In Region 5, Mayfield, Olmsted Falls and Tallmadge will be among the teams battling for a state final four birth (last year’s Region 5 champ – Macedonia Nordonia – has moved up to Division I).
Region 7 appears strong at the top with perennial playoff teams Canfield and Columbus Bishop Watterson. (Last season’s Region 7 champ and state finalist Pickerington Central has also moved up to D-I.)
Region 8 might be the toughest region top-to-bottom in D-II with Cincinnati Turpin, Dayton Carroll, Trenton Edgewood, and a possible sleeper to win it all, Trotwood-Madison.
Head coach Scott Valentine pointed the Arrows in the right direction last year as they had the best season in school history with 12 straight wins and a No. 1 seed in Region 6. This year, only five starters return, but MAC schools are heavily recruiting quarterback Taylor House (6-3, 195, Sr.).
|Avon Lake (7-3)|
The Shoremen were the odd team out in Region 6 last year with a ninth-place finish in the computer standings. It ended a run of eight-straight playoff births. However, this year they are stocked with talent and will likely return to the postseason. Offensive guard Sam Brown (6-2, 245, Sr.) and DT Aaron Grunick (6-1, 245, Sr.) were all-conference last year.
The Cardinals are a perennial playoff team and they lost to state finalist Pickerington Central in the first round last year in a 42-37 barnburner. This year they return a top 100 senior prospect in the state according to Ohio High in two-way lineman Jordan Graham (6-1, 250).
|Cincinnati Turpin (12-2)|
Head coach Rob Stoll took the Spartans all the way to the state semifinals last year and returns an impressive group of players, including WR Andy Cruse (6-4, 205, Sr.), OL Aaron Van Kullken (6-7, 285, Sr.) and MLB Luke Kelly (6-4, 220, Sr.).
Cincinnati Winton Woods (6-5)
The Warriors were the No. 3 seed in the Region 8 playoffs bracket last year, but were bounced in the first round. This season, head coach Troy Everhart welcomes back a lot of talent, including 12 starters (3 offense, 9 defense).
|Columbus Bishop Watterson (9-4)|
The Eagles have made the playoffs eight consecutive years, including their 2002 D-III state title season. This year, head coach Dan Bjelac returns another solid group led by QB Mason Takacs (6-3, 200, Sr.).
The Rams made the playoffs last season and this could be the year they advance very far in the postseason. Head coach Maurice Douglass has a talented group at his disposal, led by arguably the state’s best quarterback in Domonick Britt (6-5, 190, Sr.) who is a University of Cincinnati commitment.
|Kings Mills Kings (8-2)|
Kings barely missed the playoffs last season, finishing ninth in Region 8. One of the reasons was quarterback Bruce Ernest (6-2, 185, Sr.) was lost for the season with an injury in week seven. He passed for 1,500 yards last year and returns this season.
In 2006 the Logan Chieftains made their first playoff appearance since 2001 thanks to a defense that shut out five opponents and allowed only 33 points in seven SEOAL games and an unknown junior tailback who nearly eclipsed the school’s single season rushing record despite missing the first and last games of the season. This season Logan drops down to D-II.
The Wildcats were the No. 3 seed in Region 5 last year and they return 10 starters this season. The defense is especially loaded as senior defensive end Carson Bodnovich (6-0, 220) is an Ivy League recruit who had 65 tackles and 10.5 sacks in 2006. Senior inside linebacker Vinnie Durbdella (5-10, 195) racked up 118 tackles and 16 tackles-for-loss last year.
|Olmsted Falls (10-2)|
The Bulldogs were the No. 5 seed in Region 5 last year and won a first-round playoff game at Maple Heights. This year, they need to replace a few key skilled-position players, but return an impressive crop of interior linemen. The group is led by OG/DE Cody Connare (6-4, 245, Sr.), OT/DL Paul Print (6-5, 250, Sr.) and OG/DL Zach Laird (6-5, 260, Jr.) who are all two-way starters.
