Jackson County Times-Journal
OAK HILL — The Oak Hill High School football team is rapidly reigning supreme over Southern Ohio Conference Division I.
Having lost only three division games over the past five seasons, and capturing three of the past four outright division championships, the Oaks — having joined the division starting in the 2006 season — aim to add to their recent roughshod of the SOC I in 2013. Oak Hill owns a five-game SOC I win streak, dating back to the season finale two years ago, and are in search of their fourth league championship in five seasons.
Their only league losses in the last four years are the 2008 opener against East — and back-to-back bouts at Notre Dame and Symmes Valley two years ago. That 30-21 road loss against the Titans snapped a dozen-game SOC I win streak, and the defeat to the Vikings vanquished any Oak Hill hopes of a title in that rebuilding campaign. Symmes Valley went on to win the division that season, as the Tartans earned a three-peat of championships from 2006 thru 2008.
The Oaks’ three crowns (2009, 2010 and 2012) correspond with their only state playoff appearances in school history —along with three host Division V, Region 19 quarterfinal victories.
Oak Hill is the favorite for another SOC championship this season, despite heavy and significant graduation losses from last season’s squad. The Oaks have the SOC I Lineman of the Year in six-foot-five senior Justin Dickens returning, along with fellow (SOC I) first-teamers Mason Waugh and Jonathon Harrison.
Oak Hill amassed its latest league title when the Oaks doubled up host Symmes Valley, 28-14. In the years in which Oak Hill has won the SOC I, the Vikings have been second — with their only league losses against the Oaks of course.
The Vikings return divisional first-teamers Jacob Easthom and Tyler Rowe, which were also first-teamers on the all-Southeast District Division VI defense. Symmes Valley visits Oak Hill Oct. 18 as the Oaks travel Oct. 12 to Spartan Stadium and face Notre Dame.
The Vikings and Titans duel Oct. 25, the conference finale for Symmes Valley.
Notre Dame returns four first-teamers in Dakota Smith, Jack Kayser, Will Haney and Daniel Ogg. All of the aforementioned returnees — minus Harrison — are seniors.
But the greatest graduation loss was suffered by East, as standout all-purpose back Justin Crager — the SOC I Back of the Year — is gone. The Tartans’ only division wins in 2009 and 2012 were over Green, which has only one division victory in the past five years — against East in 2010.
The Titans have went 2-2 in the division in each of the last five years, losing to East and the Oaks (34-2) in 2008, which started Oak Hill’s aforementioned 12-game league win streak.