You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Urbana carries on grand tradition

Nick Marino grew up embracing the deep and storied history of Urbana High School football. And now he’s part of that legacy.

The Hillclimbers have had 14 unbeaten regular seasons, the latest this year in Marino’s first season as head coach. Urbana (10-0) will be looking to improve on that mark when it opens the Division IV, Region 14 playoffs at Cincinnati McNicholas at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

The game was rescheduled from Friday night because the McNicholas home field does not have lights. The top four seeds in Divisions II-VII host first-round games.

Ray DeCola is at the top of Urbana’s rich coaching heritage. Six of his teams were unbeaten in the regular season from 1976-83.

“We’ve always had great football here and some very good teams,” said Marino, a 2007 Urbana grad who was promoted to head coach when Geron Stokes moved on to Minster.

“It’s an awesome thing for a program to have that much tradition.”

The Hillclimbers are one of seven area teams to qualify for the postseason. They’ll need all that tradition and another major contribution from a pass-happy offense at McNicholas (8-2), a Greater Catholic League Co-ed Central Division member.

Urbana is the only unbeaten team in Region 14, but it could do no better than a No. 6 seed. That’s because the Hillclimbers played just one winning team, Northwestern (6-4).

Urbana’s CBC crossover games were against Bellefontaine, Tecumseh and Stebbins, which combined for 12 wins. The CBC Kenton Division was loaded with Tippecanoe (10-0), Shawnee (9-1) and Kenton Ridge (7-3).

Junior quarterback Nathan Mays has had a dream season: 194 of 313 passing (62 percent), for 2,794 yards, 32 touchdowns and three interceptions. In four games he’s tossed four TD passes.

Five receivers have 20 or more catches, including junior Cody Grim (63 for 789 yards and 10 TDs), junior Ethan Edwards (44 for 764 yards and eight TDs) and sophomore Sam Niswonger (33 for 518 yards and seven TDs).

“It’s a personnel-driven philosophy for us,” Marino said of Urbana’s air attack. “We wanted to run the football, but when you’ve got a kid who can throw it pretty well, you’re not going to not use his talents. He’s a gifted thrower so we’re gonna put the ball in the air.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Reds-Cardinals game postponed
Reds-Cardinals game postponed

The Reds-Cardinals game scheduled for 2:15 p.m. today in St. Louis has been postponed due to severe weather. The game will be rescheduled at a date and time yet to be determined. The teams meet at 2:15 p.m. Sunday. The Cardinals won the series opener 7-5 on Friday night, handing the Reds their fourth straight loss.
Day 3 NFL Draft tracker for Cleveland Browns
Day 3 NFL Draft tracker for Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns took Florida State offensive tackle Roderick Johnson with their first of two picks in the fifth round Saturday, No. 160 overall. Johnson, at 6-foot-7, 298 pounds, was a two-time first-team All-ACC pick who started every game on the blind side since midway through the 2014 season, when he garnered Freshman All-American honors for...
WATCH: Bengals first-round pick gets shout out from rapper Snoop Dogg, his youth football coach
WATCH: Bengals first-round pick gets shout out from rapper Snoop Dogg, his youth football coach

Cincinnati Bengals first-round pick John Ross on Friday touched on his relationship with rapper Snoop Dogg, who was his youth football coach. Ross, a wide receiver taken ninth overall in Thursday’s first round, isn’t the first player to go from the Snoop Youth Football League to the NFL, but he said he’s the first player from Snoop&rsquo...
Bengals draft defensive end Willis in third round
Bengals draft defensive end Willis in third round

The Cincinnati Bengals continued their shopping spree for speed Friday night in the third round when they took Kansas State defensive end Jordan Willis, whose 4.53 40-yard dash at the Combine was the fastest of any defensive lineman. The pick comes after their first-round selection of wide receiver John Ross, who broke the Combine record with a 4.22...
Cincinnati Bengals stay true to themselves with choice of Joe Mixon
Cincinnati Bengals stay true to themselves with choice of Joe Mixon

Apparently the Cincinnati Bengals are determined to prove they can win without being great on defense. (We already knew they don’t care about bad press, but more on that later.) With their second pick of the 2017 draft, they chose another dynamic offensive player while continuing to wait to address a defense in need of an athleticism upgrade...
More Stories