Morning Huddle: Undefeated Turpin football wins despite sitting 17 players with injuries

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

• Steve Shuck’s projected computer rankings
• Big Ten schools missed out on great recruiting opportunity in Roosevelt Nix
• Battle brewing in Suburban League after Copley’s “miracle” win
• Cleveland Benedictine football coach Art Bortnick to resign
• Will injuries shut down an otherwise perfect 8-0 Turpin team?


Will injuries shut down undefeated Turpin? Cincinnati Turpin’s 8-0 record has earned them the number 3 slot in the AP Division II state poll. Still, they had 17 players out with injuries last week in a win over Walnut Hills. At least nine of those 17 players will be out for the rest of the season including Senior QB Eric Martin who has a torn meniscus and senior WR Shade Whitfield who’s out with a shoulder injury. “It’s amazing that the last five or six years we haven’t had any major injuries to speak of … guess this year is our turn,” Turpin AD Tony Hemmelgarn told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We are all hoping our turn is over in this one season. I have never seen anything like it.” They’re still fighting, though, and it’ll be interesting to see how far Turpin can go.

Steve Shuck’s projected computer rankings: Computer ratings analyst Steve Shuck’s drawn up projected finishes for several football regions. In DI, Region 4, he likes Middletown: “Last week, I declared Middletown in,” Shuck told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “This week, I’ll add that the Middies will start the playoffs at Barnitz Stadium and will probably face the eighth-place finisher. They aren’t guaranteed the top spot but I would make them the favorite to earn the first seed.” Here are the top three finishers based on his projections for the rest of the season. See the Enquirer article for more teams:

Division I, Region 4

  1. Middletown (8-0), 10-0, 33.6
  2. Moeller (6-2), 8-2, 32.6
  3. La Salle (8-0), 10-0, 31.6

Division II, Region 8

  1. Winton Woods (7-1), 9-1, 29.8
  2. Turpin (8-0), 10-0, 29.5
  3. Trotwood-Madison (6-2), 8-2, 23.8

Division III, Region 12

  1. Springfield Shawnee (7-1), 9-1, 24.9
  2. Eaton (8-0), 10-0, 22.7
  3. Jackson (7-1), 9-1, 22.25

Division IV, Region 16

  1. Clinton-Massie (8-0), 10-0, 29.6
  2. Jonathan Alder (7-1), 9-1, 26.0
  3. Alter (7-1), 9-1, 25.9

Division V, Region 20

  1. Rich. North Union (8-0), 10-0, 23.0
  2. CHCA (5-3), 7-3, 18.2
  3. Anna (6-2), 8-2, 16.9

Division VI, Region 24

  1. Spr. Catholic Central (7-1), 9-1, 21.5
  2. Sidney Lehman (7-1), 9-1, 19.5
  3. Covington (8-0), 10-0, 18.8

Battle brewing in Suburban League after Copley’s “miracle” win: One of the most talked-about games last week was the “miracle” matchup between Copley and Green. Green got possession of the ball with four minutes left on the clock and a three-point lead (13-10). Green kept a long three-minute, running drive going as they tried to gobble up the clock. Forced to punt the ball with just one minute left on the clock, a power outage darkened the stadium for several minutes. Once the lights came back on, Copley took possession of the ball on their own four-yard line. That meant they had to drive 96 yards in 56 seconds to get a win. They went to work with a mix of passes and rushes. On the Green 37, Copley went for it on fourth-and-6. A pass up the middle was tipped by Green, but Copley junior receiver C.J. Chatman still managed to bring it down with 45 seconds left to go in the game. Three plays later quarterback Lou Gigliotti connected with senior Shawn Taylor in the end zone with 34 seconds left on the clock.

Green tried to even up the score again, but ended up tossing an interception that led to another touchdown by Copley. And so it goes. Copley’s undefeated record remains entact and now they’re due to face another undeated team in Tallmadge (8-0, 5-0) this Friday. Hopefully, it’ll be just as exciting as their battle with Green. “I just think the kids kept believing,” Copley coach Ron Viscounte told the Beacon Journal. “The kids kept fighting and the kids kept playing. And that’s what we tell them, you have to play for 48 minutes and you’ll have a chance. I think it took all 48 minutes tonight to get it done.”

Big Ten schools missed out on great recruiting opportunity in Roosevelt Nix: Former Reynoldsburg defensive tackle Roosevelt Nix is lighting up opposing offenses at Kent State. He leads all DI players in forced fumbles (5), he’s sixth in the nation in sacks (6.5) and he’s eighth in tackles for a loss (11). “I’ve had a couple of Big Ten coaches call and ask if they missed on recruiting him,” Kent State defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis tells the Columbus Dispatch. “I tell them no because if they had gotten him, we wouldn’t have him.” The true freshman may have been overlooked by larger schools owing to his relatively small size: 6 feet, 255 pounds. “I’m outweighed every game by 60 to 70 pounds, and all I am trying to do is utilize my natural speed,” Nix says. “There’s not a lot of room at all on the line, and you’ve got to do everything you can do to get around your man.”

Benedictine football coach Art Bortnick to resign: After putting together a 64-60 record through 11 seasons, Cleveland Benedictine coach Art Bortnick will resign at the end of the season. He led the Bengals to state championships in 2003 and 2004. The Benedictine teams have struggled of late, though, and they’re 1-7 going into Week 9 this year. The team was 3-7 last year. A search committee is being organized to find a replacement for the longtime coach. As for Bortnick, he plans to continue teaching math at Benedictine. I suspect, too, he’ll be going to Bengals games for many years to come.

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