SportsHigh School Sports


The Buddy LaRosa's High School Sports Hall of Fame announces its 2021 class

Posted at 4:00 PM, Dec 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-24 16:00:23-05

CINCINNATI — The Buddy LaRosa's High School Sports Hall of Fame elected six individuals and two teams to its 2021 class.

The inductees included:

  • 2004 Colerain football team
  • 1980 Villa Madonna girls volleyball team
  • Tara Boothe (Smith), Highlands High School, Class of 2002
  • Pete Carothers, St. Xavier High School, Class of 2004
  • Jason Druso, Anderson High School, Class of 1993
  • Luke Kuechly, St. Xavier High School, Class of 2009
  • Orlando Scales, Elder High School, Class of 2009
  • Coach Jerry Doerger, McNicholas and Moeller, 1966-2009

The latest additions to the hall of fame will be officially inducted during ceremonies during the summer in 2022.

The hall of fame is in its 47th year of recognizing outstanding Greater Cincinnati high school athletes and coaches.

The hall of fame has honored 289 athletes and coaches and 10 teams since its founding in 1975. The LaRosa's High School Sports Hall of Fame is the oldest and one of the only halls of fame of its kind in the country.

Information provided by the LaRosa's High School Sports Hall of Fame:

2004 Colerain football team

Arguably one of the best high school football teams in Greater Cincinnati history, 2004 Colerain (15-0) dominated through the entire season.

Led by LaRosa’s Hall of Famer and MVP of the Year Dominick Goodman, the Cardinals were the Ohio Division I state champion and finished No. 1 in the nation by MaxPreps and No. 5 by USA Today.

This team was so overpowering that its defense scored more points than it allowed during the course of the season.

Ohio State University assistant football coach Kerry Coombs led the Colerain High School football team to the Division I state title in 2004.

After an inauspicious start in the state title game that saw Colerain lose three fumbles within its own territory, and falling behind 13th-ranked Canton McKinley 10-6, the Cardinals put on a record-setting show with a 50-10 victory over the Bulldogs.

It was the most points scored and the largest margin of victory in the history of the Division I title game.

Goodman rushed for a division record 259 yards and four touchdowns. Colerain, which outscored its five playoff opponents 191-22, set a division state finals record with 463 yards rushing. The Cardinals held McKinley to 127 total yards.

Other key players were LaRosa’s 2005-06 MVP of the Year in offensive lineman Conner Smith (Ohio State), defensive lineman and LaRosa’s Hall of Famer Terrill Byrd (Cincinnati) and brother Tirrdell, free safety Eugene Clifford (Ohio State), running backs Mister Simpson (Michigan) and Terrence Sherrer (Minnesota), and linebackers Andre Revels (Cincinnati) and Cobrani Mixon (Kent State).

This team set school records in: Most points scored in a season (504), most extra points (Brad Schutte 62), yards per carry (Sherrer, 11.8), career touchdowns (Simpson 40) and career points (Simpson 240).

1980 Villa Madonna girls volleyball team

The 1980 volleyball team clearly fit the bill as the “little” school in the “big” school matchup in the fall of 1980 – only the second state volleyball tournament in Kentucky history.

With an enrollment of only 158 girls, Villa Madonna Academy came away with the Kentucky state championship – crushing Our Lady of Providence, 15-4, 15-1.

The Kentucky state volleyball tournament is not broken into divisions, so an overall state title meant defeating notable schools out of Louisville and Lexington.

Head coach Carla Austin led the 1980 Villa Madonna girls volleyball team to the state championship.

This Villa Madonna squad (39-2), led by coach Carla Austin, featured four eventual Division I college athletes. Both Lori Erpenbeck and Fredda Simpson went to the University of Kentucky, Lisa Warman to Florida State University and Stephanie Scheper (University of Tennessee). Cousin Jane Scheper went to Thomas More College.

One of the teams two losses came at the hands of Mother of Mercy’s team, which went on to win the Ohio Class AAA state title (coached by LaRosa’s Hall of Famer, Rose Bauer Koch). Team captain “Freddie” Simpson starred in the movie, "A League of Their Own" as Ellen Sue, the beauty queen and shortstop.

Tara Boothe Smith

Highlands High School

Class of 2002

One of the most dominating girls basketball players in Kentucky, Tara Boothe could seemingly score at will as she powered the Highlands offense throughout her career.

Boothe finished her senior year as Highlands’ No. 2 all-time scoring leader with 2,286 career points, only behind another LaRosa’s Hall of Famer in the legendary Jaime Walz.

Boothe finished third all-time at the school in rebounding.

As a senior, she led the state of Kentucky in scoring (25.2 points), was ranked in the top five in the state in rebounding (13.4) and was in the top 10 in field goal percentage (56.3%). She is one of only two female athletes to have her jersey retired at Highlands High School.

