Grandview Heights Roundup: Bobcats rely on Matthew Taylor to set tone
Matthew Taylor stood surrounded by his teammates on the Grandview Heights football team’s practice field, which doubles as the outfield for the baseball program.
Coach Jason Peters left the Bobcats to themselves to figure out their course of action for the remainder of the season. They were winless through four games and in three MSL-Ohio Division contests before playing Sept. 25 at Buckeye Valley.
Taylor calmly spoke, suggesting that the season wasn’t over but only beginning. It’s a leadership role that the senior offensive lineman/defensive end/linebacker has grown into.
“I was explaining to the guys that we haven’t had what we wanted so far and from here on out we have to reset,” he said. “We’re all equal right now. We’re zero and zero (record-wise) right now. There are no starters; there are no alphas here on this team. If you want to be one of the best, you have to work for it. Starting now, it’s Week 1.”
Peters said he has seen Taylor grow as a leader over the years, but he has always been a presence on the field for the Bobcats.
“Matthew has such solid knowledge of the game, and he really gets it as a leader,” said Peters, whose team plays host to Columbus Academy on Friday, Oct. 2, in a league game after losing to Buckeye Valley 50-7. “He’s a great person. He’s the kind of person that you want in your program, and we want a lot of them like him.”
Taylor, a three-year starter on the offensive line, started playing more on defense last season. He switches between defensive end and linebacker this fall, recording 27 tackles, three tackles for loss and 14 first hits though four games.
“Matthew is solid both ways,” Peters said. “His tenacity on offense is impressive. He takes each play as a personal challenge. He’s going to do the job best he can, and he’s just really consistent.
“In the last couple of years, he helped anchor the offensive line, but he has seen more time on defense. He has a good sense for the ball and he gets to it even though he’s double-teamed a lot.”
Taylor said the transition to defensive play has been more exhilarating than exhausting.
“My first three years, I was an offensive player for sure,” he said. “I switched to (middle) linebacker and defensive end, (and) I have loved every minute of that. Last year I was an interior D lineman, and this year I picked up my speed a little bit so I could be more versatile on the field.”
The Bobcats made the postseason each of the past two years thanks to a strong 2020 senior class. Taylor said he had many role models through the years.
“In my freshman year, (2018 graduate) Brandon Spaulding led by example and always worked his butt off,” Taylor said. “He’s one of those guys.
“In my sophomore year, (2019 graduates) Sam Speaks and Hudson Jump were really great guys. You look at last year with (2020 graduates) Charlie (James) and Joey (Bertani). Some knew how to lead by example and some knew how to be verbal leaders. I try to do a combination of both this year for these younger guys.
“Last year, I tried to lead by example. We had so many seniors last year and they did a lot of the talking. It has been hard to adjust to verbally trying to express myself with these guys, but I’m definitely getting better at it."
Taylor has a 3.65 GPA and plans to attend Ohio State to major in marketing.
“Definitely this has not been the season we have wanted so far, but I’m trying to set the example for these guys,” he said. “Grandview has always had a culture of winning and even though we haven’t been successful with that this year, I have been trying to set that example to help out the future. These guys can continue the streak of winning here at Grandview.
“Going to the playoffs (in Week 7), it’s a shot that we’re thankful for. I think we can utilize that. Right now, we’re resetting and Grandview is going to be a changed team from what we were in the first four weeks.”
Girls volleyball team
wins four in a row
The girls volleyball team had won four consecutive matches before playing Worthington Christian on Sept. 29 in MSL-Ohio action.
The Bobcats defeated Academy 25-7, 25-9, 25-10 on Sept. 24 to improve to 10-5 overall and 4-3 in the league.
Through 15 matches, Hannah Yochem led the team with 202 kills and had 127 digs and 21 aces, and Rachel Hartman led with 32 blocks. Taylor Sanzo had team highs in assists (385) and aces (41) to go with 86 digs.
Chai Dobbs-Euans had 109 kills and 14 blocks, and Addi Henn had 87 digs and 40 aces.
boys soccer team
Will DeVere was the leading scorer for the boys soccer team through nine games.
The sophomore forward had six goals and one assist, and the Bobcats were 4-3-2 overall before playing Watterson on Sept. 26.
Adam Bechtel and Danny Claypool both had four goals and one assist, Keegan Kearney had three goals and two assists and Kai Iisaka had two goals and four assists.
The Bobcats dropped to 2-2 in the MSL-Ohio by losing to Bexley 3-1 on Sept. 23. Collin Haj Abed scored and goalie Owen Carter had five saves.