Fast start paces Highland past River Valley


Team will play Clear Fork for MOAC title next

By Rob Hamilton - [email protected]



Highland running back Dane Nauman picked up 341 yards and five touchdowns on the ground and added a 39-yard pass to receiver Zach Schmidt in his team’s 42-21 win over host River Valley Friday.

Highland running back Dane Nauman picked up 341 yards and five touchdowns on the ground and added a 39-yard pass to receiver Zach Schmidt in his team’s 42-21 win over host River Valley Friday.


Rob Hamilton | Morrow County Sentinel

Despite issues with injuries, the Highland football team remained perfect in MOAC play by doing what they do best — ride the legs of junior running back Dane Nauman and take advantage of an opportunistic defense.

In beating host River Valley Friday by a 42-21 count, the Scots got 341 yards and five touchdowns from Nauman. Five also is the number of turnovers the team forced.

“Let’s not jinx it,” said head coach Ty Stover about his team’s ability to force opponents to make mistakes. “That’s one thing one of our coaches brought up on Sunday and I just about kicked him out of the office. Honestly, it all comes down to kids playing hard.”

Just as impressive as the five forced turnovers was Highland’s first half, in which they scored on all five of their possessions in taking a 35-7 lead. They opened the game by forcing a three-and-out and then went 81 yards in five plays to get on the board first. Quarterback Kolton Stover had rushes of 16 and eight years and Nauman emphatically finished the possession with a 54-yard touchdown run. Caleb Hunter added the first of six successful extra points to make it 7-0.

The Vikings would then drive into the red zone, but a field goal attempt was blocked. It looked like Highland’s second drive would be stalled by penalties, but facing third-and-22 from their 10, the team got a 29-yard run by Nauman and didn’t look back the rest of the way. Nauman finished the time-consuming drive with a two-yard score and it was 14-0 with 9:28 left in the second quarter.

River Valley struck gold on their third try, as quarterback Cayden Shidone hit on 5-of-7 passes for 78 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown to Grant Butler to cut the Scot lead in half. However, Highland would get three scores in the final seven minutes of the half.

Nauman ran for 64 to make it 21-7 and the Scots forced a three-and-out to set up another quick drive for points — this time on a five-yard run by Nauman shortly after the back had sprinted for 36 on second-and-29.

The Vikings looked like they would respond, as Shidone ate up the field on three straight completions. The final one, though, went Highland’s way when they forced a fumble just short of the goal line and pounced on the ball in the end zone for a touchback.

Nauman showed his versatility on the ensuing drive, utilizing a trick play to pass to Zach Schmidt for 39 yards. A personal foul on the Vikings advanced the ball to the 15 and two plays later, Kolton Stover hit Gavin Toombs for an eight-yard touchdown to make it 35-7.

“With Dane, anything is possible,” said coach Stover. “And you know what; with our O-line doing what they do normally, anything is possible. It’s just going to come down to playing defense and come down to running the football and that’s what we do best.”

Things got a bit rocky for the Scots in the second half, though. Despite both of River Valley’s possessions ending in turnovers — a fumble and a Zach Church interception — Highland struggled to move the ball with Nauman spending much of the half on the sideline working to get through what his coach said was a thigh bruise.

Then, early in the fourth quarter, Kolton Stover got injured scrambling and exited the game. Coach Stover noted that his team has battled the injury bug all year, but has been able to overcome them due to players stepping up whenever needed.

“Look where we’re at,” he said. “That just shows the resiliency of these kids. And that shows you the fight of the Highland community and they do that every week.”

After River Valley turned the ball over via fumble on their first drive of the fourth after Kolton Stover’s injury, they were able to make things interesting. Shidone hit Logan Miracle for an 11-yard touchdown and the Vikings then recovered a short kick to set up an 11-yard Shidone run, making it 35-21 with nearly eight minutes left.

The Scots were able to bring back Nauman, though, who had recovered enough to run the ball seven straight downs, getting 65 yards including a three-yard touchdown.

Leading by 21, the team was able to clinch the game when Church got his second pick of the night to send the Scots to a big fight with Clear Fork on Friday. With both teams unbeaten in league play, the winner will be MOAC champions.

“We’re going to fight for a league championship next week and not many teams in Ohio get this chance,” said Ty Stover. “Coach (Dave) Carroll has a heck of a group there and I’m just going to try to get our boys ready. We’ll just focus on us and we’ll go out there with all of our heart and we’ll go from there.”

Kolton Stover finished with 50 yards on 5-of-9 passing, while Schmidt had a pair of catches for 43 yards and Toombs had three for 34.

Highland running back Dane Nauman picked up 341 yards and five touchdowns on the ground and added a 39-yard pass to receiver Zach Schmidt in his team’s 42-21 win over host River Valley Friday.
https://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2022/10/web1_danenauman.jpgHighland running back Dane Nauman picked up 341 yards and five touchdowns on the ground and added a 39-yard pass to receiver Zach Schmidt in his team’s 42-21 win over host River Valley Friday. Rob Hamilton | Morrow County Sentinel
Team will play Clear Fork for MOAC title next

By Rob Hamilton

[email protected]

Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS

Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS