300 yards a game. The defense, led by pass-rushing specialist Mark Brunet (10 sacks), tackling machine Zach Dickman and ballhawking DB Caleb Siefring (seven INTs), is allowing just 11.5 points to opponents.
Kirtland has been a defensive juggernaut all season, allowing the Hornets to outscore opponents by a staggering 470 points this season. Kirtland has yet to allow a double-digit scorer in the playoffs and recorded a shutout in last week’s 42-0 rout of Wynford. On offense, Damon Washington and Christian Hauber have fueled a rushing attack that averages 300 yards a game and produced 56 touchdowns in 13 games.
The Hornets are in pursuit of the program’s first state crown, while Coldwater is making its third straight appearance in the finals and seventh overall. The Cavs were victorious in 2005 and 2007.
This state finals thing is becoming old hat for Cardinal Mooney. The Cardinals will play in the championship game for the 11th time in the school's storied history. This year’s squad could be dubbed the cardiac kids as six of their contest have been decided by one score, including a 24-22 playoff win over previously undefeated Steubenville. They look to knock off another unbeaten squad in Shawnee. To do so, they will need to continue to run the ball with the three-headed attack of Roosevelt Griffin (1,387 yards, 16 TDs), Justus Ellis-Moore and QB P.J. Quinn.
Shawnee lacks title experience but the squad features a stellar rushing attack and a pair of 1,000-yard backs in QB Brad Jarzab and RB Alex McCoy. The duo combined for more than 3,000 yards and 35 scores on the ground. Jarzab has also forged a strong connection with receiver Nick Hines, who has hauled in nine touchdowns. Look for Ryan Mayfield and Lucas Sparks to try and disrupt Mooney’s offense by penetrating into the Cards’ backfield.
Expect a lot of fireworks in this one as both teams are averaging more than 35 points a game.
Trotwood Madison (14-0) is the favorite in this matchup but don’t expect Avon (13-1) to go down quietly. The Eagle faithful are sure to be boisterous in trying to help the squad capture its first state crown. Justin O’ Rourke is nearing the 3,00-yard passing mark and has fired 37 touchdowns against six picks for Avon. His leading receiver is Matt Eckhardt (17 TDs) while Jacob Mullins (10 TDs) has also been a target in the red zone. Ross Douglas’ running between the tackles could be big as Avon will look to stymie the Rams’ powerful attack. Cory Furnas has been a nightmare for QBs with seven sacks while Mark Holkenborg racks up tackles in bunches.
Trotwood-Madison was a top 10 squad all fall and has hammered opponents with a dominant offensive line and a hard-hitting defense. The secondary has been nearly impenetrable with DBs Bam Bradley and Cameron Burrows leaving no room for QBs to throw and Michael McCrary has been solid in the front seven. RBs Israel Green (1,758, 21 TDs) and Ashton Jackson (17 scores) have the ability to tire out a defense on the ground while Trai Mobley and Dalin Byrd are frequent targets of QB Michael Simpson.
Good luck to everyone playing today and check back with us later for a look at Saturday’s title games.
Mauk, a senior, put up staggering offensive numbers throughout the fall and will guide the Wildcats' high-octane attack in this weekend's Division IV title game. Earlier in the season, the Missouri commit set national records for career touchdowns and career passing yards.
For a breakdown on Mauk's award, click here.
If you missed the ESPN 30 for 30 “Guru of Go,” don’t sweat it — Taft will be performing a re-enactment of Loyola Marymount’s run-and-shoot attack all over the country this winter.
“It’s like organized chaos,” says head coach Mark Mitchell. “Every three to eight seconds, there’s going to be a shot that goes up. We play both offense and defense fast.”
That exhilarating style of play had scoreboard operators working overtime and produced the first title (Taft won the D-III crown) in any sport for a school trying to debunk the myth that nothing good happens in that part of Cincinnati.
“The title was significant for us being an inner-city school,” says Martin. “It was a galvanizing moment. It proved good things can come to the inner city.”
With four starters back this winter, there may be even more good news on the horizon for the Taft community.
Running the show is 5-foot-8 senior guard Orlando Berry (15 points, nine assists last year), while classmate Jaelean Lowe, who averaged 12 points a game, is deadly from beyond the arc. Senior Adolphus Washington, an Ohio State football recruit, also brings plenty of talent to the hardwood. He tallied a team-high 18 points in the state final and averaged 18 points and 15 boards a game on the season.
Seniors Dwayne Stanford II, who will play football at Oregon, and Jamaine Freeman are athletic, intelligent players, while senior transfer Jabari Watkins brings lockdown defense to the squad. Things will get tougher for Taft after a move up to D-II play, but Mitchell is confident his team will be up to the challenge.
“You can’t rest on what you’ve done if you want to continue greatness,” he says. “Anyone can win one. Now win two and that puts you in good company."
David Auguste is an associate editor for ESPNHS and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @ESPNHSAuguste or email him at David.Auguste@espn.com.
Coach, Terry Rozier just made my day. I’m going to call the other three guards (we’re recruiting) and let them know we got the guard that we want.
— Voicemail from Rick Pitino to Shaker Heights basketball coach Danny Young
Danny Young won’t be erasing that message anytime soon.
The Shaker Heights coach received the voicemail in early September, moments after Rozier had called Pitino to verbally commit to the Cardinals.
