Welcome back to Week 2 of the Heart of Ohio Sports Observer! In my opinion, it's been a chilly start to the high school football season. I've personally taken a jacket with me each of the first two Fridays and had it on by halftime. I've been told I'm always cold, so it might just be me. But, we haven't had that 90-degree kickoff temperature... yet.
What another wild Friday it was last week. I think you can make the argument that it was the wildest combined two games on a Friday night for Columbian/Calvert, possibly ever. We'll get into that in just a minute.
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Tiffin Columbian (2-0): Part 1 of the crazy madness was last Friday night at Frost-Kalnow Stadium when the Tornadoes shocked Chardon, 50-49. Chardon won state titles in 2020 and 2021. Columbian opted to go for a two-minute conversion in the final 30 seconds and got it on a Brayden Roggow pass to Brady Gooding. That takes some... guts from coach Judd Lutz to go for the win there. I easily understand going for it with problems in the kicking game, but it still takes courage to actually go with it. Kudos to all involved. What an amazing game by Roggow and Gooding together. Roggow was 19-of-29 for 347 yards and four touchdowns while Gooding had just four catches, but it was for 147 yards and three touchdowns. Gooding added two two-point conversions and a pick-6 interception for a TD as well. Don't forget about Jack Koerper catching nine passes for 142 yards and the other score too. Columbian could legit have three all-Ohio receivers, an all-Ohio quarterback, and an all-Ohio running back in Damien Brockington. The Tornadoes must not have a let down when they travel to Marion County to take on River Valley this week. The Vikings had a close overtime loss to Ashland in Week 1 before stomping Mansfield Madison, 42-0, last week. It's the first of two straight road games for Columbian as it travels to Columbus Bishop Watterson in Week 4.
Tiffin Calvert (2-0): The other half of the Tiffin duo was Calvert's wacky 35-34 overtime win over Monroeville last week in a game I was at. The Senecas led 21-0 early and even 28-14 in the fourth quarter before Monroeville stormed back. Monroeville scored to get within 28-27 with six seconds left and trotted the extra point team out first. After a timeout, Monroeville lined up for the two-point try and the win. After a Calvert timeout, Monroeville went for it and appeared to have it, but an offensive penalty negated the play. Monroeville kicked the extra point to send the game into overtime. Once there, Calvert scored to go up 35-28 before the Eagles responded with a touchdown. Monroeville again went for the two and the win, but Calvert blew the play up and sacked Monroeville quarterback Evan Benfer to seal the win. What a wild 15 minutes of highs and lows for Calvert that ended on a high. Harry Shultz completed 12-of-19 passes for 138 yards in the win over Monroeville while Cal Warnement ran 10 times for 86 yards and Jacob Rombach tallied eight carries for 86 yards and two touchdowns. Things do not get any easier for Calvert as they host Norwalk St. Paul for its home opener. I'll be at Frost-Kalnow Stadium this week and expect nothing less than a tremendous contest. St. Paul has lost its first two games – 31-28 to Huron and 42-6 to Edison – but those are bigger schools. I expect the Flyers to come into Tiffin and play really well against Calvert.
Mohawk (0-2): The Warriors nearly had Calvert beat in Week 1, but a late offensive penalty wiped away a go-ahead touchdown. Mohawk didn't find any sort of success like that last week when Hopewell-Loudon trounced the Warriors, 32-7. When I talked to coach Eric Daniel in the preseason, he knew how tough of a non-league schedule Mohawk had and it has proven true so far. Through two games, quarterback Ben Bogner has completed 26-of-50 passes for 370 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, he has 42 carries for 201 yards. The biggest woes so far have been six turnovers for the Warriors. You're not going to find much success turning the ball over multiple times a game like that. Mohawk will get a chance to hit the road for the first time this season and it'll be at Margaretta – a playoff team from last season – who has also lost its first two games. The Polar Bears lost a close one in the final 30 seconds to Vermilion before narrowly losing to Western Reserve last week in overtime. That game was similar to the Columbian/Chardon and Calvert/Monroeville games in which WR went for two in overtime and converted to drop Margaretta to 0-2. Margaretta quarterback Judah Keller has completed 25-of-35 passes for 382 yards and three touchdowns this season while rushing 39 times for 111 yards and four TDs.
