Three Ohio State’s commitments will play for a state championship thanks to their teams winning semifinal playoff games the weekend of Nov. 26. Here are highlights from their action.
• Jacoby Boren, OG, and Roger Lewis, WR, Pickerington (Ohio) Central – The Tigers avenged an early-season loss and booked a trip to Canton for the Division I title game with a 14-7 victory against Cincinnati St. Xavier at Welcome Stadium in Dayton.
St. Xavier had defeated Pickerington Central by a 38-21 score on Sept. 4, but 11 weeks later, the Tigers returned the favor. Central improved to 11-2 after opening the season with back-to-back losses to Cincinnati Moeller and St. Xavier.
“This kind of cancels out those first two losses, doesn’t it,” Sharrett told the (Columbus) Dispatch. “A lot of sportswriters really called out our defense after that first game, but we’ve played stout defense the whole season. Our kids know how to play tough in tough games, and this is just another example of that.”
It was a complete reversal in the second matchup between the Tigers and Bombers. Pickerington Central had been gashed by St. X running back Conor Hundley in the September meeting, when Hundley finished with 156 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries. This time, the Tigers shut Hundley down and held him to 51 yards on 18 carries.
In all, the Tigers limited St. Xavier (10-4) to 168 yards of total offense. Sixty-seven of those yards came on the Bombers’ first drive of the game when they took a 7-0 lead on a 9-yard run by Kevin Milligan.
The Tigers answered with a touchdown in the second quarter. Quarterback Nick Jensen-Clagg found Jake Raymond for a 9-yard touchdown on a screen pass with 35 seconds left before halftime.
“We called a screen and that was the perfect play for that situation because we knew they were going to come hard,” Raymond told This Week newspapers of Columbus. “Jacoby Boren had a huge block to let me get into the end zone.”
Lewis helped the Tigers score the only points of the second half when he made a key block on a 10-yard touchdown run by Devone Penick with 5:38 left in the fourth quarter.
“Roger Lewis got out and sealed the outside for me,” Penick said. “Oh, man. What a way to end it.”
With the win, Pickerington Central advances to its first Division I championship game. The Tigers lost to Piqua in the Division II title game in 2006.
• Blake Thomas, TE, Cleveland St. Ignatius – Pickerington Central will face Thomas and his Wildcats teammates for the state championship thanks to St. Ignatius’ 17-6 victory against previously unbeaten Toledo Whitmer at Mansfield.
Two Whitmer turnovers led to 10 St. Ignatius points as the Wildcats built a 10-0 halftime lead.
Conor Hennessey caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Eric Williams in the first quarter following a St. Ignatius (12-2) interception of a Chad Aerni pass. Then in the second quarter, Tim Shenk drilled a 51-yard field goal to extend his team’s lead. That drive started after Rustom Khouri recovered a fumble at the Whitmer 45. In all, the Panthers committed five turnovers, four coming in the first half.
"The truth of the matter is you can't make mistakes and we made too many mistakes, too many turnovers," Whitmer coach Joe Palka told the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. "It's something we hadn't done all year, and it's tough to overcome that."
Whitmer (13-1) got on the scoreboard with a 90-yard run by standout tailback Jody Webb, nephew of former Tennessee star Chuck Webb, on the third play of the second half.
The Wildcats answered with the final score of the game, a 13-yard TD pass from Williams to Tim McCoy. Thomas had a clutch 9-yard reception during the scoring drive.
St. Ignatius will play for its 11th state title when it battles the Tigers on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium.
The following OSU verbal commits have completed their seasons: Warren Ball, RB, Columbus DeSales; De’Van Bogard, S, Cleveland Glenville; Bri’onte Dunn, RB, Canton (Ohio) GlenOak; Patrick Elflein, OG, Pickerington (Ohio) North; Frank Epitropoulos, WR, Upper Arlington, Ohio; Cardale Jones, QB, Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy; Najee Murray, DB, Steubenville, Ohio; Joshua Perry, OLB, Lewis Center (Ohio) Olentangy; Tyvis Powell, S, Bedford, Ohio; Luke Roberts, MLB, Lancaster, Ohio; Mike Thomas, WR, Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy; Adolphus Washington, DE, Cincinnati Taft.