St. Xavier RB Chris Payne Has a Unique Perspective on Colerain Rivalry

St. Xavier RB Chris Payne Has a Unique Perspective on Colerain Rivalry

St. Xavier senior running back Chris Payne lives 10 minutes away from Colerain High School.

As a youngster, he used to live near and play pickup basketball with Colerain senior running back Syncere Jones. Colerain senior quarterback Deante Smith-Moore is like family to Payne.

Like the friendship of Colerain coach Tom Bolden and St. X coach Steve Specht, there is a great deal of mutual respect between the highly-successful high school football programs. They are meeting for the 14th time in the postseason and the first time in the first round since 2012.

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Rivals Bacevich of St. Xavier, Whyle of La Salle Ready to Rally Together on UC Football Team

Rivals Bacevich of St. Xavier, Whyle of La Salle Ready to Rally Together on UC Football Team

On a recent sunny Saturday scrimmage at Paul Brown Stadium, a pair of bitter Greater Catholic League-South rivals stood side-by-side chatting with University of Cincinnati Athletic Director Mike Bohn.

St. Xavier High School linebacker Blake Bacevich and La Salle tight end Josh Whyle signed with UC but still have to finish their academic prep years. By June, the pair that often collided on the field will be roommates and in the fold for Coach Luke Fickell's Bearcats. With one on offense and the other defense, pads will likely crash again.

"We've butted heads a couple times," Whyle said grinning.

Added Bacevich, "It's a good rivalry. It's always good to compete with each other."

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Moeller Grad Pitman Finds 2nd Chance on Miami University's Basketball Court

Moeller Grad Pitman Finds 2nd Chance on Miami University's Basketball Court

Grant Pitman knew the knee injury he suffered just before Christmas in 2015 was severe.

He was not prepared for the surgeon’s reaction.

The 2015 Moeller graduate was diagnosed with a torn meniscus, but this wasn’t just any torn meniscus.

“I tore it pretty close to the root,” he recalled. “The surgeon actually told me before the surgery that I would never play basketball again. He said he’d rather have seen me tear my (anterior cruciate ligament). That was not the news I wanted to hear.

“When I heard the news, I was devastated. That was the worst news to hear.”

Pitman suffered the injury playing for Air Force Academy Prep while getting ready to enter the Colorado Springs, Colorado,-based academy. He received a medical discharge, forcing him to give up his dream of being a special operations medic.

He never gave up thinking about playing basketball. He left Colorado, enrolled at Miami (Ohio) in the fall of 2016 and, after what he described as a “ton of physical therapy,” felt good enough to try out for the RedHawks’ new coaching staff.

“My knee was totally healed up,” he said. “They had a new coaching staff, so I went to the office.”

When the 2017-2018 season opened, the 6-foot-4, 185-pound guard had his own section in the official media supplement as a Miami walk-on.

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