Thursday, November 26, 2015

Trotwood will face familiar foe, looking to get back to State Championship

 After seeing the playoff performances from  Trotwood and Wayne, it's no surprise why these are the two teams still standing in the Miami Valley making it to the state semifinals.
Rams Coach Jeff Graham talks "Rap Diss Song" & reaching State

Let's start with Wayne.

    All-season Wayne has made it look easy scoring a multitude of points, usually having a "Running clock" by the third quarter because of the blowout rule in high school football which is a 35+ lead.

    Last week in the regional finals vs Hilliard Davidson there were all the signs of a upset: Frigid weather, raining off and on, a gusty wind, a tough Defense and a well coached team in Hillard who runs, runs, and yes, runs the ball. As  a matter of fact, Hilliard hadn't passed the ball the last 2 games prior to playing Wayne.
    Hillard shut down the Wayne Train in the first half (3-3 halftime score) and the game had the look of a low score, grind it out affair that it would take to win, which Wayne hadn't won all year.
    Considering that Wayne had cruised to every victory in the 2nd half, this was their first Real Test of the playoffs.
  In the 2nd half they outscored Hillard with 2 big TDs, shut down the Hillard squad completely with their D, and gutted out a 20-6 win in front of almost  7,000 fans at Welcome Stadium.

   Now while the Wayne faithful didn't quite like the way they won that game, they might wanna get used to it if they plan to hoist a State Championship and complete the most dynamic season in Wayne history.
   The pretty wins are probably over, as only 4 teams remain, and Wayne, despite being ranked #5 in the Country by USA Today, are only ranked 3rd in the State, and will face the #1 seeded team this week in Cincy Colerain  who dismantled Elder last week 41-11.

   After seeing what Wayne was able to do on Saturday night, it shows that they are far beyond the "Flashiness and Style Points" that have been affiliated with them. And that their "D" can stand up and be dominant when it needs to be.

   Daryl McCleskey Jr. scored late in the 3rd, Fred Pitts scored in the 4th, and the D locked down for the W.
   Can the Wayne Train continue to steamroll to its 2nd consecutive State Championship game?

Rams continue to ride hot player, dispatch of Wapakoneta

Rams Coach Jeff Graham talks "Rap Diss Song" & reaching State

   Last year Wapakoneta lost to the Rams in the Regional finals which Trotwood won in 4 OTs; so when Wapak saw that Messiah DeWeaver had transferred, they felt like they could - & would beat the Rams. The my even had a "diss song" rapping & talking about it.
   However they had no clue how to stop the new "Star Player" in Raveion Hargrove, which they had no answer for.
  Hargrove ran up, down around, and through the Redskins for 320+ yards, 3TDs and took the liberty of dominating from the opening drive after Wapakoneta fumbled on its opening 2 drives.
  The Rams seized control and sensing the nervousness of the Redskins, took control with their aggressive D & running game.
  In speaking with  head coach Jeff Graham, he laughed off the supposed, "Rap Song" that Wapakoneta made and said that his boys heard about it, but was focused on the task at hand, while having a laugh or two in the process.
  Wapakoneta has been undefeated the last two years and the only opponent to stop them?

   The irony Is that Trotwood will now have to face a team who has had their number recently in  Toledo Central Catholic, who won in OT, and will be looking to get back to the State Championship as well.
  Can Trotwood erase the demons of Toledo Central Catholic and get one step away from another Championship game?
  We like the Rams chances and their mentals right now,  and don't expect a rap song about Toledo Central Catholic anytime soon from the Rams.
 We'll just assume they just want to get the job done and in the words of the infamous Jay Z and Swizz Beatz from  the hit song,
"On to the next, On on to the next"



Saturday, November 21, 2015

Wayne Train takes highest ranking ever into Regional Final tnite

After watching the Wayne Train steamroll every opponent they play this season, we watch their rankings go up, up, up in the process. Now the Warriors take the Regional Final stage as the #5 ranked team in the country according to USA Today.
DeWeaver headed to All-American Game

Tonight  they will battle Hilliard Davidson (12-1)  who won last week 17 - 10  over Upper Arlington. Hilliard has been dominant as well minus the 1 setback this season.

