High School Football: Badin eager ‘to get back to state’

Badin's Braedyn Moore is chased by Chardon's Zoran Vujaklija in the Division III state championship game in Canton on Dec. 3, 2021. Moore is a University of Cincinnati recruit. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Badin's Braedyn Moore is chased by Chardon's Zoran Vujaklija in the Division III state championship game in Canton on Dec. 3, 2021. Moore is a University of Cincinnati recruit. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Rams lost to Chardon in Division III state championship game in 2021

There aren’t any surprises for the Badin High School football team’s focus this upcoming season.

“Our goal is to get back to state and that’s the expectation for this year,” senior wide receiver/defensive back Braedyn Moore said. “And that’s all we want.”

Badin (14-1 in 2021) was a Division III state runner-up after a 21-14 loss to Chardon in Canton this past December. Throughout this winter and spring, the Rams have been intent on earning another opportunity to play in Stark County.

“It’d mean a lot,” Badin senior defensive end Jackson Martin said. “It was a fun atmosphere to be in. You don’t really get an opportunity to play in front of that many people (6,430) all the time. So we got to put in as much work as possible to get back to there.”

Martin and senior linebacker Kaden Starks will be among the defensive leaders for the Rams, who open the season at Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph either Aug. 19 or 20.

“Obviously a great season last year,” Badin coach Nick Yordy said. “The kids are really excited. We really kind of raised the standard here since we’ve been here. The kids have to keep that going. And that’s kind of our mentality. Our motto here. I think the target is on our back — pretty big right now. And we lost a lot. But, the kids have really bought into what we’re doing.”

Moore, a Division III second-team all-state selection at wide receiver, was the first Greater Cincinnati high school football player to verbally commit to the University of Cincinnati in the 2023 class in April.

Moore had 61 receptions for 655 yards and four touchdowns for the Rams in 2021. Defensively, Moore had 54 tackles (41 solo) and seven interceptions including two touchdown returns.

“Unbelievable kid — not just ability wise athletically but overall his work ethic this summer,” Yordy said. “His leadership qualities that he’s kind of developed in the weight room, in practice have really kind of stood out to everybody not just myself but the whole coaching staff. There is a reason why he’s going to UC as well. We’re really happy and excited for him.”

Junior quarterback Alex Ritzie played a significant role in the postseason last year after stepping up due to injury of a teammate.

“He got to play in some big games,” Yordy said. “For a sophomore to step up like that - win a regional final game coming into halftime, win a state semi game and start a state championship game — that was a great experience for him. We’re going to rely on him a lot.”

The Rams will also rely on a number of younger players after graduating several key players. But, that doesn’t change the expectations.

The Badin players and coaches are ready for another journey.

“I feel like our fan support has grown because we made it so far,” Martin said. “Badin has always has great fan support. We’ve always had people come out to games. Now, that we’ve set that higher bar I feel like there is a lot more expected of us. And we can see that within our community because more people are showing up, more people are there to cheer us on - so it’s kind of like the pressure is on.”

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