Division II Overview: Anderson out to defend title, challengers await

Image

Cincinnati Anderson captured its first state title last season. Can the Redskins repeat?

Cincinnati Anderson emerged with the Division II state championship last season with a 31-25 win over Louisville in the finals. It marked the first state title in school history for the Redskins and they return loaded in 2008. However, before they can seriously think about a repeat, they must get through what is always a difficult Region 8. After that, more hurdles loom.


Cincinnati Anderson emerged with the Division II state championship last season with a 31-25 win over Louisville in the finals. It marked the first state title in school history for the Redskins and they return loaded in 2008. However, before they can seriously think about a repeat, they must get through what is always a difficult Region 8.

Region 5 of Division II features 2007 state semifinalist Mayfield, as well as strong playoff contenders Cleveland South, Parma Normandy, Parma Padua Franciscan, Tallmadge and Warren Howland.

Region 6 produced the 2005 and 2006 Division II state champions (Toledo Central Catholic and Piqua, respectively). This year, the usual suspects are expected to rule the region, including 2007 state semifinalist Ashland, as well as perennial playoff teams Avon Lake, Piqua, Powell Olentangy Liberty, Sylvania Southview and Toledo Central Catholic.

The powerful Region 7 could be the best of the bunch this season. It boasts 2007 state finalist Louisville, perennial playoff qualifier Canfield and the best D-II programs from the Columbus area in DeSales, Dublin Scioto and Watterson.

As for Region 8, in addition to Cincinnati Anderson, the talented group of teams includes the likes of Cincinnati Turpin, Cincinnati Winton Woods, Dayton Carroll, Kings Mills Kings and Trotwood-Madison.

TEAMS TO WATCH

Ashland (12-2) Released 7/15

Ashland made the playoffs as the No. 4 seed last year, then caught fire and won the regional championship. OL/DL Cody Fast was named first-team All-Northwest District and first-team all-conference. He had 96 tackles (60 solo) and is being recruited by MAC schools. The Arrows must replace quarterback Taylor Housewright who was named first-team All-Ohio and the offensive player of the year in Division II. Two juniors and a sophomore will compete for the job. RB Shane Kipp had 328 rushing yards, 198 receiving yards and 5 total touchdowns last year. The defense will be led by LB Anthony Deppen (119 tackles), LB/SS Jacob Oberholzer (102 tackles) and NG Justin Stewart (83 tackles, 3 sacks).

“We think we’ll have a good defense – we have a lot of guys back,” head coach Scott Valentine said. “Offensively, we lost a lot of skilled guys, but we have most of our linemen back.”

Avon Lake (11-1) Released 7/22

Avon Lake is a perennial playoff team and the Shoremen are well-stocked with talent as usual. DE Zach Murray is ranked as the No. 93 senior prospect in the state by Ohio High and OL/DL Adam Schneid is ranked No. 102.

Head coach Dave Dlugosz says of his 2008 team: “We should be solid on both sides of the line of scrimmage. We expect our inexperienced but athletic skill positions to mature and compete. Our team goals are to win the Southwestern Conference and advance deep in the playoffs.”

Dlugosz is entering his 16th year and has a career mark of 160-29.

Canfield (10-2) Released 8/12

The Cardinals have made the playoffs five out of the last six years and they are expected to make another postseason appearance this year. RB/DL Dan Banna had 890 rushing yards and 13 TDs last year. DL Luke Franken had 54 tackles and eight sacks. The top player they have to replace is second-team All-Ohio DL Jordan Graham.

Said head coach Mike Pavlansky: “We will need to replace 20 seniors who won 32 of 38 games. This year’s senior leaders stepping up and the development of our offensive line will go a long way in determining our season.”

Cincinnati Anderson (13-2) Released 7/15

Anderson rolled to the first state championship in school history last season and many believe the Redskins will be even more talented this year. Rod is an experienced QB who can “make all the throws,” according to head coach Jeff Giesting. C/DT Nick Schirmann is a two-way starter and was named first-team All-Ohio last year. OT Andrew Norwell is one of the top juniors in the state and has an early scholarship offer from Cincinnati.