   Wayne, who just recently had its prized QB Messiah DeWeaver win a spot on the All-America team, will look to continue its winning ways, en route to maybe the most successful season in the history of the School.

   Initially the game was to be held in Columbus area, but it was switched to Welcome Stadium,  as it should, since everyone feels the Warriors are #1 or #2 in the state overall, depending on who u ask.
  On a wet night, look for the games O and Defensive lines to have a major impact; Also expect to see a lot of the running game for Wayne.
   While the WayneTrain passing game is unparalleled, the running game is underrated.
    After seeing what the Warriors have done to everyone else, along with city field advantage?

  Wayne Train gets back to state, 33- 24.



Friday, November 20, 2015

Rams find themselves in familiar position tonight vs Wapakoneta

    When we spoke with former NFL  player, now Trotwood Rams head coach Jeff Graham  before the season started, he felt like he had a team loaded with talent and ability, and if he could just get them to listen and not worry about their lack of experience,  they could go deep in the playoffs.

Can Soph sensation Raveion Hargrove lead Rams to State?

     Well, the Rams (9-3)  find themselves one win away from another State berth, as they will head to Lima to face unbeaten Wapakoneta, (12-0) who look to continue their magical season as well.

    Wapak squeaked out a win vs Mt. Healthy 12-7 last week while Trotwood handed it to Tippecanoe.

    Although Wapak is undefeated, they definitely have not faced a team like Trotwood this season.

    After hearing sources say that Belmont was having  their way with the Redskins D before the Davion Lankford injury in Playoff Week 1,  only has to please All-American worthy RB Raveion Hargrove,  who along with a great offensive line, has been nothing short of spectacular. With a healthy Hargrove, the Rams have blown every team out lately.

  While the Rams won't blow out Wapak, they do have a seasoned staff, great play callers and execute properly, and a ability to rise up in key games.
  Not to mention that this will be the 7th straight time the Rams have completed in this round, an amazing Stat to say the least.

 We're taking the Rams by a score of 30-21. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Dunbar grad set to make Ohio State debut today

Former Dunbar All-State PG A.J. Harris will make his college debut today (Noon)  @ Ohio State as the Buckeyes host their season opener.

Harris ready to lead the Buckeyes

  Harris, who led the Dunbar Wolverines to two state appearances (winning one) will now set his sights on a NCAA Championship.
   With a plethora of new faces, Harris fits in nicely with the Buckeyes, who will use him as the floor general.
  Head Coach Thad Matta has been pleased with Harris leadership and ability to adapt and looks forward to using his cat-like quickness, intelligent play, and electrifying speed to change the pace.
   Matta also is looking for Harris to keep the game flowing in the right direction for the Buckeyes, who are loaded with talent.
  After watching what Harris did for Dunbar, you can't help what to wonder what he will do at O State.

   Harris is the first player to play for Ohio State since Daequan Cook, who played with Mike Conley and big Greg Oden.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Can Alter get revenge tonight? Who wins epic Boro - Wayne Train battle?

As the 2nd round of playoff games on tap tonight there are very intriguing matchups as we start to see who are the State Championship contenders from the teams who had good seasons but just not good enough.
Here's some key playoff matchups

(3) Trotwood    vs   (2)  Tippecanoe
    @ Wayne HS
Tipp rolled over Piqua last week, and now faces Trotwood, who also had a big W last week vs Celina.
There are reports that the Tippecanoe fan base was chanting "We want Trotwood";
Maybe they were feeling good after whipping the team the Rams took their last L to - at home.
 Maybe they feel like their high powered offense will be too much for the young Rams.
 1111 they like their experience.  They have a good squad, and have wrecked lots of dreams this season.
  However with a healthy Raveion Hargrove we think the Rams will find a way to win.
  They looked their best when in the pressure moments, and Tippecanoe won't be able to withstand the pressure of the Rams running game.
 Rams win 32-24.

