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FOOTBALL (Division IV)

Taft (#4)

Aiken (#6)

Hughes (#10)

Division VI-VII

Gamble Montessori (#4)

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After 4 weeks of volleyball, the Woodward Bulldogs have established themselves as a threat in the CMAC for opposing teams! The lady-Dawgs have started hot with a 5-0 record to show for and it doesn't appear that they plan on slowing down any time soon. 

Senior leadership shown by Kelijha Williams has made a tremendous impact on the court, according to their head coach Rochelle Adams. Kelijha is a multi-sport fall athlete at Woodward High School, also a member of the cheer leading squad. 

Youth has also been an answer for the Bulldogs so far as stand-out sophomore and current CMAC Sports Athlete of the Week Jamya Smith has stepped up, showcasing her defense at the net while helping the team to their 5-0 start. 

Several CMAC rivalries are to be played in the next few weeks, but for now, the Woodward Bulldogs look like the team to beat on the volleyball court. 

The Aiken Falcons went into Friday night with hopes of defeating the Taft Senators for the first time in school history. They came close, but ultimately fell short, losing 20-16.

The Falcons got off to a fast start, with QB Tim Williams throwing a beautiful back-shoulder fade to Kievaughn Sanks on the first drive of the game. The march down the field took less than two minutes, and after the two-point conversion, Aiken found themselves with an eight point lead.

Ater Taft and Aiken both had drives stall out, Taft managed to break through due to a mishandled punt from the Falcons on their own 5 yard line. Taft scored a couple plays later and would fail to convert on the attempt for two points. 

After an interception by Deshawn Lawrence, Taft took the ball back and marched down the field methodically, scoring an easy touchdown to take a 12-8 lead with seven minutes remaining in the first half of play. 

A couple interceptions later, we reached halftime with Taft still out in front. Both teams went into the locker rooms knowing they had to adjust and come back with high energy if they wanted to win the contest.

A very defensive 3rd quarter went by quickly and eventually Aiken broke through. At the start of the 4th quarter, Aiken threw what looked like a quick bubble screen to Sanks in the slot, who appeared to be heading up the field, before he stopped on a dime and threw a gorgeous touch pass to Tim Williams who ended up taking it 66 yards and into the red zone. 

The Falcons ended up scoring 2 plays later and converted the 2-point try to make it a 16-12 ball game. 

Taft responded well by moving the ball down the field until they were abruptly stopped with a Falcons interception by the ultimate play-maker, Kievaughn Sanks. He would return the pick to the Taft 23 and it looked like Aiken had a chance to finally seal the game.

Penalties proved to be the difference in the match-up as Aiken ended up being pushed back to mid-field before they had a punt blocked by the Senators that set Taft up with terrific field position. 

From there, the Senators ran between the tackles and forced their way into the end-zone, taking a 20-16 lead with five minutes remaining to play. 

Aiken would go three-and-out and the Falcons were unable to convert on 4th down, allowing the Senators to run the ball out and end the contest with a much needed victory! 

It was truly a collective effort for Taft, as many players stepped up to make critical plays at critical times. It was a very impressive showing on defense as well, as the Senators figured out a way to limit the deadly Aiken backfield of Williams and Sanks enough for a win. 

Aiken played a terrific football game and should keep their heads held high. They gave their rivals one heck of a game and should be proud for their efforts. And who knows, maybe we'll see these teams play again in November! 

Week 3 is already behind us and conference play is officially set to start in most Ohio football leagues! With that being said, we have a number of high-key match-ups to look out for this weekend in the SOPL! 

As of now, Hughes, Riverview East & Gamble have opened a lot of eyes by each starting with a 2-1 record. Those combined 6 wins already equal the total number of wins between these schools last season which marks tremendous off-season improvement!

This week, Gamble will play a Thursday night game for their Homecoming contest at Stargel Stadium against the tough CCPA Lions. RB & senior leader Martis Edwards leads the SOPL in rushing yards with 503 through the first three games and will look to continue his success on the ground. 

Riverview East comes into a Thursday night match-up as well looking to rebound off their first loss of the season. They'll take on Pontiz at Western Hills High School and will lean on senior RB and first-team All CMAC baseball player Jeremy Howe to ignite their offense once again! 

Hughes comes off a massive win against Finneytown and will play Friday night at Woodward High School in one of the nation's oldest high school rivalries. Woodward is currently 0-3 and will look to secure their first win of the season at home but they'll need to keep an eye on QB Juwaan Davis and the electric RB De'Zion Coleman who both have instant scoring ability whenever they get their hands on the football! 

Finally, in what's to be the Tri-State Football Game of the Week, Aiken will travel to Taft for a showdown of SOPL playoff teams from just a year ago. Taft has struggled the past two weeks after an exciting win against Mt. Healthy. After a slow start in week 1, QB Tim Williams has propelled Aiken to consecutive strong showings and has the Falcons offense looking like a threat to all that accept the challenge. Make sure you get out to Stargel Stadium on Friday night at 7 pm to see what could potentially be the game of the year! 

SOPL football is scorching hot. This week's games are sure to keep the fire going! Follow us on Twitter for live game updates and to vote on the CMAC Game of the Week here!

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