Johnson: Real games, and a reminder of what true high school sports are about – The Columbus Dispatch

Bishop Sycamore has dominated the high school sports landscape this week, overshadowing just about everything else happening in the Columbus area.

It was weird, as a high school sports reporter, to spend most of the week writing about a program that isn’t much of a high school, or even particularly good at its sport. High school sports are often thought of as the purest form of sport, before things like money and fame begin to infiltrate.

But stories like Bishop Sycamore’s serve as a reminder that even high school sports aren’t immune to the forces that affect the perceived purity of athletics as the level of competition increases.

It felt like a breath of fresh air, then, to watch Westerville South host Hilliard Darby on Friday night and return to this column, which is a space for all of central Ohio’s real high school athletes to be highlighted.

High school sports:Here’s how to nominate Columbus area athletes of the week in 2021

Through the first three editions of this column, we’ve highlighted nearly 40 athletes, coaches and teams. We want to do more. That’s where you, the reader, come in.

Westerville South students cheer at Friday's game against Hilliard Darby.

At the more than 100 schools in The Dispatch’s coverage area, athletes and teams do things worth noting every day. But we can’t highlight them if we don’t know about them.

High school sports:Watterson’s Trent Maisano named Dispatch Columbus area athlete of the week

The goal of this column is to fill the pages of the newspaper with as many standout performances as possible, from as wide of a variety of schools and sports as possible.

So, if there’s someone you think has done something worth mentioning, whether they play for a big school or a small one, whether they play football or they’re a golfer, drop me a line on Twitter or via email.

Bishop Hartley Hawk, Treyvhon Saunders (9) breaks past Ishmael Moss (1) for a touchdown. The Canal Winchester Indians host the Bishop Hartley Hawks at Mike Locke Stadium in Canal Winchester, Ohio on Friday September, 2021. [Maddie Schroeder/ThisWeek Community News]


Through three games, South has outscored its opponents 183-12, including a 60-0 win over Whetstone on Friday. It is the first time in South’s history that the Bulldogs have scored 60+ points in three straight weeks. …

Heath sophomore quarterback Brayden Bales was 8-for-15 for 241 yards and four touchdowns, including two touchdowns of 60+ yards, in Heath’s 45-0 win over Circleville. … 

High school football:Bishop Sycamore’s opponents back out, but team not going away quietly

Hilliard Darby senior quarterback Blake Horvath led the Panthers to a 34-31 win over Westerville South with 193 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries, including the go-ahead score with 1:19 left. …

Hartley’s Trey Saunders accounted for four touchdowns — two receiving, one rushing and a 56-yard punt return — and finished with 230 all-purpose yards in Hartley’s 48-21 win at Canal Winchester.

Upper Arlington’s Ceci Dapino (10) advances with ball in Jerome territory at Upper Arlington High School in Upper Arlington, Ohio on August 26, 2021.


Lancaster senior Carmen Morris scored four goals in the Golden Gales’ 8-0 win over Westerville South on Thursday. …

In the first central district boys soccer poll of the season, New Albany received all 10 first places votes, with Upper Arlington in second and Westerville Central in third. …

The first place votes were split in the girls soccer poll, with Upper Arlington receiving five to rank first. Olentangy in second received two first-place votes, while fourth-place Olentangy Liberty also received two and seventh-place Dublin Coffman received one. …

Upper Arlington senior Abby Reisz made three saves in the Golden Bears’ 5-0 win over Bexley on Thursday to extend her shutout streak to five games. Ceci Dapino scored two goals, and Aubrey Steiner had two assists. …

Evan French scored a hat trick in Canal Winchester’s 4-2 win over Pickerington North on Thursday. 


Olentangy Berlin senior Ella Franz and Dublin Coffman junior Dasha Chistyakova have each started the season strong with undefeated records through seven matches. Franz has won her last two matches 6-0, 6-0 and hasn’t lost a set so far. Chistyakova has four wins in which she hasn’t lost a game. 

Field Hockey

Thomas Worthington senior Leila Boussedra had a hat trick in a 9-0 win over Olentangy Berlin on Wednesday. Tate Beegle and Emma Wellejus added two goals each.

Cross Country

The Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches released its first weekly poll on Thursday, with both Hilliard Davidson teams earning high rankings. In the Division I girls poll, Davidson ranks second in the state, and the boys’ team tops the list with nine first-place votes.

Dublin Jerome's Brett Podobinski putts during an OCC Cardinal tournament Aug. 18, 2021, at Apple Valley Golf Course in Howard, Ohio.


Dublin Jerome senior Brett Podobinski committed to play at Miami University. 

Canal Winchester Head Softball Coach Casey Whitlatch at Westerville South High School on April 15, 2021.


Canal Winchester softball coach Casey Whitlatch has resigned “to devote more time to his wife, children and grandchildren,” per a release from athletic director Pat Durbin. …

Pending school board approval, Allie Kinniard will be the new softball coach at Lancaster.

Trent Maisano

Athlete of the Week

Watterson soccer player Trent Maisano won Athlete of the Week for Aug. 23-29. Nominations are due at noon on Monday for the week of Aug. 30-Sept. 5. 

Anyone can nominate an athlete in a variety of ways — through Twitter using the hashtag #DispatchAOW or tagging @BrianWhite13, via the Dispatch’s Facebook page or by email to


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