“The strength of this year’s team will be our experience and depth,” Giesting said. “We have the most depth we’ve probably ever had. That depth helped us last year because we didn’t play a lot of guys two ways and we were able to wear down teams to some extent.”

Cincinnati Turpin (12-1) Released 7/22

The Spartans were the No. 1 seed in this region last year and lost a 24-23 heartbreaker to Anderson in the regional finals. This year, Turpin has just four returning starters (listed).

Said head coach Rob Stoll: “We don’t have many guys with a lot of experience, so we’ll be young and learning on the run this year. If we can mature quickly, we can be competitive again. We do have some guys returning to spots they started at last year like Dunham, Groene and Kelly. Jansen is going to move to middle linebacker this year.”

Turpin must replace district player of the year and first-team All-Ohio QB Ryan Martin. Also lost to graduation were first-team All-Ohio OT Aaron Van Kuiken and first-team all-district performer/second-team All-Ohio WR Andy Cruse.

Cincinnati Winton Woods (7-4) Released 7/29

The Warriors barely got in the playoffs last year with the No. 8 seed in this region. This year, they return a host of talented players. WR/DB Chris Williams, a Cincinnati recruit, is ranked as the No. 38 senior prospect in the state by Ohio High and is a productive two-way starter. WR/LB/DB Maalik Bomar is ranked as the No. 67 senior prospect in the state and is also a Cincinnati recruit. TE/DE Anthony Talbert is ranked as the No. 86 senior prospect in the state and OL Alvin Walker is ranked in the top 150. QB Dominique Brown is ranked as one of the top 10 junior quarterbacks in the state and Jeremiah Goins is ranked as one of the top 10 junior running backs.

Winton Woods must replace second-team All-Ohio LB Chaz King.

Cincinnati Withrow (9-2) Released 8/5

Withrow was the No. 3 seed in this region last year and was bounced in the first round at home by Dayton Carroll.

SS Jowan Peterson is ranked as the No. 53 senior prospect in the state by Ohio High and has 4.61 speed. RB/DN Jelani Alford has 4.48 speed and is ranked in the top 150 in the state. Alford transferred from Cincinnati LaSalle last year and finished the season with 275 rushing yards, 315 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns. His statistics are expected to skyrocket this year. He has offers from Eastern Michigan and Nebraska.

Cleveland South (8-3) Released 7/8

Despite having just 28 players on its roster last season, South made the playoffs for the first time in school history. This year’s team will once again be led by the talented QB Devontae Payne, who is ranked as the No. 1 quarterback and the No. 11 senior prospect in the state by Ohio High. He threw for 1,600 yards and 17 touchdowns last year (29 career TDs, six INTs) and has a scholarship offer from Bowling Green.

OL/DL John Steele was second-team all-district on offense and is also being recruited by Division I schools.

“Always the goal is to improve on what you did last year,” head coach Jarvis Gibson said. “We tried to preach that the offseason was important because we’re not going to be able to sneak up on anyone this year.”

Columbus Bishop Watterson (6-4) Released 7/15

The Eagles saw their eight-year playoff streak surprisingly end last year. However, they are hungry to get back to the postseason this time around. RB Kevin Obyc rushed for 342 yards and six touchdowns last year. RB/DB Jordan Gelhaus added 238 yards and three touchdowns. Watterson must replace second-team All-Ohio DL Matt Grieser, second-team All-Ohio LB Drew Dabbelt and standout QB Mason Takacs.

Said head coach Dan Bjelac: “We return more on offense than defense and we think we’re going to be able to move the ball on the ground. We will be improved up front on the offensive line; a lot of juniors played last year.”

