Painting the Town Royal Blue: Central Crossing’s Rise to Relevancy [Column]

66-20. 41-7. 43-6. 51-12.

If you are a part of the Central Crossing alumnae or a fan from 2002-2014, you may not be able to discern which game or season these scores come from, but you do know that the royal blue and silver were not on the winning end. These are all final scores of losses encountered by the 2013 team, all encountered in OCC-Central play to the likes of Hilliard Davidson, Upper Arlington, Thomas Worthington and Marysville. The Comets finished 2-8 and yet again, found themselves looking to the future, hoping that some day they could possibly just have a winning season, let alone a berth in the OHSAA state playoffs.

Oh, the difference a year makes.

Fast-forward to Week 10 of the 2014 season, and you would think the Comets were a perennial contender in Central Ohio. Remember those four losses by 34+ points mentioned above? Yeah, those rematches been turned into four of the biggest wins of school history, each important in their own way, three of which have been by 10+ points.

Arguably the greatest feat was a 21-20 upset win over defending OCC-Central champion Hilliard Davidson, which included stopping the ‘Cats on a two-point play in overtime. Throw in a 35-21 throttling of perennial bully Upper Arlington and you have something special that has never been seen from the boys on Big Run South.

Along with many of my classmates, I stood as a part of the “Comet Crazies” no matter what, win or lose. I do not get how the student section is not filled to capacity each and every week, being loud and proud for a team that is setting new records by the week. Not to sound like an old man, but if from 2006-08 one of our football teams was having a year like this, I’m not sure you would be able to find a quiet fan in the bunch.

But now, the frustrations on fall Friday nights have turned into something much different that the community has picked up on. Sitting at 6-3 and 15th in Division I: Region II, there is a serious chance that the royal blue and silver will complete the #RoadToWeek11, being the first team from Grove City to play in the OHSAA playoffs since 2008.

Before the Comets think about the playoffs, they must first complete their regular season with a win over none other than archrival Westland, which has been more of a kitten than a Cougar since 2008, with Central Crossing winning by an average score of 29-10 in the five meetings between the two schools.

Residing just 5.4 miles from Central Crossing, (Galloway) Westland has been a fair and worthy foe in other sports, and when you think about “Rivalry Week” you must always consider the fact that no matter the records, you will get their best shot. It does not matter if they are 3-6 or 6-3, there is no doubt it will be a close game.

The book about the 2014 Comets has all but been written, and only the final few chapters await their destiny. What now sits before this team is a chance to finish the book with a strong closing statement, forever etching their history with a big royal blue and silver signature all their own.

Sign Up Now For Tier 1 Sports Middle School Showcase! [Oct. 18th]

Basketball never stops and this upcoming weekend is no different, as Tier 1 Sports LLC is putting on a showcase for all basketball players from 5th-8th grade on October 18 at Lima Senior High School. Lima’s own Quincey Simpson (@coachq7) will be helping run the camp, and there will be scouts from all across the midwest to evaluate and analyze those hoopers in attendance.

The cost is now $100, and to register click the following link below:


Video services will also be in attendance, and here is some video from past events.

Matthew Moyer Profile, Part II [Article & Video]

Article by Eran Hami

A star athlete and a standout student. Matthew Moyer is dedicated to everything he takes on.

Seen walking through the hallways to the basketball gym, sporting a Syracuse University gym bag that is navy blue with the word “Syracuse” in orange, Gahanna’s Matthew Moyer makes no bones about where his college choice is.

To anyone under 6 feet tall, the 16-year-old five-star forward seems like a giant. He is lanky with a wingspan the size of an albatross’ but lacks a muscular figure. He has short buzzed brown hair with a light black skin tone.

On school days, the 6-feet-8 inch basketball small forward gets a head start with a 4 a.m. workout with his personal trainer, and then follows that up with an eight-hour school day. Moyer starts that school day with music, and not by listening to it, but by playing it as a first-chair violinist in the school’s orchestra.

