Heart of Ohio Sports Observer
Written by: Josh Morgret
Find him on X (formerly known as Twitter) @JoshuaMorgret
Hello all and welcome back to the Heart of Ohio Sports Observer! I want to give a big thank you to Nate Mullins for giving me the chance to share a little insight on the teams you'll see and hear about this season on Heart of Ohio Sports!
What a wonderful opening weekend of high school football last week! I made it to two games and almost caught a third Saturday, but it didn't pan out (hey, I was at volleyball and soccer instead Saturday!).
Without any further babbling, here's a look at the local teams after Week 1.
Tiffin Columbian (1-0): How about that Week 1 win on the road over Fremont Ross to start the season for the Tornadoes? You can always go back and rewatch the game on Heart of Ohio Sports! Columbian was down 14-6 early, but reeled off the last 35 points of the game to win running away. Ross is breaking in a new quarterback after the graduation of Kaden Holmes, but TC's offense was the difference here. Brayden Roggow completed 13-of-18 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns while Damien Brockington picked up where he left off last season with 24 carries for 134 yards and three scores. Bryce Roggow hauled in five passes for 87 yards and a pair of TDs while Brady Gooding caught the other touchdown pass. Fremont Ross topped the Tornadoes each of the last two seasons, so it's a nice start for Columbian. Up next is a probably the best team on TC's schedule in Chardon, a squad that won the 2020 and 2021 Division III state championships, finishing a combined 28-0 those two years. Last year, the Hilltoppers were 11-2, finishing as regional runners-up. Chardon started this season with a 35-0 road win over West Geauga. If fans need remembering of who Chardon is, that was the school that eliminated Columbian in the 2020 state semifinals 47-7, ending with a running clock.
Tiffin Calvert (1-0): They don't always have to be beautiful. You can ask Calvert coach Steve Reser that and he'll probably agree with you after the Senecas slipped past Mohawk, 14-12, a game I was at last week. The offense wasn't great for Calvert, but Harry Shultz did complete 9-of-23 passes for 129 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. On the ground, Cal Warnement led the Senecas with 16 carries for 82 yards and a TD. Calvert was the beneficiary of two tip-drill passes caught by Billy Clouse and Jacob Rombach on the go-ahead drive, including Rombach's touchdown catch. Reser acknowledged after the game that those kinds of catches maybe happen once every four games, but the Senecas were able to do it twice on the same drive. Calvert has huge hopes this year and things don't get any easier with games against Monroeville and St. Paul the next two weeks. The Senecas head to Marsh Field to take on Monroeville, a team that pounded the ball against Lakota to the tune of a 27-7 win. The Eagles had lost 15 straight games before the win over Lakota. Quarterback Evan Benfer and tailback Landen Roeder combined for 43 carries for 288 yards against Lakota. The Senecas will have to stop the run if it wants a chance to move to 2-0.
Mohawk (0-1): As I noted, I was in Sycamore last week when Mohawk came up just short against Calvert. If you want to go back and watch this one, the guys at Heart of Ohio Sports were there as well. The Warriors look like they will rely heavily on quarterback Ben Bogner and for good reason. I thought Bogner really struggled at times last season, but he was much approved against the Senecas last week. He completed 16-of-28 passes for 254 yards while running 29 times for 138 yards, accounting for both touchdowns. He almost single-handily marched Mohawk down the field for a go-ahead touchdown in the final 30 seconds of the game, but an offensive pass interference penalty wiped out a TD pass to Kahne Hayman. It was a tough way to lose for the Warriors, who were just as physical – if not more physical – than Calvert. Mohawk will face another former Midland Athletic League foe this week as they take on Hopewell-Loudon, who pounded Carey, 36-19, in Week 1. The Warriors will have to stop H-L's high-powered offense led by Evan Kreais, who threw for 372 yards and four touchdowns against Carey.
Seneca East (1-0): On our preseason show at Xcaret last week, I picked Seneca East as my sleeper pick of the season. Thanks for making me look good so far, gentlemen. The Tigers topped Ashland Crestview, 21-12. The Cougars had not lost in the regular season since 2020. In absolutely no shocking twist of events, it was reigning and defending Northern 10 Athletic Conference Player of the Year Blake Foos that led Seneca East. He accounted for 119 yards passing while rushing 19 times for 127 yards and three touchdowns. After Week 1, there's no telling if Seneca East will win or even compete for the N10 title, but having Foos will always give the Tigers a chance. Now, SE will travel to Gibsonburg and certainly be favored against the Golden Bears, who struggled against Ottawa Hills in a 29-6 loss. Gibsonburg ran for less than 100 yards in the loss to Ottawa Hills. More to come on them below.
Carey (0-1): Perhaps the biggest surprise of the week was Carey's loss to Hopewell-Loudon. It wasn't that the Blue Devils lost. It is the fact Carey gave up 36 points – the most it has allowed since allowing 41 points in a wild 50-41 playoff win over Western Reserve in 2019. The most points Carey allowed during the last two seasons in which the Blue Devils went 26-2 with a Division IV state championship was 30 points the Chieftains scored to open the 2021 season. Carey followed up that 30-15 loss to H-L with 15 straight victories to take home the previously mentioned state title. Alex Putnam was the focus of the offense for Carey against H-L, completing seven passes for 124 yards, but he threw two interceptions. On the ground, Putnam ran 12 times for 96 yards and a touchdown. Carey faces Galion this week. The Tigers opened their season with a 28-20 win over Wynford.
Lakota (0-1): Lakota was on the wrong end of a powerful rushing attack as the Raiders gave up over 300 yards on the ground to Monroeville in a 27-7 loss. Lakota entered the game as a favorite as the Eagles had lost 15 straight games before the win over Lakota. The Raiders' quarterback battle was won by Jalen Wagner, who completed 15-of-28 passes for 130 yards with a touchdown. On the ground, Lakota ran 27 times for 86 yards, never getting things going. Avery Shilling hauled in the lone touchdown on a pass from Wagner, finishing with six catches for 78 yards. The Raiders return home for their home opener and welcome in old foe, Arcadia. The Redskins opened the season with a 34-7 win over Cory-Rawson. Lakota faces Arcadia and Northwood to wrap up its non-league schedule before opening the Sandusky Bay Conference River Division gauntlet with Tiffin Calvert, Hopewell-Loudon, and Willard.
Gibsonburg (0-1): As mentioned above, Gibsonburg is dealing with replacing Connor Smith and couldn't get much going offensively. The Golden Bears ran 33 times for just 97 yards – less than three yards a carry. Camden Mooney completed two of his four passes he attempted for 27 yards. Gibsonburg will certainly need to focus in on stopping Blake Foos this week when it hosts Seneca East. The defending Northern 10 Athletic Conference Player of the Year finished with 246 yards total and all three touchdowns the Tigers scored in a 21-12 win over Ashland Crestview.