Clayton Northmont ready for another playoff spark

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Clayton Northmont Football

Lightening doesn’t strike the same place twice, but for Clayton Northmont, the Thunderbolts have sparked six of the seven last years.

Having only missed the playoffs once since 2000, Northmont is primed for another extended season with six starters back on offense and seven on defense.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

QB Chase Belton (6-0, 170, Sr.), RB Kevin Ringer (5-10, 205, Sr.), DT Kuurram El-Amin (6-2, 240, Sr.), DE Matt Cantrell (5-10, 195, Sr.), DB Xavier Johnson (5-11, 200, Jr.), DB C.J. Barnett (6-1, 185, Sr.), LB Danny Gress (6-0, 225, Sr.).

SEASON OUTLOOK

Lightening doesn’t strike the same place twice, but for Clayton Northmont, the Thunderbolts have sparked six of the seven last years.

Having only missed the playoffs once since 2000, Northmont is primed for another extended season with six starters back on offense and seven on defense.

“To continue this string of successful seasons, we will rely on a veteran, talented defense,” said head coach Lance Schneider, who starts his 10th year at Northmont. “That will allow our inexperienced offensive line to gain the form they will need to compete in the GWOC Central Division.”

Schneider was named the Central Division Coach of the Year last season.

Barnett, an Ohio State recruit, is the leader of the defense and recorded three interceptions and two forced fumbles last year after a sophomore campaign that included 59 tackles.

He is rated as the No. 8 player by Ohio High magazine in the Class of 2009 and is the No. 73 rated player in the country by ESPN and Scouts, Inc.

“C.J. is a great player. He is physical and there are a couple things he’s got to get better at but he’s a real physical corner,” said Schneider. “He’s probably not going to get a whole lot of action his way but he is a great player. The big thing with him is being a leader on defense.”

Barnett worked on his game in the off-season with Northmont grad and current Ohio State cornerback Kurt Coleman.

“We worked on getting smarter and getting to know the game better,” he said.

After playing some quarterback his freshman year, Barnett will be taking some snaps this season on offense, according to Schneider.

“He’ll do some of that stuff Arkansas did with Darren McFadden,” he said. “It’ll just be another wrinkle teams will have to deal with a little bit.”

Added Barnett: “It’s an opportunity to make plays.”

Mays is a Bowling Green verbal and had 964 yards rushing on just 101 carries last year in the regular season with 10 touchdowns.

Ringer, nephew of Michigan State running back Javon Ringer, toted the ball 126 times for 524 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Gress is a Kent State recruit and was a second team all-conference selection with Mays and Ringer in 2007.

In six games, Belton was 26-of-48 passing for 384 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions. He is the younger brother of form T-Bolt signal caller and current Miami RedHawk Clay Belton.

Northmont got a preseason tune up against defending Division I state champion Cincinnati St. Xavier in a four-way scrimmage that included Dayton Carroll and Germantown Valley View Saturday to prepare for a tough non-league schedule and the GWOC.

“This is always a great scrimmage and with St. X coming this year it gave us that much more competition,” said Schneider. “It’s great to evaluate a lot of kids and get a lot of plays in on one day and measure where you’re at.

“I am pretty happy with the way things went. We saw some good things and saw some things we need to improve on but the big thing is we came in and were physical with three teams that play football that way. That is the number one thing you want to see – you want to see your kids compete and do what their coached to do.”

Northmont takes on Mason in the season-opener as part of the annual Crosstown Showdown before hosting early Division I favorite Cleveland St. Ignatius.

“Having (St. Xavier) come up here for a scrimmage helps with Ignatius because they are very similar teams,” Schneider said. “That is going to help our kids and I think it is going to give them a little bit of confidence going into the Ignatius game.

“It is always an exciting time of year and this is what we live for and work all off-season for.”

SCHEDULE

8/23 Mason (University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium; 2:45 p.m.)

8/29 Cleveland St. Ignatius

9/5 Westerville South

9/12 at Xenia

9/19 at Fairborn

9/26 Huber Heights Wayne

10/3 Springfield

10/10 at Centerville

10/17 at Kettering Fairmont

10/24 Beavercreek

 

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