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2016 ABJ football preview scheduled to be available Friday

By Michael Beaven Published: August 24, 2016
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The 2016 Akron Beacon Journal High School Football preview section is scheduled to be in print and available to readers in the newspaper and online on Friday.

There will be several previews about teams and leagues, capsules on teams and feature stories on top players and top teams.

Additionally, the ABJ will publish an article on area senior players who have committed to play football at the University of Akron. Nine local players have pledged to be Zips in 2017, and there could be more commitments coming in the near future. UA already has several area players on its roster that helped the Zips win the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

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St. V-M senior Malik Wooldridge commits to play football at the University of Akron

By Michael Beaven Published: August 24, 2016
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St. Vincent-St. Mary senior Malik Wooldridge is staying close to home for college following his commitment to play football on scholarship at the University of Akron.

Wooldridge is a wide receiver, defensive back, kick returner and punt returner for St. V-M coach Marcus Wattley.

Wooldridge started as a wide receiver and defensive back in 2015 as the St. V-M football team finished 11-2 and made a Division III playoff appearance under coach Dan Boarman, who has since retired. Wooldridge also contributed to the 2014 St. V-M football team that went 11-3 and was a state semifinalist in Division III after winning state titles in 2013 and 2012.

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High School Soccer: "Friday Night Futbol" at Revere

By Michael Beaven Published: August 18, 2016

The Revere High School boys soccer team will host Mansfield Christian on Friday, in what the Minutemen are dubbing the second annual “Friday Night Futobol.”

The junior varsity teams will take the pitch for a 5 p.m. kickoff and then the varsity squads will start at approximately 7 p.m. in an event that is one week before Ohio’s high school football season starts.

This is the onlytime soccer teams play under the Friday night lights. The Ohio High School Athletic Association approved an early start to the season for teams participating in this event, which is also supported by the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer.

Pam Lifke of Revere said the Crew donated two tickets to be raffled off at each Friday Night Futbol event around the state.

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East senior Marquess Callaway commits to play football at the University of Akron

By Michael Beaven Published: August 6, 2016

East senior Marquess Callaway plans to stay in his hometown to play college football following his commitment to attend the University of Akron on a scholarship.

Callaway, 17, is a 6-foot-1 and 170-pound cornerback. He has earned three varsity letters on the East football team with starting experience as a freshman, sophomore and junior.

“This is a great opportunity,” Callaway said. “I like the coaches. That is what really got my attention. I like the cornerback coach and the football team. I think this will be a real good environment for me.”

Callaway is the third East senior to pledge to play football at UA joining classmates Jemarulin Suggs and Deandre Brimage who committed to the Zips earlier this year. Domonick Holley Jr., a 2016 East High School graduate, is also enrolled at UA and plans to play on the Zips football team in 2017 once his grades are in order.

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Ellet’s A.J. Gareri commits to play basketball at Ohio U

By Michael Beaven Published: June 29, 2016

Ellet rising senior A.J. Gareri plans to take his sharp-shooting abilities to Ohio University next year and play basketball on scholarship for the Bobcats.

Gareri, who is 6-foot-9 and 210-pounds, said he has pledged to Ohio U over scholarship offers from Kent State, Toledo, Bowling Green and American University.

“I really love the way they play and I have a great relationship with all of the coaches,” Gareri said. “I think I will be a great fit there.”

Gareri, 18, said OU’s coaching staff, led by Saul Phillips, envisions him on the court as “a stretch 4 [power forward] that can play the wing occasionally.”

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OHSAA imposes penalties on a few member schools

By Michael Beaven Published: June 15, 2016

The Ohio High School Athletic Association has imposed penalties on nine high schools and four middle schools that violated bylaws or sports regulations.

Including in the 13 schools is Walsh Jesuit High School. The OHSAA announced that a Walsh varsity football coach violated the regulations and polices put into place regarding football practices and contact days. In accordance with Bylaw 11, Penalties, the Commissioner’s Office has reprimanded the school’s coaching staff for failing to follow the regulations for football practices and contact days and has restricted the coaching staff (paid and volunteer) to eight days of permissible instruction during the period of June 1-July 31 and a fine of $150 has been imposed.

Tim Stried, the OHSAA Director of Information Services, said a football team usually has 10 days of permissible instruction during the period of June 1-July 31.

The other high schools that were penalized were Poland Seminary, Bloomdale Elmwood, Garfield Heights, Cuyahoga Heights, Warren Harding, Lima Temple Christian, Toldeo Central Catholic and Bellbrook. The middle schools who violated a rule were Columbiana Crestview, Circleville McDowell, Ironton Rock Mill and Troy.

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Norton athletes commit to play sports in college

By Michael Beaven Published: June 15, 2016

Brian Miller, who recently resigned as the Norton Athletic Director, announced four 2016 graduates have committed to playing a sport in college.

Mitch Zimmerman has signed to play baseball at the University of Mount Union. Zimmerman was a three-year starter for the Panthers.

“This is a good choice for Mitch and a great opportunity,” Norton baseball coach Rod Swartz said. “He has made tremendous strides. He started for us as sophomore and each year he makes strides at being a better player.”

Courtney Cofer is headed to Baldwin Wallace to continue her soccer career.

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Hoban running back Todd Sibley commits to play college football at Pittsburgh

By Michael Beaven Published: June 15, 2016

Archbishop Hoban rising senior Todd Sibley has decided to go in a different direction with his college football career.

Sibley, an Akron resident, played his entire junior year at Hoban as a standout running back committed to play at Ohio State University. He helped guide the Knights to a victory in the 2015 Division III state championship game in Columbus at Ohio Stadium.

His college future was scheduled to be in Ohio’s state capital, but after Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer and his staff changed their minds on him, Sibley has decided he too will change his mind and Wednesday he announced he plans to play football at Pittsburgh.

“They changed my scholarship offer to a gray shirt offer, which means I would have to wait a year to join the team,” Sibley said. “That was definitely one of the reasons why I decided to go another direction. Taking a year off from playing football was too much for me and I wasn’t sure I could handle that so I had to go down a different path.”

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Ellet's Marquise Bridges snags scholarship offer from U Akron

By Michael Beaven Published: June 15, 2016

Ellet rising senior Marquise Bridges received a football scholarship offer from the University of Akron.

UA is the first Division I college to offer Bridges, who competes in football, basketball and track and field. Bridges plays a running back in football for Ellet coach Joe Yost.

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Barberton rising senior Kobie Booker commits to play football at the University of Akron

By Michael Beaven Published: June 11, 2016

Barberton High School rising senior Kobie Booker has committed to play football at the University of Akron.

Booker, 18, is 6-foot-1 and 257-pounds. He plays all the defensive line positions, linebacker and tight end for Magics coach Tony Gotto, and has been a starter the past two years as a sophomore and junior.

“Akron is recruiting me to play D-line and linebacker, and the coaches said maybe every once in awhile some fullback on goal line and short yard situations,” Booker said. “I love the opportunity to play at Akron. I want to put on for the city.”

Booker said UA defensive line coach-recruiting coordinator Todd Stroud and safeties coach Mike Woodford were the two coaches he talked with the most recently after receiving a scholarship offer from the Zips. Booker also holds a scholarship offer from the Air Force Academy.

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