Morning Huddle: Wrestlers say goodbye to Kallai


JJ’s Morning Huddle: A daily dose of News, Notes & Nuggets from around the state

• Moeller expands boxing program making it one of just two in country

• Ohio State proves dominant in in-state recruiting

• Massillon abuzz over quarterback transfer from Oregon

• Perry Township alumni games give former football stars chance to don pads

Visitation: Funeral arrangements have been made for Mike Kallai, Sr., of Barberton. The longtime Wadsworth assistant wrestling coach and Barberton police chief died unexpectedly last week while on vacation in Tennessee. Visitation hours for Mr. Kallai are Tuesday, July 6, from 1-8 p.m. at the Silva-Hostetler Funeral Home, 1199 Wooster Road West, Barberton. Funeral services will be conducted Wednesday, July 7, beginning at 10 a.m. at St. Augustine Catholic Church, 204 Sixth Street NW, Barberton. Mr. Kallai was preparing to serve as president of the Ohio wrestling coaches organization for 2010-11 and had recently helped OHSAA incorporate a state dual-meet team championship into its wrestling format beginning in 2013. Mr. Kallai was 57.

Buckeyes or bust: Ever since Toledo’s Kenny Hayes committed to Ohio State 10 months ago and showed up at a game with “OSU” shaved into the side of his head, the Buckeyes haven’t missed out on landing commitments from high-profile, in-state football recruits. Indeed, they’ve landed 12 in all this spring and summer. “There’s not very many reasons to say no,” Centerville coach Ron Ullery told the Cleveland Plain Dealer after watching his defensive tackle Michael Bennett pledge to the Buckeyes in May. “Whatever angle you look at, it’s a tremendous place to be. They don’t have to put on airs or figure out what a kid wants or a family wants. They can just be themselves and sell themselves.”

A new face in Massillon: When the news leaked that high school quarterback Kyle Kempt of Oregon was transferring to Massillon High School, speculation ran rampant on who would get the starting spot – and it seems a lot of people have already made up their minds in the form of Kempt. At least one commentator, though, argues that we shouldn’t be putting the cart in front of the horse. “There is no doubt Kempt brings with him the kind of ability and pedigree that would make him an ideal candidate to eventually become just such a record-setting quarterback,” Chris Easterling writes for the Independent. “You look at his size – 6-foot-4, 185 pounds – and it just screams prototype quarterback. … For all of the talk of Kempt’s ability, there is the small fact that whenever he does take his first snap for the Tigers, it will be his first varsity snap. He played solely at the freshman and junior varsity levels last season for Aloha High School.”

Golden gloves: Just one of two high schools in the country to offer a boxing program, Moeller (Cincinnati) is slowly growing its squad after former boxing standout Kenny Christo took over as coach in 2005. Christo opened up the program to students from other schools, and they had some 50 boxers in their ranks last winter. Their rival? The Aquinas Institute of Rochester. Aquinas Institute is the only other school in the country with a boxing program. “We had around 22 fights this year with them and we won eight, so we’re looking to get it back from them when they come to Cincinnati this winter,” Christo says. “A lot of high schools don’t understand (boxing) as a sports program, but there’s a reason why all of our military academies make a semester of boxing a requirement.”

One more chance under the lights: Former football players from Perry, Tuslaw, Fairless and GlenOak took the field one more time for a full-contact, pad-laden alumni game. In a doubleheader at Lowell Klinefelter Field at Central Catholic Stadium, the Fairless Falcons knocked off the Tuslaw Mustangs 13-12, and the Perry Panthers beat the GlenOak Golden Eagles 14-6. “It’s just really hard to put a feeling like this into words,” Perry squad leader and 1996 graduate Mike Jaworski said. “We’ve really been bonding. We’ve had guys come from as far as Columbus to practice with the team and when I saw that, I knew we had something special going on.”

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