Moyer said he spends numerous hours on homework each night, but manages to get it all done. He usually studies at home and sits at the polished, dark brown wooden kitchen table that is about four feet high. Moyer sits in the chair that faces towards a glass sliding door, looking out to his suburban backyard. Overflowing with assignments and notes, his plastic red, lime green and purple folders divide up his class duties. At one point he got up to get a navy blue blanket, that felt like felt material, to wrap his long legs up. He pestered his mom several times that the house was cold and the heat needed to be turned on. She resisted saying October is too early for the heat.

The weekends are filled with basketball and social time. Moyer tries to make it out to cheer on fellow Gahanna Lincoln Lions at the football games.

“I just love supporting,” Moyer said about his high school and attending a college with a football program.

Every now and then Moyer will get interrupted on his homework from his friend and teammate Nick Ward. Ward asked Moyer over the phone to give him a “shout out” on Twitter. With the phone on speaker Moyer rolls his eyes and throws his head back and shakes it in a displeased manor.

“You don’t have 1000 followers yet Nick?” Moyer said on the phone joking around with Ward.

“That dude FaceTimes me and calls me all the time,” Moyer said as Skittles rattle around a cardboard box and fall into Moyer’s hand. “How many times does he call me? Once before school, once before workouts, once before I go to bed and then if he can’t sleep he’ll just keep FaceTimeing me until I wake up.”

 On Sundays in the fall, Moyer attends “Coach Vic’s Open Gym”, at the older Reynoldsburg High School. Here, the best basketball players in the Columbus area come together for two hours to showcase their talents with various Division II and Division III college coaches in attendance. Moyer arrived to the gym sporting his royal blue Gahanna Lincoln warm-up jacket, with the school logo stamped on the left side of the jacket on his chest. He found his fellow high school teammate and Division I recruit, Ward, behind the small set of silver bleachers with only four rows. The two laughed liked young kids about a previous basketball trip they attended, while Moyer did some warm-up stretches on his legs using a 4-foot, maroon colored elastic band.

When Moyer is with Ward and his friends he is average height. For an average 5-feet-8-inch man, standing next to him and his friends would be like standing in the Redwood forest. He walks out to the faded wooden court with a lackadaisical appearance, but he doesn’t allow himself to be pushed around in the game. Moyer knows where to be on the court and where the ball needs to go when he receives a pass.

Moyer is involved with so much it is rare to see him just have free time to himself. Yet the student-athlete with a 3.7 GPA and ranked nationally as high as 14th on 247 Sports, maintains his composure and puts in hard work. As school progresses and his junior season approaches, Matt is going to need to find that continual perfect balance.

Kendrick, Saunders big in Dublin Coffman’s win over rival Scioto

DUBLIN, Ohio —   Nearly one year ago, the Dublin Scioto football team was celebrating a 30-13 win over rival Dublin Coffman at home. Fast forward 364 days and the roles have been reversed, as Dre Kendrick rushed for 138 yards and CJ Saunders caught two touchdown passes, leading the Shamrocks to a big 35-7 win over Dublin Scioto on Friday night.

Kendrick’s lone score on the night came 1:29 into the game, as linebacker Chase Granlund picked off Irish quarterback Nathan Densel on the second play from scrimmage, returning the ball inside the Scioto 5.

The score would stay the same until the second quarter, but the Irish surely had chances in the early-going. Holding penalties stalled two drives, negating two long third down conversions. Scioto’s optimal chance for points in the first quarter was all for naught as well, as a fumble inside the Coffman red zone ended their best drive of the night.

Coffman would break through for their second score of the game on a nifty trick play, a double pass from Gunnar Hoak to Kyle Marcinick, who then threw downfield to multi-sport star CJ Saunders. The 41-yard pass would give the Rocks a double digit lead they would not relinquish. The lead would balloon to 21-0 going into halftime as Hoak found Shaun Rankin for a 9-yard strike.

Despite throwing two interceptions, Irish signal caller Nathan Densel had a solid performance, throwing for 178 yards on 14/26 passing. A possible turning point in the third quarter was all for nothing, as a 48-yard touchdown pass from Densel to Cutchember was called back due to a hold. Scioto would score later in the quarter to pull back within 14.

