Scout $ - Conley To Visit Ohio State For The Game
- By The Bank.....Confirms that he's visiting for The Game. Plans on taking an official to Oregon, where he was told he'd receive an offer, and also to Ohio State. Respects the Michigan staff, but has to do what he has to do. Focused on the playoffs for the next four weeks and then will turn his attention to recruiting.
Scout $ - Thompson Looking for State Title
- By The Bank.....Recaps the 42-14 win over Avon in the playoffs. Will take an official to Ohio State on December 7th and says a lot of the other commits will be there, as well as other big time prospects. Has been working on recruiting James Quick & Thaddeus Snodgrass.
LADUE -- On the eve of the biggest, and final, game of his remarkable high school career, John Burroughs senior football star Ezekiel Elliott has just a few hours left to lament the two goals he set for himself going into this season.
"Zeke," as he's called by friends, family, and teammates, desperately wants to break the the St. Louis area single-season touchdown record, which currently stands at 54.
"I just want that record," said Elliott, who has 47 touchdowns this season, after scoring three times in the JBS' 28-6 win over Monett (MO) in the state semifinals last Saturday. "I still think I can get it."
But what Elliott and all his Bomber teammates want a hundred times more -- perhaps a thousand times more -- is to finally win that state championship they've been so heart-breakingly close to, but weren't able to get the last two years.
"We've got some unfinished business," said Elliott. "The whole team knows it. We've been talking about it all summer. It's our motto. We have some unfinished business to attend to. And we're not gonna stop until we take care of it."
The Bombers will get their chance to reconcile that business on Friday, when they'll kick off Show-Me Bowl weekend with a 1 p.m. matchup at the Edward Jones Dome against Maryville (MO), for the MSHSAA Class 3 state title.
On this Thanksgiving day though, Elliott and his teammates can enjoy yet another honor for the future Ohio State University star, as he has been unanimously named the 2012 Fall Sports Male Patch MVP of the Year.
And along with the Metro League Player of the Year award he won over the weekend, Elliott is probably just beginning to collect all the 'PoY' hardware he's earned this season.
"He's a tremendous kid and great ballplayer," said Burroughs head coach Gus Frerotte, after another three-touchdown day by Elliott carried the Bombers to a win over Monett. "He deserves all that's coming to him. I told him that we were going to lean on him, and he's been there every time."
Going into his final game, Elliott leads the area in touchdowns (47) and all-purpose yards (2,638), and ranks fifth overall in rushing (1,935).
He needs just 65 yards, to go over 2,000 for the season, and with three touchdowns, Elliott would become one of only a handful of Missouri players ever to top 50 in one season.
And if he just hit his normal yards per game rushing average of 148.8, Elliott would move into third place on the single-season rushing list, which win or lose on Friday, would just about lock up every local and statewide Player of the Year award there is to be had.
But all of that comes Friday and beyond, today is just our honor to call John Burroughs football phenom Ezekiel Elliott, the 2012 Fall Sports Male Patch MVP of the Year.
Mogadore football coach Matt Adorni said he is going to hold out halfback Brandon Berry from Friday's state semifinal against Newark Catholic.
Berry, who has rushed for 942 yards and 13 touchdowns, suffered what was believed to be a broken foot in last week's victory over Youngstown Christian. X-rays revealed no break but the foot is still sore.
"Brandon plays basketball and runs track in the spring and there was no sense in risking further injury," said Adorni. "We will miss him, for sure, but his health comes first."
On a brighter note, the Wildcats welcome back receiver Jake Cramer, who missed the last game with a concussion.
Crossing paths: Aurora head coach Bob Mihalik and Toledo Central Catholic defensive coordinator Nick Toth have something in common.
Both were finalists for the Eastlake North head coaching job in 1997. Toth got the job, which he held for 10 years.
Mihalik, a North graduate, was Lakewood's offensive coordinator at the time, a job he kept until Aurora named him head coach in 2001.
