Football

Several local players dot bowl game rosters

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

With its first Mid-American Conference championship in 40 years and first BCS bowl berth on the line, the Kent State University football team came up short against Northern Illinois on Nov. 30, losing 44-37 in double overtime.

According to 2010 Rey-noldsburg High School graduate Roosevelt Nix, the Golden Flashes still have much to be proud of in an 11-2 season that will include the third bowl game in program history.

"As soon as we lost to Temple last year (34-16 in the regular-season finale to finish 5-7), we sat down as a team and came up with a list of the things we wanted to be remembered as," Nix said. "We wanted to be feared and we wanted to be respected and we wanted to not just be labeled as an average MAC team. It's disappointing (to lose the MAC championship game), but we know we gave our best effort. You've just got to keep fighting."

Nix, a defensive lineman, is among several central Ohioans who helped Kent State advance to the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Jan. 6 in Mobile, Ala., against Arkansas State.

While Nix ranks fourth all-time at Kent State in career sacks with 20.5 and was first-team all-league this fall, Phil Huff (Hilliard Davidson) started at center and Zack Hitchens (DL, Canal Winchester) and Kyle Payton (RB, Hilliard Davidson) also were key players.

One of Nix's former high school teammates, 2010 graduate DeVon McKoy, will be among eight on the roster for another MAC team, Bowling Green, when it plays in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Washington, D.C., against San Jose State.

Ryland Ward (Brookhaven), Jude Adjei-Barimah (Northland) and Alex Bayer (Pickerington North) are other key Bowling Green players.

Ohio University's roster will include 12 players from central Ohio when it competes against Louisiana-Monroe on Dec. 28 in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.

Ball State will have two area players on its roster when it plays Central Florida on Friday, Dec. 21, in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla.

*PLAYING FOR THE TITLE -- Notre Dame and Alabama, which will play for the BCS national championship Jan. 7 in Miami, both have one player from central Ohio.

Eilar Hardy, a 2011 Pickerington Central graduate, is a backup defensive back for Notre Dame and 2011 Dublin Coffman graduate Jerrod Bierbower is in his second year as a walk-on for Alabama who has yet to get into a game.

Last year, Bierbower was on the sideline when the Crimson Tide beat LSU 21-0 for the national title.

"It's been a real eye-opener," he said. "Coach (Nick) Saban tries to get perfection out of everybody and he expects you to put in the extra work. I'm getting stronger and faster (but getting playing time is) just really complicated."

•FROM THE BIG TEN -- Because of the ineligibility of both Ohio State and Penn State, only six Big Ten programs are competing in bowl games.

Wisconsin, which is just 7-5 but earned the conference's Rose Bowl berth, has a pair of central Ohio players in Ray Ball (Westerville South) and Austin Traylor (Walnut Ridge).

Also playing in New Year's Day bowls are Purdue (Heart of Dallas), Northwestern (Gator), Nebraska (Capital One) and Michigan (Outback).

Patrick Omameh, a 2008 DeSales graduate and redshirt senior for Michigan, will play in his final college game against South Carolina. He has started 41 consecutive games at right guard for the Wolverines.

Northwestern will take a 9-3 record into its game against Mississippi State.

Chi Chi Ariguzo, a 2010 DeSales graduate, played every game of the regular season for Northwestern and totaled 10.5 tackles for losses and one interception at outside linebacker.

"We've had some exciting games," said Ariguzo, who is among five Wildcats with central Ohio ties. "There's just a learning curve that you've got to get used to, with the speed and being able to fly around out there. Coming out of summer workouts, there was a lot of competition so you have to keep giving it your all."

•FIGHTING FOR A BOWL WIN -- A 1-3 start that included a 50-10 loss to Notre Dame in its opener Sept. 1 didn't provide Navy with much confidence.

The Midshipmen bounced back to win seven of their final eight of the regular season, including 17-13 on Dec. 8 for their 11th consecutive victory over Army.

They earned a berth to play Arizona State in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 29 in San Francisco.

Josh Dowling-Fitzpatrick, a 2008 DeSales graduate, and Geoffrey Whiteside, a 2010 Hartley graduate, have contributed to Navy's 8-4 season.