Columbus DeSales (12-1) Released 7/8

The Stallions stomped through the regular season with a perfect record and was the No. 1 seed in this region last year. Davon Custis is one of the top defensive ends in the state and had 12 sacks last year. He has 30 scholarship offers, including everyone in the Big Ten except Ohio State. Thomas Gentile returns as the starting quarterback and he had 850 rushing yards, 665 passing yards and 11 total touchdowns last year.

Said head coach Ryan Wiggins: “We have to replace a lot of linemen on both sides. Our goals are always to win our league first and foremost and beat our rival, Watterson. Then we want to get in the playoffs and advance as far as we can. That’s always the goal is to just give yourself a chance and see how far you can take it.”

DeSales must replace a pair of first-team All-Ohio selections in OL Patrick Omameh and DL Joe Whitehead.

Dayton Carroll (10-2) Released 8/12

Carroll was the No. 6 seed in this region last year and knocked off Cincinnati Withrow on the road in the first round of the playoffs. David McComas rushed for 1,653 yards last year and was named first-team all-district and second-team All-Ohio. OL Cory Sorice anchors the offensive front and he was also named first-team all-district and second-team All-Ohio last year.

Said head coach Steve Bartlett: “We have a chance to be good if we work hard and get a little better each week.”

Carroll must replace first-team All-Ohio LB Scott Shear and second-team All-Ohio DB Nate Scheidt.

Dresden Tri-Valley (10-2) Released 7/22

The Scotties qualified for the playoffs last year as the No. 6 seed and won a first-round game on the road over Logan. OL/DT Ryan Spiker is ranked as the No. 19 senior prospect in the state by Ohio High and has over 10 scholarship offers. QB/FS Clay Cameron is considered one of the top juniors in the state and has started since his freshman year. He has a big arm and is a physical runner.

Said head coach Justin Buttermore: “We high expectations for this group of kids. Our program has come long way and these kids have come a long way. We have better overall depth in our senior class than ever before and we expect big things from the kids with playing experience.”

Tri-Valley must replace a pair of first-team All-Ohio selections in QB Cam West and OL Adam Bice.

Dublin Scioto (6-4) Released 7/29

The Irish have missed the playoffs two straight years and they’re determined to get back in the postseason this season. ATH Bradley McDougald is one of the best players in the state and has verbaled to Ohio State. He will likely be a safety in college, but he is Scioto’s bell cow at running back.

WR/DB Ayodeji Olatoye has only played football since his sophomore year and was a two-way starter last year. OG Jason Tiemeier will be a three-year starter. QB/RB Charlie Suich was 9-0 as the freshman QB two years ago and was the backup varsity QB a year ago. WR Stacey Blunt is an “up and comer” at wide receiver and Pleasant “exploded in the weight room and should have a big year” according to coach Karl Johnson.

“I think what makes our region so tough is you have such a wide range of teams from the state,” Johnson said. “We want to get in the playoffs and see what happens from there.”

East Cleveland Shaw (5-5) Released 7/15

Shaw missed the playoffs with the No. 14 ranking in this region last year, but few teams return with more talent. TE/WR Tyrone Williams was the only sophomore to make first-team All-Northeast District last year, and he was also named second-team All-Ohio. DB Darwin Cook was a first-team all-district and second-team all-state selection, DT Terrence Powell was a first-team all-district selection and LB Kenron Drake was a second-team all-district pick. Shaw boasts more returning all-district performers than any team in Region 5.

However, the Cardinals need to find a quarterback following the graduation of first-team all-district/second-team All-Ohio selection Kevin Woods. They also lose first-team All-Ohio DB Marshon Williamson.

Grafton Midview (8-3) Released 7/29

The Middies snuck in the playoffs last year as the No. 8 seed in this region and they hope to take it a step or two farther this season.

RB/DB Josiah Holt averaged 7.3 yards per carry and was named first-team All-West Shore Conference and first-team All-Lorain County. WR Mike Schmittle was first-team all-conference, first-team all-county and averaged 21 yards per catch. DB Joe Yusko was second-team all-conference (4 INTs) and OL/LB Andrew Myers was honorable mention. QB/DB Cage Williams took over as the starting QB in week 9 due to injury and played the final three games.