“I just felt like what he said was genuine and sincere (about Rozier being his No. 1 choice),” says Young. “He said he wanted to continue what myself and our staff had begun with Terry.”
Rozier, a 6-foot-1 point guard rated No. 88 in the ESPNU 100, had been overlooked for much of his recruitment — garnering offers from only Cleveland State and Akron through his junior season. So the fact that he ended up No. 1 on the wish list of an elite Big East program shows just how far things had come in the past year. And interest was growing. The day before Rozier committed, Pitino was joined at a Shaker open gym by West Virginia coach Bob Huggins and Cincinnati assistant George Jackson.
Several football pundits believe that Maple Heights' first round exit has cleared the path for the Rams to coast to the Division II crown. The players on Kings don't buy into that talk. The Knights have been every bit as good as Trotwood this season, sporting a matching 11-0 mark while beating up on opponents by a combined score of 390-104. The defense has been impenetrable and has limited eight opponents to single digits. However, the Trotwood backers have plenty of ammunition in their case that the Rams are the favorites for the title. The Rams have embarked on a tour de force on offense, scoring 500 points in 11 contests for an insane 45.4 points a contest. RB Israel Green and QB Mike Simpson lead the explosive attack.
Cardinal Mooney (8-3) vs. Dover (11-1)
Both Mooney and Dover notched upset over previously unbeaten squads to reach the Division III quarterfinals. Cardinal Mooney kicker Conor Durina booted a 30-yard field goal with less than 10 seconds to play to power the Cardinals to a 27-24 upset of Steubenville. Dover took to the air and produced more than 400 passing yards to halt Minerva's unbeaten campaign. Junior QB Derik Swinderman amassed 431 yards and five TDs to lead the way.
Kenton (12-0) vs. Bishop Hartley (11-0)
Did Genoa devise the blueprint for shutting down Kenton's aerial attack? Defending state champ Hartley likely has pored over the game tape of Genoa's 32-22 loss to Kenton last week, which marked the first time since September that Maty Mauk and Co. were held under 50 points. Hartley has the weapons, specifically workhorse back Ja'Wuan Woodley (17 TDs) to keep pace with Kenton and a defense which hasn't allowed a 20-point scorer over the past five weeks. Mauk was held to 239 passing yards but made Genoa pay on the ground by rushing for 209 yards and three scores.
Moeller (9-3) vs. St. Xavier (9-3)
Moeller took down top-seeded Middletown to set up a rematch with the Bombers, who they defeated 27-24 in Week 5. St. X is seeking its sixth regional crown and first since its 2007 championship season. Moeller has won both previous postseason matchups in the series, including a 10-7 defeat in 2004.
Whitmer (12-1) vs. Wadsworth (11-1)
Whitmer is one of three remaining No. 1 seeds in the Division I playoffs but will face a tough test in No. 7 Wadsworth, which features a high-octane attack. Whitmer's D has been dominant, though, allowing a paltry six points through the first two rounds.
Division I — Hilliard Davidson vs. Upper Arlington
Davidson has had the upper hand in this series (10-6) and claimed a win over the Golden Bears less than a month ago. UA is coming off a tight win over Troy behind a strong performance on the ground by Gus Ackley (118 yards, three TDs). Ackley and Co. will face a stingy Davidson defense that limited Orange to less than 50 rushing yards and posted its sixth shutout of the fall. RB Alex Mickley will shoulder the load on offense and has rushed for 1,267 yards and 19 scores for the Wildcats.
St. Edward vs. St. Ignatius
St. Edward isn’t your regular six seed. The Eagles struggled down the stretch but appear to have regained their championship form in recent weeks. Ignatius should be prepared for a heavy dose of Dwayne Aaron after the junior torched Cleveland Heights for 205 yards and two scores last week. Ignatius will look to sweep the Eagles after capitalizing on St. Ed miscues to grab a 20-17 win in Week 10. QB Eric Williams and RB TIm McVey hope to lead a more balanced attack to help Ignatius move on to the region finals.
Dymonte: St. Edward will win. They got my boy Kyle Kalis on there, and he’s a stud. Also, their O-line is huge and their back (Aaron) is really good.
Division III — Minerva vs. Dover
Dymonte: This is going to be another good playoff game. Minerva is on a roll right now, but I think they should’ve lost to Poland last week. Zach Wade is a stud for Minerva in the backfield, and if he has a good game like last week, they could win again. Don’t forget about Dover QB Derik Swinderman, who’s also a stud.
Division II — Tallmadge vs. Aurora
The Blue Devils have held their last four opponents to less than 15 points. The unit will have its work cut out trying to stop an Aurora offense that averages 41 points a game and is coming off a 45-point effort against Madison.
Division III — St. Francis De Sales vs. Elida
Led by senior WR Reggie McAdams (353 yards and eight total TDs), Elida scored on every possession in routing Bellevue, 54-20, last week. DeSales also made quick work of first round opponent River Valley, 35-0, as senior RB Warren Ball racked up 163 yards and three scores.
Division IV — Kenton vs. Genoa
Easy week for the Genova defense — all it has to do is try to corral Kenton and record-breaking QB Maty Mauk. The senior set the national mark for career passing yards last week and has piloted an offense that hasn’t scored less than 50 points since October.