High School Football Week 3 takeaways: GWOC tough, every week precious

Highlights: Alter vs. Fenwick (Sept. 11, 2020)

Believe it or not, the high school football regular season is half over.

With three games in the books and three more on the slate before the playoffs are scheduled to begin, here are some takeaways from what we have seen so far:

1. The ruggedness of the GWOC seems to be playing out as expected

Springfield is 3-0 and looks formidable, but all three wins have been by one score.

Northmont (also 3-0) outlasted Springboro in Week 1, held off Fairmont in Week 2 then blew out Beavercreek last week to set up a showdown with the Wildcats this week.

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On the flip side, Fairmont is 0-3, but two of the Firebirds losses are by one score and they are the only team to hold Northmont below 40 so far.

In between, Wayne is a game back at 2-1. The Warriors could be undefeated if not for a 7-point loss to powerful Springfield, but they could also be 1-2 if not for a miracle comeback at Centerville on Friday night.

2. Wayne-Centerville was the epitome of Friday night football in Ohio.

The old rivals put on a great show all the way down to the last minute, when Cam Fancher hit Bryan Kinley for the game-winning touchdown from 35 yards out.

Neither quarterback put up great numbers, but juniors Fancher and Chase Harrison of Centerville both showed the talent that has them on college radars.

There were a lot of impressive athletes on each side of the ball, and the crowds on both sides did their part despite being reduced in accordance with COVID-19 protocols.

Wayne coach Roosevelt Mukes was emotional after the win while Centerville’s Brent Ullery wasn’t in the mood to sum things up from his side. Both reactions were justified after such an epic battle.

3. Cade Rice and Greenon are both off to positive starts.

Rice, the top-rated senior quarterback in the area, made headlines in the offseason when he transferred to Northmont.

He is leading the GWOC with 731 yards passing for the 3-0 Thunderbolts and made his mark right away by leading a thrilling comeback win over Springboro.

But don’t write off his old school just yet.

The Knights lost their opener to Mechanicsburg but have won their last two. They hung 50 points on Madison Plains in Week 3 with a balanced offense and opportunistic defense and special teams.

Kameron Cox ran for 119 yards and a touchdown while Trevor Stewart added 64 yards and two more scores on the ground.

Senior Evan Davis threw for 154 yards while Bass Moore caught five passes for 76 yards and returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. Stewart also returned an interception for a touchdown, and Aaron Kang kicked off the scoring with a 42-yard fumble return for six points.

Talented kicker Nathan Hawks also did his part, hitting 3 of 4 field goals attempts, including two 40-yarders.

The Knights host Cedarville and Southeastern the next two weeks before closing at Greeneview. With the Rams the only other team to be 2-0 in their division, that could decide the OHC South.

4. C.J. Hicks appears to be the real deal.

Want to know why Ohio State and numerous other major programs were on Hicks' trail early in his high school career?

The junior OSU verbal commit had two sacks on Fenwick’s first possession Friday night, the second of which resulted in a fumble recovered by the Knights for a touchdown.

He also returned an interception for a score as Alter got its first win of the season, 49-12, and nearly took a punt back for a score.

5. Don’t take any week for granted.

A handful of teams were out this week as a result of COVID-19 protocols, a reminder of how fleeting football (and any other activity) can be this fall.

While Springboro will be back on the field this week at home against Centerville after having its game against Miamisburg postponed, West Carrollton and Fairborn are both still quarantined for another week. The latter is a result of a positive test on the WCHS team and the resulting contact tracing.