Alter     vs    Fenwick (1)  -  Fenwick  has had a incredible season & will look to do what very few teams have done in their history, which is beat Alter twice in a season.
Fenwick shut them down earlier this season in mid-season.
 But this ain't mid-season, and as we all know in Southwest Ohio, the Knights are a machine when it comes to playoff time.
  Alter squeaked by last week, but I think Fenwick will do the rarely impossible;  win twice vs Alter in a season.
   Fenwick defeats Alter 28-27.

Can Brookville get it donight?
The Blue Devils, one of the top teams in the state, will take on Greenvillle tonight. Brookville has been nothing short of dominant.  Can they keep it up?
Greenville has been playing it's best ball of late.
We're taking the Blue Devils 37-24.

Wayne vs  Springboro
 in a matchup of two GWOC powerhouses, can Springboro pull off the major upset?
Wayne has been nothing short of dominant this season, and will have their heels clicking as they get ready for another showdown, which seems like they're playing in every week. With so many weapons can the Panthers slow down the Wayne train?  Qiarterback Elijah Cunningham is a very good weapon and has had a great season but can he win the biggest game of his career?
We don't think so.
 We have Wayne prevailing 37 - 20.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Wayne rolls over Reynoldsburg; Trotwood pounds Celina; Belmont star falls, GWOC results

With the 1st round of playoffs jumpin off last weekend, here's our top Headlines for Week 1 of the OHSAA football playoffs in Southwest Ohio:
Matt Wilcox moving up national radar

Wayne Train starts slow, finishes fast 
  This season, the Wayne Train has scored 14 or more in every 1st quarter this season. So when it was 7-7 early into the 2nd quarter in week 1 in the Playoffs, there was some whispers about, Could Reynoldsburg pull off the upset?

No Chance.

Wayne (11-0)  went on to outscore Reynoldsburg (7-4)  49-10 in less than 3 quarters as the Warriors cruised 56-17 at Heidkamp Stadium Saturday night.

  Michigan St. Starting QB in-waiting Messiah DeWeaver threw 4 TD'S and showed why Spartans fans are already waiting on his arrival via Twitter.

    3 of those TDs were caught by 6'7 Super Soph L'Christian "Blue" Smith, who is rising up the National Hype Train faster than any kid in Ohio High School since LeBron James. He has caught the eye of the Ohio State Buckeyes already. The other TD was snatched by dynamic WR Matt Wilcox Jr, who is coveted by the entire MAC conference,  and now some bigger D-1s are showing interest.

   The D was rock solid after the first score, and the 12th man was in full effect, with tailgating and fandom like no other for High School Football.

Up next for the Wayne Train?
The Boro'  @ (Centerville HS) in a GWOC showdown.

Trotwood routs Celina behind Hargrove

Celina came out and battled early,  but once Trotwood shook off the jitters and adjusted, it was no turning back. Celina had some early opportunities to change the flow of the game,  but when they didn't take advantage of a couple of turnovers like they should have?
     Trotwood Star RB Ravieon Hargrove ran for multiple TDs and the Rams cruised in the second half to a easy victory.
   Celina cut the lead to 4 early in the 3rd quarter, but never got closer than that after a 18- yard Hargrove TD midway through the 3rd Quarter.
   The Rams D tightened up and shut down Celina while the Rams scored the last 26 points of the game.

Belmont falls to Wapakoneta as star injured

The Bison, finally in the playoffs after 37 years, started out the game fast @ Wapakoneta,  and did whatever they wanted for most of the 1st quarter. But Star RB Davion Lankford suffered a concussion on a run late in the quarter, and the tide turned from there, as Wapakoneta coach even admitted himself.

    Lankford had broken runs of 50+ and 40+ before the injury.  He looked completely unstoppable.
   Some felt Wapakoneta played a little too physical, almost dirty, as multiple Belmont players went down during the game.

   Belmont was ahead 14-7 before Wapak took control and outscored them 37- 8 for the rest of the game, going on a 30-0 run during the game.