The comeback was on after a three-and-out by Coffman gave the Irish the ball back and it seemed as if the momentum had turned. A third and short pass by Densel fell directly into the hands of Isaac McKinney, returning it 23 yards to the house to quash the rally early in the fourth quarter.

1 2 3 4 F
Dublin Coffman 7 14 0 14 35
Dublin Scioto 0 0 7 0 7
DC Kendrick 1 yard run (Granlund kick)
DC Saunders 41 yard pass from Marcinick (Granlund kick)
DC Rankin 9 yard pass from Hoak (Granlund kick)
DS Penn 31 yard run (Crosa kick)
DC McKinney 23 yard INT return (Granlund kick)
DC Saunders 7 yard pass from Beckett (Granlund kick)

Grove City fends off Hilliard Davidson for season-opening win [Article & Video]

GROVE CITY, Ohio — Defense may win championships, but for now Grove City will be content with just using it to win the season-opener. The Dawgs (1-0) held the vaunted Hilliard Davidson rushing attack to just 81 yards on 39 carries, pulling off a tough 6-0 victory over the Wildcats (0-1). The only score of the night came just minutes into the second half, as running back Peyton Bowyer dashed in from 20 yards out to give Grove City the lead, despite missing the extra point.

Bowyer and the Dawgs were stymied all throughout the first half by Davidson, and only gained a total of 57 yards in the opening two quarters. That all changed after the opening possession of the second half, as a Wildcat fumble would give Grove City the ball inside the Davidson 40. On the second third down of the drive, Bowyer dashed through the line, weaving his way to the end zone for the Dawgs first and only score of the night.

The Dawgs defense matched the intensity of the offense, continuing to come up with one big play after another. Davidson would struggle on their next two possessions as Grove City pressured offensively with Bowyer leading the way. The senior finished the game with 71 yards on 18 carries, including the second-half touchdown.

Hilliard Davidson would get one more chance late in the fourth quarter to take the lead, and after converting two early fourth downs, the momentum seemed to shift in their favor. The Wildcats had moved the ball to the Grove City side of the field for the first time since the opening quarter, and on 3rd & 3 had a chance to move even farther into Dawg territory. The protection for quarterback Jack Klein broke down quickly on the rollout play, and was sacked before he could throw.

The ensuing fourth down pass was off the mark, and the Dawgs held on and ran out the clock to seal the victory.

Xavier Simpson Summer Mixtape [2016/Lima Senior/King James]

2016 point guard Xavier Simpson had quite the summer, picking up multiple high major offers thanks to his play with his King James 16u team, leading them to the Elite 8 of Nike’s Sweet 16, and the Final Four of the AAU Super Showcase. Simpson will be playing for his dad, Quincey, in his junior year at Lima Senior HS, after leading cross-town Lima Central Catholic to a Division III state championship last season.

Special thanks go out to Daren Scarberry as well as Johnny Hines from Courtside Films.

For more on Simpson and King James 16u, stay tuned to Behind the Box Score.

Beat: On My Way-Christian Y

Elijah Pughsley Mixtape @ AAU Nationals [Video]

2015 G Elijah Pughsley scorched the nets during the final live period of the 2014 season at the AAU Nationals in Louisville. Pughsley had a 30-point game and also hit six threes in one half for his Queen City Prophets squad. Next year, Pughsley will be attending Lima Senior HS.

For more on the Prophets and AAU Nationals, stay tuned to Behind the Box Score.

Jaevin Cumberland dominates for King James Running Rebels @ AAU Nationals [Video]

2015 G Jaevin Cumberland scored the rock in many different ways over the weekend in Louisville at the AAU Nationals and Super Showcase, leading his King James Running Rebels squad to a comeback win over the Queen City Prophets in double OT.

For more on the AAU Nationals, stay tuned to Behind The Box Score.

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Lamont West throws down huge slam @ AAU Nationals [Video]

2015 forward Lamont West showed off his bounce on Friday, throwing down a huge dunk at the AAU Nationals in Louisville. West and his Queen City Prophets squad knocked off Kessel Heat 63-47 to finish 3-0 in pool play.

For more on the Prophets and the entire AAU Nationals, stay tuned to Behind The Box Score.