Against Army, Whiteside had two receptions for 11 yards and rushed two times for nine yards, while Dowling-Fitzpatrick had two tackles.

"We didn't start off too hot this year against Notre Dame, but we got a big win against Air Force (28-21 in overtime Oct. 6) and a quality win against East Carolina (56-28 on Oct. 27)," said Whiteside, who plays slotback in Navy's triple-option offense.

MOUNT UNION DOMINANCE CONTINUES -- Mount Union defeated St. Thomas of St. Paul, Minn., 28-10 in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl to win the Division III national title Dec. 14 in Salem, Va.

The Purple Raiders, who lost to Wisconsin-Whitewater each of the last three seasons in the Stagg Bowl, won their 11th national title by beating St. Thomas.

John Cannell (Big Walnut), Chris Favazzo (St. Charles) and Josh Winn (Olentangy Orange) were central Ohio players on Mount Union's roster.

•COMPLETE LIST -- Below are central Ohioians listed on rosters of college football teams playing in 2012-13 bowl games.

Jude Adjei-Barimah (Northland), Bowling Green, Military, Dec. 27

Kody Akers (Delaware), Navy, Kraft Fight Hunger, Dec. 29

Adam Alderman (Granville), Ohio U., Independence, Dec. 28

Blake Annen (Upper Arlington), Cincinnati, Belk, Dec. 27

Kenny Anunike (Olentangy), Duke, Belk, Dec. 27

Chi Chi Ariguzo (DeSales), Northwestern, Gator, Jan. 1

Ray Ball (Westerville South), Wisconsin, Rose, Jan. 1

Nic Barber (Newark), Ohio U., Independence, Dec. 28

Alex Bayer (Pickerington North), Bowling Green, Military, Dec. 27

Le'Veon Bell (Groveport), Michigan State, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dec. 29

Jerrod Bierbower (Dublin Coffman), Alabama, BCS championship game, Jan. 7

Will Boekman (Columbus Academy), Duke, Belk, Dec. 27

C.J. Bryant (Gahanna), Northwestern, Gator, Jan. 1

Darien Bryant (Pickerington North), Vanderbilt, Music City, Dec. 31

Skyler Burkland (Big Walnut), Michigan State, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dec. 29

Jairus Campbell (Pickerington North), Bowling Green, Military, Dec. 27

Riley Cannon (Johnstown), Air Force, Armed Forces, Dec. 29

Charles Chandler (DeSales), Kent State, GoDaddy.com, Jan. 6

Dalton Chapman (Grove City), Bowling Green, Military, Dec. 27

Samuel Cherry (Gahanna), Toledo, Famous Idaho Potato, Dec. 15

Julian Coleman (Bexley), USC, Sun, Dec. 31

Kevin Collins (New Albany), Bowling Green, Military, Dec. 27

Davon Custis (DeSales), Northwestern, Gator, Jan. 1

Marcus Davis (Dublin Coffman), Toledo, Famous Idaho Potato, Dec. 15

Andre Dawson (Olentangy), Ball State, Beef 'O' Brady's, Dec. 21

J.D. Detmer (Hilliard Davidson), Toledo, Famous Idaho Potato, Dec. 15

Connor Dietz (Hilliard Davidson), Air Force, Armed Forces, Dec. 29

Mario Dovell (Whetstone), Ohio U., Independence, Dec. 28

Josh Dowling-Fitzpatrick (DeSales), Navy, Kraft Fight Hunger, Dec. 29

Nick Ellis (Pickerington Central), Toledo, Famous Idaho Potato, Dec. 15

Tevin Favor (Westerville South), Arizona State, Kraft Fight Hunger, Dec. 29

Miles Fisher (Westerville Central), Air Force, Armed Forces, Dec. 29

Garrett Foster (Pickerington Central), Ohio U., Independence, Dec. 28

Jordan Gallegos (New Albany), Mississippi, BBVA Compass, Jan. 5

Ryan Gannon (Dublin Jerome), Toledo, Famous Idaho Potato, Dec. 15

Steve Gardiner (Dublin Coffman), Michigan State, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dec. 29

