The Ohio State football program has something to be excited about.
Sure, the Buckeyes are ranked No. 1 in the country, but 472 miles from Columbus, two Ohio State recruits put on a show.
The two recruits? St. Joseph’s Prep junior quarterback Kyle McCord and junior wideout Marvin Harrison Jr.
McCord connected with Harrison on four touchdown passes to power the Hawks past La Salle, 52-7, in the Catholic League Class 6A championship on Saturday at the Germantown Supersite. The Prep will play Northeast in the District 12 Class 6A title next week.
“We joke every now and then in a few years that we’re going to be playing on the big stage,” McCord said. “We’re definitely focused on the season, but it’s definitely fun to think about that we have a future together.”
McCord and Harrison could potentially be a pain for defenses in the Big Ten to handle in a couple of years.
But until then, they’ll cause headaches for opposing high schools.
La Salle learned that the hard way in the Catholic League title game.
“They got speed everywhere,” Explorers coach John Steinmetz said. “They got a lot of offensive weapons, so it’s hard to stop any one of them.”
McCord completed 13-of-21 passes for 321 yards and five touchdowns. Harrison hauled in six of those tosses for 222 yards and four scores.
The longest score between the two went for 81 yards on a screen pass. They also had scores of 64, 48, and 10 yards.
“It’s all practice,” Harrison said of the big plays. “We work on those in practice every day. The timing and everything, trying to get it down perfect. It’s good to see it pay off.”
Early in the contest, though, the Hawks weren’t perfect. False-start penalties set the Prep back a few times in the first quarter, but McCord was able to execute on third and fourth downs to his targets.
On fourth-and-5 on the Prep’s first drive, McCord drilled junior wideout Malik Cooper on a 33-yard pass. The play set up a 2-yard run by senior running back Kolbe Burrell. The University of Buffalo recruit finished with nine carries for 74 yards and one touchdown.
Prep coach Tim Roken said his team’s decision to go for it on fourth down is a situation-by-situation basis.
“We thought earlier in the game that we liked our fourth-and-medium calls there and we were able to do it,” Roken said. “Kyle was able to connect with Malik for a quick shot, and give that young man the ball in space and he can go. It was a big first down for us.”
Later in the second quarter, McCord, under pressure, threw a 22-yard pass on fourth-and-4 to Burrell that kept the Prep’s drive alive. He then connected with Harrison for 10 yards to make it 38-0.
“I just want to get the ball in the hands of my play-makers,” McCord said. “I know my o-line is going to give me the time, they’re going to get open, so it’s pretty much just my job to hit them in stride and give them a catchable ball. You see what happens when I get it to them; they make plays.”
The Prep led, 45-0, at halftime, and La Salle wasn’t able to sustain any rhythm on offense.
The Explorers’ only score came on junior backup quarterback Gavin Daly’s 2-yard plunge in the fourth quarter.
“They just run to the ball,” Steinmetz said of the Prep’s defense. “They’re so fast and physical. They run to the ball better than anybody.”
Northeast, which is known for its defense, will have its hands full with the Ohio State combo of McCord and Harrison next week.
“We feel confident no matter who we play,” Harrison said.
St. Joseph’s Prep 31 14 7 0 -- 52
LS: 0 0 0 7 -- 7
SJ: Kolbe Burrell 2 run (Antonio Chadha kick good)
SJ: Chadha 23 FG
SJ: Maurice Clark 25 pass from Kyle McCord (Chadha kick)
SJ: Marvin Harrison Jr. 48 pass from McCord (Chadha kick)
SJ: Harrison Jr. 64 pass from McCord (Chadha kick)
SJ: Harrison Jr. 10 pass from McCord (Chadha kick)
SJ: Harrison Jr. 81 pass from McCord (Chadha kick)
SJ: Malik Cooper 5 run (Chadha kick)