Halloween is Wednesday, but I’ll give you something that is far scarier…the following day…as in the month of November.
Those ubiquitous political ads will reach a crescendo, only to yield to far more ubiquitous ads for the holidays. The weather will take a turn for the worse, although we might even have some snow before the end of October.
It also means playoffs for high school football. Ten short weeks ago, during the sweltering heat of August, the regular season began.
Next week, only 192 teams in the entire state, spread out over six divisions, will still have games to play. The first week in December, just six will finish the year on a high note, as state champions.
As the regular season concludes, let’s pay tribute to the final week with our “First and 10 Honor Roll”.
Two teams saw their dreams of an undefeated season come to an end. Upper Arlington shocked Dublin Coffman 23-14 on the road, the knock the ‘Rocks off. The Golden Bears won’t make the playoffs, but they’ll carry momentum over into the 2013 season following this win. Gus Ackley again led the way for UA, rushing for 204 yards and two scores.
It was a similar story in Grove City, as the Greyhounds upset Pickerington North, sending the Panthers to a 9-1 finish. Grove City will also hope to capitalize on this win next season, as the program continues to rebound from its one-year hiatus in 2009. Pick North could have won, but a converted field goal with time running out was negated by a penalty. The following attempt failed.
Meanwhile, Pickerington Central kept its playoff streak alive (now at 7 years) with a 28-23 win at Gahanna, to also share the OCC Ohio Division title (thanks to Grove City’s win over Pickerington North).
No one is paying any attention to Hilliard Davidson, and that’s just how head coach Brian White likes it. The Wildcats earned a share of the OCC Central with a 14-7 win over Marysville, and earned a playoff spot, likely playing at rival Dublin Coffman next Saturday.
Another team flying under the radar is Olentangy, which finished 9-1 following a 42-10 win over Delaware. The Braves will host a playoff game next week.
New Albany bounced back from a pair of losses to start the season to win eight straight, and clinch a fourth consecutive OCC Capital title. The Eagles also soared into the Division II playoffs once again.
For the first time since 2003, Dublin Scioto will make the playoffs following a victory in the Battle of Hard Road over Worthington Kilbourne (24-7).
The Hawks of Hartley keep rolling, with a 42-8 win over rival Ready. Once again, the duo of Ja’Wuan Woodley (21 rushes for 208 yards, 2 TD) and Marcellus Calhoun (19 carries, 154 yards, 2 TD) led the way.
Licking Heights also completed a 10-0 campaign, and the Mid-State League Cardinal title with a 53-0 shutout of Fairfield Union.
While we’re on teams with undefeated regular seasons, Hilliard Darby did the trick as well, defeated cross-town rival Hilliard Bradley 42-0.
Tri-Valley did as well, with a 56-7 win over Philo. The Scotties finished as the top seed in Region 7.
With explosive offenses like Independence, Marion-Franklin, West and Walnut Ridge—not to mention some porous defenses—the City League South Division is no stranger to shootouts. We had one on Friday, as host Independence outlasted Walnut Ridge 47-41. Vincent Rambo racked up 177 yards on the ground in the win. He got some assistance from Naijae Manning, who chipped in 145 yards rushing.
Another case in point is the 69-0 blanking of Briggs, administered by West. Quran Stokes ran for 257 yards, and seven touchdowns for the Cowboys.
Licking Valley’s Drew McArtor carried a robust 38 times for 212 yards and five touchdowns in the Panthers 48-34 triumph over Heath.
Whitehall’s Barry Upchurch ran for 225 yards in the Rams 28-10 win over Bexley. Isaiah Turner added 100 yards, as the pair combined for four scores.
It was a bittersweet night for Westerville Central, as the Warhawks defeated Dublin Jerome in triple overtime for a 24-21 victory. However, Central fell just short of the playoffs, finishing ninth in Region 3. Donovan Wilson, who had had an outstanding season, deserves “honor roll” mention in the losing cause, carrying an astonishing 57 times for Jerome.
Olentangy Orange’s Mitch Hopkins converted a 24-yard field goal with just 17 seconds left in the game, the margin of victory in a 13-10 decision over Watkins Memorial.
So, that’s the 2012 high school football regular season. Bring on the playoffs!