Division VI Overview: State title is there for the taking for a number of potential schools


Newark Catholic moved into second place all-time with its eighth state title in 2007.

For the first time since 2004, a MAC team didn’t win the Division VI title. Instead, Newark Catholic, one of the state’s most storied programs, claimed its eighth state title with a win over Bascom Hopewell-Loudon. Don’t count the Green Wave out this season, but Norwalk St. Paul, Hopewell-Loudon, Ada and Sidney Lehman Catholic are just a few of the contenders that carry solid credentials into 2008.

For the first time since 2004, a Midwest Athletic Conference team didn’t win the Division VI state football title. Instead, one of the state’s most storied programs did.

Newark Catholic rebounded from a 32-0 loss to eventual D-III state runner-up Newark Licking Valley in Week 9 to win six straight games (including playoff victories over Berne Union, Danville, Shadyside, Springfield Catholic Central and Bascom Hopewell-Loudon) en route to the school’s eighth state title. Newark Catholic defeated Hopewell-Loudon 28-14 in the state final.

With the win, the Green Wave moved one step closer to tying national-power Cleveland St. Ignatius (nine) for the most football playoff titles in state history. Cincinnati Moeller is third with seven.

As Lancaster Fisher Catholic coach Mike McCann said last year, “Newark Catholic is Newark Catholic. Whether they are 10-0 or 5-5 they are someone you have to respect. You always have to contend with them.”

Don’t count the Green Wave out as they look to win title No. 9 this season. But, overall, the field in D-VI seems to have plenty of other teams capable of claiming the title for their own.

Norwalk St. Paul, Hopewell-Loudon, Ada and Sidney Lehman Catholic are just a few of the contenders that carry solid credentials into the 2008 regular season.


Ada (9-5) Released 7/12

The Bulldogs enter the season with a new quarterback for the first time in four years. Gone is prolific thrower Zac Dysert who finished his career in the state semifinals (lost 41-38 to Hopewell-Loudon) last season with the second most career passing yards in OHSAA history (11,174). Dysert is now at Miami (Ohio).

Stepping into those huge shoes is Mitchell Faine, who believe it or not, does have Friday night experience. Last season with Dysert out to injury, Faine made three starts, completing 70 of 120 passes for 752 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 215 yards and three touchdowns.

Cushioning Faine’s transition will be the return of 11 starters (five on offense, six on defense). Nick Agin (38 of 42 on PATs, 3-of-4 field goals) could be key in close games.

Kyle Baker was first-team All-Ohio last year after hauling in 100 catches for 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns. Defensively he registered 143 tackles and three interceptions.

Justin Stransky (162 tackles, 11 sacks) anchors the defense, while Bass is a standout two-way lineman (60 tackles).

Ada’s seniors look to close with another trip to the postseason.

Antwerp (7-4) Released 7/19

The Archers are looking for back-to-back playoff appearances and their seventh berth in 11 years. With QB Quinn Tempel at the controls, the postseason seems likely.

Tempel enters this season, his third as a starter, with Antwerp career records for attempts (527), completions (285) and yards (3,284). His 29 touchdowns are six shy of the career record.

Last year, Tempel set season records in attempts (339), completions (182), yards (2,098) and touchdowns (19). He also set the single-game record with 319 yards.

RB JoshSmith’s legs compliment Tempel’s arm. They – along with the lines – will have to perform large early as a young skill corps matures.

“We lost a lot of stat players from last year,” head coach Drew Altimus said. “Our younger skill guys will have to step it up for us to compete. We will rely on the guys in the trenches until we get our skill guys some experience.”

Arlington (10-3) Released 7/26

The Red Devils were the region’s surprise team last year when they made school’s first playoff appearance and advanced all the way to the regional final (lost to Ada 31-28). A second playoff trip should be just a matter of months away.

First-year head coach Dick Leonard moves up after being an assistant.

Arlington returns eight defensive starters from a unit that found itself midseason and had three shutouts the final five weeks.

On offense, just five starters return although four are on the line.

