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2019-2020 High School Bounce

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Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Ward.’

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





Sports Spotlight Feature Interview: Bruce Ward, Columbus Beechcroft High School Head Football Coach

During our high school football broadcasts on Friday nights on WPKO-FM/WBLL-AM in Bellefontaine and the Peak of, we feature a one-on-one interview with a football player, or athletic administrator from the high school, college, professional or amateur ranks.

Columbus Beechcroft (BHS)

During the 2009 season, we featured Bruce Ward, Columbus Beechcroft High School head football coach.

When legendary coach Tom Dunlap retired during the spring of 2009 and was replaced by his defensive coordinator. Bruce Ward, “A Dawn of a New Era” chapter was opening for the Beechcroft football program.

Ward spent 9 years as an assistant at Beechcroft and prior to that experience, 3 years at his alma mater, Fairmont State College.

Beechcroft Cougars (BHS)

Coach Ward was Beechcroft’s defensive coordinator in 2008 when they shutout 7 opponents in making the Division II Playoffs finishing at 9-2 overall, 6-1 in the City League North. The Cougars received national recognition and attention from ESPN and Sports Illustrated during 2008 after beating Centennial, 96-0. The Cougars scored 55, first quarter points, tying the 4th highest point total in one quarter in National High School history. Those 96 points also tied for the second highest points in the nation in 2008.

The Beechcroft Cougars have reached the Ohio High School Athletic Association playoffs 13 times in football including a 5-season run of 199-2003.

“The Croft” as the school is called, opened in 1976 as a six-year junior/senior high school. Enrollment peaked at 1,200 students. Currently, there are 950 students.

Located on Columbus’ northside, Beechcroft plays in the City League North Division along with: The Brookhaven Bearcats, Centennial Stars, East Tigers, Linden-McKinley Panthers, Mifflin Punchers, Northland Vikings and Whetstone Braves. Their arch-rivals are Brookhaven.

Bruce Ward’s first season as head football coach ended up being a success. The Cougars went 7-3. They beat Whitehall, Whetstone, Linden-McKinley, East, Centennial and Northland. They lost two three very good teams: Upper Arlington, St. Charles and Brookhaven.

Some of his star players from the 2009 season included: Larez Harper, Wallace Hale, Rasean Moore, B.J. Watkins and Billy Croom.

SOUNDS FROM THE FOOTBALL FIELD (to listen to the audio file, click on the number.)

44 465 Bruce Ward Taking over as head coach continuity being an assistant coach

44 466 Bruce Ward Knowing the demands of job Preparing as an assistant coach

44 467 Bruce Ward His playing days players academics Beechcroft very stable program

44 468 Bruce Ward His mentor Tom Dunlap Players petition to make him head coach

44 469 Bruce Ward His first 3 games as head coach Setting up scrimmage schedule

44 470 Bruce Ward Family atmosphere in program 2008 seven shutouts by defense

44 471 Bruce Ward Beat Columbus Centennial 96-0 in 2008 with a 55 point first quarter

44 472 Bruce Ward Shortening blow out games Being featured by ESPN & SI

44 473 Bruce Ward Beechcroft always has athletes Facilities Brookhaven rivalry