November 4, 2011

Prep Preview: Playoffs are here!

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The Ohio high school football playoffs are here and, with that, comes another edition of the 'Prep Preview'. Typically we take a look at the three big stories to follow over the weekend but this edition will take a different turn as we quickly outline each playoff game that involves an Ohio State commit. Below, we list each Ohio State verbal commitment that will be playing in a first round game over the weekend.

Warren Ball - Running Back - Columbus De Sales

Though probably not the most star-studded De Sales team in recent memory, this group still earned the number one seed in Division III Region 10 and is coming into the playoffs red hot. The Stallions won their last four games to finish 6-3 and most would consider them the favorites to bring home the region title. De Sales hosts Caledonia River Valley (7-3) in the first round on Friday night.

Jacoby Boren - Offensive Lineman - Pickerington Central

After two tough losses to start the season against perennial powers Cincinnati St. Xavier and Cincinnati Moeller, Pickerington Central won its last seven games to finish 7-2 and earn the number two seed in Region 3. The Tigers didn't exactly get a favorable draw, getting Dublin Coffman (8-2) in the first round but to make a final four, you have to beat good teams and the Tigers seem ready for the challenge. All signs seem to point to yet another classic showdown between Central and Hilliard Davidson in the Region 3 final.

Bri'onte Dunn - Running Back - Canton GlenOak

Dunn enters the playoffs right around 650 yards shy of the prestigious Stark County career rushing record, and he is definitely aware of that. Between the rushing record and ending his high school career on a high note, Dunn has all the motivation he needs to help his team make a run. The Eagles come in as the number two seed in Region 2 and have a very favorable draw in which they can avoid the top two contenders in the region (Whitmer and Canton McKinley) until the regional final. GlenOak's run starts Saturday night with a home game against Wadsworth (8-2).

Frank Epitropoulos - Wide Receiver - Upper Arlington

Epitropoulos has come up big all season long for UA and that was most evident last week when the Golden Bears were in a win or go home situation. Epitropoulos had a big touchdown catch to get his team back in the game against Dublin Coffman and UA was able to pull off a comeback win to get themselves into the post-season. Things will not be easy however, as Epitropoulos and company will host a solid Troy team on Saturday night in a game that should be one of the more competitive first round games in Ohio at the Division I level.

Roger Lewis - Wide Receiver - Pickerington Central

Central is riding a seven-game winning streak heading into the playoffs and is the most talented team, on paper, in Region 3. Region 3 has never been a region that has been won on paper however as lesser talented Hilliard Davidson teams have routinely come out of this region. Lewis and company are hoping to put an end to Davidson's run but first they will have to get past a tough Dublin Coffman (8-2) team in the first round. Lewis will have a tough match-up going against Coffman senior corner Taylor Williams. Williams holds several Division I offers from MAC programs.

Najee Murray - Defensive Back - Steubenville

Murray and his Steubenville team enter the playoffs as the number on seed in Division III Region 11 and Big Red is currently undefeated at 10-0. Of all the players on this list, Murray may have the best chance of hoisting a state championship trophy on that first weekend in December. First, he and his teammates need to navigate a brutally tough region that consists of perennial powers, Cardinal Mooney, Dover, and Canal Fulton Northwest. Steubenville's run to Stark County begins Friday night with a home game against Indian Creek (8-2).

Blake Thomas - Tight End - St. Ignatius

Most players that have come through this St. Ignatius program have experienced a state championship during their varsity careers and Thomas will be looking to add his name to that illustrious group. Region 1 is arguably the most unpredictable region in the state right now with more than half of the teams in the region having a reasonable chance of making the Final Four. Coming off a huge win over rival Lakewood St. Edward, St. Ignatius has set themselves up with a favorable seed (No. 2 in the region) and could see their bitter rival again in Round 2. The Wildcats will get things started on Saturday night when they host Youngstown Boardman (7-3).

Stay tuned to throughout the weekend for updates on how these future Buckeyes performed in their opening round playoff games.


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