Ohio has long been known for its athletic prowess in high school sports, and 2009 was no different. Whether you like football, basketball, wrestling, track or whatever, 2009 was a remarkable year across the board. Legends were born, history was rewritten and records were bounced. Today we start our countdown of the Top 50 stories from the last 12 months.
Ohio has long been known for its athletic prowess in high school sports, and 2009 was no different.
Whether you like football, basketball, wrestling, track or whatever, 2009 was a remarkable year across the board. Legends were born, history was rewritten and records were bounced.
How impressive was it? See for yourself. Starting today we will unveil the Top 50 high school sports stories from the past 12 months.
I’m sure some will disagree – this is the Huddle after all – so I invite you to email me and let me know what I have wrong (and right) and what I may have missed.
Today we unleash stories 50-41. We will follow tomorrow with stories 40-31. Nos. 30-21 will be released Wednesday, 20-11 on Thursday and 10-1 on Friday (New Year’s Day).
Let the games – or rather countdown, recognition and debate – begin.
50. The state golf tournament is shortened: For just the second time in the 84 years of the state golf tournament, the championships were reduced to 18 holes after the first day of play was cancelled due to rain. The only other time in the state tournament’s history that 18 holes were used to decide a champion (instead of 36) was 1996.
49. Football programs snap lengthy losing streaks: In Week 2, Whitehall-Yearling ended the state’s longest losing streak (36 games) with a 13-8 win over Columbus Linden McKinley. The Rams weren’t the only Ohio team to break through in a year that saw several lengthy winless droughts stopped. Other programs that snapped long losing streaks were: Akron Springfield (34), National Trail (32), Rittman (27), Chillicothe Unioto (22), Brush (19) and Cleveland East (18). Columbus Centennial and Dayton Stebbins now share the state’s longest losing streak at 30 games each.
48. Oak Hill has a historic run: Oak Hill doesn’t have a lengthy athletic resume, but the Oaks added several impressive chapters this year. In March, the boys basketball team won the Division IV state title with a double-OT victory over Kalida. A week prior to that, the Oak Hill girls basketball team finished state runner-up. In the Fall, the Oak Hill football team rode an undefeated regular season to its first playoff berth.
47. Heath Jackson almost has 1,000 yards passing, rushing and receiving: The Ada senior and Bowling Green recruit entered the season as one of the state’s top wide receivers. He ended it as one of Ohio’s most dangerous quarterbacks. Jackson, who led the state in receptions (46) and receiving yards (781) after five games, was thrust into the role of QB after starter Mitchell Faine went down with an injury. Jackson proceeded to lead the Bulldogs to the Division VI regional finals by putting together one of the most impressive offensive seasons in recent memory. Jackson ended the year by completing 121-of-208 passes for 2,130 yards and 19 TDs. He also rushed for 892 yards on 154 carries. Overall Jackson accounted for 47 TDs (21 rushing, 19 passing and seven receiving).
46. Reynoldsburg Girls and Gahanna-Lincoln Boys end Central Ohio track title droughts: Both the Raiders and Lions turned in impressive performances en route to sweeping the big school track titles at the state meet. Reynoldsburg dominated the girls team race by scoring 82 points, which was the fourth most in state history. Second place Cincinnati Withrow had 35 points. The Raiders state title was the first in D-I for a Central Ohio team since 1985. On the boys side, Gahanna captured Central Ohio’s first D-I track title since 1999 and third since 1983 by edging out power Cleveland Glenville 48-45.
45. McComb’s Tyler Brown reaches the end zone: The box score from Week 6 simply states McComb’s first fourth quarter touchdown during its 47-7 win over Vanlue was scored by Tyler Brown on a 2-yard run. What it doesn’t mention is Brown – the team’s manger – is legally blind. Brown attempted to punch it in from the 1-yardline in the first quarter and the Panthers up just 7-0, but was denied on first down and fumbled the ball away on second. In the fourth quarter he came back in and played quarterback where he reached pay dirt on his first snap. Credit needs to be given to McComb head coach Kris Alge and Brown’s teammates for making this possibility a reality. In addition to being the manager for the high school football team, Brown also serves as the announcer for the junior high and midget programs. Earlier this year Brown saw some action on defense at nose guard.
44. CJ girls basketball coach Marc Greenberg busted by FBI for soliciting minors: Chalk this up as the most shocking news event of the last 12 months, but on May 4, Chaminade Julienne girls basketball coach Marc Greenberg was arrested by the FBI on charges of transfer of obscene images to minors. Greenberg led the CJ girls basketball team to a state championship in 2005 and has been involved with the program – which is known nationally – since the 1996-97 season. Greenberg was relieved of his coaching duties.
43. Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary wins its fifth boys basketball state title in front of LeBron James: With its most famous alumnus in attendance (Cleveland Cavalier star LeBron James) the Irish won their fifth state title with a 59-53 victory over Dayton Thurgood Marshall in the D-II final at the Schottenstein Center on March 28. The title is the first for SVSM since James and his Gang won their third and final in 2003. One lasting image from the game is James hugging Marshall point guard Juwan Staten after the loss. Staten led all scorers with 28 points.
42. Lakota West’s Jordan Hicks ranked the No. 2 prospect in the country by ESPN: Ohio is always well stocked with football talent, but this season the state played host to one of the country’s premiere recruits. Hicks, a 6-2, 215 pound standout linebacker, had offers from nearly every major college in the country and has narrowed his choices to Ohio State, Texas and Florida. He recently dismissed Alabama and USC from consideration. Hicks, who had 95 tackles and 13 TFL, also won the national high school Butkus Award.
41. Kettering Alter defends D-IV state football title in dominating fashion: The Knights were favorites to defend their D-IV state football title before the season’s first kickoff and did just that by dominating their foes for 15 weeks. Alter won every game by at least 15 points and ran roughshod through the postseason by outscoring opponents 183-20. In the state final, a 37-7 win over Chagrin Falls, Alter forced five turnovers and held their 11th opponent of the season to single-digits.
TUESDAY: Nos. 40-31
WEDNESDAY: Nos. 30-21
THURSDAY: Nos. 20-11
FRIDAY: Nos. 10-1