Belmont had their best season in 37 years & the coaches feel like they will be back next season. Elijah Malcolm scored two TDs for the Bison. Belmont fought hard but was a little undermanned and now understands what playoff football is all about.

Great season nevertheless for the Belmont Bison.

The Boro' avenges loss @ Mason, 42-21; faces Wayne next

 Springboro pulled off a huge win @ Mason to move to the next round. Mason defeated Springboro earlier in the season, and that actually played into the Panthers advantage.
Elijah Cunningham threw for 4 TDs, was razor sharp, & In control for most of the game as the Boro got some get back, @ Mason to ice the cake.
Now can they do that to a Wayne team who will be playing at its highest level ever?
Well find out this weekend.

Miamisburg loses in epic finale to Lima Sr 44-42

The Burg had been no stranger to late game heriocs, and it looked as if we'd see another one from the Vikings. But Lima Sr. stuffed the Burg' on the 2-pt conversion and Lima Sr. wind a wild one 44-42 in the last game at Harmon Field.

With maybe the greatest single game rushing performance in Miamisburg history on display with
Sophomore Tony Clark.
   Clark ran a whopping 53 times for 249 and was - in one word - amazing.
    But not quite amazing enough to get through the Lima D Line, that made the play,  one of the few on Clark.

Coach Steve Channell knows that one will be a tough one to forget, but loved the effort and season his boys pulled off.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Wayne Train set to debut tnite vs Reynoldsburg (7pm)

After seeing how the GWOC fared last night, it's time for the main event as the Wayne Warriors look to battle Reynoldsburg (7-3) at Heidkamp Stadium tonight (7pm).

Will the Wayne Train unleash on Reynoldsburg?

  The Warriors have been ranked in the USA Today and National Top 25 polls all season, ranking as high as 8th Nationally.

But tonight they will be tested by a sound  Reynoldsburg squad who has nothing to lose.
 They know winning this game could result in legendary status.
And on top of that, they have been in playoff mode for weeks.

However,  the Wayne Train playing in front of its ruckus fans who will generate a 12th man like few places can.

Then there's the team.
With D-1 talent littered all over both sides of the ball, this squad looks focused like no other.

Coach Jay Minton has done a great job of keeping the team hungry, and I'm sure they will be ready tonight.
Could this be the start of the most celebrated Wayne run towards HS Football history?

We think so.

Expect a Wayne win 37-14.

Friday, November 6, 2015

GWOC set to jump off tnite with Trotwood, Miamisburg, Piqua, Springboro, Vandailia Butler in action

After the GWOC football teams beat up on each other this season, 6 teams made the playoffs.
 5 will play tonight, with the marquee team playing tomorrow night - Wayne of course.
But to have 6 teams in the playoffs out of one division? It is a major accomplishment to say the least.

Let's take a look at the matchups for tonight and see who has the best chance moving on to the next round.

D-1   (11)  Springboro @  (6) Mason
The Boro' ended the season with a nice win over Lebanon as dual threat Elijah Cunningham threw 3 TD'S and ran for one. Mason has had a banner year, and has been playing top notch the last few weeks.
We're taking the Boro' in a minor upset 27-25.

D-2  (5) Lima Senior  @  (4) Miamisburg  (7pm)
Lima Senior, powered by a balanced attack (200 rushing and passing a game) lost its last game to Central Catholic by blowing a 20 -Point lead, while Miamisburg dismantled West Carrollton. Miamisburg has been playing lights out, but has surrendered big leads as well. But this being the last game ever in Harmon field, and the fact that Lima Senior barely escaped Piqua with a OT win leads us to belive the Burg' will move on to the next round by a score of 26-17.

D-2  (8) Vandalia Butler  @  (1) Cincinnati LaSalle
  while Butler lost his last game at Trotwood by a wide margin, they still had a very good year, and didn't really hurt themselves too bad in the loss. unfortunately, with the loss they will play one of the highest ranked teams in the state. The cell is loaded, and will look to use the home field advantage and their great play of late.
We're taking LaSalle by a score of 31-22.

