2019 High School Football Spotlight | Fueled by Gatorade

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The final Gatorade High School Football Spotlight goes to the La Salle Lancers. 

There is a new OHSAA Division II State Champion in town. On Thursday, Dec., No. 6 La Salle (13-2) sought out a victory over No. 1 Massillon Washington (14-1) at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. The final score was 34-17 in favor of the Lancers.

This was La Salle’s fourth state championship in the past six seasons. The Lancers were impressive on all aspects of the game but especially in the running game with 337 yards on the ground. 

La Salle’s players weren’t messing around on the field. In the first half alone, Junior RB Cam Porter had two touchdowns (including the first one of the night), junior QB Zach Branam had 91 rushing yards and junior RB Gi-Bran Payne had 89 rushing yards and one touchdown. 

Massillon fought back, with two touchdown passes by senior QB Aidan Longwell to junior WR Jayden Ballard and junior WR Andrew Wilson-Lamp, respectively. 

By the end of the second quarter, the score was 21-17. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they did not score again for the duration of the game. 

During the second half, senior K Jake Seibert beat the OHSAA Division II championship game record with a 43-yard kick. He made another field goal during the second half. 

Congratulations to Coach Pat McLaughlin and the Lancers on their big win!

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The Cincinnati Bengals have selected Elder High School for this week’s Gatorade High School Football Spotlight. Elder, under Head Coach Doug Ramsey, is 12-2 overall for the season and ranked No. 2 in the state of Ohio. They are also ranked in the Top 25 nationally. They played Springfield High School on Friday, Nov. 29 and won, making them Division 1 state semifinal champions. The final score was 31-24. 

Senior DB Nickolas Seger had an interception in the first quarter, giving way for their first touchdown of the night, a 7-yard touchdown pass from senior QB Matthew Luebbe to senior WR Evan Vollmer. The Panthers had their first lead, at 7-0 going into the second quarter. 

However, a few minutes into the second quarter and the game was tied 7-7, thanks to Springfield sophomore QB Te’Sean Smoot’s 31-yard touchdown pass to senior WR James Wood II. One interception by sophomore S Delian Bradley and a 19 yard touchdown pass from Smoot to senior WR Larry Stephens later, the Wildcats’ were up 14-7 with a little over five minutes left in the first half. 

But the Panthers weren’t going into halftime losing. Junior RB cooper Johnson set up the touchdown with two 10 yard carries. Senior FB Ben Deters returned an interception over 30 yards, making way for Luebbe’s 11-yard run. The final play in the second quarter was Luebbe’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Royer. The game was tied going into halftime. 

During the third quarter, Elder senior K Sam Harmeyer made a 30-yard field goal, putting the Panthers in the lead again. Springfield fought back, with a field goal of their own- 35-yards by sophomore K Cole Yost. By the end of the third quarter, the game was tied 17-17. 

The fourth quarter was action-packed. Luebbe threw Vollmer an 8-yard pass connection and freshman RB Joseph Cantania scored a 3-yard touchdown. After a recovered onside kick for the Panthers, junior Cooper Johnson scored on a 5-yard carry. The score was now 31-17.

Springfield gave one final push to even out the score with a touchdown leaving a little under seven minutes left. However, Elder’s defense held up and the final score was 31-24. 

After their win this past weekend, Elder is officially in the Division 1 State Championship Game for the fourth time in state history. They take on Pickerington Central this Saturday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton.

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The Cincinnati Bengals have selected Wyoming High School for this week’s Gatorade High School Football Spotlight. The Cowboys defeated Valley View High School in the Division IV Region 16 Final Saturday with a final score 33-0.

Wyoming is the reigning Ohio Division IV State Champion and continuing a 28-game winning streak built over the past two seasons. Over the past four seasons, the senior Cowboys class has went 52-2, with Evan Prater posting his own 40-1 record as the starting quarterback.

Prater, a University of Cincinnati commit, scored all five touchdowns on foot, running for a total of 125 yards in the game. The second touchdown capped off a drive that included a 51-yard pass to junior Joop Mitchell. The Cowboys scored once more in the first half, taking a 19-0 lead into the halftime break. The final quarters each added a touchdown and extra point to the score.

On the other side of the ball, linebacker Jared Hancock tallied seven tackles and senior Camden O’Gara added another six, along with an interception. This was the sixth shutout of the season for the Cowboys defense.

Congratulations to Coach Hancock and his team, and best of luck as they continue to work towards a back-to-back state title. They will face Clyde High School in the state semifinals this Saturday, Nov. 30.

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The Cincinnati Bengals have selected Harrison High School for this week’s Gatorade High School Football Spotlight. The neutral site Division 2 Region 8 match-up was against St. Francis Desales. The Harrison Wildcats dominated the entire game, ending with a final score of 42-7. 

