Poll Open: Who Will Win? Division One Region 4

Round Two of the 2020 OHSAA Football Playoffs should be an exciting one. In Division One, Region 4, there are some outstanding games with great storylines to follow.

We look at each game and ask you the following.

Who will advance in the second round of the OHSAA Playoffs in Division I, Region 4?

#8 LAKOTA EAST (4-3) @ #1 LAKOTA WEST (6-0)

Lakota East struggled to come out of the changes caused by Covid-19 dropping their first three games. However, things changed with a big first win over Princeton followed by three straight wins, including a first-round playoff win over Sycamore in convincing fashion.

Junior quarterback TJ Kathman can beat you throwing or running the ball and is the primary offensive weapon to watch. Part of the program’s surge in the latter part of the season came from senior running back Josh Thornhill, his average of 10.5 yards per carry, and five touchdowns. When Kathman looks to throw, senior Jack Harmann has been the main target with 11 receptions for 233 yards and five touchdowns. But Kathman must manage the offense by controlling the clock and not making mistakes if they want to upset their rival.

Head coach Rick Haynes would like to pressure the quarterback more, but his defense has posted only four sacks this season. Senior linebacker Jordell Smith has two of them along with 23 tackles. However, the teams leading tackler is from the secondary in junior defensive back Nathan Rosario with 48 stops.

For Lakota West head coach Tom Bolden, his team’s strength is their defense led by senior linebacker Jackson Kuwatch with 41 tackles and two sacks. Junior Aden Miller leads the Firebirds with 5.5 sacks giving Bolden a defensive unit primed to pressure the Thunderhawks offense.

Sophomore quarterback Mitch Bolden continues to grow his game, knowing his limits and strengths. Bolden has three receivers with over 100-yards and a combined ten touchdowns led by senior Adrian Davis to go with the strong running of Cameron Good.

On paper, Lakota West looks like a clear favorite to advance. However, rivalry games have a way sometimes to give us unexpected outcomes.

Who do you feel will win this game? Cast your vote below.

#5 COLERAIN (5-2) @ #4 MASON (5-2)

The Cardinals have taken a couple of gut punches this season with losses to Lakota West and Princeton. However, since the loss to the Vikings, they’ve run off four straight wins. Shawn Cutright has a team that is still one to watch that knows how to play defense and could quickly get on a run.

Defensively the Cardinals know how to pressure the quarterback with 25 sacks led by defensive lineman Dontay Corleone with seven sacks. Junior linebacker Lavert Jarmon leads the Cardinals with 40 tackles. There is also a load of talent behind both of them.

The question is, what offense will show up? Freddie Johnson can line up at quarterback and make a surprise throw when needed. However, his strength is running the ball. But the play of MJ Flowers will be critical in this game. This year, Flowers has rushed for 708 yards and 11 touchdowns, but Mason has a defense capable of stopping the Cardinals offensive attack.

Mason’s head coach Brian Castner knows his defense will need to bring their “A” Game to slow down the Cardinals offense. But Castner may have the right combination to attack a run-first offensive scheme in senior defensive lineman Joe Reid who can clog up running lanes. Defensive backs Cameron Ashurst and Ryan Caplinger lead the Comets with a combined 71 tackles.

Junior quarterback Michael Molnar is a dual-threat, having thrown for 449 yards but only three touchdowns. Senior running back Nolan McCormick is the player that needs to have a big game. McCormick has 660 yards rushing to go with seven touchdowns, followed by Molnar with 355 yards and seven scores rushing.

Who do you feel will win this game? Cast your vote below.

#7 ELDER @ #2 PRINCETON (6-1)

Are people overlooking the Elder Panthers? After this game, we’ll find out. Doug Ramsey saw his team survive an overtime thriller against Fairfield to advance to play the No. 2 seeded Vikings.