Boothe was nominated as a McDonald’s All-American and finished as Honorable Mention All-American by Street & Smith.

Selected to play in the prestigious Kentucky-Indiana All-Star Games, she went on to be named the Most Valuable Player in both the Kentucky-Ohio All-Star Game and the Kentucky Preps Classic. She was named First Team All-Northern Kentucky by both The Kentucky Post and The Kentucky Enquirer. She was a First Team All-State pick by both the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Boothe was three-time honorable mention all-state by the Associated Press and was named as the Division II Player of the Year by the Kentucky Coaches Association.

She carried her scoring prowess to Xavier University where she concluded a four-year career as the Lady Musketeers’ all-time leading scorer with 2,324 points.

Tara Boothe completed her Highlands High School girls basketball career as the school's No. 2 all-time scoring leader with 2,286 points.

Among other XU records, she ranked No. 1 in single-season scoring with 659 points, and single-season scoring average with 21.5 points. She holds the records in career free throws made (490) and career free throws attempts (661). She ranked No. 3 all-time in career rebounds (1,004).

Boothe was named the 2006 Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Women’s Sports Association’s College Sportswoman of the Year.

She played professionally in 2006-07 in Switzerland’s Elite League for BC Beuchatel, winning the Swiss championship where she led the team in scoring and rebounding. She was named the league MVP that year.

She lives in Burlington with her husband, Steve and three children – Austin, Peyton and Harper. She works at Good Samaritan Hospital.

Pete Carothers

St. Xavier High School

Class of 2004

St. Xavier’s swimming dynasty always had its star swimmers and Carothers fit that description during his high school career.

As the AquaBombers were posting four straight state championships, Carothers contributed nine state titles (four individual, five relays) of his own during that stretch and was named an 18-time All-American.

He was a three-time Division I 100-yard butterfly state champion, including a career-best 48.29 as a senior. He also won the 100-yard freestyle (45.71) in 2004. He was an integral part of five state championship relay teams, including the 200-yard medley relay team as a senior.

Featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd”, Carothers was twice named both the Ohio Swimmer of the Year and The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Swimmer of the Year.

An Olympic Trials qualifier, Carothers represented the United States National Junior Team in Brisbane, Australia.

Pete Carothers earned nine state swimming titles (four individual, five relays) and was named an 18-time All-American at St. Xavier High School.

He swam collegiately at Stanford University, where he placed fifth in the PAC 10 200-meter butterfly (1:45.77), which ranked in the top 15 in school history. He was also an Olympics Trial qualifier as a collegian,

Upon graduating from Stanford, Carothers served as Captain in the United States Marine Corps and served two deployments in Afghanistan where he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat distinguished service.

He went on to Harvard Business School.

Carothers and his wife, Gretchen, live in Huntsville, Alabama where they have two children – Madge and Miller. Carothers is president for a Eurofins Scientific clinical testing laboratory in Huntsville.

Jason Druso

Anderson High School

Class of 1993

Three-sport stars may be rarer recently than in the past, but Jason Druso mastered three sports – but not quite the combination you would think.

An outstanding football and baseball star, Druso added swimming during the winter months. He was such a talented athlete that he performed at the state championship level in two of those.

He earned nine varsity letters during his prep career (three in football, four in swimming and two in baseball) – and earned another rare distinction in being inducted into the Anderson football and swimming halls of fame.

Druso captured a state championship medal in swimming when he won the 100-yard breaststroke in 58.85. He posted a career-best 57.60 time – No. 16 in the nation and No. 6 in his age group – as a junior when he finished state runner-up.

Druso was selected both All-State and All-American in swimming.

Football, however, was Druso’s best sport. As a senior in 1992, he was named the Ohio Division I Co-Running Back of the Year with another LaRosa’s Hall of Famer in St. Xavier’s Scott Sollmann.

Anderson High School graduate Jason Druso excelled at football, baseball and swimming during his high school career.

Druso rushed for 1,759 yards, collected 2,121 all-purpose yards and scored 29 touchdowns.

A First Team All-City selection by The Cincinnati Enquirer, he was also the Southwest Ohio Division I Co-Back of the Year.

In his three-year varsity career, Druso rushed for 2,628 yards on 348 carries (7.6 average) and scored 43 touchdowns. He compiled 3,567 all-purpose yards. As a baseball player, he led Anderson in hitting two straight seasons.

Druso went to Miami University and played football for the RedHawks, where he starred on defense at strong safety and was the nickle back.

He played his senior season with a broken hand and was still one of the team’s leading tacklers and had two interceptions.

Druso lives in Valparaiso, Ind., with his wife, Katie, and four children – Ryder, Asher, Piper and Poppy. He is Vice President of Food and Beverage with White Lodging, one of the nation’s leading hospitality companies.

