MARYSVILLE – Early in the third quarter of Marysville High School’s season opener against Hilliard Bradley on Friday night, Gabe Powers went down on the sideline and stayed down for a couple of minutes before limping across the field.
Powers had cramped up in both calves, and he’d continue to battle those cramps for the rest of the night, but after missing just a few plays, the future Buckeye returned to the field and continued to play on both sides of the ball as the Marysville linebacker/running back helped lead the Monarchs to a 17-0 win over the Jaguars.
Although he hadn’t been feeling his best this week – Powers has also been battling allergies, which affected his breathing during Friday night’s game – he was thrilled to be back on the field with his teammates and even more happy to help them get a shutout victory in their first game of the year.
“It felt great to be out here with my brothers,” Powers told Eleven Warriors after the game. “We have a great coaching staff, put us in a great position. Our D-line did a phenomenal job … the secondary contained the receivers. So we got it done.”
Friday night’s game was Powers’ first game since he officially committed to Ohio State earlier this month, and the future Buckeye linebacker – now a five-star prospect ranked as the No. 31 overall prospect in the class of 2022 – said “it’s a big relief” to have his commitment behind him.
“Being able just to play high school football with my brothers, and know I’m going to the best team in the nation, it feels good,” Powers said.
Powers acknowledged, though, that “it’s really weird” to be playing football this fall while his future team just about 30 minutes southeast of Marysville is sidelined due to the Big Ten’s decision to postpone fall sports.
“Hopefully they get to play in November,” Powers said. “But Michigan will get a break for one year, before we have to beat them again.”
Powers had his ups and downs on offense in Friday’s season opener; he showed his athleticism and power on multiple stiff-arming runs while also often serving as a lead blocker in Marysville’s Wing-T offense, but he lost two fumbles. On defense, Hilliard Bradley rarely threw or ran the ball in his direction, but Powers still played a big role in the shutout as he spent much of the game lining up opposite the Jaguars’ top offensive threat, Wisconsin tight end Jack Pugh, who didn’t make any big plays in Friday’s game.
Gabe Powers (36) with the lead block. Marysville scored a touchdown on the next play to take a 17-0 fourth quarter lead. pic.twitter.com/GQB9k35E3w— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) August 29, 2020
Utilized as an outside linebacker/safety in Marysville’s defense, Powers relished the opportunity to match up with another future Big Ten player.
“I’m always competing, love to compete, so I want the best player on the field,” Powers said. “Pugh’s one of the best tight ends in the nation.”
With his Ohio State commitment behind him, Powers no longer has to worry about figuring out where he wants to go to college and can focus solely on his junior year at Marysville, where he says his goal is “just doing the best I can for this team and this program.”
That said, Powers is helping Ohio State with its efforts to add more top prospects to its recruiting class of 2022; right now, three players who Powers says he is working on trying to convince to join him in the class are Georgia tight end Bennett Christian (who’s set to announce his choice between Ohio State and Tennessee on Tuesday) and a pair of five-star Virginians, offensive tackle Zach Rice and linebacker Shawn Murphy.
Should Murphy eventually decide to become a Buckeye, Ohio State would have four linebacker commits who are all ranked among the top 71 prospects in the class of 2022, but that doesn’t bother Powers at all.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Powers said. “I’m looking forward to competing with my brothers, and whoever gets out there, just being with them, supporting them and bringing another national championship.”