Kings Mills Kings (8-3) Released 7/15

The Knights made the playoffs with the No. 7 seed last year and gave Anderson a tough game in the first round in a 14-6 loss. ATH Derrick Harris was named first-team all-district as a return return specialist (26 yards per return, 3 TDs). He added 32 receptions for 541 yards. Nick Bauer was a starting defensive back last year, but will be the main ball carrier this season. He will also move to OLB on defense. DL Mike Kidder is a two-time all-conference selection and has great quickness for a lineman.

Said head coach Andy Olds: “We have won our conference seven out of the last 10 years, but have not won it in the last two so we are very hungry to get back on track.”

Lexington (8-3) Released 8/5

Lexington went from 2-8 in 2006 to a playoff team last year. Courtney Avery has been the starting QB since the first game of his freshman year and has been offered by Army and Bowling Green already.

Last year, he had 14 touchdown passes, two interceptions and was named first-team all-conference. SS Tucker Nuetzel led the team with 125 tackles and was named first-team all-district. FB/MLB Kyle McCombs had 110 tackles, five sacks and was named all-conference. Other all-conference selections included WR Tyler Dickson, RB/DB Antonio Pickens, WR/S Michael Gallik and OL/DT David Willis (28 pancakes, graded out 91 percent).

Third-year head coach B.J. Payne says his goals are to “win the Ohio Cardinal Conference and make the playoffs.”

Logan (9-2) Released 8/12

The Chieftains, a long-time Division I program, moved down to Division II last year and promptly made the playoffs with the No. 3 seed. This year, Logan must replace a talented graduated class that included first-team All-Ohio WR Lucas Wright, first-team All-Ohio LB Corey Kissling, second-team All-Ohio RB Justin Frye and second-team All-Ohio LB Mark Potter. Pat Angle returns at quarterback to lead the offense.

Said head coach Dale Amyx: “Our goals are always to be SEOAL champions, have a 10-0 record in the regular season and advance to the state playoffs. We always want to be a smart, disciplined and aggressive football team.”

Madison (7-4) Released 7/22

Madison was a playoff team a year ago, but must replace 21 seniors who were all contributors, including first-team all-state TE Nic DiLillo, who is now at Ohio State.

This year’s team will be led offensively and defensively by QB/LB Mitch Krotz who was a second team all-district linebacker last year and shared time at quarterback. He will now take over the full-time reins at QB while still playing every snap on defense. RB/DT Ty Law is the other player to really keep an eye on – the coaching staff is hoping for a breakout year out of him.

Mayfield (10-4)

Mayfield made the playoffs as a three-loss, No. 5 seed last year, then proceeded to win three straight games and claim the regional championship. TE/NG Cody Hayes was a second-team all-district selection on defense (76 tackles, 10 tackles-for-loss, five sacks). WR/LB MattCuthbert runs the 40 in 4.59 and is the “best athlete and strongest player on the team” according to coach Larry Pinto.

The Wildcats were hit with heavy losses in graduation including first-team All-Ohio RB Ashante Williams (who is now at Illinois), first-team All-Ohio DL Karson Bodnovich, (now at Columbia), second-team All-Ohio OL Bill Petrianoco and second-team All-Ohio LB Vinnie Durdella.

“Once you get to the playoffs, it really is a new season and you have to have things go your way for five games to win it all playing against some great teams,” Pinto said.

Louisville (12-3) Released 8/12

The Leopards finished with the No. 2 seed in this region and advanced all the way to the state championship game. QB Neal Seaman is one of the top quarterbacks in the state and he returns to lead the offense. Last year he threw for 2,151 yards, rushed for 1,269 and accounted for 40 touchdowns (29 passing, 11 rushing). WR Brandon Mathie had 63 receptions for 954 yards and 12 touchdowns. DE Cory Whaley is the leading returner on defense with 75 tackles and 11 sacks.

