MOUNT ORAB - The Christmas Parade in Mount Orab is Saturday night, Nov. 27. Should the local football team at Western Brown High School continue winning, it could be an affair to remember with a group of triumphant Broncos.
In just his second year, 24-year-old Nick Osborne has his team in a Division III regional final Friday. They've already won their first-ever playoff game and a victory Friday over Granville would put them in their first state semifinal.
Though their athletic director Tim Cook is an Ohio State Buckeye, offense at Western Brown would truly be offensive to followers of Woody Hayes. The forward pass is utilized more than 40 times per game on a typical night.
"It's definitely fun for the kids to let them go out there and sling it around," Osborne said. "It's fun to play in a spread offense. When you have a guy like Drew (Novak) who is able to take command like he does, it makes it easier on us coaches. Drew's a very level-headed kid and just does a phenomenal job."
Osborne is speaking of the Southwest District Division III Offensive Player of the Year in 6-foot-6 junior quarterback Drew Novak. He's started since he was a freshman and thrown for more yards than anyone in the nation (4,886 with 52 touchdowns), according to MaxPreps. He's also used his long legs to run for 1,068 yards and 19 scores.
Not this Bronco's 1st rodeo
For his three-year career he has thrown for 9,541 yards and 92 touchdowns. Translating that into miles, if you exited Western Brown and went 5.4 miles in either direction on State Route 32, that's how many yards Novak has achieved through the air.
"It's great having so many plays under my belt," Drew Novak said. "(Coach) Osborne knows a lot about the spread. It really makes it easier for us to make plays."
If you're not familiar with Mount Orab, it's roughly 30 minutes to an hour away from many Southwest District high schools depending on what side of Cincinnati your journey started. Taking the Ohio 32 exit off of 275 near the Eastgate Mall, you head about 21 miles. For those of you familiar with Bobcats, you've passed it on your way to Ohio University.
Drew Novak's suitors include the Bobcats and he's also visited Iowa State, Illinois and Miami University. With each completion, his legend grows.
Drew's brother, senior Dylan Novak, has 1,264 receiving yards on 81 catches, while four-year player Logan Campbell has 1,079 receiving yards on 67 grabs. Junior Zachary Chisman is approaching 1,000 yards with 58 catches and leads the team with 21 touchdowns (11 running, 10 receiving).
"It definitely translates, just always throwing the ball and how close we are," Dylan Novak said of hauling down Drew's passes. "We're actually best friends. We really have something special here."
Added Campbell, "This is all I could ask for. I love the people I play with and I enjoy tearing it up every Friday."
A season of firsts
To a man, the Broncos speak of what the return of football glory has meant to Western Brown. They have won Southern Buckeye Conference-American Division titles under Don Sizer and Evan Dreyer (now at Anderson), but were sub .500 between 2016-2019.
Just last week, Western Brown held a pep rally for the team complete with a police escort.
"This is the farthest a team has been in school history," Campbell said. "I think the fans are believing in us; everybody's for us and I think everybody would enjoy a state victory."
Osborne is a 2015 Western Brown grad and comes from a family of Broncos. He played on the 2013 and 2014 SBAAC championship teams under Coach Dreyer, then assisted him at Anderson in their high-flying offense.
He is brown and gold, through and through. A state championship might vault him into political office.
"Our community would go nuts," Osborne said. "We've never had a state championship, not even an individual state championship. The farthest anyone's ever been was the baseball team in the state final four in '92. Wrestling had elite eight in '15 and '16. It would be special for the community. Last week at the regional semifinal, there wasn't an empty seat. It was standing room only. If we make it that far, I can't even put into words how happy our community would be."
An electric offense
To say the Broncos score is an understatement. Western Brown has the busiest scoreboard around. Osborne's crew averages more than 50 points per game with a high of 75 against Batavia. Their lowest output was 33 against Jackson during the regular season, the same team they defeated to earn the Region 11 final against Granville.
Drew Novak has had a high game of 521 yards with seven touchdowns in a 63-21 win over Miami Trace with a low of 158 (9-for-11) and a touchdown in a 63-6 playoff win over Beechcroft. To offset the throwing, he ran for 148 and four touchdowns that night.
"We have a chance no matter who we play," he said. "Our offense is playing great and so is our defense. I don't really care (about the numbers) I just want to win this week."
Western Brown faces a 12-0 Granville team that has given up no more than 20 points in any game. They'll drive about an hour longer than their opponent to get to the field at Teays Valley High School.
It's the first of what they hope are three bus trips north.