By Jules Cantor, ’11, Sports Editor
The 2009 Ohio high school football season is coming to a close. With eight games played, the CCDS Indians are 6-2 and ranked fourth in Region 24. A top 8 finish would put them in the playoffs. With two games left on the regular season schedule, the Indians control their own destiny. If they win both games, they will be in the playoffs. Here’s a look back at how they’ve gotten to this point.
Week 1: at Clermont Northeastern
The 2009 Indians opened their season by invading Clermont Northeastern and claiming victory over the Rockets by a score of 21-7. A highly talented but thoroughly inexperienced squad suited up for the beginning of what was to become a winning season. Jake Dietz, ’12, was making his first start at quarterback, and Lawrence Ervin, ’10, had just gone down with a season-ending injury. Everyone knew Max Dietz, ’10, and Wyatt Tiffany, ’11, were very capable, but their supporting cast was in question. On the defensive side of the ball, only Clint Thomas, ’10, Matt Lesser, ’10, Tiffany, Will Fritz, ’11, and Max Dietz were returning starters. With this being said, the season could have gone either way. The Indians started off on a high note as the offensive line that included Lesser, Thomas, Matthew Mack, ’10, Vincent Hardin, ’12, and Jules Cantor, ’11, led the way for Max Dietz to run for 161 yards on 17 carries for two touchdowns. Max also had a long touchdown reception of 63 yards from Jake Dietz. Tiffany led the way with 13 total tackles, including 7 solos on defense.
Week 2: Oyler
Week 2 marked the home opener where the Indians took on the Hatmakers from Oyler High School. With all due respect to the Hatmakers, the game was a complete mismatch. The Indians put up 30 points in the first half on three Max Dietz scores but were shut out until the fourth quarter, when Jordan Patterson, ’12, picked off an Oyler throw and returned it to the house for 6 points. “Pick Six” Patterson’s touchdown marked the first touchdown all year that had not been scored by Max Dietz. Dietz added an extra point and the final score was 37-0 Indians.
Week 3: at Taylor
The Taylor game was a defining moment in the Tribe’s season. Playing against a Division 3 school from a powerhouse conference was a major test for the Indians. “It was the highlight of my season, beating a big D-3 Cincinnati Hills League school,” Lesser said of the game. Undoubtedly, this was the game where the Indians showed that they were a playoff-caliber team. In front of a large, rabid, and blacked-out Taylor crowd, the Indians came in and showed Taylor what Ohio small-school football is all about. A solid performance from the offensive line led Max Dietz to run for 133 yards on 24 carries and one rushing touchdown. Dietz also returned a punt for a score in the game. Will Duncan, ’11, had a few key receptions, finishing the night with 28 yards receiving. The defense showed up big, and Mack displayed his pass-rushing prowess, with a couple of key sacks at the end of the game. This was a definite turning point in the season for the Indians.
Week 4: Clark Montessori
Week 4 brought a home game against Clark Montessori and a rare Thursday night contest. Max Dietz ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown and had two rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown as the Indians won the game 26-7. The score was quite misleading as Clark, in only its second year of football, held the Indians offense in check in the first quarter and proved to be the most physical team the Indians had played.
Week 5: at Summit
It was Summit’s homecoming. What more needs to be said? In arguably the biggest game on the schedule, the 4-0 Indians raided the castle and took out the Knights with a 27-7 victory. Down 7-6 at the half, the Indians exploded for 21 unanswered points in the second half to get the victory. Max Dietz scored all four touchdowns, and Tiffany was the thunder to Dietz’s lightning as he rushed for 110 yards of his own. On the defensive side of the ball, Evan Finch, ’12, had an interception and a forced fumble, and Max Dietz made the play of the year. Dietz stripped the ball right out of the hands of a Summit receiver and ran back the other way into Indians territory, where he was finally tackled by Summit quarterback Robbie Selker. The win was huge in raising the team’s confidence and proved that they could come back from early deficits. However, it proved to be a Pyrrhic victory, as Mr. Everything, Max Dietz, suffered a torn ligament in his foot.
Week 6: at North College Hill
The Indians came in flying high with a 5-0 record, shooting for a win that would’ve put them in an outstanding position to win the Miami Valley Conference title. With Max Dietz out, it was crucial that younger players step up and relieve some of the burden created by losing Dietz. Unfortunately, the outcome was not as planned. The offensive line had trouble blocking, and the running backs weren’t able to gain much positive yardage. Only a long pass from Jake Dietz to Tiffany set up a short touchdown run by Tiffany. The Indians were simply outplayed and dropped the contest by a score of 40-6. The perfect season was over, but playoff dreams were still very much alive.
Week 7: Dayton Christian; Homecoming
Looking to rebound from a tough loss against NCH, the Indians came out fired up in front of a large homecoming crowd. The Tribe failed to get much going in the first half, going into the locker room trailing at halftime. However, the offense exploded in the second half en route to a 28-10 victory, putting up 308 yards of total rushing offense. Max Dietz ran for 191 yards and two touchdowns, and Tiffany added 101 yards and two scores of his own. The Indians had bounced back from an utter embarrassment at NCH to fend off a Dayton Christian squad that had playoff ambitions of their own.
Week 8: Lockland
The Indians entered this contest 6-1 and second in Region 24. At this point, a win against Lockland, which came in 7-0 and ranked second in the state, would have all but guaranteed the Indians a spot in the playoffs. Lockland, however, was 7-0 for a reason. The Panthers used an all-out running attack to bury the Indians 21-0. The score is misleading regarding how close and hard-fought the game truly was. Up until the fourth quarter, the score was only 6-0. While the Indians were unable to pull out a victory, they proved that they are able to play with the big boys and are certainly a threat coming down the stretch.
The Indians have had great success so far and look to continue to do so in the coming weeks. Here’s a look at the next two opponents:
Week 9: at New Miami, October 23
After obtaining a playoff berth in 2008, New Miami’s program returned in 2009 almost in shambles. Having lost 94.4% of their offense (Josh Hampton, Bobby Rice, and Jerrad Faulkner), and having brought in a new head coach, Peter Parker, New Miami was in for a rebuilding year. So far in 2009 the Vikings are 1-7. Parker’s offensive mentality is to spread the ball around in a passing juggernaut, which is ironic, because New Miami has always been a grind-it-out-style running football team. The Vikings are loaded with talent, including quarterback Jacob Lewis and receiver Casey Chesnut, and once they put it all together, they might be a team to watch. Put simply, despite their woeful record, the Vikings are not to be taken lightly.
Week 10: CHCA, Senior Night, October 30
Can you imagine the last regular-season game of Max Dietz’s illustrious career? This is it, and there is more than just a rivalry game on the line in this matchup. The Eagles, who are currently 5-3, boast one of the most potent passing offenses in the state of Ohio, led by 2008 Enquirer Player of the Year Alec Swartz. Swartz has already thrown for 1,582 yards on the season, and senior Ian Smith has 630 yards receiving. Punter John Lloyd is one of the best special teams players in the nation and has scholarship offers from many powerhouse D-1 universities. His leg might play a large factor in what should be a tough game to the end.
At least one of these last two games is a must-win in order to make the playoffs. With that being said, the Indians hope to win both games, which would likely earn them a home game in the first round of the 2009 Ohio High School Division 6 Playoffs.
Header photo of Max Dietz by Ilana Habib.