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2019-2020 High School Bounce




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SPORTS SPOTLIGHT FEATURE: Maurice Hale, QB/CB Columbus Beechcroft Cougars

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QB/CB Maurice Hale

The Beechcroft Cougars have been the football team to beat in the Columbus City League North Division for the past few years.

Yes, I realize there are the Brookhaven Bearcats, their arch-rivals; the Northland Vikings and the Mifflin Punchers in that division. However, the Cougars, under head coach Bruce Ward, in his fourth season, are 16-5 the past two seasons with a playoff appearance. Furthermore, the last North Division team to beat them was Northland.

The Cougars are still the team to beat despite losing the talents of James Duncan, Alpha Berry, Kevin Chappelle, James Clayborn, Shaquille Minnifield, Jalen and Jamar Rudolph through graduation.

One of the reasons Beechcroft is still the team to beat, are the talents of senior quarterback/cornerback Maurice Hale. He is also a top-notch basketball player for the Cougars.

Hale, who is 6’3, 195 pounds, rarely leaves the field. He is what they call an “athlete” in today’s football world. He also plays  long-snapper and place-kick holder. The only time the fans won’t see him on the field is on returns. He is that valuable to the Cougars success.

2011 was a breakout season for the talented Hale. He was awarded All-City League, All-District Division II honors. He set a school-record with 2,087 passing yards with 17 touchdowns and 8 interceptions and rushed for over 900 yards.

Maurice Hale under the watchful eye of head coach Bruce Ward

Last season, Beechcroft was 9-2 in Division II, Region 7 and 7-0 in the City League North. They won eight games in a row to end the season. The Cougars were the seeded fifth in the playoffs, but lost at fourth-seeded Big Walnut, 14-7 in the first round.

That defeat has inspired the Cougars to do even better this year with less games in the regular season. Mostly all high school football team around Central Ohio opened the season on August 24. Beechcroft had a game with Columbus Independence on the schedule, but the 76ers wanted to play Columbus Mifflin instead and it left the Cougars hanging. But Coach Ward said “it gave us a chance to get in more practice time.”

Beechcroft is 2-1 going into this week’s encounter with the Whetstone Braves.

The Cougars started the season in Week 2 beating Dublin Jerome, 18-10; in Week 3 they lost 20-18 at St. Charles and in Week 4 they overpowered Centennial, 55-15.

Hale’s favorite target is WR Khaleed Franklin, who is a big, fast and physical player at 6’3, 200 pounds.

Hale used to play Safety, but Ward moved him to cornerback to cut down on injuries. Safeties with their free-style, open play and hard-hitting often get injured more than DB’s.

Beechcroft has played in the OHSAA playoffs 14 times. In 2009 and 2010, they finished 7-3 with a strong schedule but did not make it. They don’t want that to have again. Maurice Hale said the goal is the playoffs, always!

Beechcroft benefits from being located in a very nice neighborhood off State Route 161 in North Columbus, Ohio

 

 

ALL PHOTOS BY MEGASPORTSNEWS.COM

 


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