Harrison Central’s Kobe Mitchell caps off a banner week
STEUBENVILLE — Suffice it to say, last week was an extremely memorable one for Harrison Central’s Kobe Mitchell.
Early in the week, the talented senior received an offer to continue his basketball career at the University of Akron. Mitchell was the Eastern District Division III Co-Player of the Year after averaging 31.4 points per game during the 2019-20 season. On Monday, by the way, he verbally committed to the Zips.
A couple of days later, he put together these astonishing numbers, as the Huskies football team disposed of Apple Creek Waynedale, 62-40:
¯ 28 passing attempts, 24 completions good for 497 yards and seven touchdowns.
¯ 13 rushing attempts, good for 138 yards and a touchdown (the score came on a 76-yard scamper).
¯ 635 yards of total offense and eight touchdowns.
Mitchell threw five touchdown passes to Trevor Carman, covering 31, 20, 61, 52 and 15 yards. He connected with Jonathon Vermillion for a 9-yard score and Parker Hutton for a 6-pointer covering 68 yards.
“Of course, it started up front with our pass protection,” Harrison Central coach Anthony said when discussing Mitchell’s tremendous performance. “It was the best it has been all season.
“Kobe just went on a tear. He was throwing balls that were spot on and really, really easy balls for our receivers to catch. I think he had four incompletions in the first half, and then he did not miss again. He reeled off 20-plus completions. Plus, he ran it well. When he saw something he didn’t like, he pulled it down and ran it which he had the green light to do in our offense.”
Carman also had a memorable game – 11 receptions for 259 yards and the five scores. Vermillion finished with seven grabs good for 73 yards and his touchdown. Hutton and James Brooks had three catches each.
“He was very patient and didn’t force any bad throws,” Hayes said. “He probably read his progressions better than he ever has in any practice or games that I have been around. It was a night when he just was on and, thankfully, the receivers caught the ball very well.
“As I said, it started with the offensive line. Everyone was just clicking for us offensively.”
In eight games, Mitchell has thrown for 1,824 yards and 19 touchdowns. He ranks as the top passer in the Herald-Star/Daily Times coverage area. On the ground, he has run for 532 yards and nine more scores.
Carman is the leading receiver in the area with 49 receptions, good for 869 yards and 11 touchdowns. Vermillion has 29 catches for 465 and 5 scores.
Hayes’ club, which was bumped from the Division V playoffs by South Range, now is 4-4 on the season.
“The win was a good way to bounce back from our playoff loss,” Hayes said. “We talked to the kids about the importance of having opportunities and being given opportunities. We have wonderful kids, and they always have great mindsets. It would have been easy to shut it down, but we probably had one of our better weeks of practice.
“Then we maybe had a day to prepare for our opponent (the Waynedale game was quickly scheduled after Harrison Central’s contest with Southern Local was canceled). Our kids made the most of the opportunity. They played as hard as they could, and I couldn’t be more proud of them or happier for them.”
Harrison Central will wrap up its season Friday with a home contest against Buckeye Local.
The week that was in high school football produced several memorable moments. They are, in no particular order:
¯ Buckeye Local’s Trey Hoover became the first area running back to surpass the 1,000-yard rushing level thanks to his performance against Catholic Central. The sophomore, who switched from quarterback earlier in the season, ran for 288 yards and five touchdowns, as the Panthers collected a 53-15 victory. Hoover scored five touchdowns, coming on runs of 33, 49, 7, 68 and 82 yards. In his last two games, Hoover has 530 yards. For the season, he has toted the pigskin 162 times for 1,073 yards and 14 scores.
¯ Noah Kourim, a Buckeye Local freshman, also had a performance he will not soon forget. Kourim rushed for 120 yards on just seven carries and scored twice, one 6-pointer coming on a 66-yard sprint.
¯ The athletic departments and coaching staffs at Steubenville and Martins Ferry high schools deserve a ton of credit for quickly putting together the first meeting between the programs since 1962. Games against previously-scheduled opponents were canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. Big Red made it a game to remember, rushing for 451 yards in posing a 43-14 win. Rodney James, Jr. went for 169 on just eight carries and scored twice. Kyjhaun Hopkins got 94 yards on five totes, and Spencer Ostovich added 83. The all-time series between the schools now is tied at 14-14-3.
¯ Edison played its final game at Cartwright Memorial Field, and it was one Wildcat fans will long remember. With Edison trailing Wellsville by two points and 1:02 left on the clock, quarterback Gage Cline connected with Jacob Cusick for a 56-yard game-winning touchdown. The score came on a 4th-and-10. Cline finished with 151 passing yards in the 33-28 victory.
¯ Caleb Leasure threw for 177 yards and a pair of scores, as Toronto earned a 32-20 triumph over Union Local. Leasure connected with Shane Keenan for a 59-yard touchdown and later found JoJo Savage for a 63-yard score. Keenan also ran for a 6-pointer from 19-yards out. Garrett Dozier had his usual strong game for the Red Knights, rushing for 115 yards and two touchdowns. His final one sealed the deal as the Jets sliced the deficit to six (26-20) late in the game. It marked the Red Knights’ final game this season, as their scheduled contest Friday at rival Wellsville was canceled due to Toronto contracting the coronavirus.
¯ Even in its loss to Buckeye Local, Central was able to record a couple of memorable moments. The first came when sophomore Tate McKenna, a two-way tackle, had the opportunity to fulfill every lineman’s dream. He blocked a Panther punt then rambled 11 yards to the end zone. Later, freshman Toby Rusciano recorded his first varsity touchdown. It came on a 9-yard run.
288, Trey Hoover, Buckeye Local, 5 touchdowns
169, Rodney James Jr., Big Red, 2 touchdowns
138, Kobe Mitchell, Harrison Central, touchdown
120, Noah Kourim, Buckeye Local, 2 touchdowns
115, Garrett Dozier, Toronto, 2 touchdowns
94, Kyjhaun Hopkins, Big Red, touchdown
83, Spencer Ostovich, Big Red, 2 touchdowns
81, Ethan Waggoner, Edison, touchdown
497, Kobe Mitchell, Harrison Central, 24 of 28, 7 scores
177, Caleb Leasure, Toronto, 5 of 10, 2 scores
151, Gage Cline, Edison, 7 of 15, 2 scores
126, Ryan Gorman, Catholic Central, 13 of 23
11, Trevor Carman, Harrison Central, 259, 5 touchdowns
7, Jonathon Vermillion, Harrison Central, 73, touchdown
5, Andrew Dorsey, Catholic Central, 52
4, Primo Toriscelli, Catholic Central, 55