Columbiana returns 13 starters, OL and DL depth is a strength

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Columbiana Clippers

Head coach Bob Spaite enters his 15th season with the Clippers in
control of 102-49 record at the school. Expect Spaite to log a few more
wins this season.

The Clippers return 16 lettermen and 13 starters (seven on offense)
from last year’s playoff team. Overall the Clippers have been to the
playoffs six times (including four trips in the last five years).


PLAYERS TO WATCH

OL/OLB Mike McMaster (6-1, 250, Jr.), QB/OLB John Ritchey, OLB Clay Stone, FB/DT Brian Worchel (5-11, 185, Sr.); DT Rex Smith (6-2, 300, Jr.); WR/DB Tyler DeJong (5-10, 150, Sr.); WR/DB Josh Harold (6-0, 170, Sr.); OL Jonathan Welsh (5-10, 250, Sr.); OL Josh Batcha (6-0, 230, Jr.); TE Tony Collela (6-0, 165, Sr.); TE Tommy Geer (6-3, 245, Sr.)

SEASON OUTLOOK

2007 Record: 7-4, Regional Quarterfinalist

Head coach Bob Spaite enters his 15th season with the Clippers in control of 102-49 record at the school. Expect Spaite to log a few more wins this season.

The Clippers return 16 lettermen and 13 starters (seven on offense) from last year’s playoff team. Overall the Clippers have been to the playoffs six times (including four trips in the last five years).

There are some holes to fill. Most notably, Columbiana must find replacements for All-Ohioans linebacker/running back Josh Hertel (the school’s second all-time leading rusher) and quarterback/defensive back Ryan Williams.

The offensive line, led by Mike McMaster (6-1, 250, Jr.), Jonathan Welsh (5-10, 250, Sr.), Josh Batcha (6-0, 230, Jr.), Tony Collela (6-0, 165, Sr.) and Tommy Geer (6-3, 245, Sr.) is a strength, as is the seasoned receiving corps of Tyler DeJong (5-10, 150, Sr.) and Josh Harold (6-0, 170, Sr.).

Depth on the line bodes well for Columbiana as well with sizeable contributions expected from juniors Rex Smith (6-2, 300) and Nate Good (6-3, 220) and sophomores Matt Douglas (6-3, 240), Jacob Yoder (6-6, 210) and Tyler “Fish” Boykin (6-0, 220).

Senior John Ritchey steps in at quarterback, while Brian Worchel (5-11, 185, Sr.) returns at fullback in the Clips multiple formation/veer offense.

On defense the Clippers will be led by linebackers McMaster, Ritchey and Clay Stone (Jr.).

Columbiana also returns both starting defensive tackles in Worchel and Smith and both corners in DeJong and Harold.

Concerns are inexperience at inside backer and free safety.

Overall Spaite said the Inter Tri-County League schedule will be “brutal.”

The coach also said Columbiana’s non-league slate, that features Steubenville Catholic Central, Leetonia and Struthers, is “the toughest in 92 years of Clipper football.”

SCHEDULE

8/23 @ CATHOLIC CENTRAL (STEUBENVILLE)
8/29 LEETONIA
9/5 STRUTHERS
9/12 @ CRESTVIEW (COLUMBIANA)
9/19 @ UNITED (HANOVERTON)
9/26 SPRINGFIELD (NEW MIDDLETOWN)
10/3 MINERAL RIDGE
10/10 @ DAVID ANDERSON (LISBON)
10/17 @ SOUTH RANGE (NORTH LIMA)
10/24 EAST PALESTINE

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