OPSWA high school football notebook


COLUMBUS — Ohio welcomed back high school football in grand style last week with the kickoff of Week 1 of the 2022 season.

In a combined effort, the Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association would like to highlight athletes and teams which had standout performances with the OPSWA High School Football Notebook.

Each week, the OPSWA will release its top performers from all around the state.

In no particular order, here are Week 1’s standouts:

* Steubenville coach Reno Saccoccia became Ohio’s all-time winningest football coach with 402 thanks to the Big Red’s 21-0 victory over Louisville. In his 40th season, Saccoccia is now 402-80 since taking over in 1983. He surpassed Jim France (Akron Coventry/Akron Manchester) who posted a 401-129-4 career record.

* Jackson’s Cade Wolford ran the ball eight times for 111 yards and two touchdowns, while also catching three passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns in the Ironmen’s 35-8 victory over Logan.

* Paint Valley’s Cavan Cooper completed 10-of-18 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns, while additionally carrying the ball 16 times for 137 yards and two touchdowns in the Bearcats’ 42-26 victory over Blanchester.

* Portsmouth senior quarterback Tyler Duncan, making his first career varsity start, completed 18-of-30 passes for 285 yards and four touchdowns in the Trojans’ 42-28 victory at Valley. Devon Lattimore made six receptions for 158 yards, and caught three of Duncan’s four touchdown passes.

* Newark Catholic’s final game of the 2021 season kicked off at 10:30 a.m., and it’s first game of 2022 nearly kicked off after 10 p.m. The Green Wave, the Division VII state runners-up last season, waited more than three hours on Saturday night to kick off its season opener against Columbus Ready, but persistent storms forced the cancellation of the Week 1 matchup between old rivals.

* Western Brown quarterback Drew Novak was 17-for-25 passing for 309 yards and four touchdowns as the Broncos blanked Hillsboro 55-0. Novak also ran for 39 yards and a touchdown.

* In a wild finish that made ESPN SportsCenter’s Top Plays segment, Westerville Central executed a hook-and-lateral as time expired to knock off Westerville North 23-20. Sitting at his own 23-yard line with 5.1 seconds remaining, quarterback Jaystin Gwinn completed a pass of 19 yards over the middle to Jacob Harris, who, moments before being tackled by three Warriors defenders, flipped the ball behind him to Kobi Davis, who caught the pitch in stride and outraced the secondary to the end zone.

* New Lexington’s Lukas Ratliff went 22-of-26 passing for 378 yards with three touchdowns and ran for two scores in a 41-14 win over Fairfield Union.

* Sheridan’s Alex Poirier churned up 83 yards on 18 carries and reached the end zone three times in a 35-28 victory against Licking Valley.

* Minford junior running back Jeffrey Pica rushed for 206 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in the Falcons’ 33-14 win at Rock Hill.

* Waverly junior running back Jase Hurd used 32 carries to rush 210 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Tigers’ come-from-behind 42-39 road win at Miami Trace.