Seneca East (1-1): I guess that's what I get for bragging about my pick of Seneca East as my sleeper team in the area on our preseason show. After ending Ashland Crestview's long regular-season winning streak, the Tigers laid an egg against Gibsonburg, 12-8. Once Seneca East beat Crestview, I really thought it had a really good shot to start 4-0 before traveling to Colonel Crawford. But it was not to be. So far, Blake Foos has completed 21-of-46 passes for 192 yards while running 40 times for 248 yards and four touchdowns. Taylor Young paces the receivers with 16 receptions for 157 yards. Seneca East will get back home this week as they face an upstart Monroeville team. I had Monroeville in each of its first two games and have been very surprised by the Eagles. Entering the year on a 15-game losing streak, Monroeville pounded Lakota, 27-7, before the extremely close loss to Calvert last week. Quarterback Evan Benfer has tallied 58 carries for 326 yards so far for Monroeville. It seems like it'll be a lot of quarterback vs. quarterback this week.
Carey (0-2): Perhaps the surprise of the area so far has been Carey. There's no doubt the Blue Devils have faced tough competition in Hopewell-Loudon and Galion, but there's just something different about Carey so far… and not in a good way. Turnovers have hurt the Blue Devils too as Carey has thrown three interceptions and lost two fumbles. The Blue Devils have had a big advantage in the turnover battle the past few seasons, but not so far this year. Quarterback Alex Putnam has completed 17-of-30 passes for 224 yards while running 27 times for 105 yards. Eli Steen added 19 rushes for 119 yards. Putnam, Steen, Carter Smiley, and Austin Niederkohr (2) each have rushing touchdowns for Carey. The Blue Devils will finally get to play a game at home, but they welcome in Lima Central Catholic, who was in the state semifinals in Division VII last season. LCC is averaging 41 points per game so far with a 42-14 win over Lima Shawnee and 42-40 loss to Delphos St. John's so far this season. Carey will have to dig deep and find that tough defense that carried them to a 26-2 record over the last two seasons if it wants to avoid an 0-3 start.
Lakota (1-1): Lakota was most likely a favorite against Arcadia last week and cashed in with a 31-7 stomping of the Redskins. You can argue that the Raiders were also favorites in Week 1 at Monroeville, but were beaten pretty good, 27-7. I think there are a lot of good athletes and players under coach Mike Lento and Lakota is slowly figuring it out. Quarterback Jalen Wagner played much better for the Raiders against Arcadia, completing 9-of-11 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns while adding eight rushes for 50 yards and a score. Elsewhere, Micah Williams ran 11 times for 87 yards and a TD while Lucas McEwan had three receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown. Lakota hits the road again and will face Northwood. It will be the second-straight year that the Raiders travel to Northwood. Last year, Lakota kept the Rangers to just six points – but didn't find the end zone in a 6-0 loss. Northwood has struggled so far this year, falling to Rossford (28-7) and Lake (33-0). After wrapping up its non-league slate, Lakota goes straight to the deep end of the Sandusky Bay Conference River Division with games against Tiffin Calvert, Hopewell-Loudon, and Willard.
Gibsonburg (1-1): It wasn't that I was ready to write Gibsonburg off that quickly, but after a 29-6 loss to Ottawa Hills and Seneca East coming to town, I figured the Golden Bears were headed to 0-2 (and probably underdogs in their next three games). Instead, Gibsonburg turned around its defense in a major way and kept Seneca East to just eight points in a 12-8 win. They don't all have to be pretty, but as long as you score one more point than the other team, you're good. Against the Tigers, Grant Smith ran 28 times for 110 yards and a touchdown. Gibsonburg completed just one pass against Seneca East. The Golden Bears have to get the offense going if they want to compete this season. Gibsonburg has scored just 18 total points through two games. The Golden Bears are home the next two weeks as they welcome Edison (2-0) and Hopewell-Loudon (2-0) before facing Calvert (2-0) on the road. Some wins in this stretch could be key for playoff seeding in a few weeks.