INDIAN HILL – On a festive fall night at Tomahawk Stadium, Indian Hill High School racked up their first playoff win in nearly eight years with a 31-14 win over Cincinnati Hills League rival Wyoming.
Junior quarterback Reed Aichholz ran for two scores and threw for two touchdowns to keep Indian Hill perfect this season.
The Braves last won in the Ohio High School playoffs Nov. 9, 2007 against Circleville. Their 11th win tops the 2006 team that went 10-0 and lost in the tournament.
Coach Tony Arcuri’s Braves took the opening kickoff right back down the field against the Cowboys. Junior Dawson Aichholz gave them good field position on the return, then Reed Aichholz was able to pass and eventually run Indian Hill into the end zone on a two-yard scamper.
Reed and Dawson Aichholz are brothers, as are Wyoming’s Jake and Joey Edmonds. Freshman Joey and junior Jake got the Cowboys in scoring position late in the first quarter, with senior Justin Shields finishing the drive with a one-yard shimmy.
Midway through the second quarter, the Aichholz brothers struck again with Reed lofting a moon ball to Dawson near the pylon for six more. With the Nick Heidel extra point, the Braves led 14-7.
Before the lines formed for cotton candy, Heidel nailed a 43-yard rocket through the uprights for the 17-7 first half advantage.
At the 4:54 mark of the third quarter, Wyoming regained some momentum. The Cowboys had been pinned at their own 8-yard line, but that didn’t deter Joey Edmonds. He tried to hit his brother, Jake, deep but it was overthrown. On the next play, Mason Rogers toasted the Braves secondary as Joey Edmonds hit him in stride for a 92-yard highlight video hook-up.
Not be outdone, the Aichholz tandem torched the Cowboys to the 10-yard line. Two plays later, Reed Aichholz zipped a three-yard pass to Heidel in the left corner and Indian Hill led 24-14 with 1:58 remaining in the third.
In the fourth quarter, Reed Aichholz cemented the win with his legs. A long run got the Braves in the red zone again. Then, with 2:46 left, the 6-foot-5 cross between Ben Roethlisberger and former Bengal lefty Boomer Esiason banged in from a yard away and it was 31-14.
The game was iced on an interception by Indian Hill’s Dan Becker. Indian Hill ran the clock out from there for the win.
PLAY OF THE GAME: After Wyoming had cut the deficit to three in the third quarter on the 92-yard Edmonds to Rogers bomb, Indian Hill came right back with the Reed to Dawson Aichholz connection to get in the red zone again. Aichholz then hit Heidel to put the cushion back to double digits.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: It’s hard to defend a quarterback that’s bigger than 90 percent of the other guys on the field. Reed Aichholz ran and threw the Braves to victory.
VIEW FROM THE SIDELINE: Indian Hill goes to 11-0 with the victory and will face Clinton Massie Nov. 14 in the second round.
“To say we’ve exceeded expectations, to the public, that’s very true,” Indian Hill’s Arcuri said. “We kind of felt we’d be here. We put in the work. We’re just happy with the result.”
“We’re trying to build a foundation for things to come, but no matter what transpires, it’ll be this senior class that’ll be remembered for our resurgence.”
Wyoming finishes 8-3 with losses to a pair of tournament teams, Reading and Indian Hill.
The Cowboys lost junior starting quarterback Andrew Marty against McNicholas Sept. 11. Freshman Edmonds took over from there and still managed Wyoming into the playoffs. On the upside, Marty and the Edmonds brothers return next year.
“He (Joey Edmonds) did a great job in leading the team this year along with all of the seniors,” Wyoming coach Aaron Hancock said. “He’s one of the most unselfish kids I’ve ever coached. We knew we were going to have a good team this year. I’m very proud of their effort and hard work and I’m proud to be their football coach.”
On the downside for Wyoming fans, so do Reed and Dawson Aichholz and a slew of other young Braves. The Cincinnati Hills League should be alive and well again in 2016.
1 2 3 4
Indian Hill 7 10 7 7
Wyoming 7 0 7 0
IH-Reed Aichholz 2 yard run (Heidel kick)
W-Shields 1 yard run (Gressel kick)
IH-Reed Aichholz 34 yard pass to Dawson Aichholz (Heidel kick)
IH-Heidel 43 yard FG
W-Joey Edmonds 92 yard pass to Mason Rogers (Heidel kick)
IH-Reed Aichholz 3 yard pass to Heidel (Heidel kick)
IH-Reed Aichholz 1 yard run (Heidel kick)