With another trip to the playoffs, Columbus Academy football coach Robin Miller said his seniors continued to set a high standard for future classes.
The fifth-seeded Vikings saw their season end Nov. 9 with a 41-10 loss at fourth-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek in a Division V, Region 19 first-round game. They finished 7-4 overall and made their third postseason appearance in four years.
"The seniors have a lot to be proud of for what they've accomplished here," said Miller, who completed his fifth season. "(They made) three trips to the playoffs in four years. A lot of them are two-, three-year starters. They should certainly hold their heads up high for how they carried themselves and how they worked and the legacy they left here."
Academy fell behind early 14-0 and could not recover. The Aces led 35-3 at halftime and amassed 526 total yards, including 447 rushing.
"We've always struggled with the power-I," senior Carter Warstler said. "We knew it was coming; we just couldn't stop it. We prepared for it all week. They have (more) manpower (because they're a) bigger school."
Quarterback Peyton Madison led the Aces, rushing for 186 yards and a touchdown on eight carries and adding a pair of touchdown passes.
Junior Brady Hess (QB/LB) led the Vikings, completing 19 of 33 passes for 234 yards. Junior Sam Huyghe (WR/DB) had nine catches for 148 yards, and Academy finished with 286 total yards.
Senior Sam Massick (K/P) kicked a 24-yard field goal in the second quarter and senior Philip Soderberg (OL/DL) scored on a 2-yard run in the third quarter.
"We got smacked in the mouth in the first half," Miller said. "It's not the results we wanted, but I'm proud of the fight we showed in the second half."
Warstler (WR/DB/KR/PR) finished with 54 catches for 611 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 324 yards and three scores on 37 carries. He shared MSL-Ohio Division Back of the Year honors with Grandview's Luke Lachey.
The Vikings went 5-1 in the league to finish second behind Harvest Prep (6-0).
"It was a great season," Warstler said. "A lot of people doubted us at the beginning of the season because we lost a lot of people from last season, but we really came out and surprised some people by taking the fifth seed in the playoffs."
Hess completed 109 of 194 passes for 1,353 yards with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He was first-team all-league along with Soderberg and sophomore Gyvnn Mendenhall (OL/DL).
Seniors Max Brown (OL/DL) and Donovan Simpson (OL/DL) and juniors Vaughn Armour (WR/DB) and Robert Mills (TE/LB) were second-team all-league.
Sophomore Carter James (RB/DB) was honorable mention all-league after rushing for a team-high 552 yards and six touchdowns on 107 carries.
Juniors Keir Gorospe (OL/LB) and Chris Sugar (RB/DL) also were honorable mention all-league.
Other key players expected to return include juniors Daniel Farber (TE/DL) and Durell Moultrie (WR/DB) and sophomore Jake Carlin (WR/DB).
"Hopefully this (first-round playoff loss) makes you hungry in the offseason," Miller said. "It certainly should. We bring back a lot of pieces. There are a lot of good things to build on and a lot of returning experience. Sophomores and juniors played quite a bit this year, so it's not like the cupboard is empty."