State Football Players to Watch: Taking snaps, running wild and tackling machines

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The Ohio High School State Football Finals

It’s a crazy collection of talent and it will be on hand this weekend at
the state football finals. The following are 12 players you want to
make sure to see
if your headed to Stark County. Most of these guys
will be headed to the end zone – or stopping someone from getting there – this weekend…


Players you need to see at the 40th annual Ohio
State Football Championships this weekend:

Players To Watch…

* Taylor Erwin, New Washington Buckeye Central, Sr., QB: The three-year captain was described by head coach Jason Ratliff as someone “willing to go the extra-mile.” “What he does is more important than just stats,” Ratliff said. “We go as he goes.” Erwin enters the D-VI final against Marion Local having completed 140-of-239 passes for 2,608 yards and 36 TDs. Through the first 13 games, Erwin had thrown just seven interceptions. Last week in the state semis he tossed four.

* Adam Bertke, Marion Local, So., QB: Much has been made of the talented QBs in the MAC right now – Coldwater’s Austin Bruns, St. Henry’s Kyle Stahl, Minster’s Adam Niemeyer, Versailles’ Nick Campbell, Fort Recovery’s Jason Pottkotter and Anna’s Jay Meyer – but the best of the bunch might be Bertke. This year when asked if he had any future D-I talent on his team, Marion Local head coach Tim Goodwin named the sophomore signal caller. En route to leading the Flyers to a share of the MAC title and the D-VI title game, Bertke completed 117-of-203 passes for 1,955 yards and 21 TDs (just 8 INTs).

* Christian Hauber, Kirtland, Sr., RB/LB: According to head coach Tiger LaVerde: “People get tired of getting in front of him and tackling him.” Watching film of Hauber you understand why. A punishing back that doubles as a standout linebacker, Hauber has been a central figure in Kirtland’s attack for several years. He’s headed to Air Force.

* Caleb Siefring, Coldwater, Jr., WR/DB: The two-way standout was named first team All-Midwest Athletic Conference at both wide receiver and cornerback. On offense Siefring leads the Cavs in catches (41), yards (845) and TDs (16). On defense he’s picked seven passes and returned two for TDs. In a regional semifinal win over Versailles, Siefring caught four TDs passes and picked two passes – one he returned for a TD – all before halftime.

* Adam Wallace, Norwayne, Sr., QB/DB: Head coach Joe Harbour called Wallace his team’s best player on both sides of the ball and said that the QB has really developed into a dual threat player. “In year’s past he was a running back we made play QB,” Harbour said. “This year he can do both (throw and run).” Wallace has completed 144-of-231 passes for 2,677 yards and 36 TDs (just eight INTs). He’s also the Bobcats second leading rusher with 902 yards and 18 TDs on 174 carries.

* Maty Mauk, Kenton, Sr., QB: The Missouri recruit and nation’s all-time leading passer  enters the game having accounted for 6,710 total yards and 86 TDs this season. He’s completed 355-of-516 passes for 4,992 yards and 63 TDs (13 INTs) and carried the ball 219 times for 1,718 yards and 23 TDs. Ridiculous.

* Courtney Love, Youngstown Mooney, Jr., LB: Thought to be Mooney’s next quarterback before the season started, Love has blossomed into one of the state’s top junior prospects at linebacker. He has 134 tackles on the season, including 7.5 for loss. Love’s offer sheet already includes Nebraska and Michigan State.

* Brad Jarzab, Springfield Shawnee, Sr., QB: Described as a “great leader and great player” by head coach Rick Meeks, Jarzab is the definition of dual-threat. The two-time Central Buckeye Conference Player of  the Year has thrown fro 1,535 yards and 16 TDs this year and has rushed for an additional 1,634 yards and 18 TDs. Said Meeks: “It makes me look pretty smart when you have a kid like Brad back there.”

* Justin O’Rourke, Avon, Sr., QB: The gunslinger has broken “nearly every record at Avon” – most of which were previously held by his brother Ryan O’Rourke (now at Baldwin-Wallace) – according to head coach Mike Elder. On the season O’Rourke has completed 169-of-285 passes for 2,843 yards and 37 TDs. He’s tossed just six interceptions.

* Michael McCray, Trotwood-Madison, Jr., LB/TE: The son of a former Ohio State captain (Michael McCray in 1987), McCray is one of Ohio’s top junior prospects and one of the state’s most versatile players. He leads Trotwood’s defense with 71 tackles and five interceptions, two of which he’s returned for TDs. As a tight end, McCray has caught 28 passes for 460 yards and nine TDs. His offer list already includes Tennessee, Purdue, Syracuse and Toledo.

* Roger Lewis, Pickerington Central, Sr., DB/WR/KR: Lewis is a playmaker and headed to Ohio State. He’s caught 19 passes for 422 yards and seven TDs this season and is a danger in the kicking game.  Earlier this year against Reynoldsburg he returned a kickoff and a punt for TDs. The next week he returned another kickoff for a score.

* Tim Shenk, St. Ignatius, Sr. K: A kicker? Yep. Shenk (headed to Air Force), booted a 55-yard field goal in the season opener and a 51-yard field goal last week in the state semifinals. Said St. Ignatius Head Coach Chuck Kyle: “Is he a weapon? Yes he is. If the wind is appropriate we’re going to try 55-yard field goals.”

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