The Indians somewhat snuck in the playoffs last year with the No. 7 seed in Region 6, then proceeded to win five straight games and the state championship. Piqua was dominant throughout the postseason where the average score of its games was 29.6-10.2 (including 26-7 over Pickerington Central in the championship game). Linebacker David Rolf (6-4, 218, Sr.) will lead the way this year.
|Powell Olentangy Liberty (8-3)|
The Patriots are riding a three-year playoff streak and the school has been in existence for just four years. Head coach Steve Hale welcomes back an impressive group this year, led by linebacker Ross Fleming (6-3, 215, Sr.) and QB Ryan Cypret (5-10, 170, Sr.).
The Blue Devils are a perennial playoff team, but they were bounced in the first round last year. This season, with 13 returning starters, head coach Joe Vassalotti is optimistic. “We expect to be in the hunt for a Suburban League title,” he said.
|Toledo Central Catholic (9-2)|
The Fighting Irish won the 2005 D-II state title and earned the No. 2 seed in Region 6 last year (they fell to eventual state champ Piqua in the first round). This year, head coach Greg Dempsey returns 10 starters (5 on each side) led by QB Tyler Kleeberger (5-11, 175, Sr.).
|Trenton Edgewood (9-2)|
The Cougars were the top seed in the Region 8 playoff bracket last year and advanced to the second round. This year, head coach Steve Channell welcomes back 15 starters (7 offense, 8 defense) led by running back John Elder (5-8, 170, Sr.).
The once proud Zanesville football program hasn’t had a winning season during the 2000’s, but if last season’s improvements are any indication, that streak should end in 2007. With a healthy backfield under first-year head caoch and ZHS graduate Chad Grandstaff, the Blue Devils are looking to burn the competition.
* Each of these teams will be featured in-depth with detailed information about returning players, the coach's thoughts on the season and schedule information.
The Hilltoppers were the No. 7 seed in Region 5 last year and did some serious damage in the playoffs with two wins.
|Columbus Marion-Franklin (9-2)|
The Red Devils won the City League and earned the top seed in Region 7 last year but fell in the first round of the playoffs.
|Dayton Carroll (9-2)|
The Patriots are a perennial playoff team and nothing is expected to change this year. They play in the loaded Region 8, but Carroll is always in the postseason mix.
|Kent Roosevelt (10-1)|
The Rough Riders stormed through the regular season undefeated and earned the No. 2 seed in the Region 5 playoff bracket last year. However, they were bounced in the first round by Chardon.
Though Marietta finished sub-.500 last year at 4-6, the Tigers went 4-3 in the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League and was close in a couple of non-conference losses. Twelve starters return for Marietta this year and the Tigers are hoping to roar into the postseason.
|New Carlisle Tecumseh (9-3)|
The Arrows were the sixth seed in Region 8 last year and won a playoff game on the road against Winton Woods.
|Pataskala Watkins Memorial (10-2)|
The Warriors had an excellent 2006 campaign advancing to the second round of the playoffs in Region 7.
|Sylvania Southview (7-4)|
The Cougars were a playoff team a year ago in Region 6 and will look to get past the first round this year.
|Uniontown Lake (7-5)|
The Blue Streaks snuck in the playoffs last year with the No. 8 seed in Region 7 and proceeded to upset top-seeded Marion-Franklin.
Head coach Kevin Fell and the Redskins advanced to the second round of the playoffs last year in Region 6 with a win over Olentangy Liberty.
