Man, our local teams continue to do well.
We only had three teams make it to Week 12, but like I said, I thought they were all favorites. I'm not sure I expected Columbian's 20-point win over Ontario to be the closest of the three games. That bodes well for the local teams! Give it up!!
Things are going to be a lot tougher this week, but dare I say all three have a good chance to win? Read on to find out.
One thing I'd like to do is give you a quick update on our two college teams here in town as both play their last regular-season game this Saturday. I said regular-season for a specific reason? Why? Check it out below the three high school teams' capsules.
Here we go! Week 13!!
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Tiffin Columbian (10-2): The Tornadoes continue to score a lot of points. That's an understatement. Columbian has scored at least 14 points in every game this season, at least 28 points in 12 out of 13 games, and at least 35 points in every one of its 10 wins this year. This is actually the first time the Tornadoes have won 10 games in a season under Judd Lutz. Columbian won nine games in 2019, 2020, and 2022. The last 10-win season for the Tornadoes was 2013 under Brian Colatruglio... more on him in just a minute. In Columbian's 55-35 beating of Ontario, Brayden Roggow completed 16-of-21 passes for 294 yards and three touchdowns while Damien Brockington added 18 carries for 194 yards and four TDs. Brady Gooding threw a 41-yard TD pass and hauled in a score among his four receptions and 96 yards. Brockington added two touchdown catches while Bryce Roggow had five receptions for 94 yards and a score. Man, that is a lot of offense. For the season, Brayden Roggow is 199-of-287 for 2,747 yards and 27 TDs while Brockington is up to 2,076 yards on 240 carries for 34 touchdowns. I'm sure they will also be garnering all-Ohio honors. Bryce Roggow has 62 catches for 751 yards and nine scores while Jack Koerper (58-842-6) and Gooding (38-746-11) are huge options as well. Columbian will face Medina Buckeye (10-2) at Bellevue High School this week. The Bucks started the season 7-0 before losses to Valley Forge and Gilmour Academy before wins over Normandy (48-12), Sandusky in the first round of the playoffs, and Norton last week. The wins over Sandusky and Norton – who entered 11-0 – have come by a combined four points.
Current season status: vs. (7) Medina Buckeye at Bellevue High School in Division III, Region 10 semifinals
Hopewell-Loudon (12-0): I'm not even going to lie. I thought the Chieftains' contest against Pandora-Gilboa would come down to the very end before H-L pulled it out. Uhhh, no. How about a one-sided 33-3 win over the Rockets? Tip of the cap to... Brian Colatruglio and the rest of the Chieftains. Braylon Martinez racked up 25 carries for 105 yards and three touchdowns for Hopewell-Loudon while Evan Kreais completed 16-of-21 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown. Evan Berrier led the receivers with eight receptions for 78 yards. For the season, Kreais has completed 185-of-260 passes for 2,545 yards with 28 touchdowns while Martinez has tallied 243 rushes for 1,399 yards and 29 scores. Berrier has caught 77 passes for 1,182 yards with 14 TDs while Martinez is second on the team with five touchdown catches. Patrick Henry started the season 6-0 before blowout losses to Liberty Center and Archbold in a three-week stretch. The Patriots have only allowed 11.0 points per game in its two postseason wins over North Central and Arlington.