Matt Morehart returns at halfback and will be joined in the backfield by newcomers FB Cory Glick (5-10, 180, Jr.) and QB Zane Leonard (6-0, 165, Jr.).

Bascom Hopewell-Loudon (14-1) Released 8/2

Few teams have matched the Chieftains’ success the last four years. Since head coach Brian Colatruglio took over the program in 2004, Hopewell-Loudon is 49-5 with four straight playoff appearances. Last season the Chieftains were state runners-up after making the regional final the year before. In 2005, H-L was a state semifinalist. Overall the Chieftains have been to the postseason six straight times.

The Chieftains lost four first team All-Ohio players and one second teamer. Only four starters return on each side of the ball.

The offense is led by arguably the state’s top small school quarterback in Tyler Brown, who took full advantage of his first year as a starter last season. Brown threw for 3,009 yards and 32 touchdowns en route to completing 60-percent of his passes.

Andrew Brickner (41 receptions, 661 yards, 10 TDs) and Jay Yost (32 receptions, 420 yards, TD) are able targets. Ian Kuhn is the lone returning starting lineman.

Aaron Kapelka, who rushed for 430 yards as a back-up last year, takes over for state player of the year Adam Brickner at running back.

Defensively H-L’s first priority is finding a replacement for three-year starter Lukas Schalk at free safety.

Carey (8-3) Released 8/9

Blue Devils made playoffs last year for first time since 2003 and seventh time overall.

Derek Stock will get bulk of carries after gaining 1,200 yards last year and Pete Nye and MIchael Dennis side-by-side will create a wall to run around.

A revamped schedule awaits with Bluffton and Lakota joining the non-league slate. The Devils open Midland Athletic Conference play against Tiffin Calvert.

“I believe we have the raw talent to compete with the best teams on our schedule,” third year head coach Todd Worst said. “This group will need to come together early in the season to deal with the tougher non-conference schedule and league title implications in Week 4 (against Calvert).”

Covington (10-1) Released 8/16

Head coach Dave Miller begins his second season at Covington with high expectations for his encore. Last fall, in what was supposed to be a questionable year for the Buccs, Miller won 11 games (the best for any Covington coach in their first year). The Buccs regional quarterfinal win over Portsmouth Notre Dame was the program’s first playoff victory since 2001 as well.

Covington has been to playoffs eight of the last nine years and 12 times overall. This year the Buccs should challenge for another trip to the postseason and the Cross County Conference title (something they’ve dominated the last decade-plus).

Offensively, the Buccs return some weapons from an offense that averaged 33.8 points per game. Chris Long (45 carries, 317 yards, five TDs) is a seasoned back, as is Garrett Clark (36 carries, 168 yards). The key will be finding a quarterback. Only Andy Sparks (one attempt) and Long (three attempts) have thrown passes in a varsity game.

Defensively, Covington should be stout. The Buccs return quite a bit from a unit that allowed 9.1 points per game and had three shutouts. Sparks (two interceptions, three fumble recoveries) is a takeaway specialist, while Josh Boehringer is the top returning tackler (77). Ted Hale (56 tackles) registered a team-high five sacks last season, while Boehringer had four. Ben Christian (three fumble recoveries, 54 tackles) and Logan Woloch (62 tackles, team-high five interceptions) are defenders of note.

Fort Recovery (5-5) Released 7/26

The Indians had a season of note last year when they finished with the school’s second best record ever and compiled program-arriving wins over Versailles, Minster and Delphos St. John’s. Now can they continue the climb in the state’s toughest small school conference the MAC?

Tyler Jutte is the only returning starter on the offensive line, but behind him is an arsenal loaded with versatility and skill. The Indians have three players returning who threw, ran and caught a touchdown last season (Greg Kahlig, Toby Metzger and Frank Thien).

Kahlig is already one of the MAC’s best quarterbacks after completing 120 of 233 passes for 1,579 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. He doubles as a defensive star in the secondary (37 tackles, two interceptions, two fumble returns).

