CINCINNATI – The first weekend of September starts to give a clearer picture of what area high school football teams have on the field this season.
As we enter into Week 3 -- traditionally the final non-conference week for most teams -- here are some of the impact teams, players and storylines from Friday night.
This is also an opportunity to look forward to some of the most intriguing matchups for the weekend of Sept. 9, including a significant La Salle at Colerain game that will create a buzz around the city.
1. A classic on North Bend Road
The 23rd meeting of Colerain vs. St. Xavier lived up to the hype once again, as the Cardinals defeated St. X 20-14 in overtime. Colerain junior quarterback Gunnar Leyendecker scored on a 13-yard touchdown run in overtime to lift the Cardinals (2-0).
At one point, Leyendecker got decked pretty hard on a 41-yard pass completion to junior Javon Hicks. “It hurt, but I knew I had to be there for my team and that they would be there for me,” Leyendecker said.
Friday night marked the second straight season these two teams went into overtime in the regular season. The most recent overtime game prior to 2015 was the 2005 season opener. Hours before kickoff Friday night, Colerain and St. X announced they have renewed their home-and-home agreement for 2017 and ’18.
“Why wouldn’t you play the game,” Colerain coach Tom Bolden said late Friday night.
2. West Side rivalry renewed
Colerain (2-0), ranked No. 5 nationally by the MaxPreps computer rankings, turned its attention quickly to La Salle (2-0) late Friday night. The Sept. 9 game at Colerain will be the final game of a home-and-home agreement between the two teams, and the schools have discussed renewing.
The Lancers, the two-time reigning Division II state champions, defeated Colerain 39-36 in the 2015 game on Dru Chrisman’s 41-yard field goal in overtime at Lancer Stadium. Christian is now at Ohio State.
The 2015 game included controversy, as Jarell White forced a fumble and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown with 9:24 left in the fourth quarter to help lift the Lancers. Colerain coach Tom Bolden contended then-quarterback Deshaunte Jones should’ve been called down on the play.
“It’s La Salle and no one is taking it from us this week,” Bolden told WeAreColerain.com Friday night. “I guarantee you that. No one is taking the game from us this week.”
3. Comets host Crusaders
Mason (2-0) plays host to Moeller (1-1) Sept. 9 in the first meeting between the two programs since 2007 and another excellent storyline between programs close in proximity.
The one-year agreement should be an intriguing matchup for these non-conference opponents. Mason has scored a Greater Miami Conference-best 76 points, including 48 against Withrow Friday night. Mason had 412 yards of offense Friday.
Moeller lost to Huber Heights Wayne 35-17 and the Warriors figure to a strong favorite for a Region 3 title in the Columbus area.
4. Quite a performance
Anderson junior quarterback Jay Volpenhein threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 128 yards and four touchdowns as the Redskins defeated McNicholas 61-21.
Anderson (2-0) had 611 yards of total offense. The Redskins play host to Harrison (0-2) Sept. 9.
5. Knecht builds case
Kings senior quarterback Tyler Knecht continues to add to a strong senior season that has many viewing him as the most underrated quarterback in the area. Knecht, who is seeking his first scholarship offer, was 20 of 32 passing for 280 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-17 win at Xenia.
Kings (2-0) plays at Hamilton (2-0) Sept. 9. Hamilton defeated Fairmont 35-28 Friday night. Senior quarterback Eric Jackson threw for 130 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 122 yards and a score.
6. Princeton has right attitude
Princeton improved to 2-0 under new head coach Pat McLaughlin, as the Vikings rallied to defeat visiting Springfield 28-21 Friday night.
“I’m really proud of our kids,” McLaughlin said. The Princeton student section entered the field after the game in support of its team.
“We just need to handle success and not be satisfied,” McLaughlin said.
Princeton plays host to Dayton Dunbar (2-0) Sept. 9. Princeton senior right tackle Sampson Hairston, a three-year starter, injured his ankle Friday night.
7. Robinson continues to shine
Lakota West senior running back Zelwyn Robinson had 18 carries for 152 yards and three touchdowns in the Firebirds’ 52-35 loss at Centerville Friday night. Lakota West coach Larry Cox lauded his standout.
“We are not very good right now, but for the second consecutive game Zelwyn Robinson was clearly the best player on the field,” Cox said. “He put on a show.”
Robinson earned game MVP honors as he had six receptions for 84 yards and two touchdowns in the Week 1 loss to Moeller.
8. Wally’s World
Mariemont sophomore quarterback Wally Renie threw for 273 yards and four touchdowns as Mariemont defeated Batavia 49-0. Mariemont had 467 yards of total offense and held Batavia to negative-two yards.
9. Extra points
Elder junior quarterback Danny Nieman was 20 of 25 passing for 179 yards and two touchdowns in the Panthers’ 27-0 win at Oak Hills.
“He was good,” Elder coach Doug Ramsey said. “He makes good decisions and is accurate.”
... Wofford offered Simon Kenton senior quarterback Cameron Racke, according to Simon Kenton coach Jeff Marksberry.
…Walnut Hills juniors Marcus Borden and Robvae McDonald scored touchdowns in the Eagles’ 35-7 win over Ross. Walnut Hills has had two running clocks the first two weeks. Sophomore defensive tackle Jowon Briggs has four and a half sacks in the first two weeks. Walnut Hills coach Brian Lainhart said the team needs to clean up the 11 penalties it had in the first half, but he likes the progress of a team that won just two games in 2015. “I yell and scream at the team and before these guys would mentally melt,” Lainhart said. “But, these guys have really grown up the past two weeks.”
...The season's first Associated Press statewide poll is scheduled to be released Sept. 12.