• Warren Ball, RB, Columbus DeSales – Ball rushed for two touchdowns as the Stallions ended the regular season with a 31-14 victory against visiting Cleveland Benedictine.
Ball finished with 72 yards on 23 carries and scored on touchdowns of 2 and 1 yard. His first gave DeSales (6-3) a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Benedictine (7-3) tied the game with a 7-yard TD run by Bryan Lacy later in the opening quarter before the Stallions pulled away with 21 unanswered second-quarter points to take a 28-7 lead into halftime. Balls’ second touchdown was the final score of the first half.
DeSales won four in a row to end the season and qualified for the OHSAA Division III, Region 10 playoffs. The top-seeded Stallions will host Caledonia River Valley (7-3) in the first round.
• De'Van Bogard, S, Cleveland Glenville – The Tarblooders finished the 2011 season with another undefeated Senate League season thanks to a 41-14 victory vs. Cleveland John Hay.
Glenville (6-3, 6-0) did not make the postseason but ended the year on an up note. Quarterback Quan Robinson threw for a touchdown and passed for 110 yards. V’Angelo Bentley rushed for two touchdowns and 83 yards.
The Hornets (6-4, 5-2) did not score until the second half. Glenville led 35-0 at halftime.
• Jacoby Boren, OG, and Roger Lewis, WR, Pickerington (Ohio) Central – Lewis returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, which set the tone in a 42-14 victory for the Tigers over rival Reynoldsburg.
Pickerington Central (7-2, 7-0 Ohio Capital Conference Ohio Division) scored 21 points within the first five minutes of the game to quickly dash the playoff hopes of Reynoldsburg (6-4, 4-3). The Tigers extended that lead to 35-0 by halftime. Lewis added another special-teams score in the second half, returning a punt 44-yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
“Starting off 0-2, people counted Pickerington Central out and started talking about all the things we couldn’t do,” Lewis told This Week newspapers of Columbus. “We’re 7-2 now and we’re back. … It’s always a hyped game when we played Reynoldsburg. We had to start fast.”
The Tigers qualified for the OHSAA Division I, Region 3 playoffs. They'll host OCC foe Dublin Coffman next week.
• Bri'onte Dunn, RB, Canton (Ohio) GlenOak – Dunn was a workhorse for the Golden Eagles, rushing for 317 yards on 41 carries in a 26-14 victory at Massillon Perry.
GlenOak (9-1, 5-1) clinched a share of the Federal League title with the victory, and Dunn played a big part in it. Dunn scored twice in addition to his impressive rushing totals. He gave the Golden Eagles a 13-0 lead in the first quarter with a 42-yard touchdown run and closed the scoring in the fourth quarter with a 15-yard burst to the end zone.
“I’m healthy enough now,” Dunn told the Canton Repository. “I kind of knew I was going to run it that much. Coach (Scott) Garcia told me we were going to run the ball all night. And that’s what I did.”
Dunn did fumble twice, losing one, but that did not hurt GlenOak in the end. The Golden Eagles led 13-7 at halftime and added a 1-yard TD run by quarterback Reid Worstell and Dunn’s second score after the break.
GlenOak qualified for the OHSAA Division I, Region 2 playoffs. The Golden Eagles will host Wadsworth (9-1) next week.
Perry finished the season 2-8 (0-6 Federal League).
• Patrick Elflein, OG, Pickerington (Ohio) North – The Panthers fell just short of qualifying for the playoffs but ended the season with a 52-12 victory against visiting Grove City.
Pickerington North (8-2, 5-2 OCC Ohio) finished ninth in their region, one spot short of a playoff berth. The Panther offense did its best to try to get PN to the playoffs by piling up 555 yards of total offense against the Dawgs (3-7, 2-5). Elflein and the offensive line made life easier for quarterback Zach Olszewski and running backs Godwin Igwebuike and Alston Robertson. Olszewski completed 11 of 18 passes for 156 yards, while Igwebuike and Robertson rushed for 118 yards apiece. Both tailbacks also ran for two scores.
Elflein even got in on the scoring action. He rushed for a 2-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
• Frank Epitropoulos, WR, Upper Arlington, Ohio – After a two year absence, Upper Arlington is back in the playoffs. The Golden Bears helped punch their ticket in the Division I, Region 3 bracket with a 19-13 win against visiting Dublin Coffman.
“It's real special for us. No one here has ever been to the playoffs,” Epitropoulos told This Week newspapers of Columbus. “We had a (playoff) drought for a little bit, but we finally did it.”
