On Thursday morning, the former Elder football standout was named the Vikings’ nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.
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.
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."
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.
Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, a former Elder High School standout, is going to the Pro Bowl for the second time in his career, the NFL announced Monday.
Rudolph replaced injured Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham.
Rudolph was named Pro Bowl MVP the last time he played in the game - in 2013.
The Los Angeles Rams announced Wednesday that long snapper Jake McQuaide, a former Elder High School standout, has been selected to the NFC team as he was one year ago.
A plethora of Greater Cincinnati high school football standouts have graced National Football League rosters in recent years with the NFC championship game featuring two of the area's finest.
Elder's Kyle Rudolph, tight end for the Minnesota Vikings will square off with La Salle's Brent Celek of the Philadelphia Eagles. Another Greater Catholic League-South product will join the league soon as former Moeller and Ohio State player Sam Hubbard has declared for the upcoming NFL draft.
Hubbard, who has already graduated from OSU with a degree in finance, played his last game in the Buckeyes triumph over Southern Cal in the Cotton Bowl Dec. 29. With just three days off, he reported to EXOS Training in Carlsbad, California, Jan. 2 to prepare for the NFL Combine.
"It really, really felt good to go out like that," Hubbard said of the Cotton Bowl victory. "The defensive line had been playing together a long time. We kind of knew this was going to be our last go-round so we gave it our all. We ended up with eight sacks which was a Cotton Bowl record."
Based on his health, graduation, play and pro projections Hubbard elected to leave Columbus early. His financial expertise from his days in OSU's Fisher School of Business should also come in handy now and later in life. Dispelling the stereotypes of players leaving school, Hubbard achieved his degree in three and a half years, graduating cum laude as a First Team Academic All-American. His work ethic now continues out west.
Greater Cincinnati has three boys basketball teams ranked in the top five in Ohio according to the latest Associated Press poll released Jan. 15.
Moeller is third in Division I behind Huber Heights Wayne and Solon and received one first-place vote.
McNicholas is second behind Wauseon in Division II and received three first-place votes.
Deer Park is now fourth in Division III and received two first-place votes.
McNicholas guard Ryan Reidy makes this fall away jumper count in the game against Badin High School at McNicholas High School. (Photo: Jim Owens for the Enquirer)
In Division I, Moeller won games last week with Centerville and St. Xavier and is on the road at Western Hills Tuesday and against GCL-South rival La Salle Friday.
The Buddy LaRosa High School Sports Hall of Fame announced its 2017 class Friday and for the first time ever, two legendary high school teams – as well as six individuals – will be inducted.
The first two teams ever to be inducted into the LaRosa's Hall of Fame will be the 1976 Moeller football team and the 2003 St. Ursula volleyball team. Both teams went undefeated and won state championships.
Individually, the new class will include: Dicky Beal, Holmes High School (class of 1980); Rob Florian, Elder High School (2004); Gino Guidugli, Highlands High School (2001); David Mosko, St. Xavier High School (2007); Emily Thompson, Taylor High School (2006); coach Mike Yeagle, Beechwood High School (1991-2005).
Ice, maybe the most unforgiving and unrelenting surface for sports competition, always reveals the truth. It leaves nothing to interpretation.
For local high school hockey teams, the ice brings with it a winter war where each side is clad in custom sweaters, feet fashioned with freshly-sharpened skates, and sticks spun with tape down to the smallest detail.
The season kicked off a few weeks ago and there are seven area teams in action this season. Here’s a look at the local ice brigade.