Heidelberg, Mount Union, Ashland University in football playoffs
By JON KLEINKNECHT
Inquirer Sports Editor
Cartel Brooks, Alex Nicholls and Jack Nicholls — former football and basketball teammates at Galion High School — will all be playing in the NCAA Division III Football Playoffs that open this Saturday around the nation.
Cartel — a 2010 GHS graduate and a sophomore at Heidelberg University — is the star player on a 9–1 Student Princes team that is the first from the Tiffin school since 1972 to play in the post-season.
The ‘72 Heidelberg squad won the national championship and was quarterbacked by retired GHS baseball and football coach and athletic director Jim Ruth.
The leading rusher (1,299 yards) and scorer (96 points on 16 touchdowns) in the 10-school Ohio Athletic Conference, Cartel amassed his numbers despite not playing in the final regular-season game because of an injury.
Heidelberg (9–1) — ranked 11th in the nation — will host 24th-ranked Wittenberg (9–1) at Frost-Kalnow Stadium in Tiffin in the first round of the playoffs. Kickoff is Saturday at noon.
Brothers Alex and Jack Nicholls will put on the gear and play for undefeated and top-ranked Mount Union. The Purple Raiders (10–0) — who have outscored their opponents 517–45 and recorded 6 shutouts — play host to Christopher Newport University (6–4) on Saturday in another noon kickoff.
Mount Union claimed its 21st consecutive OAC football championship with a 9–0 league record. Christopher Newport — located in Virginia — advanced to the playoffs by winning the USA South Conference championship.
Alex — 2009 GHS graduate and a senior defensive back — has 21 tackles, 3 interceptions and 4 broken up passes this season.
Jack — a 2010 graduate of GHS — is a junior wide receiver. He’s caught 12 passes for 176 yards and 2 touchdowns this campaign.
In Division II, Ashland University wrapped up its first undefeated regular-season since 1972 with a 65–0 pummeling of Notre Dame College last weekend.
Ninth-year head coach Lee Owens — who served in that position at GHS from 1983–86 — led his Eagles (11–0) to the first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) football title in school history and their first berth in the playoffs since 2008.
Ashland receives a bye in the first round of the tournament and will play the winner of this Saturday’s Chadron State/West Texas A&M contest. Those two schools are both 9–2. The Eagles will host the winner on Saturday, November 24th.
Andrew Nicholls — GHS class of 2011 — is a sophomore wide receiver on the Ashland roster. He is the cousin of Alex and Jack Nicholls.