Buckeye Pipelines puts the spotlight each week on a high school program who has had numerous and notable alumni go on to play for the Scarlet and Gray.
This week, we're going to deviate from the norm and take a look at two high schools that derived from Lakota High School: Lakota East and Lakota West. The three schools have combined to produce seven Ohio State football players since 1996.
Yes, seven players in 25 years does not necessarily elevate a program – and in this case programs – to pipeline status. However, Lakota East and Lakota West currently have four players committed to play for the Buckeyes in the 2022 and 2023 classes.
LOCATION: LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, OH
CONFERENCE: GREATER MIAMI
2021 RECORD: 7–4
5 PLAYOFF APPEARANCES
1 GREATER MIAMI TITLE
MADE PLAYOFFS IN THREE OF LAST FOUR YEARS
Notable Buckeyes from Lakota West
OL Steve Rehring (2004-2008)
Rehring played in the first three games of his freshman year, but missed the rest of the season after an illness that caused him to drop 30 pounds and spend time at the Ohio State Medical Center.
The offensive lineman recovered and made his first start against Penn State in 2005 as a redshirt freshman. Following the game against the Nittany Lions, Rehring started the rest of the games to close out the season. Rehring started every game of his sophomore year and entered the 2008 campaign with 23 starts for the Buckeyes.
Rehring started the first three games at left guard until an ankle injury sidelined him for battles against Troy, Minnesota and Wisconsin. When he returned to the starting lineup against Purdue, Rehring was slotted at right guard as Jim Cordle had proven his worth at left guard. Rehring finished the season starting at his new position.
At Lakota West, Rehring earned first-team All-Ohio honors as a senior and was named to the All-Southwest Ohio team as a junior.
LOCATION: WEST CHESTER, OH
CONFERENCE: GREATER MIAMI
2021 RECORD 11–2
8 PLAYOFF APPEARANCES
4 GREATER MIAMI TITLES
MADE PLAYOFFS IN THREE OF LAST FOUR YEARS
DE Solomon Thomas (2007-11)
Thomas finished his Ohio State career with 27 tackles and one interception. The lone interception proved pivotal as it came late in the game against Arkansas in the 2011 Sugar Bowl.
With the Buckeyes clinging to a 31-26 advantage over Arkansas, the Razorbacks were facing second down on Ohio State's 18-yard line with 1:09 remaining in the game. That was when Thomas dropped back in zone coverage and intercepted Ryan Mallett's pass to secure the Buckeyes' victory. It was the program's first bowl victory over an SEC opponent after losing the first nine.
Thomas missed the first six games of his senior season due to a broken leg in the spring game and a suspension. He finished the year with four tackles in six contests.
At Lakota West, Thomas was the first player in program history to be a captain as a junior and senior. He ended his senior year with 58 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and nine sacks. The fine performance earned Thomas All-Southwest Ohio honors. He was named to the all-conference team his junior year.
|POS||PLAYER||YEARS||OHIO STATE CAREER||HS CAREER|
|K||ANDY STAMP||1996-98||4/4 on extra points and was 1/2 on field goals, became the kickoff specialist when Mike Malfatt and Dan Stultz were injured, started his career as a walk-on.||Played for Lakota|
|QB||TATE JOHNSON||1997||On the 1997 roster.||Played for Lakota|
|DL||BRANDON MAUPIN||2003-04||Played in four games in the 2004 season, was not with the team for the 2004 Alamo Bowl due to academics, did not return for the 2005 season.||Lakota West, 1st team All-Southwest Ohio, led the team with 76 tackles.|
|OT||STEVE REHRING||2004-08||Enrolled in January of his senior year in high school, played in 35 games and had 23 starts entering his senior season.||Lakota West, All-Ohio as a senior, All-Southwest Ohio as a junior.|
|DE||SOLOMON THOMAS||2007-11||27 career tackles and 1 interception, the interception sealed the victory in the 2011 Sugar Bowl.||Lakota West, first West player to be a captain as a junior and senior, All-Southwest Ohio 58 tackles, 9 sacks and 13 TFL as a senior.|
|WR||JARED RILEY||2011||On the 2011 roster as a walk-on.||Lakota East, 1,300 all-purpose yards and 2nd team all-conference.|
|LB||JACKSON KUWATCH||2021-PRESENT||On the 2021 roster as a preferred walk-on.||Lakota West, All-Ohioan and the Southwest Ohio Defensive Player of the Year.|
|CB||JYAIRE BROWN||2022 CLASS||First member of the 2022 class when he committed in April of 2020.||Lakota West, played in Louisiana until moving to Ohio and earning All-Ohio honors during his two years at West.|
|OT||TEGRA TSHABOLA||2022 CLASS||On Nov. 2, 2019, Tshabola was the first person in the 2022 class to receive an offer from Ohio State.||Lakota West, 2x All-Ohioan|
|S||MALIK HARTFORD||2023 CLASS||Committed to Ohio State on April 6, 2022 and was the sixth player in the 2023 class.||Lakota West, 58 tackles and 2 INTs during his junior season.|
|OL||AUSTIN SIEREVELD||2023 CLASS||Committed on May 4, 2022 and was the tenth player in the 2023 class.||Lakota East, 2nd team All-Ohioan in 2021.|
More about Lakota East and Lakota West
Prior to 1997, students in the Lakota School District attended Lakota High School in West Chester. The school was built in 1959 and served students in grades 9-12 until Lakota East and Lakota West opened in 1997. The original Lakota High School has been used as a freshman building upon the opening of the new schools.
The Lakota School District, which is located between Cincinnati and Dayton, used the same construction plans when building Lakota East and Lakota West. To maintain a sense of continuity, both of the new schools inherited the history of the original Lakota High School. Therefore, East and West claim the four championships won by the Thunderbirds between 1983 and 1994.
Lakota East is home to over 2,500 students and the teams go by the name Thunderhawks, which is often shortened to Hawks. Since its inception in 1997, Lakota East has won two OHSAA championships. The baseball team won in 2011 and the girls' track and field team in 2019. The marching band, known as the Marching Thunderhawks has earned a Superior rating for 24 consecutive years at the OMEA State Marching Band Finals.
Lakota West also has over 2,500 students and the Firebird is the school's mascot. Since 1997, West has won six OHSAA state championships. Girls' soccer has a school-high two titles and girls' basketball, boys' cross country, boys' golf and baseball have each earned one championship.
The Firebirds and Thunderhawks are both members of the Greater Miami Conference and compete in Division 1, Region 4. Lakota West was 8–1 in the regular season last year, won the GMC for the second straight season and qualified for the playoffs for the third time in four years.
Lakota East finished the 2021 regular season with a 7–3 record and lost to Sycamore in the first round of the playoffs. The Thunderhawks have made the playoffs three times in the past four seasons.
Other famous alumni
In addition to the 11 players from the Lakota schools who have gone on to play, or are going to play football at Ohio State, there are many other alumni who have achieved success in the sports world and elsewhere, including:
- NFL players John Conner (West), Troy Evans (Lakota), Jordan Hicks (West) and Ryan Kelly (West)
- MLB player Jacob May (West)
- MLS players Nick Hagglund (West)
- Entertainment musician Ken Lewis (Lakota), comedian Luke Null (East) and comedian Miltra Jouhari (West)
Why are Buckeyes prior to 1970 and some walk-on players not highlighted or included in the rankings? Ohio State's official rosters listed the hometown of players, but did not provide their high school on the roster before 1970. The official rosters released at the start of each season were used, due to this, some walk-on players may not be listed as they were not on the season opening official rosters.