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Tri-State prep quarterback leads the nation in passing—and he’s just getting started

“Video game numbers” is usually a cliché. This time it’s not.
Western Brown High School quarterback Drew Novak currently leads the nation in passing.
Western Brown High School quarterback Drew Novak currently leads the nation in passing.(WXIX)
Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 11:17 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The Western Brown High School football team is on a scorching-hot streak—its best in program history. A big part of that is their quarterback who currently leads the nation in passing.

Don’t ask him to tell you what that means, though. Drew Novak, 16, doesn’t keep track of the touchdowns or the yards. Could be because he throws for too many of them. Or...

“It’s kind of funny,” Novak said. “[Head Coach Nick Osborne] was texting me all my stats last week. I had no idea... I just want to win.”

Novak is winning. That is, Western Brown is winning. Just once this year did the team score fewer than 40 points. Once they put up 75.

Now they’re staring down their third playoff game.

How gaudy are Novak’s stats? Like video game numbers. Usually, that’s a cliché. This time it’s not.

Novak could reach 5,000 yards with a good game on Friday night. How many quarterbacks in Ohio high school football history have done that? Three. None of them are named Joe Burrow.

Just an average number of passing touchdowns on Friday night would put him at 55 for the year, good for 11th in Ohio history. Joe Burrow had 63 in the same year he was named Mr. Ohio Football.

But the numbers only tell half the story because, before the season, not many people outside Mount Orab had heard of the 6′6″ junior quarterback from Western Brown. He wasn’t Arch Manning. He wasn’t a blip on the radar—not in Ohio, not anywhere.

From a small school in a country town, Drew Novak came out of the blue to become one of the best high school football stories in America. And he still has his senior year ahead of him.

“The program has been down the last couple of years,” Osborne said. “Drew putting us back on the map is something special.”

Osborne says Novak makes it easy for him as the play-caller for their hurry-up offense. “You can call whatever,” he said, “and Drew will make the plays.”

Still, the only thing that matters to Novak are the banners he puts up. Like a true gamer, he only cares about winning football games.

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