John Snoad, who boasts 17 years of varsity head coaching experience in stops at Antwerp and Napoleon, takes over at Gahanna following the retirement of Mike Lanza. He inherits a Gahanna program that has reached the playoffs in five of the last six years. Roughly four starters will return on each side of the ball.
Players to Watch – DB Ryan Ballenger (Sr.), WR Brandon Magbagbeola (Sr.), DE/OLB Taylor Prusz (Sr.), OL-TE/LB Nick Snoad (Sr.), OL Kyle Strait (Sr.), NG Joe Wills (Sr.).
Outlook – John Snoad, who boasts 17 years of varsity head coaching experience in stops at Antwerp and Napoleon, takes over at Gahanna following the retirement of Mike Lanza. He inherits a Gahanna program that has reached the playoffs in five of the last six years. Roughly four starters will return on each side of the ball.
“I am tremendously excited to get to work at Gahanna,” Snoad said. “Mike Lanza did a tremendous job and he has been very helpful in my transition. Everybody at Gahanna has been awesome. It is a great situation that we’re walking into with a great staff and a lot of veteran coaches.
“I got the job in late January. We were able to have some speed camps and get together on Saturday mornings. I was able to come by when I was down there and spend some time in the weight room.”
Snoad has some central Ohio experience. He spent one year as an assistant at Dublin Coffman and two seasons as an assistant at Grove City before spending three years as the coach at Antwerp and the last 14 at Napoleon.
Gahanna dropped its playoff opener to eventual regional champion Dublin Coffman 28-21 last year.
“I am working on getting to know all of the kids,” Snoad said. “It is hard to say how strong we are going to be just yet. We have a pretty good nucleus of speed. We may not be as imposing physically. We may not knock you over, but we do have a good amount of speed.”
Gahanna lost several key pieces to graduation, including running back Darius Reeves (1,430 yards, 26 TDs, Toledo signee), offensive tackle Seamus Garvey (Kent State signee) and quarterback Blake Hickey (1,205 yards passing, 500 yards rushing).
Ballenger had 26 tackles and an interception last year, while Prusz notched 32 tackles and four sacks. Wills had 31 tackles as a junior at nose guard.
Nick Snoad is the coach’s son. He played on both sides of the ball last year as a junior at Napoleon.
“We only have 11 lettermen and five starters back from last year’s team,” Snoad said. “The defense will be an aggressive pressure defense complemented by an offense that is multiple and can be built and tooled around the players’ strengths.”
Gahanna lost a key transfer as defensive end Derrick Bryant (three sacks as a sophomore last year) moved to Columbus Brookhaven.
In nonconference play, Gahanna will host Columbus Mifflin, visit Upper Arlington and host powerful Cleveland Glenville.
“The Mifflin game is a longtime tradition, but this is the last time we are scheduled to play them,” Snoad said. “The Glenville game is part of the Spielman Gridiron Classic. It’s a Saturday night game with the proceeds to benefit the Spielman Cancer Fund. We know Glenville will be a tough opponent.”
The Ohio Capital Conference has realigned along more geographical lines.
“The Ohio Division we are in is very strong with schools like Lancaster and Pickerington Central returning strong team,” Snoad said. “Groveport has also been strong recently. Pickerington North looks to improve, while Grove City, Newark and Reynoldsburg all have new coaches.”
Aug. 22 Columbus Mifflin
Aug. 29 at Upper Arlington
Sept. 6 Cleveland Glenville (Spielman Gridiron Classic)
Sept. 12 Newark
Sept. 19 at Lancaster
Sept. 26 at Pickerington Central
Oct. 3 Pickerington North
Oct. 19 at Grove City
Oct. 17 Reynoldsburg
Oct. 24 at Groveport-Madison