There wasn’t a slow moment in the duration of the game. Harrison scored two touchdowns in the first quarter, one touchdown in the second quarter, two touchdowns in the third quarter and one touchdown in the final quarter. The Stallions scored one touchdown in the second quarter, thanks to Junior RB Quintell Quinn. 

All three units of the Harrison football team were on fire: the offense, defense and special teams. Their defense gave up 182 yards and their offense threw out 423 yards. Senior QB Connor Kinnett had a great game- with three rushing touchdowns, three touchdown passes and 298 total yards of offense. 

Congratulations to Coach Rehage and good luck to the Wildcats as they continue their fight to victory in the playoffs. They play LaSalle this week in the Regional Finals at West Chester Lakota West Firebird Stadium.

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The Bengals have selected Elder High School for this week’s Gatorade High School Football Spotlight. Elder High School beat Lakota West High School 42-17 in the first round of the Ohio High School Athletics Association playoffs. This was a special night for most Elder seniors, as this was their last night playing at their beloved “Pit.” 

The first touchdown was a 1-yard score by Panthers quarterback Matthew Luebbe early in the game. Elder ended the first quarter with a 14-0 margin over the Lakota West Firebirds, keeping the lead the entire game.

Early in the second quarter, Elder’s Cooper Johnson had a 2-yard touchdown. Josh Laine kicked a field goal for Lakota West in the second quarter, bringing the score to 28-3 before halftime. 

During the third quarter, Lakota West running back Aden Miller scored on a 10-yard run. Heading into the fourth quarter, the score was 35-10. Both teams scored a touchdown in the final quarter, bringing the final score to 42-17 in Elder’s favor. 

Elder’s offense had a total of 326 yards in the regional division win. The senior class had a successful final home game of their careers, with quarterback Matthew Luebbe completing 11 of 15 pass attempts (including two touchdown throws, one a 53-yard pass to teammate wide receiver Evan Vollmer) and rushing for 103 yards and crossing the goal line twice himself. Vollmer also had four receptions for 81 yarrds. Running back Josh Catania also scored for the Panthers, and on the defensive side, Safety Colton Sandhas posted a team-record nine tackles during the game. 

The Elder Panthers will take on the St. Xavier Bombers in the Regional Semifinals. The game is Friday, Nov. 15 at Mason High School with a kickoff time of 7 p.m.

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The Cincinnati Bengals have selected Lakota East High School for this week’s Gatorade High School Football Spotlight. The week 10 match-up against the Hamilton Big Blue kept spectators on their toes until the final quarter, when Lakota East pulled away for a 21-14 victory.  

Lakota East had the first touchdown in the first quarter. Both Lakota East and Hamilton scored a touchdown in the second quarter. The second half started out slow with neither team being able to score. Finally in the fourth quarter Hamilton was able to score the first touchdown of the half. With a few minutes left in the game, Lakota East wide receiver Josh Thornhill scored the last touchdown that helped his team to victory.

Lakota East RB Tavier Lugo-Flowers led the rushes for the night with 28 carries for 127 yards. Lakota East had 276 yards on the ground and 323 yards overall. 

In addition to being an exciting game, Friday night held a special tradition for Lakota East. Every senior night, the student-athletes of the Thunderhawks’ varsity football team asks a staff-member to wear their jersey number. It is an honorable tradition that goes back many years. It is a way for the players to thank the staff for their support.  

Congratulations to Coach Haynes and the Thunderhawks on their win. We wish them luck in the future.

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The Cincinnati Bengals have selected Colerain High School for this week’s Gatorade High School Football Spotlight. The Colerain Cardinals ended their regular season with a bang, posting a final score of 34-3 against Lakota East. 

It was a big night for many Colerain players. Quarterback Freddie Johnson threw two touchdowns to seniors Jaylen Thomas and Deshawn Pace. Running back Hamzah Abdul-Waheed had 187 rushing yards in the first half.

Lakota East dominated in the first quarter, with a recovered fumble and a 10-yard line run by wide receiver Josh Thornhill. Ultimately, the field goal would be Lakota East’s only time scoring during the night.

With just a few minutes left in the second quarter, Johnson ran for one yard, scoring Colerain’s first touchdown and Abdul-Waheed ran 62 yards for the second touchdown of the night. By the time halftime rolled around, the score was 13-3.

In the third quarter, Johnson threw to Thomas for a 24-yard touchdown, starting the fourth quarter with a score of 20-3. During the final minutes, Johnson and Thomas scored another touchdown each for the Cardinals.

Colerain has only lost one game this season, making them 8-1. They play the undefeated Fairfield Indians this week.