Metzger and Thien return as two of Kahlig’s top targets and Fort Recovery’s main weapons. Metzger had 51 receptions for 662 yards and 10 touchdowns., while Thien caught 30 passes for three touchdowns. Thien also ran for four scores.

Matt Braunn is a capable back, having rushed for 661 yards and four touchdowns a year ago.

Defensively, Nathan Wendel (46 tackles, sack, interception, fumble recovery and three TFL), Jutte (33 tackles), Thien (58 tackles, five interceptions) and Metzger (six interceptions) are key cogs.

Hannibal River (10-2) Released 8/2

Last year the Pilots made their second playoff appearance in three years and fourth overall before losing to Shadyside 26-13 in the regional semifinals. Defense was River’s calling card and it should be again.

Seven starters return from a unit that allowed seven points or less in eight games.

D.J. Duke, a first-team All-Ohio pick, anchors the front seven for the Pilots. The secondary returns three of four starters.

Dylan Potts is back for his second season as the starting quarterback and head coach Mike Flannery believes the junior will be “one of the best QBs in the state before he’s done.”

Taylor Potts, Devan Potts, Dan Starr and Taylor Brooks will compete for time at running back. Expect Star to log his share of touches. Flannery called him River’s “Ted Ginn.”

The Pilots’ special teams should be solid as well with the return of sophomore kicker Tanner Wright.

River opens the season with back-to-back home games before going on the road for four straight (at Monroe Central, Toronto, Caldwell and Zanesville Rosecrans).

Lancaster Fisher Catholic (5-5) Released 7/19

The Irish had a string of five straight postseason appearances snapped last season with a 5-5 finish in head coach Mike McCann’s first year. Fisher Catholic won its first four games, including an overtime win over Newark Catholic, before finishing 1-5.

The Irish have plenty of question marks entering this season with just four starters returning. Luke Roesch was first team All-Ohio on defense last season, while Nick Orlando will be “the main focus of the offense” according to McCann. Johnny Fox and fellow senior Joe Karch anchor the lines.

Fisher’s schedule gets a facelift with Danville and Chillicothe Huntington replacing Centerburg and Carroll Bloom-Carroll in weeks 1 and 2. In Week 3, FC faces rival Newark Catholic.

Leetonia (7-4) Released 8/9

The Bears made the playoffs for first time since 2004 last season and fourth time overall (all since 2000). Their reward was a first round match-up with eventual state runner-up Hopewell-Loudon.

Should Leetonia make it back to the postseason and defend its share of the Inter Tri-County League title, Josh Selway will have a large say. A first-team all-league running back as a sophomore, Selway moved to quarterback last season and missed several games after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkins’ lymphoma (a rare, yet aggressive form of cancer). Despite chemotherapy treatments and being week-to-week throughout the season, Selway still managed to repeat as a first-team all-league selection. He’s looking forward to a complete season.

On the line, the Bears lose three three-year starters but do bring back experience in Jake McNally and SMatt har. McNally has garnered some offers from MAC schools, according to second-year head coach Matt Altomare.

Andrew Trummer was first-team all-league as a defensive end.

Overall just four starters return on offense and three on defense.

Malvern (8-3) Released 7/19

The Hornets lost all three games last year, including a regional quarterfinal to Danville, by a total of nine points so winning the close games this season is a goal.

Defensively, Malvern should have no problem disrupting the opposition. The Hornets return nine starters from a unit that allowed 13.3 points per game in the regular season. John Warner (42 tackles), Tyler Masters (50 tackles), Collin Brown (42 tackles) and Brett Lee (34 tackles) each had three sacks last year. Doug Wood added 49 tackles, while Tyler Tucci, a first-team All-Ohio defensive back, had 41 tackles and six interceptions.

On offense Tuccci runs the show. The four-year starter at quarterback was 78-of-140 for 1,315 yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions last season. Tucci is also a 1,000-point scorer in basketball. The Hornets must replace some key skill players, but the line returns plenty of experience and size.

The Hornets are 55-38 under Tucci and have made three of the school’s four playoff appearances during his watch. A fourth seems imminent. Key Inter-Valley Conference games with Garaway (Week 8) and Ridgewood (Week 9) loom.

