High school football: Ross set for league showdown with Edgewood tonight

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The Ross High School football team has a chance to clinch the Southwest Ohio Conference title with a win over Edgewood on Friday, but coach Kenyon Commins doesn’t want his players overthinking an opportunity to lift a trophy.

Ross (3-1, 3-0 SWOC) hosts Edgewood (2-2, 2-1 SWOC) on Friday, and Commins expects a physical battle. The Rams have won the last two meetings against the Cougars by five points combined, including a 21-20 overtime victory in 2019.

Edgewood can keep its SWOC title hopes alive with a win, as the other four teams all have two conference losses already.

“I’d be lying to you if I said we haven’t discussed the idea of a league championship, but the fact it’s Edgewood is enough,” Commins said. “Whatever comes from winning this game or losing this game, that’s what we get. If a league championship comes with it, great, but if the kids look at that – it’s great to realize it but our focus has to be on Edgewood, not what comes with it. If they are thinking about putting a trophy in a case, they are never going to see it. They better focus on the task at hand.”

Commins said he keeps expectations “pretty humble” each year, so even though the Rams returned several key players from last year’s playoff roster, he hasn’t spent a lot of time talking about traditional goals like a state championship or even a league title.

Ross has a senior-laden team this season and the simple focus is on being “better today, than yesterday and better tomorrow than today,” Commins said.

“If we do that, if we keep that mindset on getting better today, we ultimately will reach that full potential,” Commins said.

The Rams opened the season with a disappointing loss to Badin, but they are 3-0 since that 41-7 blowout Aug. 28, a game that served as a rematch of their first-round playoff matchup that Badin also won in dominant fashion. They had beaten Badin in overtime to open the 2019 season.

Ross hopes to keep its current win streak going this week -- with a chance to secure a winning record for the second straight year, even though this year’s standings will have an asterisk because of the schedule being shortened to six games. The team’s 8-3 record last season was another progression after a .500 finish in 2018, which followed a one-win campaign. The Rams hadn’t experienced a winning season since 2013.

“I don’t know if (the opening loss to Badin) was a ‘wake-up call,’ but we’ve played well since then,” Commins said. "They’ve continued to roll on as well, so it might just be the case we played a better team that night, but we moved on and responded well.

“They’ve responded to the adversity of the offseason, losing scrimmages and then suffering a home-opener loss. The senior class and rest of the team answered the call to adversity.”

Ross is led by a three-headed monster in the running game with senior Jackson Gifford (565 yards rushing, 11 touchdowns), dual-threat quarterback C.J. Boze (406 yards rushing, four touchdowns) and junior Brayden Fraasman (235 yards rushing, two touchdowns). Senior defensive back Casey Redemeier has two interceptions and a fumble recovery on defense, junior defensive lineman Jude Hess has one sack and a fumble recovery.

Commins likes the physicality he’s seen on offense but said there are still some mental lapses that have prevented the Rams from putting teams away. Defensively, Ross needs to “get to the ball better” and play with more focus, but overall Commins feels like the team is “moving in the right direction.”

Edgewood will be another good test for that. Commins mentioned how well the Cougars run their Wing-T offense and how sound they are defensively. Running back Anthony Scott is coming off a 106-yard rushing performance in a win over Talawanda last week.

“Every year you’re going to get an extremely well-coached team, a disciplined team, and you look at the scores the last couple years, they’ve been tight games,” Commins said. “Edgewood is as tough as anyone we face.”


Lakota West found out Thursday morning that Oak Hills was canceling Friday’s game because of a positive COVID-19 case at the school impacting the roster.

Oak Hills athletic director Ben Hageman told WCPO.com there are several quarantines now in place for close contact among student-athletes but football activities will resume Monday for those who are not part of contact tracing and are symptom-free.

West athletic director Scott Kaufman said the Firebirds are exploring all options to fill the hole on the schedule under short notice. The Firebirds would prefer to give their kids a game but will take a bye week if needed before preparing for Mason on Oct. 2.

“The kids deserve a game in a year like this,” Kaufman said. “We just want to give them as many opportunities to play as possible, so we’re going fishing.”


Carlisle at Waynesville

Carroll vs. Badin at Edgewood

Chaminade Julienne at Fenwick

Edgewood at Ross

Fairfield at Lakota East

Franklin at Eaton

Madison at Northridge

Mason at Hamilton

Middletown at Princeton

Monroe at Oakwood

New Miami at Cin. Country Day

Talawanda at Mount Healthy

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