Morning Huddle: Springfield player to recover from “career ending” hit


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

• Dela Cruz is expected to make full recovery, sister says
• Wayne QB Braxton Miller sets new career-high in passing
• Cincinnati La Salle in race for first Greater Catholic League South title
• Lakewood St. Edward jumps into MaxPreps National rankings
• Lancaster Gales lose long-time coach and teacher

Springfield player to recover from “career ending” hit: After suffering a spinal injury in a football game against Centerville last week, Springfield’s J-O Dela Cruz, 18, was taken first to Springfield Regional Medical Center then flown by helicopter to Miami Valley Hospital. He’s been released from the hospital, although his sister told the Dayton Daily News that his injury was “career ending.” “The good news is the young man is expected to make a full recovery,” Springfield City School’s Superintendent David Estrop told the paper. “Our medical staff and our training staff did a great job of addressing the injury and responded very, very well.”

Wayne QB Braxton Miller sets new career-high in passing: Wayne High School quarterback Braxton Miller seems to have gotten his groove back. After suffering a high ankle sprain early in the season, he set his own career high for passing yards with 243 in a 24-7 win against Northmont last week. He completed 19 of 29 passes with one touchdown. “(Miller) is definitely the X factor,” Wayne coach Jay Minton said after Miller helped his team upset Centerville the week before. “He’s really a guy who our guys have finally adjusted to. … It’s so easy to ride a big stallion like that. It shows that at this level, you just can’t ride somebody. Look what’s happening to Michigan and their guy (Denard Robinson). You knew it was a matter of time that he was going to get broke down. It’s so easy to stop.” Once the offense stopped relying entirely on Miller’s runs, they started giving Miller more looks from the pocket. Seems like that was a good move.

Cincinnati La Salle in race for first Greater Catholic League South title: It’s been a storybook year for Cincinnati La Salle so far. And, for the first time, they’re in the running for a Greater Catholic League South title with their 9-0 record. “One of our goals was to be the greatest team in La Salle team history and we did that,” La Salle coach Tom Grippa told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We have one game left to achieve our other goal, (the GCL South) outright title. We don’t want to share it, we want it outright.” La Salle is currently ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press Division I state poll.

Lakewood St. Edward jumps into MaxPreps National rankings: Capitalizing on a stifling defense, St. Edward has steadily climbed state and national rankings. For the first time this year, they’ve earned a slot on the MaxPreps Xcellent25 list of the top 25 teams in the country, claiming the No. 25 slot. “St. Edward has experienced quite a resurgence, streaking to a 9-0 record following a 4-6 season in 2009. Saturday, the Eagles trounced Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati), 30-7. St. Ed’s has held its last seven opponents to seven points or fewer,” MaxPreps writes.

Lancaster Gales lose long-time coach and teacher: A memorial service was held Monday for Lancaster Gales assistant coach Mr. Brian Sampson who died last week after a 23-month battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He left behind his wife Amy Sampson and their two young children, Emily and Caleb, as well as a football team that looked up to him. “We’re his legacy now,” Junior lineman Jordan Francis told the Lancaster Eagle Gazette. “We are his last creation of Lancaster football. We have to live up to his expectations he had for us. He’s still watching us. There’s no doubt about it.” The family was at the Gales’ game last week, the same day of Mr. Sampson’s death. “Brian said if I could make it back, he wanted me at the game,” Brian’s father Bill said shortly before kickoff. The Gales would go to win their game against Groveport. “I’ve been telling myself I’m never going to say goodbye,” Jay Nauman, a lifelong friend of Mr. Sampson told the paper. “It’s not that I’m not going to put it past me. But if you keep his spirit and his heart with you, there’s no reason to say goodbye.”

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