Mechanicsburg (7-5) Released 7/26

On paper, the Indians look like one of the best teams in Region 24. Once the season starts, we’ll find out if they are.

Mechanicsburg returns eight starters on offense and seven on defense from a team that lost to OHC rival Springfield Catholic in the regional semifinals last year. In 2006 Mechanicsburg was a regional finalist. A breakthrough to the state semifinals seems highly possible.

Andy Huffman is one of the Miami Valley’s top quarterbacks after earning all-OHC and southwest district laurels last season (1,484 yards and 16 touchdowns). He brings an 18-6 record as a starter into his senior campaign.

The Indians backfield is loaded with the return of Ethan Price (550 yards, 12 TDs) and David Bethel (445 yards, six TDs). Both were all-conference and all-district.

The wildcard is Joe Webb, an explosive athlete and game-changer. Webb was first team OHC and southwest district last season and honorable mention All-Ohio after rushing for 441 yards and nine touchdowns. He also caught seven touchdowns and had 682 yards receiving.

The line returns five experienced players.

On defense, the Indians return their top four tacklers, including Price (101 tackles, 12.5 TFL), Dan Shoaf (101 tackles, 11.5 TFL), Webb (97 tackles) and Bethel (66 tackles).

Mechanicsburg has been to the playoffs eight times in the last nine years.

Mogadore (10-2) Released 8/2

The Wildcats will continue to build on a tradition that has produced 21 playoff appearances (nine straight) and three state titles, albeit there will be some new faces pounding the hammers.

Mogadore loses nearly 4,000 yards from its backfield, including the school’s second all-time leading rusher in Cody Destro (now at Ashland). Also gone are RB Ryan Brodie and QB Shawn Pierce. In all, 14 seniors graduated.

Don’t fret Wildcats fans, the cupboard isn’t bare. Chad White steps in at quarterback after starring at defensive back the last two years. Head coach Matt Ardini is pleased with what he’s seen thus far. White will have the top three receivers from last year in Landon Trainer, Kyle Arnold and Matt Traugh to throw to.

At running back, the trio of Shayne Stewart, Kody Chance and Jake McAvinew will compete for two starting spots. Stewart also returns on defense where he was an all-district linebacker. McAvinew was a first team all-district defensive end (11.5 sacks). Chance started at linebacker as a freshman.

Overall Mogadore returns six starters on offense and five on defense. The entire defensive secondary will be new. The expectations will not be.

Monroeville (6-5) Released 8/9

Head coach Steve Ringholz continues his reign at Monroeville where he enters his 30th season with the Eagles among the state’s top 20 coaches in career wins (229-93-1).

Monroeville has been to the playoffs seven straight seasons and 12 times overall and should add to both tallies.

Offensively the Eagles return just five starters, albeit important ones.

The core of the line (returning starters Carl Black, Dakota Schwan, Mitch Sweet and Ryan Dragon) is all underclassmen. Black was second team Firelands Conference a year ago, while Schwan was honorable mention.

Back taking snaps is Brian Ringholz. Honorable mention Firelands Conference last season, Ringholz completed 124 of 222 attempts for 1,572 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also tossed 14 interceptions.

Marcus Brotzki, who’ll be a four-year letterman, steps in at running back.

On defense the Eagles return three starters, led by Eric Leber (93 tackles, four sacks). Schwan had 81 tackles last season, while Sparks chipped in 68.

Overall the Eagles have just six seniors on their 53-man roster. The future looks bright.

Newark Catholic (13-2)

After a 5-6 season in 2006, the Green Wave bounced back to add their eighth state title last year. The Green Wave also holds state records for playoff berths (30) and wins (62). Adding to each of those marks is the goal this year, although if it happens a number of new faces will have a hand in it.

According to head coach Bill Franks, NC is “inexperienced and young.”

Replacing standout running back and Ohio D-III offensive player of the year Mark Nichols (Ohio Dominican) will be key.