Luke Kuechly

St. Xavier High School

Class of 2009

Before his junior year at St. Xavier High School, the football coaches decided to move Luke Kuechly from tight end to linebacker. It proved to be one of the most significant decisions for both St. Xavier and Luke Kuechly – as he arguably became the greatest football player to come out of Greater Cincinnati this century.

The Bombers went on to become Ohio Division I state champions in 2007, while Kuechly went on to earn the first of what has become an amazing list of football accomplishments that may well lead him to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Kuechly racked up 277 tackles, seven sacks, five forced fumbles, five fumble recovers, three interceptions and one touchdown in his final two seasons at St. X.

Luke Kuechly earned 277 tackles, seven sacks, five forced fumbles, five fumble recovers, three interceptions and one touchdown in his final two seasons at St. X.

Kuechly signed with Boston College, where his reputation for a ferocious style of play earned him every major award in the nation.

In three seasons, Kuechly set the BC and Atlantic Coast Conference career tackle records with 532 – just 13 short of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision record.

In 2011, he won the Butkus Award, the Lombardi Award, the Lott IMPACT Trophy and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. He was a two-time consensus All-American and three-time first-team All-American.

He was the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year and ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

He led the nation in tackles as a sophomore (183 – 110 solos) and as a junior (191 – 102 solo).

Kuechly was the No. 9 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. He was named NFL Rookie of the Year (2012) and NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2013) his second season – joining NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor as the only other player to do that. He as a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and a five-time First Team All-Pro pick. He retired after eight seasons in the NFL. Kuechly lives in Charlotte, N.C.

Orlando Scales

Elder High School

Class of 2009

No one wanted to tangle with Elder’s Orlando Scales either on the football field or on the wrestling mat. An exceptional two-sport star at Elder, he was the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the nation as a senior by Wrestling International News Magazine.

As a football star on Elder’s Division I state runner-up team (2008), Orlando was named the Greater Catholic League Defensive Lineman of the Year in 2008. He was picked First Team All-City and All-Southwest Ohio and earned Special Mention All-Ohio in Division I.

It was on the wrestling mat where Scales was in a league of his own. Competing in the 215-pound weight class, Scales enjoyed an amazing 112-9 career record.

He won back-to-back Ohio Division I state titles as he posted a perfect 88-0 record in his final two seasons after finishing third in the state as a sophomore.

He was twice named The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Division I wrestler of the year and was a three-time first-team all-city selection.

Former Elder High School Orlando Scales won back-to-back Ohio Division I state titles as he posted a perfect 88-0 record in his final two seasons, after finishing third in the state as a sophomore.

Scales carried his wrestling success on at the collegiate level where he was a two-time NAIA All-American at Notre Dame College in Cleveland. He was a national runner-up and a national champion.

He was an NCAA Division II All-American in 2012-13 where he finished fifth in the nation.

Scales was an assistant coach at Elder High School and a volunteer assistant at Mount Saint Joseph University. He helped coach four state placers at Elder and three All-Americans at MSJ.

Scales and his wife, Ashley, live in Cleveland and have twin boys, Orlando III and Oliver. Scales has his commercial driver's license and is a truck driver.

Coach Jerry Doerger

McNicholas/Moeller High Schools


Fiery. Colorful. Even a bit controversial. Those descriptions could apply to Jerry Doerger. But the one the most aptly fits is winner.

Doerger's spanned five decades with three different schools – Moeller (1966-1970), McNicholas (1975-2002) and Clermont Northeastern (2004-10) – an amazing total of 59 years.

Doerger compiled a 537-354 career record which ranks No. 4 all-time in Cincinnati basketball history and ranks 35th all-time in Ohio basketball history.

Former boys basketball coach Jerry Doerger's career spanned five decades with three different schools – Moeller (1966-1970), McNicholas (1975-2002) and Clermont Northeastern (2004-10) – an amazing total of 59 years.

His awards and accomplishments were, understandably, lengthy. His teams won 17 sectional championships, 11 district titles, nine regional titles and reached the Final Four with McNicholas five times in his career.

Doerger’s teams were named Cincinnati Enquirer city champions twice.

Inducted into the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame and the McNicholas Hall of Fame in 2011.

Ten years later, in 2021, the Rockets dedicated their basketball floor in honor of Coach Doerger. He was selected for the Greater Cincinnati Hall of Fame in 1990. He has received both the Bron Bacevich Award and the Dick Berning Award.

More than 30 of his players have gone on to receive college scholarships – including LaRosa’s Hall of Famer and NFL star Steve Sylvester, University of Dayton star and Olympic Silver Medalist, Mike Sylvester, LaRosa Hall of Famer and Cincinnati Reds star Buddy Bell and former major leaguers, Len Matuszek and LaRosa Hall of Famer Pat Tabler.

Many others went on to become collegiate stars including Mike Ramey at Xavier and Craig Sanders at Northern Kentucky University. Doerger is retired and lives in Anderson.