Louisville must replace DL Matt Schooley who was named first-team All-Ohio and the co-defensive player of the year in Division II. It also must replace first-team All-Ohio selections OL Tyler Kwasnicka and RB Clay Swigert, as well as second-team All-Ohio LB Marcus Poyser.

New Albany (7-3) Released 7/8

New Albany was the odd team out in this region last year with the No. 9 final ranking. Johnny Rohrock anchors both lines and has a scholarship offer from Toledo. ATH Collin Show was a first-team all-league kicker and also starts on offense and defense. FB/LB John Korth was the leading tackler on the team going into the fourth week, but suffered a broken back. LB Weston McKeever was the leading tackler on the team and was named second-team all-league.

Said head coach Mark Mueller: “Always our goal is to win the league title. And if we can do that, then we’ll be in the playoffs. And ours is a very tough region.”

The Eagles must replace star FB/LB Mike Marrow who transferred to Toledo Central Catholic.

Parma Normandy (10-3) Released 7/29

Normandy was the No. 3 seed in this region and advanced to the regional finals. This year’s team will be led by RB/LB Jake Squirek who is called “a freak” by coach Rich Turner. Last season, Squirek rushed for 869 yards (7 yards per carry) and 14 touchdowns and had 94 tackles on defense. He is the son of former NFL linebacker Jack Squirek.

OL/DL Alex Bobel and OL/DE Ryan Milligan are each returning all-conference performers. Bobel is the team’s top offensive lineman and Milligan led the team with eight sacks. The Invaders must replace first-team All-Ohio LB Russ Galeti, first-team All-Ohio DB Josh Ebinger and second-team All-Ohio DL Andy Kowicki.

“We hope to defend our conference title in the NOC and make the playoffs,” Turner said of his team’s goals.

Parma Padua Franciscan (7-4) Released 8/5

Padua made the playoffs last year with the No. 4 seed and it returns a whopping 17 starters. LB Dan Molls was named first-team All-Ohio and was the co-district defensive player of the year. He is ranked as the No. 57 senior prospect in the state by Ohio High and has been timed as low as 4.57 in the 40.

Molls holds scholarship offers from Army and several MAC schools. R Cory DePiero was named first-team All-Ohio and first-team all-district. PK Scott Blasinsky was named first-team all-district and all-state, while QB Andrew Dziak was a second-team all-district selection.

“We think we have a good group coming back and we want to capitalize on it,” head coach Tony Shuman said.

Piqua (8-4) Released 8/12

Piqua won the 2006 state title and advanced to the regional semifinals last year. This season, they must replace linebacker David Rolf who was first-team All-Ohio and the district defensive player of the year. He is now at Michigan State. Piqua must also replace three-year starting quarterback Justin Hemm, first-team all-district/second-team All-Ohio DL Shea Selsor and first-team all-district OL Kyle Perkins.

Leading this year’s group is RB/CB Ty Knox who is being heavily recruited as a cornerback and was named second-team All-GWOC last year. Joining him on the second-team all-league list last year was LB Colin Nickolai and DL Josh Osborne. RB Kendall Taylor had 287 rushing yards, 106 receiving yards and five TDs.

Powell Olentangy Liberty (8-3) Released 7/8

The Patriots have made the playoffs four straight years and the school has only been inexistence for five. This year’s team will be led by the trio of DL Mike Hilty (all-conference, all-district), RB Allen Eggleston (1,100 all-purpose yards; all-conference, all-district) and LB Victor Kacvkowski (all-conference). Hilty is ranked as the No. 81 senior prospect in the state by Ohio High and Eggleston is ranked in the top 150.

Olentangy Liberty must replace first-team All-Ohio quarterback Ryan Cypret and head coach Steve Hale says there will be “a couple kids competing for that spot.”