Epitropoulos caught a 36-yard touchdown pass from David Smith early in the third quarter to cut UA’s deficit to 10-6. Gus Ackley rushed for a 13-yard touchdown and Jared Drake added a 1-yard TD rush to give the Golden Bears (8-2, 6-1) a 19-10 lead. The Shamrocks (8-2, 5-2) could only manage a fourth-quarter 22-yard field goal by Grant Coffman after UA took the lead.
Epitropoulos did catch a TD pass, but it was UA’s rushing attack that led the way. The Golden Bears outrushed Coffman 297-33.
Upper Arlington will host Troy (8-2) next week.
• Najee Murray, DB, Steubenville, Ohio – The Big Red finished the regular season with an unblemished record thanks to a 39-0 whitewash of visiting Tonawanda (N.Y.) Cardinal O’Hara.
Steubenville (10-0) had little trouble dispatching the Hawks (1-8). The Big Red scored in every quarter, and Murray reached the end zone in the second quarter when he hauled in a 43-yard TD strike from Marcus Prather. Leshawn Luke added two rushing touchdowns, both coming in the first half. Steubenville held a 21-0 lead at halftime.
Steubenville easily made the OHSAA Division III, Region 11 playoffs. The Big Red will host Wintersville Indian Creek (8-2) in the first round.
• Joshua Perry, OLB, Lewis Center (Ohio) Olentangy – Perry rushed for 195 yards and three scores on offense as the Braves finished the season with a 56-12 win against Westerville North.
Perry’s scores came on runs of 11, 56 and 1 yards. His 1-yard TD run in the third quarter gave him 1,000 yards on the season. Olentangy (5-5, 4-3 OCC Cardinal) got two touchdown runs by Derrick Rodgers. He scored the first two TDs of the game on runs of 5 and 1 yard.
Westerville North ended the year 0-10 (0-7 OCC Cardinal) and lost its 35th straight game.
• Tyvis Powell, S, Bedford, Ohio – Bedford could not hold on to a halftime lead, dropping a 40-27 decision against visiting Euclid in the season finale.
The Bearcats (4-6, 3-4 Lake Erie) led 20-18 at the break. Euclid (4-6, 4-3) scored 15 unanswered points in the third quarter to pull away. Quarterback Benny Walker threw three TD passes, and De’Andre Rollins rushed for 125 yards.
Neither team qualified for the postseason.
• Luke Roberts, MLB, Lancaster, Ohio – Lancaster finished the season by beating winless and visiting Newark, 35-13.
The Golden Gales (5-5, 3-4 OCC Ohio) earned the win thanks in large part to their defense. Newark (0-10, 0-7) found its way into Lancaster territory on several occasions, but more often than not, the Gales prevented the Wildcats from reaching the end zone. Lancaster recorded 10 sacks, including three by Roberts.
“Obviously, it has been a difficult season with everything we’ve done with a lot of injuries, and it was not exactly what we wanted,” Roberts told the Lancaster Eagle Gazette. “It was really important to come out here against our rival and get a big win.”
Roberts also rushed for a 1-yard touchdown on offense.
• Blake Thomas, TE, Cleveland St. Ignatius – Thomas helped seal the victory in a 20-17 win against host Lakewood St. Edward in the regular-season finale.
Thomas caught a 13-yard pass from Eric Williams on a third-and-9 play from the Wildcats 41-yard line. The first down with 2:24 left, and with St. Edward (7-3) out of timeouts, allowed St. Ignatius (8-2) to run out the clock.
The win for the Wildcats was their fifth in their last six meetings with their rivals.
"I would probably put that in the top five, especially because it came against St. Ed's," Thomas told the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. "It was sitting there for a little bit and I wasn't sure if I was able to get it but I got it out of there."
St. Edward led 10-3 at halftime before St. Ignatius earned the win by dominating the second half. The Wildcats took the lead by scoring two third-quarter touchdowns. The first came on a 7-yard TD run by Tim McVey and St. Ignatius took a 17-10 lead when Williams threw a 9-yard TD pass to Thomas.
The Eagles tied the game at 17-17 on a 1-yard Ryan Fallon touchdown run later int he third quarter, but a 35-yard field goal by Tim Shenk in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference.
The win helped solidify St. Ignatius' postseason berth in the OHSAA Division I, Region 1 bracket. The Wildcats will host Youngstown Boardman (7-3) in the first round.