* Several of these teams will be featured in-depth, detailed information about returning players, the coach's thoughts on the season and schedule information.
|Andy Cruse||WR||Cincinnati Turpin|
|Ryan Cypret||QB||Olentangy Liberty|
|Josh Dixon||OL||Toledo Central Catholic|
|John Elder||RB||Trenton Edgewood|
|Bruce Ernest||QB||Kings Mills Kings|
|Ross Fleming||LB||Olentangy Liberty|
|Matt Greiser||OL||Columbus Watterson|
|Tyler Kleeberger||QB||Toledo Central Catholic|
|Mason Takacs||QB||Columbus Watterson|
|Cincinnati Turpin at Cincinnati Glen Este|
|Cincinnati St. Xavier at Cincinnati Winton Woods|
|Trotwood-Madison at Columbus Marion-Franklin|
|Trenton Edgewood at Kings Mills Kings|
|Toledo DeSales at Olmsted Falls|
|Westerville North at Powell Olentangy Liberty|
|Beavercreek at Dayton Carroll|
|Uniontown Lake at Copley|
|Canton South at Canfield|
|Cincinnati Roger Bacon at Cincinnati Winton Woods|
|Columbus Watterson at Pickerington North|
|Piqua at Pickerington Central|
|Toledo Central Catholic at Wapakoneta|
|Elyria at Avon Lake|
|Alliance at Canfield|
|Cincinnati Turpin at Cincinnati Indian Hill|
|Westerville South at Columbus Watterson|
|Kings Mills Kings at Springboro|
|Olmsted Falls at Mayfield|
|Powell Olentangy Liberty at Ironton|
|Hilliard Darby at Toledo Central Catholic|
|Uniontown Lake at Canton McKinley|
|Miami Trace at New Carlisle Tecumseh|
|Chardon at Canal Fulton Northwest|
|Columbus Watterson at Cincinnati Glen Este|
|Trotwood-Madison at Beavercreek|
|Lyndhurst Brush at Mayfield|
|Olmsted Falls at Amherst Steele|
|Gahanna Lincoln at Powell Olentangy Liberty|
|Wooster at Ashland|
|Avon Lake at Olmsted Falls|
|Cincinnati Winton Woods at Trenton Edgewood|
|Columbus Watterson at Cleveland Benedictine|
|Piqua at Trotwood-Madison|
|Lodi Cloverleaf at Tallmadge|
|Toledo Central Catholic at Toledo St. John’s Jesuit|
|Youngstown Ursuline at Chardon|
|Columbus Watterson at Steubenville|
|Mayfield at Garfield Heights|
|Piqua at Trotwood-Madison|
|Powell Olentangy Liberty at New Albany|
|Uniontown at North Canton Hoover|
|Cincinnati Turpin at Kings Mills Kings|
|Columbus Watterson at Columbus DeSales|
|Pataskala Watkins Memorial at Powell Olentangy Liberty|
|Olmsted Falls at Brecksville-Broadview Heights|
|Columbus Eastmoor at Columbus Marion-Franklin|
|Toledo Rogers at Toledo Central Catholic|
|Tallmadge at Copley|
|Berea at Avon Lake|
|Salem at Canfield|
|Troy at Trotwood-Madison|
|Powell Olentangy Liberty at Sunbury Big Walnut|
|Tallmadge at Sparta Highland|
|Toledo DeSales at Toledo Central Catholic|
|Dayton Chaminade-Julienne at Dayton Carroll|
|Uniontown Lake at Canton GlenOak|
|Columbus St. Charles at Columbus Watterson|
|Trotwood-Madison at Clayton Northmont|
|Macedonia Nordonia at Mayfield|
|Piqua at Troy|
|Powell Olentangy Liberty at Dublin Scioto|
|Toledo Whitmer at Toledo Central Catholic|
|Canfield at Poland Seminary|
|Cincinnati Glen Este at Cincinnati Winton Woods|
|Youngstown Cardinal Mooney at Columbus Watterson|
|Clayton Northmont at Piqua|
|Trenton Edgewood at Cincinnati Mt. Healthy|
OHIO HIGH PREDICTION
* Final Four: Tallmadge (5), Toledo Central Catholic (6), Columbus Watterson (7), Trotwood-Madison (8)
* Championship Game: Trotwood-Madison over Tallmadge