Sylvania Southview (11-2) Released 7/15

The Cougars were regional finalists last season, but must replace several top players, including first-team all-district DB Griff Whalen (who also shared time at QB), first-team all-district OL Greg Thomas, first-team all-district WR Alex Renner, first-team all-district DE Vinnie Meehan and second-team all-district LB Sean Cardone (Adrian). However, led by the likes of QB/LB Alex Pidcock, WR/DB Shaun Joplin, WR/CB Bernard Pinckney, OL/DL Jimmy McMahon and RB/LB Greg Isley, Southview will be back in the playoff hunt this year.

“We have high hopes for the season and we’re looking forward to a great year,” head coach Jim Mayzes said.

Tallmadge (10-2) Released 8/12

The Blue Devils were the No. 2 seed in this region last year and they return one of the state’s top running backs in Tyler Fortner who had 1,600 rushing yards and 20 TDs last year. LB/FB Nick Thompson was the team’s leading tackler last year and TE/DE Andrew Roy led the squad in tackles-for-loss. Tallmadge must replace first-team All-Ohio DB Patrick Pakan (who was also the starting QB) and second-team All-Ohio LB Collin Haben. Pakan’s younger brother Paul will take over QB duties this year.

“Our senior group is solid and experienced,” head coach Joe Vassalotti said. “We will learn on them heavily while depth is developed in the younger classes.”

Toledo Central Catholic (8-3) Released 7/22

The 2005 state champs return an impressive group and have high expectations for the season. RB/LB Brad Rogers is ranked as the No. 54 senior prospect in the state by Ohio High. Last year, he had 635 rushing yards and 12 TDs offensively, and 56 tackles including 11 for loss defensively. Rogers has already committed to Iowa as a running back.

FB Mike Marrow, an Alabama recruit, is ranked as one of the top 125 seniors in the state by Ohio and is a transfer from New Albany. His father took a job as the tight ends coach at the University of Toledo. WR/ATH Nate Hobbs is a two-way starter who had three interceptions last year. OL/DL Doug Williams is the only returning starter on the offensive line. DL Jamal Tarent is being recruited by Alabama, Nebraska and Penn State. FB/DL David Pickerel and ATH Eric Bates started as sophomores, but missed all of last season with injuries.

TCC must replace OL Eric Herman who was a first-team All-Ohio selection.

Trenton Edgewood (8-2) Released 7/22

Edgewood was the No. 4 seed in this region last year and fell to Trotwood in the first round of the playoffs. OG Taylor Miller is one of the top juniors in the state and has started since his freshman year. WR Xavier 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.

QB Brandon Marcum threw for over 1,000 yards and 16 touchdowns. Justin Elder is the younger brother of the school’s all-time leading rusher John Elder who is now playing at Ashland University. OG/LB Billy French was one of the few two-way starters last year. The Cougars must replace first-team all-district OL Robbie Osborne.

Said head coach Steve Channel: “Experience is certainly a concern, but I think we will have a lot of depth this year.”

Trotwood-Madison (8-4) Released 7/29

Trotwood was one of the most talent-laden teams in the state last year, but fell in the second-round of the playoffs to Cincinnati Turpin. OL Chris Freeman is one of the top players in the state (ranked No. 14 overall by Ohio High) and received early scholarship offers from LSU, Florida, Kentucky, Miami, Penn State, Nebraska and North Carolina State just to name a few. DE Anthony Gibson is ranked as the No. 9 junior in the state by Ohio High and he runs a 10.8 in the 100 meters. Head coach Maurice Douglass and Trotwood must replace a talented graduated class that included first-team All-Ohio wide receiver Roy Roundtree (Michigan), RB Michael Shaw (Michigan), TE Brandon Moore (Michigan) quarterback Dominick Britt (Jackson State) and first-team all-district DL Ike Washington.