Bryan Hairston (Gahanna), Ohio U., Independence, Dec. 28

Eilar Hardy (Pickerington Central), Notre Dame, BCS championship game, Jan. 7

Keith Heitzman (Hilliard Davidson), Michigan, Outback, Jan. 1

Josh Hendershot (Newark Catholic), Toledo, Famous Idaho Potato, Dec. 15

James Henry (Upper Arlington), Toledo, Famous Idaho Potato, Dec. 15

Zack Hitchens (Canal Winchester), Kent State, GoDaddy.com, Jan. 6

Taylor Hudson (Olentangy Liberty), Vanderbilt, Music City, Dec. 31

Alex Huettel (Pickerington North), Bowling Green, Military, Dec. 27

Phil Huff (Hilliard Davidson), Kent State, GoDaddy.com, Jan. 6

Terrell Jackson (Marion-Franklin), Pittsburgh, BBVA Compass, Jan. 5

Travis Jackson (DeSales), Michigan State, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dec. 29

Chris Johann (Pickerington North), Ohio U., Independence, Dec. 28

Zac Kerin (Olentangy), Toledo, Famous Idaho Potato, Dec. 15

Noah Key (Hartley), Toledo, Famous Idaho Potato, Dec. 15

Jake Kincaid (Pickerington Central), Kent State, GoDaddy.com, Jan. 6

Josh Kristoff (Pickerington Central), Ohio U., Independence, Dec. 28

Josh Kusan (DeSales), Air Force, Armed Forces, Dec. 29

Nana Kyeremeh (Thomas Worthington), West Virginia, Pinstripe, Dec. 29

DeVon McKoy (Reynoldsburg), Bowling Green, Military, Dec. 27

Jamare Mills (Dublin Scioto), Michigan State, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dec. 29

Keith Moore (Grove City), Ohio U., Independence, Dec. 28

Chaz Nelson (Beechcroft), Oklahoma, Cotton, Jan. 4

Roosevelt Nix (Reynoldsburg), Kent State, GoDaddy.com, Jan. 6

Patrick Omameh (DeSales), Michigan, Outback, Jan. 1

Chris Owens (Pickerington North), Ohio U., Independence, Dec. 28

Malcom Pannell (Pickerington Central), Kent State, GoDaddy.com, Jan. 6

Kyle Payton (Hilliard Davidson), Kent State, GoDaddy.com, Jan. 6

Kenton Playko (Olentangy), Northwestern, Gator, Jan. 1

Grant Pleasant (Dublin Scioto), Toledo, Famous Idaho Potato, Dec. 15

Anthony Pruitt (Groveport), Kent State, GoDaddy.com, Jan. 6

James Radabaugh (Northland), Ohio U., Independence, Dec. 28

Reno Reda (Watkins Memorial), Kent State, GoDaddy.com, Jan. 6

Darius Reeves (Gahanna), Toledo, Famous Idaho Potato, Dec. 15

Pat Rhomberg (Watterson), Michigan State, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dec. 29

Craig Runyan (Marysville), Toledo, Idaho Potato, Dec. 15

J.J. Sanders (Northland), Kent State, GoDaddy.com, Jan. 6

Blake Scipio (Hilliard Bradley), Ohio U., Independence, Dec. 28

Matt Skura (Worthington Kilbourne), Duke, Belk, Dec. 27

Sebastian Smith (Pickerington Central), Ohio U., Independence, Dec. 28

Luke Smurthwaite (Grove City), Kent State, GoDaddy.com, Jan. 6

Dan Sprague (Worthington Kilbourne), Cincinnati, Belk, Dec. 27

Cole Stoudt (Dublin Coffman), Clemson, Chick-fil-A, Dec. 31

DeVante' Strickland (Marion-Franklin), Kent State, GoDaddy.com, Jan. 6

Will Studlien (Big Walnut), Northwestern, Gator, Jan. 1

Ryan Summers (Olentangy), Ball State, Beef 'O' Brady's, Dec. 21

Storm Timson (Licking Heights), Ohio U., Independence, Dec. 28

John Townsley (Upper Arlington), Vanderbilt, Music City, Dec. 31

Austin Traylor (Walnut Ridge), Wisconsin, Rose, Jan. 1

Ryland Ward (Brookhaven), Bowling Green, Military, Dec. 27

Geoffrey Whiteside (Hartley), Navy, Kraft Fight Hunger, Dec. 29

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