Missing its best player, the Grandview Heights High School football team gave top-seeded Bainbridge Paint Valley all it could handle in a Division VI, Region 23 playoff opener Nov. 2 at Chillicothe.
Coach Jason Peters expected nothing less from his eighth-seeded Bobcats, who lost 39-36 to finish 7-4 overall.
"Our kids went out and played their butts off," said Peters, who completed his 12th season. "We tell them to go out and play 48 minutes, and that's what they did. They gave us everything they had. And the way they represented their team, their school and their community, I can't say enough about them."
The Bobcats played without their leading rusher and tackler, senior Hudson Jump, who was nursing a separated shoulder.
Grandview tinkered with its defensive alignment until it found the right combination in the second half. The Bobcats trailed 26-21 at halftime.
Senior Harrison Morosky took the rushing load from Jump, running for 118 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries. Junior wide receiver Luke Lachey had seven receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns from junior quarterback Kyle Casey, who was 12-for-20 passing for 169 yards with one interception and also rushed for a 20-yard score.
"We moved the ball all night long," Peters said. "We played really well offensively and defensively. When the kids play well, good things happen for us. We gave it all we had but came up short against a good team."
The Bobcats finished fourth (2-3) in the MSL-Ohio Division behind champion Whitehall (5-0), which qualified for the playoffs in Division II, Region 7.
Jump was named the league's Lineman of the Year after totaling 102 tackles, including nine for loss, six sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries at defensive end. As a running back, the 6-foot, 200-pounder had 999 yards and 11 touchdowns on 122 carries.
Senior Sam Speaks (first-team all-league) played running back, wide receiver and quarterback and also lined up at defensive back. He was 13-for-24 passing for 212 yards with two touchdowns and rushed 28 times for 107 yards and four scores. On defense, he had 41 tackles.
Senior two-way linemen Cody Cook and Jack Wallace both were second-team all-league.
Morosky (RB/LB) rushed for 554 yards and five touchdowns on 64 carries and was honorable mention all-league.
Pete Dunkle (OL/DL), Jacob Hamric-Holler (WR/DB) and Kaden Harris (OL/DL) rounded out the eight-player senior class.
"The seniors were huge for us and they did so much for the program," Peters said. "The way they embraced being a senior was amazing, and they made sure every kid felt like part of the program. They not only gave us leadership on Friday night but leadership in practice as well."
Lachey, who was first-team all-league, excelled on both sides of the ball and special teams. He caught 45 passes for 763 yards and 12 touchdowns, had two kickoff returns for touchdowns and had one interception at defensive back.
Junior two-way lineman Joey Bertani was second-team all-league, and juniors Trey Cook (RB/DB) and Charlie James (RB/DB) were honorable mention all-league.
Junior linebackers Darreion Davis and Alfie Sterneker had 79 and 71 tackles, respectively, during the regular season.
"We had a great group of seniors who helped us all a lot," Davis said. "They showed us how to be a leader off the field as well as on the field. That was a big point of emphasis. That will help us bring the family mentality to the younger kids next year."
Other key performers expected to return are junior Glenn Cribbs (WR/LB; 4 interceptions) and sophomores Nico Card (RB/DB) and Matthew Taylor (OL/DL).
"We have a lot of good kids coming back," Peters said. "Once this season is put to bed, we'll figure out where to go from here. We just have to figure out where we need help and how to make us the best team we can be."