High School Football: Lakota West standout excels on field, in classroom

Lakota West's Ben Minich jumps over Fairfield's Mike Figgins during their football game Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 at Lakota West High School in West Chester Township. Lakota West won 42-10. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

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Lakota West's Ben Minich jumps over Fairfield's Mike Figgins during their football game Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 at Lakota West High School in West Chester Township. Lakota West won 42-10. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

WEST CHESTER TWP. --  Lakota West High School senior Ben Minich has a lot going for him this summer.

The wide receiver/safety has had scholarship offers from the likes of University of Cincinnati, Kentucky, Stanford, Indiana, Wake Forest, Duke, Oklahoma and is in contact with Notre Dame.

In June, the 6-foot-1,185-pound standout saw his recruiting spotlight expand as he was named a four-star player by 247 Sports.

That came shortly after he broke the Lakota West school record in the 100-meter dash in the Division I district meet by running a time of 10.47 seconds.

If that wasn’t enough, Minich has over a 4.0 grade-point average and has carried a 33 on his ACT test since his sophomore year.

“He can probably ace the darn thing now,” Lakota West coach Tom Bolden said. “He’s a team captain. There are kids in the country who run a 10.4. But, there aren’t a lot of kids in the country that run a 10.4 and got a 33 on their ACT when they’re 15 years old. He’s special.”

Minich is part of a special secondary that has five players with scholarship offers. That includes senior All-American safety Malik Hartford, who is verbally committed to Ohio State and senior enior cornerback Josh Fussell, who is verbally committed to Northwestern.

Minich enjoys being around his teammates off the field - whether it’s hanging out in a pool or eating at a local restaurant. He wants to be an example to others through football and academics.

“It’s been a great summer,” Minich said. “We came up short last year so we really put in the work this summer, this winter. We were in the weight room. We’ve been working really hard and I think it’s going to pay off in the end.”

The Firebirds (11-2) are preparing for yet another memorable season. Lakota West graduated a talented 2022 class that featured three All-American players.

“The goal is pitch a shutout every game all season,” Minich said. “We don’t expect anything less than that. We’re definitely going to come ready and be prepared.”

A year after being a Division I regional runner-up, the Firebirds return plenty of talent and are poised to get past the regional tournament this season.

Lakota West, which opens the season against visiting St. Xavier on Aug. 19, has made two regional final appearances during Bolden’s three seasons in West Chester.

“They’re really hungry,” Bolden said. “They know - we’ve got a lot coming back. We’re hoping things kind of come together, we stay healthy and hopefully that will be enough to get us where we need to go.”

Minich will certainly help the Firebirds on both sides of the ball with his speed and athleticism. He’s also the team’s punter and has to be accounted for with the ability to run.

“He’s a great kid,” said senior quarterback Mitchell Bolden, Tom’s son. “Super smart. 33 ACT kid. But, he’s fast. Track star. It’s easy to call a little deep route with him and just chuck it deep and he’ll catch it. So it’s great to have him as a teammate.”

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