Central Ohio Huddle: Four Franklin County football teams earn regional championships


Central Ohio Huddle

Football is winding down and basketball and wrestling are warming up…here’s what you need to know about Cnetral Ohio sports.

Four Franklin County football teams lifted regional championship hardware over the past week and are just one step away of playing for a state championship.

But as area families get ready to sit down for some turkey on Thanksgiving, basketball is in the air as the girls hoops season is slated to tip-off this week. One of the biggest divisional moves is defending state champion Africentric moving from Division IV to Division III, adding even more depth to a rugged district field that includes Heath, Bishop Ready, West Jefferson, Amanda-Clearcreek, Marion Pleasant, Utica and others.

Hilliard Bradley is the only new school on the central Ohio scene and plays its first game on Saturday night against Teays Valley.

Boys basketball and wrestling heats up a week from Friday as Northland looks to defend its Division I boys basketball state championship.


Verlon Reed, Marion-Franklin football: Reed threw touchdown passes of 44, 15 and 41 yards as Marion-Franklin cashed its sixth consecutive playoff appearance into a Division II regional championship with a 31-24 win over Brookhaven at Gahanna. Reed started the winning drive with a 34-yard run to the Brookhaven 26.


Grove City Christian, football: The Eagles made their first playoff appearance in school history memorable by claiming a Division VI regional championship with a 20-8 decision Malvern at Zanesville High School.

Grove City Christian, a four-year old gridiron program, cashed in three turnovers for 20 points during the second quarter. The Eagles started the regional title winning run with Christopher Bowman capping an eight-play, 95-yard drive by connecting with Jessie Barns on a 53-yard touchdown connection.

A 16-yard touchdown scamper by Luke Smurthwaite and a Barns one-yard touchdown run made it 20-0.


Davidson gets redemption: Hilliard Davidson avenged its only regular-season setback by taking a 22-7 win over Dublin Coffman to win a Division I regional championship at Upper Arlington.

The Wildcats, which fell 10-7 to Coffman in the regular season, put away its second state semifinal appearance in four years with Jake Trubiano finishing a nine-play, 58-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown tote in the fourth quarter. Trubiano then threw to Pat Dougherty for a two-point conversion.

Max Friedman helped to set-up the first score for Davidson by intercepting a Coffman pass. Spencer Delande capped off a 32-yard drive five players later on a four-yard scoring run. Davidson scored its other touchdown on a Delande 34-yard touchdown run with five minutes before halftime.

The loss was the first for Coffman this season.

All purple:
DeSales defeated archrival Watterson for the second time this season and won its eighth regional crown in history with a 24-10 win at Dublin Coffman.

The Stallions ran for 316 yards against Watterson (9-4), paced by Nick Gentile gaining 132 yards on 27 carries and Adam Griffin adding 12 totes for 94 yards.

Trailing Watterson 7-3 at intermission, DeSales amassed an 11-play drive of running plays that stretched 74 yards, capped by Gentile hitting pay dirt from two yards out.

Following a field goal by Watterson’s Dorian Gabrek to tie the score at 10-10, DeSales (10-3), went ahead to stay on an eight-yard touchdown run by Griffin, who added an insurance touchdown with 1:41 left from three yards out.

Freddies fall short:
Fredericktown quarterback Thomas Hinkle connected with Tony Lybarger on a five-yard touchdown pass and an 11-yard scoring strike in the second half, but Ridgewood’s offense was too strong for Fredericktown in a 21-14 Division V regional championship game decision at Johnstown.

Hinkle completed 11 of 32 passes for 153 yards as Fredericktown fell for the first time this season.

First for Marion-Franklin:
The Red Devils won their first regional title in history with a 31-24 come-from-behind win over City League rival Brookhaven at Gahanna.

Trailing 24-17 to the Bearcats, Marion-Franklin rallied with Reed finding Travone Youngblood for a 41-yard touchdown pass with 8:17 remaining.

Running back Amir Robinson capped the comeback with a 26-yard touchdown scamper with 3:44 left.


Marion-Franklin (11-2) vs. Cincinnati Winton Woods (11-2) football, Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Centerville Stadium: Marion-Franklin is making its first appearance in the state Final Four after beating Brookhaven in a Division II regional title game.

DeSales (10-3) vs. Cincinnati Wyoming (13-0) football, Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Dayton Welcome Stadium:
The Stallions are trying to advance to their first state title game appearance since 2005 if they can knock off Wyoming in a Division III state semifinal game.

Hilliard Davidson (11-1) vs. Cincinnati Elder (10-2) football, Saturday at 7 p.m. at Dayton Welcome Stadium:
Davidson is trying to return to state title game for the first time since 2006, but faces a tough task with Cincinnati-area power Elder in a Division I state semifinal game.

Grove City Christian (12-1) vs. Norwalk St. Paul (13-0) football, Saturday at 7 p.m. at Ashland:
The Eagles are making their first appearance in a state semifinal and hope to keep their season going with a Division VI state semifinal upset of St. Paul.

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