Edgewood hoping O-line can continue to be strong against Lancers

Edgewood guard Hunter Boggs (55) watches teammate Julius Hayden run for a touchdown against Mount Healthy last Friday at Kumler Field in Trenton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD
Edgewood guard Hunter Boggs (55) watches teammate Julius Hayden run for a touchdown against Mount Healthy last Friday at Kumler Field in Trenton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY E.L. HUBBARD

Hunter Boggs is a captain and one of 21 seniors for Edgewood High School’s football team. And it’s a big week for all of them.

The Cougars are back in the Division II, Region 8 playoffs for the first time since 2012, and they’d love to make a statement that echoes throughout Ohio.

On Friday night, Edgewood will travel to two-time defending state champion La Salle.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Edgewood High School senior Hunter Boggs talks about his Cougars and their Division II playoff opponent, La Salle.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

“We’re looking at them like another opponent,” Boggs said. “We’re not reading anything on the jersey or what they did in the past. We’ve got to remember they’re still high school kids and so are we. We’re going to come out and play football.”

It’s the Southwest Ohio Conference vs. the Greater Catholic League South Division. The Lancers won the South title this year — sweeping Elder, Moeller and St. Xavier — and played six Division I teams along the way.

The Cougars haven’t faced a D-I opponent since losing to Milford in triple overtime in 2013.

But this Edgewood team can score points, averaging 43 per game this season. Its Wing-T offense is producing 429.9 yards a contest, 319.9 on the ground.

Leading the way up front is an all-senior offensive line deep in experience. Bryce Couch (6-4, 250) and Eli Lohrey (6-0, 255) are the tackles, Boggs (6-0, 220) and Greg Dingledine (6-0, 240) are the guards, and Bradey Kallick (5-10, 215) is the center.

“We have trust in everybody to do their job, and we’re going to execute it every time,” Boggs said. “We’re going to put our hands in the dirt and just go one-on-one right at ’em.”

“The biggest thing is their connection because they’ve all been there since the seventh grade,” Cougars coach Scott Clemmons said of the O-line. “They do everything together. It’s been a tight-knit group for so long.”

In the Wing-T, precise blocking and movement are mandatory for success.

“It’s like a nice waltz,” Clemmons said. “You have to have a little more grit blocking in the Wing-T. It’s a lot of solo blocks. They’ve got to be able to move and be strong and still be physical.”

Those linemen will be squaring off with a fast and physical La Salle defense. The Lancers gave up 14.3 points and 234.2 yards per game against a top-shelf slate in the regular season.

“Coach (Jim) Hilvert is a college-type guy, so we’ve seen stuff on film we haven’t seen other high school teams run,” Clemmons said. “You can definitely tell there’s more of a college feel with the way they twist guys up front. If your guys are chasing, you open up running lanes for their defensive guys to come in there and put a nice whack on you.”

The Cougars have five runners with more than 350 yards on the ground, led by Devon Garrett (109 carries, 766 yards) and Julius Hayden (71 carries, 641 yards). The latter is a sophomore and Edgewood’s only non-senior starter on offense.

Boggs said La Salle reminds him of Columbus DeSales, the unbeaten Division III power that conquered the Cougars 48-21 in Week 7.

Edgewood hasn’t won a playoff game since beating Trotwood-Madison (35-12) in 2006. The Cougars are on a four-game losing streak in the postseason: Turpin (24-17 in 2006), Trotwood (33-27 in overtime in 2007), Anderson (55-7 in 2008) and Winton Woods (50-7 in 2012).

Can Edgewood end that drought? Boggs said one thing is certain: The Cougars will come to play Friday.

“It’s going to be a dogfight,” Boggs said. “They may be the two-time state defending champions, but I think it’s time for someone to take ’em out.”

Friday’s game

What: Division II, Region 8 quarterfinal, Edgewood (8-2) at La Salle (8-2), 7:30 p.m.

Where: Lancer Stadium, 3091 North Bend Road, Cincinnati

Last meeting: Teams have never played

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