PLAYERS TO WATCH
OG Taylor Miller (6-5, 305, Jr.), WR Xavier Fugate (6-4, 210, Sr.), QB Brandon Marcum (5-11, 180, Sr.), RB/LB Justin Elder (6-1, 180, Jr.), OG/LB Billy French (6-0, 190, Jr.).
2007 Record: 8-2, Regional quarterfinalist
Trenton Edgewood was the No. 4 seed in Division II, Region 8 last year and fell to Trotwood-Madison in the first round of the playoffs. This season, the Cougars are expected to qualify for the postseason once again and they hope to do damage upon getting there.
Miller is one of the top juniors in the state regardless of position and has started since his freshman year.
“Taylor Miller moves real well,” head coach Steve Channell said. “Ohio State was in on him (in May) and he may get an offer from them. He went to their senior camp even though he’s a junior because they wanted to evaluate him. He could be a tackle in college, but we play him at guard. This will be his third year as a starter.”
Fugate runs the 40 in 4.61 and received early offers from Ohio U. and Western Michigan. He had 30 receptions for 700 yards and eight TDs last year in a run-oriented offense.
“Xavier Fugate has offers from (Ohio U.) and Western Michigan so far,” Channell said. “He is starting to gain a lot of momentum with recruiting because he ran a legitimate 4.61 at a combine in Cincinnati (in May) which is pretty fast for a guy his size.
“We don’t throw very much, but when we do we throw to him.”
At quarterback, Marcum returns for his second season in the starting lineup. He threw for over 1,000 yards and 16 touchdowns last year.
“We run a lot of wing-T, but Brandon Marcum was effective when we threw the ball last year,” Channell said. “He is a very good thrower. He had a real good year for us last year and we expect even more out of him being this is his senior year. He and Xavier will hopefully be a nice tandem.”
Justin Elder is the younger brother of the school’s all-time leading rusher John Elder who is now playing at Ashland University (over 5,600 career rushing yards at Edgewood).
“Justin played linebacker last year but he will see most of his time at running back this year,” Channell said.
French was one of the few two-way starters last year.
He stepped up as a sophomore,” Channell said. “He is going to start both ways again this year and is a very good player.”
The biggest name the Cougars must replace from last year’s squad is first-team all-district OL Robbie Osborne.
“We graduated a very large class and we are going to have a lot of guys on the field for the first time,” Channell said. “Experience is certainly a concern, but I think we will have a lot of depth this year. We dressed 85 guys last year and I think we’re going to have pretty good depth across the board once those guys get some reps and experience.
“The biggest thing is just trying to maintain the success that the program has had and hopefully taking it to another level. When the program gets to a certain level, you want to maintain that level of success.”
Miller is one of the best offensive linemen in the state and Edgewood plans on running behind him quite a bit.
“Our strength is that I think we’re going to be able to run the ball well,” Channell said. “We have some guys on offense that can do some things. Xavier Fugate, teams will have to be aware of him. It creates match-up problems when you have a big 6-4 guy that can run.”
The coach also commented on the difficulty of Region 8 which produced last year’s Division II state champion, Cincinnati Anderson.
“Our region has really elevated itself in recent years,” Channell said. “I’m not saying it’s the best region, but it’s very strong. It’s been strong for the last few years and it will be again this year. Anderson is in there and it’s a very difficult region.”
8/22 at Cincinnati Withrow
9/5 St. Leon (Ind.) East Central
9/26 Cincinnati Northwest
10/3 Hamilton Ross
10/10 at Oxford Talawanda