Two former TRAC quarterbacks face off in the NFL. Sunday September 10, 2017 Findlay’s Ben Roethlisberger (1996-2000) and Toledo Central Catholic’s Deshone Kizer (2010-2014) met and battled it out in Cleveland in week one of the new NFL season. Ben won this round but there is still another game later this season between the two of them.
Ben only played one season as varsity quarterback for Findlay and threw for 4,100 yards and 54 touchdowns. In Kizer’s career he was 345 of 584 for 5,684 yards and 56 TDs. He also rushed 151 times for 1,211 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Even though Kizer had a rough game he showed flashes of potential. He was sacked seven times, but he was 20/30 for 222 yards and touchdown, however he threw one interception. He also ran for 17 yards and a touchdown. Ben played well he was 24/36 for 263 yards and two touchdowns, he also threw one interception and was sacked once.
After the game the two quarterbacks met at midfield and Ben told Kizer “You’re a helluva player. Wish you all the best, stay healthy…we’ll see you again soon.” In a post game interview Ben said, “We’re both from northwest Ohio, both wear number seven, I thought he played a great game. He did some great things against a defense that gets after it, but I told him afterword, what an awesome start. I know it’s not getting a win, but just to play the way he did, I was proud of him.”
When former Findlay wide receiver and cornerback Jordan Jones was asked what it was like to play against Deshone Kizer he said, “I wasn’t a starter at the time, but I remember the week leading up to the game, we had one of the most intense week of practice ever, and he was a huge part of the scouting report. He was really a man among boys when he was on the field and proved that he was just as good as everyone said he was.
“I was never scared or nervous, but we knew we had to crank our preparation up to a crazy level. We knew we couldn’t stop him, we just wanted to slow him down.” Jordan was then asked if at the time he believe Kizer would make it to the NFL he didn’t hesitate in saying, “Absolutely. He threw the most beautiful, catchable balls I’ve ever seen from a high school quarterback.”
Many in the area believe that the TRAC conference is one of the best, so when asked what do you think about a former TRAC opponent making it to the NFL Jordan responded, “I love it. It shows that the TRAC is the powerhouse conference that we always claim it to be, and the teams that play in this area are capable of competing with anyone.” Kizer has already shown a lot of potential so when asked what can Kizer bring to the Browns Jordan said, “A level headed leader, a willingness to grow within the system, a passion for winning, and perhaps most importantly a love for the state of Ohio and a dream of delivering Cleveland a championship.”
In another interview current Head Findlay Varsity Football coach Mark Ritzler said he had a specific game plan to deal with Kizer, “He did not throw the ball very much in high school. He was much more of a talented runner. Toledo Central Catholic runs the outside zone quite a bit, which gave him and option of running the football depending on what the backside end did. We wanted to make sure he gave the ball off and took it out of his hands. We beat TCC his sophomore year pretty handily and he did not play well against us. He really didn’t do a whole lot over his career against us, but it was obvious he had the physical tools. Now when I watch him I see someone who looks like he could develop into a good quarterback if he is given some help.” Kizer has already shown potential so Coach Ritzler said his opinion on what the Browns got.
“My first thought was he will be out of the league in 3 years as the Browns have a way of drafting poorly and driving young quarterbacks out of the league.” Coach Ritzler has coached against many people in his career so when asked if he believed at the time if Kizer would make the NFL he responded, “No, I did not. Charles Woodson (Fremont) and Damon Moore (Fostoria) are the two best players I have ever coached against in high school. Both went on to play in the NFL. Talent wise he might sneak into my top 10…”
Even though the opinions of Kizer may differ the truth is evident that Kizer is very talented and if he is coached and developed well he will have a bright future ahead of him.