"I look back, and sometimes things happen for a reason," Mihalik said.
Sympathies: Toth, a Strongsville resident, said his heart goes out to Aurora while it continues to mourn sophomore lineman Paulie McGhee, who died last year on Thanksgiving Day in a car accident. Toth lost a player during his tenure at North. Jeff Neumann drowned a few weeks before the 2007 season.
"I don't think you ever get over it," Toth said. "There's not a long period of time where the Neumann family is not in my heart, and my mind, and my prayers."
OSU recruit: Central Catholic safety back Jayme Thompson (6-2, 190) is one of several recruits Ohio State coach Urban Meyer convinced to change his oral commitment. Thompson initially said he would sign with West Virginia, then switched to Ohio State in April.
"Jayme will hit you and runs real well," Toth said. "We move him around in a lot of places. The popular word for him is 'hybrid.' He can cover and be a linebacker type."
Rated a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, Thompson is expected to play safety at OSU.
Ranked road: With playoff wins over No. 1-ranked St. Edward and No. 4 St. Ignatius, No. 7 Mentor is the only team in any division to knock off two top-five teams in the Associated Press state poll. The Cardinals play No. 3 Toledo Whitmer on Saturday.
Payback: Kirtland has won 28 in a row and 45 of its last 46, and no win other than last year's state final felt better to the Hornets than last week's 38-37 triumph against Youngstown Ursuline.
Kirtland came back from a 24-0 deficit and made four two-point conversions, then stopped Ursuline's potential winning two-point attempt.
Ursuline ended Kirtland's unbeaten 2008 and 2010 seasons in regional finals, but they did not meet last year because Ursuline did not make the playoffs.
"Last year, they said we won [the state title] because Ursuline wasn't in it," Kirtland coach Tiger LaVerde said. "They [Kirtland players] have been looking forward to that game for two years."
The pipeline: The talent flow at Kirtland appears set to continue. Last week, a pair of sophomores played significant roles.
Tailback Adam Hess rushed for 99 yards and scored three touchdowns and two two-point conversions.
Linebacker Matthew Finkler had a team-high 21 tackles, which was key to shutting down Ursuline's run in the second half. Finkler (6-4, 215) also plays tight end. He has just nine receptions this season, but five were for touchdowns, and he is averaging a team-best 18.8 yards per catch.
"He was incredible getting 21 tackles against Ursuline," LaVerde said. "He's also a very, very good blocker at tight end."
Sam's the man: Versatile senior Sam Kukura made two big catches in Kirtland's comeback, a 39-yarder on its first touchdown drive and a 45-yard TD. Kukura, the son of former North coach Dan Kukura, also plays linebacker and returns kicks and punts.
"He's a good athlete. He can pay multiple positions and he's one of those kids who just loves the game," LaVerde said. "As a linebacker in coverage, he's one of our best man-to-man guys and he's great in the box against the run."
Mentor lineup news: Mentor junior receiver Matt Schaffer missed last week's game with a concussion and coach Steve Trivisonno was uncertain if Schaffer will be available Saturday.
Sophomore Eddie Daugherty (5-5, 150) started against St. Ignatius and caught two passes, one for 12 yards and one for 46, and he ran four times for 12 yards.
Quotable: Massillon coach Jason Hall on Mentor's key to beating Toledo Whitmer: "Stopping the run. If you stop their run you stop Whitmer."
Whitmer, which defeated Massillon last week, is averaging 268 yards rushing per game and 6.8 yards per attempt.
Unkind: Greater Cleveland has not been kind to Toledo Central Catholic in the playoffs. The Irish lost to Avon last year and Maple Heights the previous two years. All three games were in the first two rounds.
Record-setter: When St. Vincent-St. Mary's Jordan Hargrove caught five passes in a recent playoff victory over Hubbard he became the school's record holder for receptions in a single season at 57.
The old record belonged to LeBron James. Hargrove has since added to his total and enters Saturday's playoff game against Dover with 66 receptions.
