A solid schedule has the Hudson football team prepped and ready to roll for the playoffs.
Hudson coach Ron Wright is confident heading into the Explorers’ (9-1) Division I, Region 1 quarterfinal game against visiting Toledo Whitmer (6-4) at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“We had a tough schedule with three teams that were 9-1,” Wright said. “We beat Brecksville and Stow and lost to Mentor. The guys worked hard in the offseason and committed themselves. They played well early and have kept it going. We have a good senior class, talented junior and sophomores, and a good staff of coaches, too.”
Hudson is led by five senior captains — linebacker-running back Ben Hart, offensive lineman Ben Adams, free safety-wide receiver John Zuccaro, running back-wide receiver-defensive back Jared Ruffing and defensive lineman-running back Michael Innamorato.
The five players entered the season with experience in a Hudson program that has posted a 28-6 record during the past three years.
“I really believe some of this has to do with the legacy,” Wright said. “The kids that have played prior to this have helped produce this environment where they are not going to let people down. They want to continue to be successful.”
Wright has been impressed by the play of junior quarterback Mitchell Guadagni. Senior Tom Bevan and juniors Colton Whited and Reid Robinson are the Explorers’ top receivers. Senior Lucas Wilch and junior Dillon Carlson anchor the offensive line. Junior Matt Rightnour is an impact defensive player at safety.
Booker earns honor
St. Vincent-St. Mary senior football player Dante Booker Jr. has been selected to play in the United States Army All-American Bowl.
The selection committee will visit Akron and present Booker with his game jersey at St. V-M on Nov. 15. Booker is an Ohio State University recruit as a linebacker.
He is one of 90 players from across the country selected to play in the Jan. 4 game, which is set to kick off at noon at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The game will be televised live on NBC and is regarded as the nation’s premier high school all-star game.
St. V-M (10-0) will host Chagrin Falls Kenston (7-3) in a Division III, Region 7 quarterfinal game at 7:30 tonight. St. V-M is the defending Division III state champion.
Manchester vs. Ursuline
Manchester (8-2) will host Youngstown Ursuline (4-5) in a Division V, Region 15 quarterfinal game at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Manchester coach Jim France said he and his players are not fooled by Ursuline’s record.
“I would say we got a real difficult draw,” France said. “Each year it is a goal of ours to get back in the playoffs and this is the 21st year. We missed a little bit on our first goal of winning the league title, but this is always an exciting time of the year. We saw Ursuline play St. Vincent-St. Mary last Thursday. They are a very physical football team with a lot of talent. They are big and strong, and they played a real tough schedule. They beat Division I schools, such as Jackson, and they also beat Steubenville pretty good. They look like they are ready for the playoffs, and I know we are ready for the playoffs too.”
The Panthers feature four senior captains — running back-linebacker Austin Klein, two-way lineman Jake Hanzel, safety Dakota Craig and linebacker-running back John Beavers.
Panthers junior Pavin Parks has found success at quarterback as a first-year starter with assistance from senior receivers Aaron Hoxworth and Bobby Bowen. Junior Logan Harvey is also making an impact as a middle linebacker/fullback.
Woodridge vs. Benedictine
Woodridge coach Eric Ervin said his team is still playing because of “team chemistry.”
Woodridge (8-2) will host Cleveland Benedictine (7-3) in a Division IV, Region 11 quarterfinal game at 7:30 tonight.
“We don’t have any superstars,” Ervin said. “We are just a good football team where everybody contributes.”
Middle linebacker Joe Horn, running back Dalevon Davidson and two-way linemen Mason Hilling and Tom Morehouse are senior captains and integral players.
Juniors Brandon Williams and Don Baker also make an impact as linebackers and running backs, and junior Anthony Thurman and senior Devonte Fellows are part of a solid passing game with junior quarterback Tom Finegan.
Mogadore vs. VA-SJ
Mogadore will make its 27th playoff appearance since the state playoffs started in 1972 at 7:30 tonight against visiting Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph in a Division VI, Region 19 quarterfinal game between 9-1 teams.
“Defensively, we have been playing really well the past couple of weeks fueled by [junior] defensive end Andy Owens and Danny Sentelik,” Mogadore coach Matt Adorni said. “They are playing really well and so are [senior] outside linebacker Justin Chew and [senior] middle linebacker Bryce Huth.”
Junior Brandon Berry is Mogadore’s top running back, senior Anthony Ricci is the quarterback and senior Kenny Vechik is a key offensive guard. Adorni has also been pleased with junior kicker-receiver Riley Jones and junior defensive back Alec Tarter.
Buckeye returns to playoffs
Mark Pinzone has guided Buckeye (6-4) to the playoffs in Division III in his first year as coach. Clyde (9-1) will host the Bucks in a Region 8 quarterfinal at 7:30 tonight.
Buckeye, which is making its first playoff appearance since 2009 and fifth overall, started 0-3. The Bucks are led by three senior playmakers, quarterback Christian Petek, running back Cody Fortney and wide receiver Jeff Susalla. Seniors Alex Wilk, Zach Diaz and Sean Spence and Matt Hritz are key players on both sides.
No playoffs this year
Walsh Jesuit (7-3) and Archbishop Hoban (5-5) played a memorable game last week, which turned out to be the final game for each this season.
Warriors coach Gerry Rardin is happy with how his team won its final six games.
“I told the kids that we had a couple of tough opponents earlier in the season,” Rardin said. “We lost three [to Youngstown Ursuline, Canisius in Buffalo, N.Y., St. V-M], and a lot of teams will fold after that, but we said, ‘Hey our goal has got to be to get to 7-3.’ The kids each week just kept that in mind.”
Rardin praised senior captains Bryan DiCillo, John Conner, Matt McShane and John Strayer. Seniors Mike Knoll, D.J. Aguilar and Spenser Theiss also played key roles.
Hoban rebounded from three consecutive losing seasons to finish 5-5.
“We turned the table here, and even though we didn’t get to share the league title, I think the seniors instilled great things into our juniors, sophomore and freshmen,” Hoban coach Tim Tyrrell said. “We will be a team to reckon with the next three or four years.
“[Seniors] D’Angelo James, Jake Tersigni, Vince Buzzi and Daniel Sutter, they played their butt off. Domenic Grosso has been an unbelievable offensive line and defensive lineman for us. Kylan Hood has done a great job playing corner and free safety, and Joe Parisi came back after being injured off and on and has just fought through pain to play. Anthony Krim II, Jordan Wagner and Tristian Rothenbuecher and Anthony Simonetti also played well and provided leadership as seniors.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.