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Senior Tackle: Huge win for Cade Stover fueled by chicken wings, pretzels

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Ohio State commit Cade Stover and his Lexington teammates are still alive in the playoffs. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football Recruiting

Senior Tackle: Huge win for Cade Stover fueled by chicken wings, pretzels

Ohio State commitment Cade Stover is set to embark on his final season of high school football and basketball at Lexington (Ohio) High School. Lexington, a small town of just about 4,700 people near Mansfield, is a farm community that’s played an instrumental role in raising Stover, the country’s eighth-ranked outside linebacker. He committed to the Buckeyes in late April this year, picking Ohio State over Penn State, Notre Dame and 20 other schools. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound athlete is on the verge of becoming his school’s all-time leading scorer in basketball, and Cade Stover will share all of the ups and downs of his senior year with Lettermen Row in this weekly journal.

There’s good news for Lexington High School: We’ve got another week of football to be played.

We’re moving forward after beating Tiffin 31-21 in the first round of the state playoffs and are now approaching Week 12. Getting a chance to be in Week 12 is a surreal feeling, but our focus this week is on not being satisfied with just getting to here — it’s about keeping it going. We want to keep this train rolling as long as we can, because we’ve been playing great football and are finally seeing what we’re capable of.

I had a good game against Tiffin, personally. On offense, I scored twice and ran for 175 yards. On defense, I had 23 tackles and intercepted two passes. It feels good knowing that I’m helping my team win.

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The massive pretzel from The Local at 97 in Lexington, Ohio. (Cade Stover/courtesy)

This week we will be playing Sandusky. It’s tough team that likes to run the ball, but we love to stop the run, so it should be a good game. I think it’s a good matchup for what we do well, but we need to execute like we’ve been doing if we want to keep winning.

On Saturday, I obviously watched Ohio State, and it was great to see the Buckeyes back on the field after what seemed to be a long bye week. Nebraska is a tough, underrated team, and it played a pretty good game. Nonetheless, the Buckeyes are back on the winning track.

I have all the confidence in the world that they will catch fire and show the country what Buckeyes football is all about. The coaching staff will have them ready for Michigan State this weekend.

Now that we’re in the playoffs and things are in full swing, I’ve been thinking a lot about the superstitions that some players on our team do every week.

One of the things we do as a team is go out to eat on Wednesday nights. There is a new place in town to eat called The Local at 97, and we take a handful of guys every week. The first time we went there was Week Four, which happened to be the first week we won this season.

We didn’t go back Week 5 and lost.

Week Six we went back, won, and we have not missed a week since. We have the same waitress every time. She knows us so well that she doesn’t even have to ask us what we want. She just sees us and brings out the normal food we get every week, and I think that’s awesome. Shout to Megan! Maybe without those dozen drummies and that massive pretzel we don’t win every week. Who knows?

For me, though, my most important superstition or routine is that every Thursday night, I go over to my defensive coordinator, Coach Shied’s house. I have not missed a Thursday night meal in all four years I have been in high school, and that’s a lot of meals. Coach Shied is one of the very few people I can say has been there with me from Day One. Coming into high school and competing for a varsity starting job was not easy on a 14-year-old’s mind, but no matter who or what was being said about me, he has always stood up for me.

From freshmen year on, our relationship has grown — and not just from the player-coach standpoint, but as friends. We have both gained the utmost respect for each other. From the late night texts of game planning for the next week, or just flat out giving me a hard time for missing a tackle, I can honestly say that I trust him and what positions he will put me in.

For the record, I don’t miss many tackles.

Having this relationship with him is a big reason I will miss my high school football days, but I know I’ve got a friend and mentor for the rest of my life with him.

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