September 29, 2011

Prep Preview: Week Six

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The high school football season is officially past the midway point. Week six brings some huge match-ups to the table for many of Ohio State's top recruits. Below, we take a look at some of the biggest topics to follow this weekend on the prep scene.

1. Big-time battle in Canton

Two of the most interesting recruitments to follow right now in Ohio actually involve committed prospects Se'von Pittman of Canton McKinley and Bri'onte Dunn of Canton GlenOak. Those two will square off on Thursday night at Canton Fawcett Stadium in a game with huge playoff implications and Stark County bragging rights on the line. Both teams are securely in the playoffs as of today and no matter what happens on Thursday that will probably remain the case.

The most interesting storyline in this game is the seemingly uncertain status of both Dunn and Pittman. Both players claim to be one-hundred percent committed to Ohio State and Michigan State respectively, yet both players have been found on other college campuses in recent weeks on unofficial visits.

While Dunn's unofficial visits have been anticipated for some time now, Pittman's last minute trip to Columbus last Saturday was certainly out of left field. Both Pittman and head coach Ron Johnson are sticking to their guns that the visit was simply made to watch former teammate Steve Miller but it would be hard to classify Pittman as one-hundred percent committed right now.

2. Big games in Central Ohio

Around the state the playoff races are beginning to take shape and that is no more obvious than in Central Ohio this weekend. Numerous Buckeye commits and targets will be playing in big games in the Columbus area where a loss could mean the end of playoff hopes.

The biggest of the group is Hilliard Darby at Upper Arlington. Frank Epitropoulos will likely remain sidelined after his thumb surgery but could see action as a punter on Friday. Darby's Caleb Day will need to take advantage of Epitropoulos' absence on both sides of the football as his Panthers squad sits at 5-0 but is not currently in the top eight to make the Region 3 playoffs. Darby needs a signature win badly for playoff points, and Day and company are ready for the challenge.

Pickerington Central got a huge win last Friday at home over rival Pickerington North. A loss would have probably ended the Tigers' playoff hopes but at 2-2, the playoffs are at least back in the discussion. Roger Lewis, Jacoby Boren, and company still have a lot of work left to do and they have no time to celebrate as they hit the road to face Gahanna Lincoln (4-1). Gahanna sits ahead of Central in the playoff standings right now and if the season ended today the Lions would be in while the Tigers would be out. A win for Central here could propel them into that top eight.

Over across town, Pickerington North and Pat Elflein must rebound from last week's devastating loss to Central and they will be greeted by a Reynoldsburg (4-1) team that is playing its best football in years under new head coach Buddy White. A win for North would put the Panthers in great position to secure a playoff berth while a loss would make things extremely difficult down the stretch. Simply put, this is a must-win game for Elflein and company.

3. Future Buckeyes square off in Cleveland

This season has had more match-ups of future Ohio State players than any in recent memory and that trend will continue on Saturday night in Cleveland as Blake Thomas and St. Ignatius host Devan Bogard and Cleveland Glenville.

For Glenville (2-2), this game is an elimination game. If the Tarblooders don't get a 'W' on Saturday their playoff chances are done. Though not quite as important to St. Ignatius, this game does carry a lot of weight in terms of the Wildcats' playoff chances. Games against Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep, Cincinnati St. Xavier, and Lakewood St. Edward down the stretch are going to be tough tasks and the Wildcats will need every win they can get as they head into that stretch.


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