Upper Arlington thrashed on national stage


Upper Arlington Golden Bears

The nation’s top team Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas cruised past Upper Arlington Saturday in the Kirk Herbstreit Varsity Series at Ohio Stadium but
all hope not lost for UA as players and coaches take a lot away from playing in the national event.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Most coaches would agree that to be the
best, you have the play the best.

The Upper Arlington football
team learned that lesson the hard way in its 2009 season-opener as the Golden
Bears fell to Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.)
St. Thomas Aquinas 52-7 Saturday afternoon at Ohio Stadium in the opening game
of the Kirk Herbstreit Varsity Football Series.

The matchup aired live on ESPN.

Aquinas, which features over a dozen Division I college
prospects, finished last season as the top team in the country in nearly every
major poll and was rated preseason No. 1 in the country in those same polls for 2009.

There is no doubt Aquinas will have a firm grip on the top
ranking after its flogging of UA.

“That combination of talent and players – their first team
is just super,” UA head coach Mike Golden said. “There is no way to express it
other than there is a reason they are going to play in college.”

UA mustered just 156 offensive yards as its first first down
came in the final seconds of the first quarter with Aquinas already leading 28-0 and had just five in the game.

The Raiders piled on 450 yards of total offense.

“They are a great team and have so much speed and talent,”
UA senior quarterback Kyle Cassady said. “They are coached so well and their
program is just amazing.

“But (the loss) is going to help us stay focused and know
what we can do.”

Cassady, grandson of former Ohio State running back and 1955
Heisman Trophy winner Howard “Hopalong” Cassady, was 2-of-7 passing for 41
yards and two interceptions. He also tallied seven yards rushing on two

“I thought we did fine,” Cassady said. “We ran the plays how
we wanted but they are such a talented team it was hard to do exactly what we
wanted to do.”

Golden pulled Cassady out of the game in the fourth quarter
with Aquinas leading 52-0.

“The game was out of hand and we’ve got the rest of the
regular season ahead of us and we want to preserve our players,” Golden said.

UA got on the board with 8:34 left in the game as backup
quarterback Jake Johns connected with Owen Deverse for a 9-yard touchdown

Running back Drew Karram collected 66 yards rushing on 17 carries.

For as much trouble as UA had on offense, Golden warns not to completely write off UA this
season. UA is coming off a successful 10-2 campaign from a year ago and, granted,
the Golden Bears were playing the
country’s top team and it doesn’t get much tougher than that.

“There are things we need to work on and we’re going to need
to be the type of team that doesn’t make dumb mistakes like we did,” said
Golden. “There was enough good things (that came out of it), though. We have
good players and we have a good line. We just need to get our skill players
going a little bit.”

So, did UA get any better opening against the defending
national champions and current top-ranked team in the country?

“I will know that at the end of the year,” said Golden. “I
don’t know the answer to that. We just have to get better. That is the secret
to success in high school sports – forget about it and get better the next

With Columbus Beechcroft on the docket for Week 2, Cougars

“It’s not going to be hard at all coming back next week,”
said Golden. “We’ll be ready to go. If (the players) had their way, we’d
practice tomorrow. But we’ll practice Monday and we’ll be a better team next

Said Cassady, “We’ve got nine games left in the regular
season before the playoffs, so we are going to try and win out and have a great

A Family Affair

Despite the loss, Cassady reveled in opportunity to play in
the venue where his grandfather etched his named in Ohio State
football history knowing this was probably the only time he will ever play in
Ohio Stadium.

The elder Cassady is one of just seven to have his number
retired by Ohio State and he was on hand Saturday to
watch his grandson play.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Kyle Cassady. “I have been coming
here since I was little and now getting a chance to play on the field is an
awesome feeling.”

The Ohio
family ties ran
even deeper in the game as Buckeyes freshman receiver Duron Carter spent the
game on the Aquinas sideline with his dad – Ohio State great Cris Carter. The elder
Carter is an assistant coach for Aquinas and Duron is a 2009 graduate.

“It’s amazing to be a part of such a great tradition with
high school kids,” Cris Carter said. “High school football is the essence of
football. I enjoy being a high school coach and it is nice playing against a
team like Upper Arlington.

“To be able to play in (Ohio Stadium) as a high school kid,
to me, that is such as awesome experience,” he said.

Aquinas participated in the Varsity Series last year
defeating Cincinnati Elder 35-24 at Cincinnati’s
Paul Brown Stadium. Duron Carter had four catches for 131 yards and a touchdown.

“It was nice getting to see my team play here in Ohio,” Duron Carter
said. “It was great competition and (Aquinas) showed up and showed their stuff.

“We feel we have some great football in Florida and it was great to show it on the
national stage.”


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