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Message Sent: St. Ed's, Hoban, and Glenville prove that the best football might be in Northeast Ohio

Canton, OH- Three of Northeast Ohio's premier high school programs faced off on day two of the Northeast Ohio vs. America Showcase Saturday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, looking to join Massillon in proving what most people have doubted for many years, that football in Ohio isn't comparable to the likes of Georgia, California, Florida, and Texas

Friday night, the Tigers were able to scratch Georgia off the list with a dominant second-half team performance to secure the 28-17 victory over the "Titletown" Valdosta Wildcats. Saturday was similar, as all three schools showcased their speed and sheer physicality on their way to a combined total score of 136-46 over state champions from nearby Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia.

Here's a recap of all three games:

St. Edward's Eagles 27, Center Grove (IN) Trojans 10

Eagles head Coach Tom Lombardo could not be more zealous with how well his team handled the Trojans up front on both sides of the ball, led by Ohio State offensive lineman recruits Deontae (6-foot 7, 295 pounds) and Devonte Armstrong (6-foot 5, 305 pounds), Michigan offensive lineman recruit Ben Roebuck (6-foot-8, 320 pounds), and Notre Dame weakside defensive lineman recruit Loghan Thomas (6-foot-4, 210 pounds), who recently transferred from Katy, Texas.

"I'm so impressed with our preparation and physicality today" Lombardo said postgame. "The fourth-and-short stop and holding them out of the endzone for the majority of the game was outstanding. They have an explosive offensive. They're back-to back-to back state champs for a reason."

The trio of the Armstrong twins and Roebuck played bully ball with the Trojan's defensive line, and created wide lanes for senior running back Joshua Groudle, who scored on a 21-yard run to give the Eagles an early 7-0 lead.

On the next possession, Eagles junior linebacker Yon German and junior defensive back Bradley Eaton stopped Trojans junior running back Jack Browning on a fourth-and-short, showing just how elite this defense can be this season. The Eagles allowed less than 145 total yards from Center Grove on the day.

Jacob Robinson, one of three different ball carriers to touch the endzone, scored on a two-yard run to give St. Ed's an early 14-0 lead in the second quarter.

Thomas, who transferred back to Northeast Ohio to get closer to family, put on a show in the third quarter, sacking 6-foot-5 Trojans QB Tyler Cherry on back-to-back plays.

"We did our jobs today, protected the gaps, and kept one back. The coaches stressed in practice that 11 is one so that made us come together as a team and shut everything else out. We always harp on how the game is won and loss up front and today it was clear that we won up front today" Thomas said postgame.

Late in the game, sophomore running back Brandon White and Jacob Groudle scored touchdowns on back-to-back possession to put the finishing touches on the game. Groudle finished the game with 13 carries for 65 yards to go along with his two rushing touchdowns.

"Our mentality coming into the game was to smack them in the mouth right away and make it where they won't want to hit you the rest of the game. I believe we did that" Roebuck said on the performance of the offensive line. "They weren't coming off the ball at all, we were driving them off the ball and creating huge holes for our guys and that was game plan for today."

Eagles left guard Deontae Armstrong felt amazing about how the trenches were played Saturday and how well Ohio high school football teams control the line of scrimmage.

"Center Grove is well coached team but I think we were the most aggressive team and showed how good Ohio football is" Armstrong said postgame.

St. Ed's (1-0) will quickly have to put this game behind them and get back to work as they face another out-of-state opponent next Sunday, Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, MD), in a battle between two top-25 programs nationally. Kickoff is 1 pm at First Federal Stadium in Lakewood.

Akron Archbishop Hoban Knights 45, Frederick Douglass Broncos (KY) 6

The Knights started the game fast and dominant, showing no signs throughout the game of letting up. On the first offensive drive for the Knights, junior quarterback Tylan Boykin found senior wide receiver Parker Falkenstein for a 46-yard touchdown, setting the tone for what would be a long game for the Broncos.