Warren Howland (11-1) Released 7/8

Howland was the No. 1 seed in this region last year, but was bounced in the second round of the playoffs. This year the Tigers return a talented group led by TE/LB Tyler Scott (ranked as the No. 44 senior prospect in the state by Ohio High) and RB/CB Dante Marsh (ranked No. 79). OT Craig Stan, C/DT Clay Cooper and OL/DL Matt Cash are all ranked in the top 150.

QB Matt Preston was impressive last year and is ranked as one of the top junior quarterbacks in the state by Ohio High. Scott had 92 tackles and four sacks and is being recruited by Notre Dame and Penn State to name a few. Marsh rushed for 1,130 yards and 8 TDs and is also a standout cornerback. Preston passed for 730 yards and 5 TDs, and rushed for 537 yards and 10 TDs. Howland must replace DL Josh Lott who was named the state’s co-defensive player of the year in D-II. The Tigers also must replace first-team All-Ohio LB Eric Jones.

“You want to win the league, get back to the playoffs and then it’s new season,” Howland coach Dick Angle said. “It’s nice to have starters back and all that, but you have to have chemistry.”

ALSO KEEP AN EYE ON

Akron Firestone (7-4)

The Falcons placed seventh in this region last year and fell to Tallmadge in the first round of the playoffs.

Bellbrook (5-5) Released 8/5

The Golden Eagles finished 12th in this region last year but could make a playoff push this season. OL/DL Sam Longo (6-5, 260, Sr.) is ranked as the No. 75 senior prospect in the state by Ohio High and is committed to Ohio State.

Bowling Green (6-4) Released 7/29

The Bobcats were the odd team out in this region last year, finishing ninth in the computer rankings. They will once again be led by QB Aaron Mershaw (6-3, 200) who is ranked as the No. 32 senior prospect in the state and the No. 2 QB by Ohio High. He accounted for 1,466 passing yards, 370 rushing yards and 19 TDs (13 passing, six rushing) last year.

Chardon (7-3)

Chardon placed 10th in this region last year and is a program that is always in the playoff hunt. The Hilltoppers must replace first-team All-Ohio OL Joe Madsen.

Cincinnati Taft (6-3)

Taft narrowly missed out on the playoffs with a No. 9 ranking in this region. It is led by the No. 5 overall player in the state according to Ohio High, DE Cornelius Carradine (6-4, 230, Sr.). Taft also boasts LB Tommie McBride (6-1, 210, Sr.) who is ranked No. 91 by Ohio High and flashes 4.5 speed in the 40. Last season, McBride was named first-team all-district and second-team All-Ohio.

Columbus Marion-Franklin (9-2)

The Red Devils are a perennial playoff team out of the Columbus City League. However, advancing in the postseason has been a problem for them. Last year, Marion-Franklin was the No. 5 seed in this region and drew a tough first-round assignment and fell to Canfield.

Medina Highland (6-4)

The Hornets placed 10th in this region last year. They are led by LB Chris Snook (6-2, 220) who is ranked as the No. 29 senior prospect in the state by Ohio High.

Olmsted Falls (7-3)

The Bulldogs placed 11th in this region last year and are led by OL Zach Laird (6-4, 270, Sr.) who was a first-team all-district selection. Also returning is second-team all-district DB Brandon Russo (6-0, 170, Sr.) and honorable mention all-district QB John Atkinson (5-11, 165, Sr.).

Toledo Rogers (5-5)

The Rams only finished 15th in this region last year. However, Rogers always has plenty of talent and could bounce back in a big way this year.

Uniontown Lake (7-4)

The Blue Streaks were the No. 7 seed in the playoffs last year. They must replace a pair of second-team All-Ohio selections in DL Colin Everett and DB T.J. Viscuso.

Vandalia Butler (5-5)

The Aviators were the 10th-ranked team in Region 8 last year and they are hoping to get over the playoff hump this season. However, it won’t be an easy task in this loaded region.

Zanesville (8-3) Released 8/12

The Blue Devils made the playoffs last year as the No. 8 seed and will look to make another trip to the postseason this season.