Current season status: vs. (4) Patrick Henry at Bowling Green High School in Division VII, Region 26 semifinals
Carey (10-2): I think the best of our three games this week will be played at my alma mater as Fostoria Memorial Stadium hosts the fourth-seeded Blue Devils' contest against top-seeded Columbus Grove. This contest pits the last two regional champions to come out of Division VI, Region 22. Carey enters after obliterating Columbia, 48-0. I figured it would be an increase in competition for the Blue Devils, but it was almost Carey's biggest margin of victory, just behind the 49-point shellacking it laid on Seneca East in Week 10 and a 63-0 blowout of Bucyrus. The Blue Devils' run game just keeps churning. I can't be the only one that feels how similar it is to the 2021 state championship team. Remember that team opened the season with a loss to Hopewell-Loudon (like Carey did this season) before plowing over teams week after week. Eli Steen continues to pace the Blue Devils' attack with 161 carries for 1,140 yards and 14 touchdowns while quarterback Carter Smiley adds 86 attempts for 649 yards and six TDs. Austin Niederkohr is racking up the stats too with 64 rushes for 547 yards and 11 scores. Carey as a team has tallied 518 rushes for 3,258 yards and 50 touchdowns on the ground. F-I-F-T-Y. That is an absurd number you just don't see very often. I was in Columbus Grove last Friday to help our buddy, Zach Baker, out with some coverage and man, the Bulldogs are good. They won this region last year before losing to Marion Local in the state semifinals. Trenton Bazzara leads Columbus Grove with 197 rushes for 1,514 yards and 15 TDs while quarterback Landon Best has 121 carries for 552 yards and 13 scores. Through the air, Best has completed 101-of-148 passes for 1,319 yards and 19 touchdowns. This should be an absolute dandy of a game.
Current season status: vs. (1) Columbus Grove at Fostoria High School in Division VI, Region 22 semifinals
Tiffin University (10-0): If you haven't seen the Dragons play, you're missing out. Tiffin is ranked No. 14 in the country in the Division II in the latest poll that was released Monday. The Dragons are also No. 2 in its region, meaning if that stands, Tiffin would open the playoffs at home Nov. 18 and could potentially host another playoff game the following week with a win. But first is a trip to rival Findlay with a chance to clinch the outright Great Midwest Athletic Conference title against the Oilers. Tiffin is averaging 495 yards of offense and 46.3 points per game. The Dragons are averaging almost 265 yards on the ground per game. Senior Kason Martin started the first eight games of the season for Tiffin, completing 134-of-209 passes for 1,671 yards and 16 touchdowns before being injured. Since then, Bellevue graduate, sophomore Keegan Ray, has taken over and the offense hasn't missed a beat. He has completed 40-of-59 passes for 631 yards with six TDs and no interceptions. The ground game for Tiffin this year has been phenomenal. Ronald Blackman leads the way with 122 rushes for 862 yards and seven scores, but Devin Nelson (96-628-6), Tyrese Banks-Dorn (78-609-11) and Carson Gresock (71-426-7) are all big-time hitters for the Dragons. Only Blackman has played in all 10 games though. Blackman, Nelson, Banks-Dorn, and Gresock have all had big games with each tallying a game with at least 150 yards rushing this season. Talk about multiple options! Josh Lewis paces the receivers with 39 receptions for 648 yards and eight touchdowns while Jalen Thomas has 26 catches for 381 yards and five scores. Findlay enters at 7-3 overall, 6-2 in GMAC.
Current season status: at Findlay, 12 p.m. Saturday
Heidelberg (5-4): I actually have only gotten to see the Student Princes play sporadically with my volleyball and Tiffin University coverage. I know injuries have hurt Heidelberg in multiple places this season. The Student Princes lost to the heavyweights of the Ohio Athletic Conference – Mount Union and John Carroll – but also fell to Marietta and Baldwin-Wallce (24-21). Heidelberg has used four quarterbacks this year after starter Drew Sims was injured just a few games in. Turnovers have hurt the Student Princes too as the four have combined for 18 interceptions thrown this season. Carey graduate Lance Rickle has gotten a majority of the playing time recently, completing 30-of-56 passes for 458 yards and four touchdowns. On the ground, Montavious Yearby leads the way with 196 carries for 999 yards and 10 TDs. One more yard will give Yearby his second-straight 1,000-yard season. He needs just 31 yards to match his career-high 1,030 yards he had last season. Oliver Kelleher leads the receivers with 38 catches for 504 yards and two scores. Despite the woes this year, the Student Princes will have a chance to clinch yet again another winning season when it hosts Capital (1-8) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday on Senior Day and Veterans Appreciation Day.
Current season status: vs. Capital, 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Here is a look at where the Heart of Ohio Sports crews will be this Friday:
Division III Region 10 Semifinal
(3) Tiffin Columbian Tornadoes vs (7) Medina Buckeye Bucks
Division VII Region 26 Semifinal
(1) Hopewell-Loudon Chieftains vs (5) Patrick Henry Patriots
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