D-3 (7) Piqua  @  (2) Tippecanoe   (7pm)
 Piqua is coming into the tourney feelin real good about themselves after a 2 big weeks with wins over Trotwood and rival Troy to squeeze into the playoffs.
However Tipp has been lights out lately dominating a tough Stebbins and shutting out Kenton Ridge 40-0.
We think that Piqua will get the upset, as they seemingly have found their rhythm. If Tipps-Clemons gets rolling, watch out.
 Piqua wins 31-28 in OT

D-3   (6) Celina   @  (3)  Trotwood Madison
With Celina coming in playing good football, this will be a real test for Trotwod, who slumped late in the season.
When I spoke with Coach Jeff Graham earlier in the season, he felt like his team was young,  but would be OK with seasoning.
After giving a beatdown last week to D2 Butler 57-35, it's safe to say they're ready.
Ravieon Hargrove, the next superstar HS player from Trotwood, ran for almost 400 yards last week.
   With a healthy Hargrove, it takes pressure off the entire team to produce.
Look for the Rams to produce a similar score if things go right.
We're taking the Rams 28-18.

  Last week prediction record 3-2

Can Belmont get a playoff win after a 37 year wait? Lankford Player of the Year

With all the excitement surrounding the Belmont Bison these days, one can't help to wonder...

Could the Bison actually beat the #1 seed in the Region?
   Wapakoneta is undefeated and ranked in the state.
"Wapak" as they are nicknamed, don't make mistakes. They are well coached. Living out in the "sticks" or the "fields" as they like to call the country, they welcome you with open arms...
Then they work on destroying you.
They are big on the O line. Both lines, for that matter.  They can run and pass well.
You don't get to 10-0 by not being very good.

Question is, have they seen a team like Belmont?

 Belmont, by all accounts, has taken what has been the "History of Belmont" in the last 2 years & put it to bed.
  Behind the leadership of Earl White and SWOPL Player of the Year Davion Lankford, the Bison have  came out of nowhere. And make no mistake, it's not just Lankford.
  With a trio of runners, Belmont have plenty of firepower. But in the playoffs, it's all about adjustments.
And with a coach who has reached the State Finals, it's safe to say Coach White will try to adjust on the fly to what he sees.
   With huge playoff wins over Alter and other big programs, it has put White into elite coaching company.

Can the Bison get the ball in space and play through the conditions? Can they not make silly mistakes and stay with the plan?

Lets just be honest here.

Last week, in a playoff type game vs Dunbar and coming off a bye week, Belmont came out flat, fumbled all night and we're flattened by the Wolverines. It was a game that looked bad from the start.
  But while Dunbar is one of the most talented teams in Southwest Ohio, Belmont played like the "Old Belmont".

   And while their incredible season merits them in the playoffs, they must prove that tonight. (7pm)

  Now with a chance to prove they belong, can they go into a hostile territory, make their mark, & re-write history again?
  Don't be surprised if they do.
They don't care about history. They want to make it.
And after talking with Coach Dewberry, they will be ready to go.

Lankford grabs Player of the Year in the SWOPL  

Davion Lankford    
Won Southwest Ohio Public League Player of the Year earlier this week.

Lankford Player of Year in SWOPL

  Lankford, a senior RB-DB, tallied up over 1600 yards and had 23 TDs as he led the Bison to their first City League title and playoff berth in 37 years.

Lankford was the first ever Dayton High School Sports Athlete of the Week last year.

With his speed, agility, added strength, ability to make defenders miss and his explosion once he sees daylight?

Has the D-1 coaches salivating.

But it has been his maturity off the field that has gotten him to this point.
Lankford did what most young kids in Dayton do, when they don't quite understand what sports can actually do for someone's life.
Once Lankford realized this, it was game over.
Starting hitting the books harder, working harder than he ever had.

With responsibilities that far outweigh his on-the-field duties, Lankford has had to grow up fast.
And to his respect, he has grown up. Has matured. To be the leader of a program that has taken almost 4 decades of losing and change it?

