Cuyahoga Heights High School 2018 Football Playoffs
Division VII All-Ohio Football:
Three from Cuyahoga Heights among 2018 First-Team Selections.
Cuyahoga Heights 21, Glouster Trimble 47:
Redskins’ return bid for Division VII State Final falls short.
MARENGO, Ohio — Cuyahoga Heights’ bid for third straight OHSAA state football championship-game appearance ended a game short of Canton.
Glouster Trimble and its wishbone offense proved too much Saturday night in the Division VII state semifinals, running away in the second half for a 47-21 win at Highland High School in Marengo.
With only two returning starters on the field Saturday from last year, Cuyahoga Heights coach Al Martin looked over his players and reminded them of the odds they beat.
“Five or six years ago, you never would have heard of getting to the state semifinals three years in a row,” he told them. “Now it’s just the expectation.”
He had only six seniors for this run.
“Not a lot of people except for us thought we could get to the state playoffs,” said quarterback Sam Shafer, one of the juniors expected back next year. “We’ve got one last ride. We’re going to work our butts off.”
The Redskins (11-3) scored on the game’s first possession, rallied to tie the score on the final play of the first half, but could not contain Trimble’s run game the rest of the night. The Tomcats (13-1) rushed 56 times for 480 yards. They completed no passes, and used just three ball carriers.
All three exceeded 100 yards rushing, led by 6-foot senior Max Hooper. He ran for 280 yards and three touchdowns on just 16 carries. Junior Conner Wright added 79 yards on a team-high 23 carries, while junior quarterback Cameron Kittle ran for 121 yards on 17 attempts.
Kittle also scored Trimble’s four other touchdowns.
“Our bread and butter is our wishbone,” Trimble coach Phil Faires said. “Our kids believe in it. It gives our offensive line something to take pride in. They came in at halftime and said, ‘Coach, we can feel them getting tired.’ They were getting in some good hits on us early; as good as any team that’s probably played against us.”
Faires noticed Cuyahoga Heights’ defense stunted toward Wright, which left an opening on the back side.
Seemingly every time the Tomcats called a run for Hooper, he found open space.
“Our guys had confidence,” Faires said. “We got a push, we got a score and things just went wrong for them.”
A 14-all score to begin the third quarter shifted to the Tomcats’ advantage with a 12-play opening drive to take the lead. A series of fumbles later, including two by Cuyahoga Heights, quickly led to Hooper’s third breakout run.
Hooper scored twice earlier on runs of 46 and 62 yards. This one went for 56.
Cuyahoga Heights committed five turnovers. Three led to touchdowns the other way.
“When the levee broke, everything came pouring,” Shafer said. “We felt like we let some plays get away from us.”
However, as Shafer added, “When we were down 33-21, we still felt we were going to win.”
Martin reminded his players of that spirit and mindset in their final huddle of the season on the field. He saw chances for them not to reach this point, such as their two regular-season losses: a 46-17 defeat vs. 3-7 Brookfield and a 42-6 blowout loss to Kirtland, which plays next week for the Division VI state title.
“Obviously a little doubt creeps in,” Shafer said, “but at the same time you can’t sit down, be a martyr and feel bad for yourself. It’s football. You just can’t do it.”
Following the Kirtland loss, Shafer and his teammates reeled off seven straight wins to reach this stage. It all began with a 41-34 road victory vs. Division V playoff qualifier Wickliffe.
Shafer threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns vs. Trimble. Senior fullback Brayden DiSanza ran 16 times for 81 yards and added 85 yards on four receptions. He scored twice.
DiSanza and Shafer were the only two returning starters from last year, following injuries to senior linebackers Chase McDaniel and Richie Allison.
“My message to the juniors is just to keep the heart they had this season,” senior tackle Jordan Krucek said, “because they were rock stars for us. They were just completely awesome.”
Alumni showed up for games in recent weeks, including standout Dylan Drummond — now at Eastern Michigan — during last week’s regional championship win vs. Warren JFK. Krucek will be one of those former players next season.
He expects to see another deep — maybe deeper — playoff run.
2018 Football Playoff Schedule
November 24, 2018 | 7:00 PM | Highland High/Middle School-Marengo Stadium
Cuyahoga Heights Redskins 21 — Trimble Tomcats 47 (Glouster, Ohio)
November 17, 2018 | 7:00 PM | Nordonia Boliantz Stadium
Cuyahoga Heights Redskins 35 — John F. Kennedy Catholic Eagles 20 (Warren, Ohio)
November 10, 2018 | 7:00 PM | Hudson High School Campus Fields
Cuyahoga Heights Redskins 21 — East Canton Hornets 6
November 3, 2018 | 7:00 PM | Cuyahoga Heights Ralph P. Adams Stadium
Cuyahoga Heights Redskins 42 — Tuscarawus Central Catholic Saints 13
2018 Football Schedule
August 23, 2018 | 7:00 PM
Cuyahoga Heights 54 – Villa Angela-St. Joseph 12 (non-conference away game)
August 31, 2018 | 7:00 PM
Cuyahoga Heights 28 – Garrettsville Garfield 14
September 7, 2018 | 7:00 PM
Cuyahoga Heights 17 – Brookfield 46 (away game)
September 14, 2018 | 7:00 PM
Cuyahoga Heights 21 – Richmond Heights 6 (away game)
September 21, 2018 | 7:00 PM
Cuyahoga Heights 42 – Berkshire 26 (away game)
September 28, 2018 | 7:00 PM
Cuyahoga Heights 6 – Kirkland 42 (away game)
October 5, 2018 | 7:00 PM
Cuyahoga Heights 41 – Wickliffe 26 (away game)
October 12, 2018 | 7:00 PM
Cuyahoga Heights 35 – Cardinal 0
October 19, 2018 | 7:00 PM
Cuyahoga Heights 38 – Fairport Harbor Harding – 0
October 26, 2018 | 7:00 PM
Cuyahoga Heights 31 – Independence 12