As the sun starts to set earlier, and the leaves begin to fall, Ohio starts to adopt a certain, familiar look, that every football fan in the state recognizes. Late-August and early-September means that football is back.
Every week in the fall, before the main event, college football, we can all enjoy a nice appetizer on Friday nights, as Ohio has some of the best high school football players and teams in the nation. That’s no different in 2018, as Ohio has one of the best players in the country in Zach Harrison, and tons of P5 and G5 talent.
However, there are just so many games, and with little-to-no TV coverage, it’s hard to follow high school football closely. Looking for a way to see the best games in Ohio high school football this fall? Looking to see some potential future Buckeyes finishing up their high school careers? We’ve got you covered.
Let’s take a look at the most important OHSAA games for Buckeye fans to follow this fall.
La Salle @ Colerain: One of the more important games of the season comes on the first day of games. La Salle and Colerain were both top-15 teams in the state last season, and while La Salle is playing up a division, this should still be an awesome game. These are two teams that thrive on defense, and really represent the hard nosed style of Cincinnati. It’s a budding rivalry, so this should be a hard-hitting, great game.
Hoban @ St. Ignatius: The reigning DII champions head to St. Ignatius, to face one of the top DI teams in the state. This is a fantastic matchup of two heavy hitters, and has a couple big names to watch. St. Ignatius is led by linebacker Tommy Eichenberg, a Boston College commit, and the 429th best player in the 2019 class. He’ll go up against Buckeye target DeaMonte Trayanum, a running back on Hoban.
Trayanum is one of the top 2020 backs, and along with Michael Drennen, he seems to be one of Ohio State’s top choices at the position for the 2020 class. Hoban also has 2020 tight end Caden Clark, who committed to Alabama recently.
Phillips (Illinois) @ Pickerington Central: It’s always a big deal when the big boys come to town. The best team in Chicago is headed to Pickerington to face off with the best team in Columbus, on two teams absolutely stacked with top talent. After dismantling Mentor in the DI title game last year, Pick Central wants a repeat, and has the talent to pull it off.
Defensive tackle DeWayne Carter is headed to Duke, and right beside him, Karter Johnson is committed to TCU. The star of the team, however, is quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw. The 2020 signal caller has much of the Big Ten infatuated with his game, as he ran all over defenses last season, looking like the next coming of Braxton Miller.
Phillips isn’t without talent though, as four-star tight end Jahleel Billingsley is headed to Alabama, while wideout Fabian McCray and corner Joseph Thompson are both verbally committed to the home-state Fighting Illini.
St. Xavier @ Colerain: Two of Cincinnati’s best face off in week two. These two teams play each other extremely close, and this should be no different, as I expect both teams to compete for the Division I title. St. Xavier has some significant importance for Buckeye fans, as 2020 five-star tackle Paris Johnson Jr. is a huge part of their offense.
Northland @ Whitehall-Yearling: The battle of rising powers, both of these teams have plenty of stars and a serious case for favorite in Division II. Northland has the Branham brothers, John, a 2019 running back, and Kalil, a 2020 receiver, committed to Michigan. They’re two of the more dynamic athletes in Ohio, and should be delightful to watch against such a good defense.
St. Francis DeSales @ Lancaster: DeSales is absolutely loaded this season. The private, Columbus stalwart is led by two 2019 stars: defensive tackle Rodas Johnson and safety Joey Velazquez. Johnson is undecided on his school, though Wisconsin and Michigan are both viable options. He doesn’t hold a Buckeye offer. Velazquez has been committed to Michigan for several months.
Lancaster isn’t as top heavy, but they’re a solid, well coached team, and they should put up a great fight.
Hoban @ Wayne: Akron schools playing against Dayton schools is always a good time, and this should be no different. Both teams are stacked, as mentioned earlier in the Hoban vs. St. Ignatius preview. Wayne should be one of the best teams in the state again, led by 2019 cornerback Justin Harris, a Cincinnati commit.
Olentangy Orange @ Pickerington North: Want a chance to watch the best player in the state go up against one of the best offenses in the state? I’ve got just the game for you. With Zach Harrison leading their defense, Olentangy Orange should be able to play Pickerington North close for an entire game. Pick North touts 2020 receiver Chris Scott, so Olentangy Orange’s secondary will be tested. Is Harrison good enough to guide his team to a big win?
Alter @ Centerville: One of the top backfields in the state, featuring quarterback Connor Bazelak and running back John Bivens lead Alter into a huge Dayton matchup against Centerville. Bazelak, a Missouri commit, and Bivens, who seems to be headed to Kentucky, Louisville or Nebraska, are both extremely fun to watch, and worth the drive from Columbus to see.
Pickerington North @ Pickerington Central: If there’s one high school game you catch this year, make it this one. Buying tickets beforehand will be more than worth it for this matchup between two of the best teams in the state. There are playmakers all over the field, it’s a huge rivalry, and the winner could very well be the DI champion by the end of the season. What more could you want in a high school football game?
St. Ignatius @ St. Edward: The biggest rivalry in Cleveland, these two traditional powers should be just as good as usual this year. St. Ignatius has more top end talent than St. Edward, but these two always seem to find a way to play each other close. I see no reason that won’t stand this season.
McKinley @ Massillon Washington: This game doesn’t really need any introduction. It’s the biggest rivalry in Ohio high school football. It’s more of an event than a game at this point, and if you want a really cool football experience, and you have the means, you should absolutely go see it. It will not disappoint. Oh, and if you’re looking for a surreal 19 minutes, give this video of the 1948 matchup a watch. It’s in color, somehow, and it’s very very cool.
While Ohio State may not be recruiting their home-state as actively this season as usual, it’s still a very good year for the state, with plenty of talent. If you’re ever looking for a fun way to spend a couple hours on a Friday night in Ohio, you can do a lot worse than a high school football game. There are tons of great games every week, and the more people in the stands watching these kids play, the better.