That's maturing my friends.
Hard to not root for the young man.

Lankford will make his decision on college after the season.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Wayne clobbers Centerville, Hargrove runs wild; City League teams dominate

Wayne Train dismantles Elks, prep for playoffs
    Wayne did what they did every week, all season to Centerville on Friday night.
And, unfortunately for the Elks, it was over from the jump.
Can anyone stop this Train? (Courtesy of ImageJock)

   Daryl McCleskey scored 3 TDS to lead the Warriors to a 56-17 drubbing of Centerville to  become the third team to go undefeated in Wayne history, winning the GWOC Central, and receiving a  first-round home game in D-1 region 2.

   For the Elks (6-4)? Their luck just ran out. They have had more escapes than Harry Houdini this season, but there was no escaping the Train.

Wayne ends up ranked 2nd in the state and 11th in the country. For now.
This team is as loaded as a High school team that you can possibly have. Almost looks like a mid-major college team. Right now.

Up next for Wayne:
1st round playoff home game  vs Reynoldsburg

Rams Hargrove goes beserk, sends statement
   After a fast start to the season,  Trotwood hit a rough patch late in the season, losing 3 of 4 games. While their playoff hopes never wavered, the question is, can they do damage in the playoffs, or will it be a one and done season?

After a record breaking day by sophomore sensation Raveion Hargtove, it's safe to say the Ram a look ready for the playoffs.
Ram Nation ready for playoffs

 Trotwood took care of Vandalia Butler 57 - 35 as  the office racked up 600 yards. Hargrove had runs of 98 and 80 yards in the first half. He racked up 341 yards In the first half alone.
    Rams Coach Jeff Graham called Hargrove " A Special Player" & feels good putting the ball in his star RB hands.
   Hargrove ended up just 65 yards short of 2K (1,935), and led the GWOC in rushing.

  Butler, who also was 7-3 & won the division for the first time since 02',  also made the playoffs and will play Lasalle.  QB Chandler Craine threw 4 TD passes, but it wasn't enough.

Trotwood will host a playoff game, while Butler will travel.

 Dunbar stymies Belmont in City League battle
 despite not being able to make the playoffs, Dunbar came out with playoff intensity and took it to Belmont defeating the Bison. After a 12-6 lead midway in the 3rd, Dunbar scored on its next three possesions, with the help of two turnovers from Belmont helping the run.
   Dunbar was led by dynamic WR- Slot -RB Keyshawn Jones, who felt confident his squad could get the W. Dunbar ends season at 5-5 while Belmont falls to 7-2.

Belmont still was able to get into playoffs, as they will travel to Wapakoneta to face the #1 squad in their division.

 Miamisburg cruises past West Carrollton, earns playoff berth
 Miamisburg took care of West Carrollton 48 - 6 and will be headed to the playoffs for the first time in a long time. the Vikings one the GWOC South title in the process.

The Creek'  runs all over Fairmont to get to 7-3
 The Creek's rushing attack had 3 guys with 100 yards each with with Tim BradShaw (162), Jarrett Thomas (122), & Stone Kincer (118). Beavercreek ends season with a 7-3 record and hope for next season.

Ponitz, Meadowdale, Thurgood all win
All the city league squads, save for Belmont, won this week.
   Ponitz defeated College Prep 18 - 8, as they displayed great effort on D.  On top of that the Panthers won their last three games, to give the coaches hope that next year could be a bigger turnaround. Ponitz finishes at 4-6.

    Thurgood defeats Schroeder,  gets to .500
After a slow start to the season, Thurgood won 4 of its last 6 games to get to 5-5 after a big win over Schroeder. Thurgood was led by two way star  Tommie Richardson.

Meadowdale trounces Western Hills.
  Meadowdale put up 51 on Western Hills as they cruised to a 51-23 win on Saturday night.
The offense was hitting on all cylinders and Meadowdale finishes season 4-6 after a couple games were forfeited for a couple players being academically ineligible.