"Coach echoed all week to come out and be physical." Senior DE/FB Jordan Pritchard-Sewell said postgame about the tempo that was set by Coach Tyrell leading up to the game. "During pregame, he expressed the urgency to keep all eyes on the attack point, especially for the front seven; when they snap the ball, you are going right through it."

With 10 minutes left in the first half, the Knights were out to a 21-0 lead, led by a 14-yard rush by senior running back Caleb Jones.

"Caleb did a fantastic job for someone who missed a lot of camp practice due to injury," Coach Tyrell said postgame. "Today was the first real live snaps he had all summer, and we're working him back to full health over the next few weeks."

By halftime, the Knights jumped to a 38-0 lead, removing any doubt of a comeback for the reigning 2022 Kentucky Class 5A State Champions, snapping their 15-game winning streak.

Next up for the Knights (1-0) will be an out-of-state trip to Erie, Pennsylvania, for a matchup with the Ramblers of Cathedral Prep on Friday, August 25th. Kickoff is at 7 pm.

Cleveland Glenville Tarblooders 36, Dinwiddie Generals (VA) 13

The reigning Division IV state champion Tarblooders needed a quarter to knock the rust off from the fall practice and into the mode that made them champions. Missed tackles, missed assignments, and not "hitting" as most junior varsity players were screaming gave the Generals an early 7-0 lead after the first quarter rushing touchdown from standout running back Harry Dalton.

Senior tight end Damarrion Witten, who will soon be taking his talents to Columbus and attending The Ohio State University, admitted that the team had to overcome the adversity presented by the Generals quickly.

"Last year, we faced some adversity, and G (Coach Ted Ginn) helped get us out of that. Today he told us we had a target on our back, and it's better to come out on the field with that swag instead of thinking we have the game already. My seniors and I told our younger guys it was time to show out. We've practiced this for 12 months and must respond."

The Tarblooders responded most dominantly. Senior D'Shawntae Jones (nephew of Glenville alum and 2014 OSU National Champion QB Cardale Jones) scored two of his four first-half rushing touchdowns in the first 2:00 of the second quarter.

The first came off a 51-yard sprint to the end zone after the offensive line leader, senior 6-foot-5 Louisville offensive tackle recruit Fred Johnson and senior 6-foot-3 offensive guard Matthew Gary created a massive gap for Jones to dash down the right side. The second came on a five-yard run after Witten caught a pass from senior QB and Walsh Jesuit transfer Ruel Tomlinson Jr. for 34 yards. Johnson was named the Gatorade Player of the Game.

"Man, it's fun to open them holes and see your boy run up the field for a touchdown knowing you did it for him," Johnson said postgame.

On the next possession, the Generals fumbled the ball at their 38-yard line setting the Tarblooders up in a terrific scoring position. A few plays later, Jones scored his third rushing touchdown in the first three minutes of the quarter.

A few drives later, Tomlinson Jr. connected with WR Quency Rogers on a 70-yard pass, scoring 28 unanswered points and putting a bow on this spectacular performance. A drive later, Jones punched his fourth touchdown on the day from 21 yards out, essentially putting the "coup de grâce" on the Generals for the win.

Tomlinson Jr. ended the first half 6/7 for 187 yards and one touchdown. Jones carried the ball ten times for 132 yards to accompany his four touchdowns.

"First of all, Welcome to Cleveland first," Jones said postgame. "Coach Ginn preached to us multiple times that it doesn't matter how big or small you are; helmets and pads speak for themselves. The game plan was to come and pound the ball, and I executed the game plan."

Senior Ohio State defensive back commit Bryce West had a simple statement when asked about outside talent versus Ohio teams."I think we're one of the best teams in the nation. We have IMG later in the season, and we're not backing down from anybody. I think Ohio football is just as good as those in California, Texas, and Florida. Many people don't know because they don't come to see us play."

Next, the Tarblooders will travel 2 hours down I-71 to face the Patriots of Olentangy Liberty in Powell, Ohio, on Friday, August 25th. Kickoff is at 7 pm.


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