QB Ware, WR Duckworth two reasons to like Vikings this season

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Cincinnati Princeton Vikings

Princeton could be another team to watch the Greater Miami Conference.
Third-year head coach Bill Leach welcomes back five starters on each
side of the ball from last year’s 8-3 squad. That team got into the
playoffs as the five seed in the Division I Region 4 standings. The
Vikings fell to No. 4 seed Centerville 42-21 in their playoff opener.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

WR Jeff Duckworth (6-0, 195, Sr.), WR/QB Jordan Hopgood (6-0, 190, Sr.), QB Spencer Ware (5-11, 215, Jr.), RB Chris Brown (5-8, 190, Sr.), MLB Dwayne Woods (6-0, 215, Sr.).

SEASON OUTLOOK

2007 Record: 8-3, Region quarterfinalit

Princeton could be another team to watch the Greater Miami Conference. Third-year head coach Bill Leach welcomes back five starters on each side of the ball from last year’s 8-3 squad. That team got into the playoffs as the five seed in the Division I Region 4 standings. The Vikings fell to No. 4 seed Centerville 42-21 in their playoff opener.

“We are excited and we expect to have a very good year,” Leach said. “We want to build off the success we had last year. We want to go deep in the playoffs and compete for a league title. I wouldn’t say last year was a surprise, but we did a lot better than probably anybody expected.

“I think people thought we were young and a year away. But the kids who got us there are back this year. If we can stay healthy, we should be right there in the playoffs.”

Ware was a strong dual threat quarterback as a sophomore, throwing for 2,200 yards and 17 TDs against six interceptions and rushing for 982 yards and 18 scores. He is considered one of the state’s top prospects in the Class of 2010.

“He has been our starter for two years,” Leach said. “He’s just got all the tools. He’s got a cannon for an arm and he also has a nice touch. As a running back, he is a punishing runner. He can run by you and run over you. He has a lot of tools that make him hard to defend.”

Duckworth added 62 catches and seven TDs receiving, while Hopgood had 22 catches and two TDs last year. Brown added 507 yards rushing (7.3 yards per carry) and scored four TDs last year.

Woods had three interceptions on defense.

“We need to come up with four starters on the offensive line,” Leach said. “We have one returning starter who was pretty good.

“Defensively, we have to stop the run. Our first four games are against teams that will run the ball at us. We can’t let people control the ball on us. The longer they have the ball on offense, the less opportunity we have to score. We feel we have an explosive offense, but we need the ball to score.”

Princeton faces a tough nonleague schedule, beginning with a match-up with former arch-rival Cincinnati Moeller as part of the Crosstown Showdown. That game matches up former state champions from the 1970s and 1980s.

“That was a rivalry from that time period,” Leach said. “A lot of people still remember that rivalry. We are playing them in the first game of the year and it should draw a pretty decent crowd.”

The Vikings also get a rematch with Centerville and host Cincinnati Glen Este before embarking on GMC play. A Thursday night (Sept. 11) home game with perennial GMC power Cincinnati Colerain looms large.

“They have been the league champions for so many years,” Leach said of Colerain. “Until somebody knocks them off, they are the favorite. We were co-champions with them in 2003. Besides us and Colerain, some of the others in our league to watch for are probably Sycamore and Lakota West. It will be a pretty good league this year.”

SCHEDULE

Aug. 23 vs. Cincinnati Moeller, 8:15 p.m. (Crosstown Showdown at UC’s Nippert Stadium)
Aug. 29 at Centerville
Sept. 5 Cincinnati Glen Este
Sept. 11 Cincinnati Colerain, 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 19 at Cincinnati Oak Hills
Sept. 26 West Chester Lakota West
Oct. 3 at Hamilton
Oct. 10 Sycamore
Oct. 17 at Mason
Oct. 24 at Middletown

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