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The Cincinnati Bengals have selected Turpin High School for this week’s Gatorade High School Football Spotlight. 

In a thrilling battle between two rival high schools, spectators on Friday held their breaths until the last 66 seconds. Turpin ultimately ended up beating the Anderson Redskins at Spartan Stadium, 29-28. 

Turpin scored the first touchdown in the first quarter. By the end of the second quarter, Anderson had scored their first touchdown and Turpin had scored another one, making the score 14-7 in favor of the Spartans. 

After halftime, Anderson's offense exploded for three consecutive touchdowns in the third quarter to take a 28-14 advatage. Eventually, Turpin would adjust and score early in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to seven.

With only 66 seconds remaining in regulation, Turpin moved the ball 90 ytards and scored a touchdown thanks to quarterback Justin Silverstein rallied his team, connecting on two deep passes to Josh Bell to cut the deficit to 28-27. 

The Spartans then went for two and the win, defeating Anderson in a thriller, 29-28. 

Congratulations to Turpin head coach Kent McCullough and the Spartans on their big win. Turpin will play Withrow on Friday, Oct. 25, with their 8-0 season record.

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The Bengals have selected Covington Catholic High School as the Week 7 Gatorade High School Football Spotlight team. Noted as the underdogs going into the game, Covington Catholic blew past the La Salle Lancers 27-7. 

The last time these two teams played each other was in 2012 with La Salle on the winning end. This time was different with Covington Catholic scoring a touchdown in each quarter.

Covingon Catholic running back Daniel Felix enjoyed a strong two-way game leading his team with 9.5 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack and was able to score twice. Altogether, the Covington Catholic offense had 359 total yards, while La Salle only had 187 total yards.

Senior TE Michael Mayer stacked up a strong game, with six catches for 97 yards, nine tackles, two for loss and a 45-yard interception return. 

Congratulations to Covington Catholic Head Coach Eddie Eviston and his Colonels on their win. Covington Catholic takes on Highlands High School on Friday, Oct. 18.

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The Bengals selected Princeton High School as the Week 6 Gatorade High School Football Spotlight team after a 43-21 win over Middletown. 

The game started off with Princeton jumping out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. But it was short lived after Middletown’s Josh Bryant got going on the ground and rushed for a pair of touchdowns to push the Middies to a 21-14 halftime lead. Bryant rushed for 214 yards in the first half.

However, the Vikings made adjustments in the locker room and came out strong on both sides of the ball. Quarterback MyJaden Horton started the rally completing a 32 yard scoring strike to Rodney Harris Jr. and followed that up with a 96-yard touchdown run. Thomas Boyd had three rushing touchdowns and ran for 100 yards on 10 carries.  

Congratulations to the Vikings on their exciting win. They are now 4-2 for the season. Princeton will take on Fairfield High School at the Viking Stadium on Friday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.

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The Cincinnati Bengals have selected the Hamilton High School football team for the Week 5 Gatorade High School Football Spotlight.

Hamilton High School celebrated their homecoming night with a victory, beating Oak Hills 31-21.

Big Blue had two touchdowns in the first quarter, making the score 14-0. Hamilton QB Quincy Simms-Marshall completed 9 of 12 passes for 136 yards and a 24-yard touchdown to WR Kevon Burnett. By halftime, Hamilton was ahead 24-7.

However, Oak Hills cut down the double-digit lead in the final quarter. Unfortunately, it still was not enough to beat Big Blue, thanks to Hamilton RB Keyshawn Stephens. He had his third rushing touchdown of the night with 2:39 on the clock. It was a big game for the junior, with 170 rushing yards on 22 carries.

Congratulations to Big Blue on their exciting win. Their next game is against the Mason Comets on Friday, Oct, 4. Hamilton is 3-3 for the season.

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The Bengals have selected Winton Woods High School as the Week 4 Gatorade High School Football Spotlight team. The Warriors beat Moeller in a blowout at Charlie Fredrick Stadium on Sept. 20 and remain undefeated at 4-0. 

Senior running back Miyan Williams had a 58-yard carry that assisted with Winton Woods’ first touchdown of the night. Junior linebacker Daylon Long had eight tackles and a 66-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown, which gave Winton Woods a 14-0 lead early in the game. By the end of the first quarter, Winton Woods led 27-0. 

By the end of the first half, the score was 34-0. The final touchdown was carried out by Junior quarterback Mi’Chale Wingfield and Senior running back Jamonte Murray. DeMeer Blankumsee completed a 37-yard pass. 

Williams finished with 18 carries for 165 yards. Overall, Winton Woods had 222 rushing yards. Moeller had only 32 yards and fumbled four times. 