Junior quarterback Ben Hambleton has been solid with 1,529 passing yards and 18 touchdowns with only three interceptions. But the play of junior Drew Ramsey has been tremendous as Ramsey has rushed for 577 yards and 11 touchdowns while also adding 568 receiving yards and seven scores. Senior Cooper Johnson has 427 rushing yards and three touchdowns while Scott Nieman leads the Panthers with 622 receiving yards and seven scores. So offense is not a problem.

Ramsey has five players on defense with 30 or more tackles, including Gaillin Mitchell, with 2.5 sacks. But the defense has struggled to stop teams from scoring. In six regular-season games, the Panthers allowed 120 points. In a ten-game regular season a year ago, the Panthers allowed 61 points.

Vikings head coach Mike Daniels knows this game will be another test for his program to continue their way back to the top of Cincinnati area football.

Daniels has a young and exciting quarterback to watch in Mekhi Lynn, who has passed for 1,235 yards and 16 touchdowns while also adding 366 yards rushing and six touchdowns. Senior running backs Thomas Boyd and Ari Turner have combined for 858 yards and nine touchdowns. At the same time, Rodney Harris Jr., Lamont Jackson, and DeAngelo Foster have combined for 965 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns.

The Vikings have been solid defensively but struggle to stop the run giving up an average of 200 yards a game. Senior defensive end Qai Williams has 30 stops, including five sacks, while junior linebacker Antonio Nunley Jr. and senior linebacker John Harris both have 61 tackles on the season.

Who do you feel will win this game? Cast your vote below.


These two teams played in Week Five, with St Xavier coming away with an impressive 43-14 win with their back-up quarterback.

The Crusaders have some pieces but are also playing several young players as Mark Elder continues to rebuild the program.

Junior quarterback Noah Geselbracht is showing growth but struggled against the Bombers defense, throwing five interceptions. The player we love watching is senior TJ Rotello, who has been Mr. Everything after opening at quarterback before moving to running back. Rotello plays hard and with a high motor, having rushed for 497 yards and seven touchdowns. The offensive line has some talent, with Fredrick Sturgis and Landon Fickell being the anchors. Junior tight end Josh Kattus has four touchdowns to go with 254 receiving yards, while sophomore receiver Tennel Bryant has a team-leading 474 yards to go with three scores.

Defensively senior linebacker Deuce Shaw II is a player who can make plays sideline-to-sideline and leads the team with 34 tackles. Defensive lineman Nate Pabst has been solid, but Aidan Shaw has been coming on in the past few weeks after being slowed by an injury early in the season.

But there is a reason the Bombers won the Greater Catholic League title. As I always say when talking about a Steve Specht team, you have to talk defense.
Senior linebacker Matthew Devine continues to dominate, having posted 66 tackles. Gabriel Duboise has six interceptions, including two he returned for scores, and Eli Kirk has 45 tackles to go with three interceptions. From the teams we’ve watched in live-action, the Bombers are right at the top along with Lakota West in the best defense we’ve seen this fall.

The Bombers have a plethora of depth at quarterback, with three juniors all capable of being starters. Brogan McCaughey won the battle at the start of the season, with Max Klare being the back-up. However, Klare is athletic enough to play at tight end and move there to start the season. Unfortunately, Klare went down with a season-ending injury in Week One. Ryan Nolan moved up to the back-up role getting his first star the last time these two teams met. Nolan got his second start last week as McCaughey was held back and delivered another outstanding performance. McCaughey should be back this week coming off an impressive 556 yard, five-touchdown performance two weeks ago against Cleveland St. Ignatius.

Liam Clifford and Jalen Patterson have been solid with a combined 1,292 receiving yards and ten touchdowns. When the Bombers want to run the ball, they follow junior offensive linemen Cameron Collins and Brian Parker, who both hold Division One offers. Charles Kellom has 530 yards and six touchdowns, while Luke Vrsansky has 296 yards and four scores.

Who do you feel will win this game? Cast your vote below.

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