Norwalk St. Paul (11-2) Released 8/16

Norwalk St. Paul has reached at least the regional final each of the last four years and this season that trend should continue.

The Flyers return eight starters from an offensive unit that averaged 39.6 points per game.

QB/SS Eric Schwieterman is three-year varsity starter (started at defensive back as a freshman) and returns for his second season under center. He was second team Firelands Conference after throwing for 1,129 yards and 10 touchdowns. Schwieterman also rushed for 354 yards and four scores.

FB Mike Wilde, a first-team Firelands selection, will be the main rushing threat after tallying 1,053 yards and 21 touchdowns. Hemenway (first-team FC, second-team All-Ohio) and Doughty (honorable mention FC) anchor a line that brings back four regulars.

On defense, St. Paul returns just three starters, including DE Jacob Rhoad (79 tackles, five TFL), DB Dan Tracht (76 tackles) and Schwieterman (68 tackles, three TFL). All earned FC honors.

St. Paul owns 11 playoff appearances – all under head coach John Livengood (154-48 career record) – including five straight.

The Flyers draw a new opponent in Week 3 with Huron replacing Elyria Catholic.

Sidney Lehman Catholic (9-4) Released 7/12

The Cavaliers expected to be more competitive in last year’s regional final, which Springfield Catholic Central won 48-14. A lingering bad taste has provided motivation.

The foundation is in place for another extended run. The Cavs were state semifinalists in 2001 and should challenge for that plateau again with nine starters back on defense and eight on offense.

Max Cartwright, Robby Baker and Corbin Peltier spearhead the defense for the second straight year, while David Spearman is back after earning second-team All-Ohio honors.

Nick Pulfer was second-team All-Ohio on offense.

The big key is replacing graduated standout Dan Jacob (a task facing Goings) and handling a treacherous schedule, albeit one that contains seven home games.

The Cavaliers open with Anna, Milton-Union and Indian Lake. Games with West Carrollton (D-II school), Columbus Grove and Fort Loramie also line the docket.

Springfield Catholic Central (13-1)

Head coach Steve DeWitt starts his 31st season at SCC where the Irish have been to the playoffs five straight times. SCC made the state semis last season before losing to Newark Catholic 21-14.

Brendan Kelley, a four-year starter, was second team All-Ohio last year after completing 97 of 154 passes for 1,481 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also carried the ball 92 times for 573 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Finding a replacement for four-year standout Brian Wagner (Akron), the school’s all-time leading rusher and scorer, will be a huge hurdle. There are other holes as well with the loss of 14 seniors.

West Unity Hilltop (8-3) Released 7/26

Last season, in head coach Mike Bumb’s ninth year the Cadets earned the school’s first postseason appearance. Hilltop lost to Arlington in the first round. A second straight playoff bid could be in the works.

Despite losing four all-league lineman (including the tight end), Bumb is excited about the kids stepping into those holes and his skill players. Chad Beals returns at running back where he tallied 969 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also caught 24 passes for four TDs. Josh Westfall returns for another season under center after throwing for 1,461 yards and 16 TDs. His favorite two targets Neil Klinger (10 receptions, six TDs) and Shawn Miller (17 receptions, three TDs) are also back.

Beals, Klinger and Westfall were all first team Toledo Area Athletic Conference.

Defensively, Beals (four interceptions) will headline a secondary that returns intact. The front seven, which was hit by graduation (lost two LBs and DTs), is a small concern.


Arcadia (6-4)

The Redskins started out 4-0 before finishing 2-4

Beallsville (10-1)

The Blue Devils finished with the school’s fourth undefeated regular season and second in a row before bowing out in the first round of the playoffs to Hannibal River (20-14). Beallsville will look to earn its seventh postseason berth and fourth in a row. Head coach Dave Caldwell enters his 26th season with 170 wins and 18 league titles.

Defensively Beallsville allowed a paltry 32 points in the regular season last year and had six shutouts. The Blue Devils didn’t score less than 35 points until the playoffs and only scored less then 40 twice.

Berlin Center Western Reserve (6-4)

All four of the Devils’ losses last season were to playoff teams (Mathews, Columbiana, McDonald and Leetonia).

