Several Greenon High School football players soaked in cold water in giant plastic tubs outside the locker room after practice Wednesday. Players need to keep their muscles fresh for the 10-game regular season, and for a team with playoff aspirations like Greenon, it’s even more important.
» RARE MEETING: Urbana, Mechanicsburg play in Week 2 for first time since 1999
No goal is too big for this program, especially after a season-opening 56-39 victory against Shawnee on Friday. Greenon is the only Clark County school that has never made the playoffs, but that could change this year.
“(The victory) boosts my confidence a lot and my confidence in guys,” said junior quarterback Cade Rice, “and I hope it boosts their confidence, too. Even after last year, going 6-4, the first winning season in over a decade, I think their confidence still wasn’t all there but this opens up our mindsets to things like the playoffs and even further than week 11. I think we’re much more confident than we were before Friday, but now we think the sky’s the limit. Week 15, we’re aiming for that.”
Rice completed 26 of 46 passes for 368 yards with four touchdowns. He also rushed for 145 yards and two scores.
Rice got plenty of help in the opener. Sophomore Clay Hough caught eight passes for 174 yards and a touchdown. Junior Bass Moore caught six passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns and threw a touchdown pass to Rice. Junior kicker Nathan Hawks extended his streak of made extra points to 55 in a row.
The week one victory generated more recruiting interest for Rice, who shared a photo on Twitter on Sunday of a letter from the Cincinnati Bearcats coaching staff. While he hasn’t received a scholarship offer, he said UC, the Akron Zips and the Ohio Bobcats have expressed interest.
“I’m just going to sit back and wait,” Rice said. “I don’t know how many games it’s going to take or how many visits I have to take for that. They’re going to continue to watch me develop as a player and see what my character’s like from week to week.”
Rice was also one of the recruits on the sideline at Ohio Stadium on Saturday before Ohio State’s season opener against Florida Atlantic. He said it was just the start of his relationship with Ohio State’s coaches. He doesn’t know what their interest level is. The coaches wanted him to experience a game day at Ohio State.
“It was a great experience,” Rice said. “The atmosphere was incredible. It’s really high energy. Everything’s just elite there.”
As Rice draws more attention, third-year Greenon coach Josh Wooten said the key for him and the whole team is taking care of business on Friday nights. The season continues in Week 2 with a home game against Bradford, which lost 48-0 to Alexander last week.
“We’ve got to be successful, Wooten said, “and sometimes (Rice is) going to have to carry us. He’s capable of doing that. With success and winning, it’s going to draw more attention not only for Cade but for our other kids. As special as I think Cade is and how bright his future is, we have other kids around him that I’m excited about as well. Our kicker Nathan Hawks is getting some (Division I) looks as well. (Kameron) Cox and Clay Hough, those are kids who have had success and had a great game Friday.”
Top Week 2 games
Fairfield (1-0) at Springfield (1-0): This is a rematch of one of the best early-season games in 2018. The Wildcats beat Fairfield 15-14 a year ago on a 35-yard touchdown catch by Larry Stephens with 1:13 to play and a go-ahead two-point conversion run by Raheim Moss.
Urbana (0-1) at Mechanicsburg (1-0): The Champaign County neighbors meet the first time in in 20 years. Mechanicsburg coach Kurt Forrest remembers the last game, an 8-0 victory over the visiting Hillclimbers in 1999, well because he was the starting quarterback. That was his senior year.
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Forrest said this game came about because he and Urbana coach Carleton Cotner talked and decided it made sense.
“It’ll be a great day,” Forrest said. “It’s going to be a competitive ballgame. It’s good for both schools. We’re 10 miles apart. It wasn’t, ‘Why don’t we do it?’ It was, ‘Why aren’t we doing it?’ We got together and did, and hopefully we have a great ballgame and great crowd and a great experience for our young men.”
Northeastern (0-1) at Northwestern (1-0): The Warriors scored 34 points in the first half in their opener, routing Southeastern 37-7. Since losing 35-0 to Northeastern in 2016, the Warriors have won the last two games 21-18 and 42-12.