A public matter: Over the past five seasons the Chagrin Falls football program has posted a 60-10 record, twice finished as a state runner-up and reached the state semifinals one other time. Six of those losses were to private schools.
Thanks4Giving game: Celebrating a Thanksgiving tradition that began in 1942 but had a lengthy interruption, the third annual FBC Thanks4Giving Summit County All-Star game will be held Thursday at St. Vincent-St. Mary's Green Street Stadium at 11 a.m.
The game features some of the top seniors in Summit County. The teams are divided into East and West, with Stow's Mark Nori coaching the East and Cuyahoga Falls' Mike Miller coaching the West. Admission is $5 and one canned food item. All proceeds will be donated to The Akron-Canton Food Bank.
Mentor food bank drive at today's practice: Mentor invites fans to bring food donations to Thursday's holiday practice to benefit the Lake County Food Bank. The Cardinals will practice from 8:30-10 a.m. at the high school s they prepare for Saturday's state semifinal.
State stuff: Kirtland is among the reigning state champions still playing. The others: Trotwood-Madison (Division II), Creston Norwayne (Division IV) and Maria Stein Marion Local (Division VI) ... Marion Local and Coldwater (Division V) are both members of the Midwest Athletic Conference and have an opportunity to extend the MAC's streak of having a team in the state championship game to 10 consecutive years. MAC teams have won 11 state titles in that span and 26 overall ... Newark Catholic, which faces Mogadore in a Division VI state semifinal on Friday, has made more playoff appearances and has more playoff wins than any school in the state. The school is in the playoffs for the 32nd time and has 66 wins. Mogadore is fourth in appearances with 26 and tied for fourth with 49 wins. St. Ignatius is tied for seventh with 24 appearances and is second with 63 victories. The Wildcats also have the third-best winning percentage in playoff games with a 63-13 record (83%) and have won the most titles (11) ... Ironton owns the distinction of having the most runner-up finishes, losing six state title games.
Under center and on the sidelines, Whitmer's Nick Holley and head coach Jerry Bell have helped guide the Panthers to a perfect season thus far. Ahead of their state semifinal game this week, the two earned respective honors as player and coach of the year in the 2012 All-Blade Football Team.
On the cover of The Blade’s 2012 high school football season preview section, four talented returning quarterbacks from the Three Rivers Athletic Conference were posed in front of an airplane with the headline “Air Attack.”
Whitmer senior Nick Holley was not in that picture.
But, as the season enters its 14th weekend with state playoff semifinals on tap, the Panthers’ quarterback has flown higher and is more worthy of a solo cover shot than any area player.
Jerry Bell was just shy of his 16th birthday as a sophomore football player at Whitmer High School in 1988 when he first formulated his dream career.
Bell, who was a senior two-way starter for the Panthers two years later, made it a goal that sophomore year to one day become a teacher and Whitmer's head football coach.
The first part of that goal was reached shortly after he graduated from the University of Toledo, and these days Bell is a social studies teacher at Jefferson Junior High, one of Whitmer's two feeder schools.
Meet the rest of the All-Blade Team
Linebackers! Ohio State needs them and the South has ‘em.
After debating fellow Ozone writer Brandon Castel on the issue of linebackers, I have come around to the conclusion that I was wrong and Ohio State is in desperate need of some talented linebacker commits.
The coaches seem to think so too, and they have been recruiting LBs hard as of late. One linebacker they are going after is Georgia prospect Trey Johnson. A current commit to Auburn, Johnson seems concerned about Gene Chizik’s status as head coach at Auburn and is currently looking around.
Urban Meyer and Luke Fickell seem hot on Johnson’s trail and have hopes that they can flip this SEC commit to the B1G. Some believe that Ohio State is the team to beat, while others think OSU is in a battle with Florida. But what does Johnson think? He took time to update the-Ozone and makes an official visit to Ohio State this weekend.