September 22, 2011

Prep Preview: Week Five

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This weekend marks the midway point of the regular season for Ohio high school football and many of Ohio State's top targets will be involved in huge games throughout the weekend. Below, we take a look at some of the marquee games involving Ohio State commits and key targets this coming weekend.

1. Huge test for Marshall and Middletown

Super junior Jalin Marshall and his Middletown squad are off to a 4-0 start to their season but things are about to get much more difficult as the Middies host Cincinnati Colerain on Thursday night. Colerain's defense is arguably the stingiest in all of Ohio as the Cardinals boast high-level prospects at all three levels of the defense in senior defensive tackle Trae Clark, senior linebacker Joe Bolden, and senior safety Andre Jones.

Compounding things is the fact that Middletown's triple option attack won't surprise or confuse Colerain as the Cardinals run a very similar offense and see many of the same concepts on a daily basis in practice.

Marshall has been a workhorse all season long for Middletown, rushing for 594 yards and seven touchdowns already on the season but this will be the best defense he has faced in his high school career to this point.

Long story short, this game will tell us a lot about Middletown's chances of a deep playoff run and also provides a big-time stage for Marshall to show that he belongs in the discussion as a future five-star prospect.

2. Picktown showdown

The Pickerington North/Pickerington Central rivalry may not be heavy on tradition, the schools have only been playing for four years, but it has quickly turned into one of the more heated rivalries in Ohio. Central has dominated the series, winning all four contests and on Friday night, the rivalry will resume.

This year, the rivalry features Ohio State commits and recruiting targets on both sidelines. For North, senior lineman and Ohio State commit Pat Elflein and junior target, defensive end Jake Butt, will take the field. Pick Central boasts a pair of Ohio State commitments in senior receiver Roger Lewis and senior lineman Jacoby Boren. The Tigers also have junior Taco Charlton, one of the more heavily recruited class of 2013 prospects in the state.

Things should get very interesting as Boren and Elflein will square off against each other on both sides of the football. In fact, Elflein commented on his battles with Boren shortly after his commitment to Ohio State in July, saying, "We're going to be rivals and then we're going to be teammates. I'm going to go all out when we're on the field against each other and off the field we're going to be teammates."

The stakes are perhaps higher than ever in this rivalry as Pickerington North has been one of the surprises in Ohio with an impressive 4-0 start while Pickerington Central, due in part to a brutal early season schedule, sits at just 1-2 and needs a big win to stay in the thick of the playoff hunt. will be on hand for this one so stay tuned over the weekend for plenty of coverage of this game.

3. A glimpse of the future

As if there weren't enough reasons for Ohio State and Michigan fans to bicker back and forth, Friday night will provide both fanbases with a glimpse of the future as Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary's travels a few hours south to take on Columbus (Ohio) St. Francis DeSales. St. Mary's features senior linebacker James Ross, a Michigan commit, while DeSales boasts senior running back Warren Ball who is of course committed to Ohio State.

Before both players get to do battle against each other at their respective dream schools, the two must first settle things on the high school football field in a game that pits two of the top talent-producing programs in the Midwest.

Making things even more interesting here is the fact that Michigan and Ohio State each have current players on the roster from the high schools in "enemy territory".

Michigan boasts former DeSales standouts, defensive lineman Chris Rock and offensive lineman Patrick Omameh while former St. Mary's star Dionte Allen now plays defensive back for Ohio State. Needless to say, there are a lot of bragging rights at stake for both fanbases and locker rooms.


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