A state title, second team Associated Press All-Ohio honors, All-Three Rivers Athletic Conference, first team Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press at receiver and defensive back, all-district honors and memories for a lifetime.
That’s what Genoa native Derich Weiland will take with him from his time playing football at Central Catholic.
His senior year, Weiland was instrumental in leading the Fighting Irish to a 12-1 record, a TRAC title, a spot in the Division III regional final and a ranking of No. 2 in the final AP poll.
On the All-Ohio team, Weiland joined teammates DeShone Kizer (first team), the state’s co-offensive player of the year at quarterback, J’Quan Fisher (second team defensive line), Chris Green (second team linebacker) and Ramone Miles (third team offensive line).
|Central Catholic senior Derich Weiland cuts right after
catching a pass in the Irish loss to Clyde. (Press photo
by Scott Grau)
Weiland, who also returned punts, earned spots for that tole on the All-TRAC and all-district teams.
Weiland chose to transfer to Central after attending Genoa Middle School in the eighth grade. Prior to that, he attended Woodmore Schools.
“My dad worked with a guy that went to Central Catholic and he told my dad that I should check (out the school),” Weiland said. “I went there for a day and shadowed a guy and got an idea of what it would be like to go to school there. The school, the students, the teachers — everyone was welcoming and friendly. It was awesome; they treated me like I was a student there. I’m fortunate to have gone there.”
The most exhilarating experience for Weiland was winning the Division II state championship his junior season when the Irish defeated then-defending state champion Trotwood-Madison in a thriller, 16-12.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “I remember going out onto the field before the game and looking up at the crowd — there were 15,000 to 16,000 people there. I remember somebody asking me if I was nervous and I thought, ‘I shouldn’t be nervous in the 15th game of the season.’
“I was very blessed to play in that game. It was a memorable experience. It was shock, joy and happiness all at the same time. I remember riding home on the bus and everybody was so happy. I don’t think I got home until 3 a.m. We had several thousand people at the pep rally the next day.”
In all, his three years on varsity saw the Irish advance to the postseason three times, win a TRAC title and go a combined 34-6, including 8-2 in the playoffs.
For his career, Weiland finished with 110 catches for 1,350 yards, both third all-time in school history, and amassed 3,298 all-purpose yards with 15 TDs.
His stats put him in the elite category reserved for the likes of Dane Sanzenbacher (’07) and Ryne Robinson (’03), who had stellar collegiate careers at Ohio State and Miami (Ohio), respectively, before playing in the NFL. Sanzenbacher, currently a backup for the Cincinnati Bengals, has five catches for 54 yards this season. He helped lead Central coach Greg Dempsey and the Irish to the program’s first state title in ’05.
This was Weiland’s most successful season, one that saw him catch 43 passes for 600 yards, run 40 times for 250 yards and account for 1,100 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns.
Unfortunately, Central, which had aspirations of winning back-to-back state titles, saw its season end in the regional finals in a heartbreaking 42-41 loss to the Clyde Fliers.
“Coach Dempsey talked with us about the game,” Weiland said. “It wasn’t the way we wanted to go out. He told us that he was very proud of us and thanked us for coming out and for the practices and the games. Then he pulled the seniors aside and spoke with us about the four years — it’s something we’ll never forget.
“I was fortunate to play in 10 playoff games. That was a blessing; it was a great ride. It was great to see that support from our fans. It was tough to lose, but we know the sun will rise tomorrow. We had some great memories.”
Weiland is also a standout in baseball, too. He splits his time between shortstop and third base, hits leadoff and is the team’s closer on the mound and has been named to the TRAC’s first team in each of the last two years.
He comes from a line of great athletes. His two older brothers, Billy and Chris, competed at Woodmore and St. Francis DeSales, respectively.
Billy, a 2001 Woodmore graduate, was a state qualifying wrestler, going 52-3 during his senior year and finishing as the state runner-up in his weight class.
Chris, a senior at Bowling Green State University now, played football at Woodmore for two years before transferring to St. Francis, where he became the only running back in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons before graduating in ’08. He was set to play football at the University of Toledo under Tom Amstutz, but things changed when Amstutz left his coaching position at UT in ’08.
Chris then transferred and had success playing football at the University of Toronto before getting injured and deciding to transfer to BGSU. Unfortunately, NCAA transfer rules prohibited him from playing for the Falcons, but he is awaiting tryouts for Canadian Football League teams in the winter and NFL teams in March.
Despite being a stellar athlete in two sports, Derich is also an excellent student who maintains a 4.3 GPA and is ranked in the top 20 of his class.
“My parents always told me to keep my grades up,” Weiland said. “School came before sports. (Central Catholic) was tough academically. I’m glad I made the move.”
Academics will certainly play a role in where he chooses to go to college. Weiland currently has an offer to play football at Kent State University and is awaiting word from the University of Pennsylvania about possibly playing for the Quakers.