The Warriors play Lakewood St. Edward on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 3 p.m.

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The Bengals have selected the Sycamore High School football team for the Week 3 Gatorade High School Football Spotlight. The Aviators, ranked No. 11, were the underdogs in the match-up versus No. 6 ranked Princeton. 

The first half was uneventful, with neither team scoring. But after halftime, both teams made adjustments and got their offenses going. Sycamore RB Dahmear Celestine scored on a 7-yard run, and Princeton QB MyJaden Horton ran a 1 yard touchdown. Celestine failed the kick in the third quarter, settling the score 7-6. 

In the fourth quarter, the score was tied 13-13. Sycamore Sophomore QB William Ingle was a big component in his team’s victory. With 1:43 left in the clock in the fourth quarter, Ingle recovered a fumble and drove it two yards into the end zone. Senior Kicker Jack Ferron finished the play with a 35 yard field goal. The final score was 16-13. 

The Aviators are now 2-1 for the season. Congratulations are in order to Sycamore head coach, Scott Datillo, who has lead the team to the most wins in school history. As of this past game, Coach Datillo boasts 94 wins. The Aviators take on Lakota West on Friday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m.

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The Cincinnati Bengals have selected the St. Xavier High School football team for the Week 2 Gatorade High School Football Spotlight. 

Colerain and St. Xavier are known for their football rivalry. The game on Sept. 6 did not disappoint and ended with the Bombers winning 21-14. Seniors Matthew Rueve and Marshall Lang helped lead their team to victory.

Lang, a tight end for St. Xavier, had eight catches for 111 yards and helped score the three touchdowns that won them the game- and won him MVP for the night. QB Rueve passed for 234 yards and WR Liam Clifford had nine catches for 67 yards. 

Clifford opened the game with an 83 yard kickoff return. Rueve threw the ball to Lang for the Bomber’s first touchdown of the night. At the end of the first quarter, the game was tied 7-7. However, by the time halftime came around, St. Xavier had taken a lead at 21-7.

By the time the third quarter was finishing up, Corelain senior safety Deshawn Pace had an 82 yard punt return for a touchdown, which brought the score to 21-14. Neither team was able to scare in the fourth quarter, resulting in a St. Xavier victory. 

St. Xavier is 2-0 for the season, under leadership of Coach Steve Specht and a new Offensive Coordinator, Andrew Coversale. Congratulations to the Bombers on their big win. You can watch St. Xavier play Penn High School on Sept.13.

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La Salle High School

The Cincinnati Bengals have selected La Salle High School football team as the Week 1 Gatorade High School Football Spotlight. 

Ranked No. 5 as one of Cincinnati’s most dominant programs by MaxPreps, La Salle did not disappoint in their first non-conference match-up against Lakota West. Dominating in their own Lancer Stadium, the Lancers beat the Firebirds 31-7.

The night began with a power outage, resulting in a 35 minute delay. Once on the field, both teams went into full drive. Lakota West started off strong, with an opening drive that lasted over eight minutes. But after a missed field goal by the Firebirds, the Lancers took control, leading to a 17-0 score by halftime. 

The Lancers continued to hold a strong defense throughout the game, with one exception, allowing a 35 yard punt return by Lakota West freshman Alex Afari. 

Among the standouts on the field Friday night were quarterback Zach Branam with a five-yard touchdown run, RB Gi’Bran Payne with two touchdown runs of 15 and 42 yards, kicker Jake Seibert with a 21 yard field goal and running back Cam Porter hauling in a 69 yard touchdown pass.

Congratulations to Coach McLaughlin and the Lancers on their win. We wish them luck on their season.

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Boone County High School

WEEK 0 - The Cincinnati Bengals have selected Boone County High School football team as the Week 0 Gatorade High School Football Spotlight. 

Last season, the Boone County Rebels held a disappointing 2-9 record. Determined to start the season strong, the Rebels, under leadership of new head coach, Bryson Warner, defeated the Holmes Bulldogs 20-6. Warner, a 1992 alum of Boone County High School Class, led the turnaround thanks to a balanced offensive attack. 

Although the game ended in a thrilling manner, it didn’t start off that way. With 0-0 remaining on the scoreboard throughout the first quarter and fumbles from both teams, Rebels senior quarterback Kaden Craft picked up the pace. Craft managed to score two touchdowns before halftime, including one with a 16-yard throw to WR Eli Ross. 

The second half was when the defense took over highlighted by an an interception from Rebels DB Adam Hicks to help seal the victory. 

Congratulations to Coach Warner and the Rebels on their first win and we wish them luck for the rest of the season. The Rebels will take on Paul Lawrence Dunbar in Lexington in a non-conference game this Friday, August 30 at 7:30 p.m.

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