Jerome Baker, the star running back for Ohio state champion Benedictine (Cleveland) last season has moved on to Ohio State, but he was among those watching the GEICO ESPN High School Kickoff on Saturday.
Life after Baker began as Benedictine scored a nationally televised 35-23 victory against fellow state champion Toledo Central Catholic. It was Central Catholic’s first home loss since the season opener a year ago.
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Benedictine was the Division IV champion in Ohio last season and went 14-1. Central Catholic was the Division III champion and went 13-2. This year, both schools are in Division III so they could see each other again.
Benedictine took a 14-3 lead at halftime and then opened the third quarter scoring on an 84-yard TD run by DeCavilon Reese.
The Bengals seemed to be comfortably ahead, but the advantage stood at 28-23 with less than four minutes to go. Central Catholic QB Simeon Washington’s TD on a keeper had trimmed the lead with less than eight minutes to go.
The Bengals got the ball to the brink of the goal line on a third-and-11 play before Dontez Rash jumped into the end zone with two minutes remaining to give Benedictine some breathing run.