By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
olleges love them, and opposing teams don't.
Three of the area's top senior football players -- Chaney's Keilen Dykes, Warren Harding's Prescott Burgess and Ursuline's Louis Irizarry -- lead teams looking to win league titles and advance deep in the playoffs.
Once the season is over, they'll take their game to a higher level.
Irizarry, a four-year starter for the Irish, verbally committed to Ohio State last month and is widely considered to be the best tight end in Ohio.
"I feel like I'm working for two schools," Irizarry (6-5, 235) said. "Every time I slack at Ursuline, it's like I'm slacking at Ohio State.
"I don't think I'll ever slack again."
Irizarry was a member of Ursuline's state champion team in 2000. The Irish had to forfeit four games last year for using an academically ineligible player and missed the playoffs.
This year, they're looking for redemption.
"We're all thinking the same thing," Irizarry, who has a 3.9 grade point average, said. "We want to go back to state."
Offers will wait
Burgess, a two-time All-Ohio selection, has offers from several Division I colleges, including Ohio State, Michigan and Florida. He says he'll wait until after the season to decide on a college.
The Raider strong safety is ranked as Ohio's top prospect by several publications.
"That just makes me work harder, & quot; Burgess (6-4, 225) said. & quot;I enjoy hearing it, but I just want to take advantage of my opportunities. Not too many people get to go to college for free and I'm thankful for that."
Warren Harding has reloaded and has set its sights on a return to the Division I playoffs.
"Every day I think about that game and it just pushes me harder and harder," Burgess said. "We had a chance to win state and we blew it. We can't let that happen again."
Dykes, a four-year starter, also has offers from several Division I schools but will wait until after the season to commit. (See story, page D2.)
Dykes (6-4, 255) leads the City Series champion Cowboys, who will try to make the playoffs for the third straight year.
One goal -- to be the best.
It's time to get started.