OTHER TEAMS PREVIEWED

Sidney (Released 8/5)

Marietta (Released 8/18)

PLAYER OF THE YEAR CANDIDATES

Devontae Payne, QB, Cleveland South
Tyrone Williams, TE/WR, East Cleveland Shaw
Tyler Fortner, RB/DB, Tallmadge
Tyler Scott, TE/LB, Warren Howland
Dante Marsh, RB/CB, Warren Howland
Courtney Avery, QB/DB, Lexington
Allen Eggleston, RB, Powell Olentangy Liberty
Brad Rogers, RB/LB, Toledo Central Catholic
Aaron Mershman, QB, Bowling Green
Chris Snook, LB, Medina Highland
Dan Banna, RB, Canfield
Bradley McDougald, RB/DB, Dublin Scioto
Neal Seaman, QB, Louisville
Daniel Rod, QB, Cincinnati Anderson
David McComas, RB, Dayton Carroll

GAMES TO WATCH

Week 1

Ravenna at Louisville, Warren Howland at Lakeside, Madison at Parma Normandy, Springboro at Kings, Avon Lake at Maple Heights, Sylvania Southview at Bowsher, Dayton Carroll at Center Grove (Indiana), Tallmadge at Macedonia Nordonia

Week 2

Cleveland South at Warrensville Heights, Columbus Watterson at Westerville South, Louisville at North Canton Hoover, Westerville Central at New Albany, Dayton Carroll at Beavercreek, Bowling Green at Fostoria

Week 3

Olentangy Liberty at Delaware Hayes, Louisville at Akron Hoban, Uniontown Lake at Canton McKinley, Kettering Alter at Ashland, Mayfield at Olmsted Falls, Piqua at Springboro

Week 4

Louisville at Canal Fulton Northwest, Springboro at Vandalia Butler, Avon Lake at Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Columbus DeSales at Cincinnati Anderson, Dublin Scioto at Lewis Center Olentangy

Week 5

Olmsted Falls at Avon Lake, New Albany at Pataskala Watkins Memorial, Toledo Rogers at Toledo St. John’s, Harrison at Trenton Edgewood, Chardon at Youngstown Ursuline, Mayfield at Lyndhurst Brush

Week 6

Wooster at Madison, Bellbrook at Germantown Valley View, Tallmadge at Lodi Cloverleaf, Westerville South at Dublin Jerome, Jackson at Marietta, Trotwood-Madison at Piqua, Grafton Midview at Rocky River

Week 7

Columbus Watterson vs Columbus DeSales (at Crew Stadium), Sandusky at Lima Senior, Dayton Dunbar at Mount Vernon, Dublin Scioto at Westerville Central, Alliance at Louisville, Lexington at Wooster, Canton GlenOak at Uniontown Lake, Columbus Marion-Franklin at Columbus Eastmoor

Week 8

Trotwood-Madison at Troy, Olentangy Liberty at Dublin Scioto, Lodi Cloverleaf at Barberton, Copley at Tallmadge, Chillicothe at Jackson

Week 9

Akron Buchtel at Akron Firestone, Warren Howland at Liberty, New Albany at Delaware Hayes, Canton South at Louisville, Dublin Scioto at Dublin Jerome, Troy at Piqua

Week 10

Poland Seminary at Canfield, Marysville at Dublin Scioto, Olentangy Liberty at Westerville South, Sidney at Troy, Columbus Beechcroft at Columbus Northland, Mount Vernon at New Albany, Toledo Waite at Toledo Central Catholic, Trotwood-Madison at Vandalia Butler, Harrison at Cincinnati Anderson

OHIO HIGH PREDICTIONS

Region 5
Warren Howland over Parma Padua Franciscan

Region 6
Avon Lake over Toledo Central Catholic

Region 7
Columbus DeSales over Louisville

Region 8
Cincinnati Anderson over Dayton Carroll

Championship Game
Anderson over Warren Howland

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *