Former GHS gridders make a big splash on collegiate scene
By JON KLEINKNECHT
Inquirer Sports Editor
Several former Galion High School football players — and two coaches — are having themselves quite a season so far at the collegiate level.
Cartel Brooks (GHS class of 2010) is a junior tailback at Heidelberg University. In a 56–2 thumping of Wilmington last Saturday, Cartel rushed for 227 yards and 3 touchdowns on 20 carries, including a 99-yard paydirt romp early in the second half. Those numbers earned him Offensive Player of the Week honors in the 10-school Ohio Athletic Conference.
Cartel has an OAC-best 566 yards on the ground for the 3–0 Students Princes who have outscored their opponents 144–9 and have yet to play a home game. The standout — who ran for 759 yards a year ago with 7 touchdowns, averaging 9.1 yards per carry, and also returned 3 kickoffs for six-pointers — has an 8.8 yards-per-carry norm this season.
At Mount Union — also a member of the OAC — brothers Alex and Jack Nicholls have been key contributors in the 3–0 start of the Purple Raiders.
Alex (GHS class of 2009) — a senior starting defensive back — has 7 tackles and one broken up pass on a defense that has pitched 2 shutouts and given up just 7 points.
Jack (GHS class of 2010) — a junior wide receiver — scored the first touchdown of his collegiate career via a 45-yard pass in last week’s 52–0 hammering of Marietta. On the season, he has caught 3 passes for 70 yards — an average of 23.3 stripes per reception.
Former GHS head coach Lee Owens (GHS head coach 1983–86) is in his ninth year as the top man of the Ashland University football program. The Eagles are nationally ranked in Division II having posted a 4–0 record to date. The 56-year-old Owens — who was only 29 when the Tigers won the Division II state championship in 1985 — has watched his team outscore its opponents 133–59 this season.
Tom Stacy — who was an assistant coach for Owens at GHS — is in his second year of his second stint as an AU assistant.
Stacy arrived as Ashland in 2004 with Owens and was AU’s offensive coordinator. Since that time, he has served as the head coach at two high schools – storied Massillon and Green. At Massillon, Stacy posted a 26–11 record in three years. In 2005, the Tigers were the Division I state runner-up with a 13–2 record. Stacy coached at Green from 2008-10.
From 1995–2003, Stacy was an assistant under Owens at the University of Akron. He was the quarterbacks coach and tutored two of the most successful quarterbacks in Zips history – Charlie Frye, who went on to play in the NFL, and Butchie Washington. Twelve years ago, Akron was co-champion of the Mid-American Conference Eastern Division.
There’s yet another Galion connection to Ashland. Andrew Nicholls (GHS class of 2011) is a sophomore wide receiver at AU. He is the cousin of Alex and Jack Nicholls.