Cincinnati Country Day (6-4)

The Indians suffered a tough 28-21 loss to Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy in Week 10 last season that nullified playoff hopes. CCD is looking to get back to postseason for first time since 2004. Senior Alex Deitz (6-2, 180) was second-team All-Ohio at punter. Max Dietz (5-11, 175, jr.) is a capable running back.

Columbiana (7-4) Released 8/9

The Clippers have made the playoffs three straight years and four of the last five. Columbiana advanced to the regional final in 2005 and 2006 before losing to Mogadore in the first round last year.

Columbus Grove (6-4)

The Bulldogs have been in the postseason seven of the last nine years and won it all in 2003. Last year, Columbus Grove finished ninth in computer points.

Danville (8-4)

The Blue Devils are looking for their ninth playoff appearance in 11 years. All four losses last year were to playoff teams (Cleveland South, Fredericktown, Johnstown-Monroe and Newark Catholic).

RB/LB Gatlin Ridgeway (6-1, 190, Sr.) is a two-time All-Ohioan at linebacker.

Defiance Ayersville (11-2)

The Pilots made their first year in D-VI a memorable one last season with a run to the regional semifinals where they lost a 51-50 shootout to Ada.

Delphos St. John’s (2-8)

Since winning their fourth state title in 2006, the Blue Jays have gone 8-12.

Dola Hardin Northern (10-2)

The Polar Bears have been one of the state’s elite D-VI teams for the past 15 years (12 playoff appearances), but last season took a step backward. Despite a winning record, Hardin Northern had a string of six straight 10-win seasons snapped.

Head coach Pete Brunow enters his 25th season with a 216-55 record. Under Brunow’s control, Hardin Northern has never had a losing season. Don’t expect that trend to change.

Edgerton (2-8) Released 7/12

The Bulldogs struggled at times last year against a schedule that included six playoff teams. With only six seniors lost to graduation, second-year head coach Kevin Kline is expecting improvement.

“We believe that we have a lot of experienced underclassmen that we can count on,” Kline said. “We hope to be able to earn back some respect and be competitive in the league (Green Meadows Conference) and Region 22.”

Making the playoffs for the first time since 2003 could be a long shot, but the pieces are in place for Edgerton to make some noise.

Junior quarterback Jeff Crowe returns after throwing for 1,337 yards and nine touchdowns.

Defensively Edgerton will be tough with the return of seniors Cody Herman (LB, 50 tackles), A.J. Allen (LB, 65 tackles) and Michael Sebastian (LB, 58 tackles) and junior Ethan Schreoder (FS, 88 tackles).

Fort Loramie (8-2)

Fort Loramie enters its fourth varsity season with the hopes of earning its first playoff berth. The Redskins have been on the verge, finishing no worse then 10th in the region in each of their first three years. Overall, the Redskins are 19-11 since 2005. Seniors Jay Schulze (QB) and Nathan Brandewie (DL; 6-6, 240) will contribute heavily to Loramie’s success.

Glouster Trimble (6-4)

Since 2001, the Tomcats are 56-16 overall with two D-VI playoff berths (2003, 2004) and four 9-1 regular seasons. Twice Trimble finished ninth in its respective region.

Lockland (7-4)

The Panthers ended their long playoff drought (15 years) last season before falling to Lehman Catholic in regional quarterfinals.

McComb (10-2)

The Panthers earned the region’s No. 1 seed last year and beat Toledo Christian in the playoffs before losing to Arlington (21-6) in the second round. McComb has been to the playoffs seven times in last nine years.

McDonald (8-3)

The Blue Devils are coming off back-to-back playoff appearances. McDonald is looking to continue a tradition that has led to two state finals (1994, 1989) and 10 postseason trips.

Minster (0-10)

The Wildcats hit rock bottom last year going winless and scoring 33 points in final six games. This proud program and former state champion (1989) hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2001. It will be interesting to see how Wildcats rebound or if they do.

North Jackson Jackson-Milton (1-9)

The Bluejays are looking for their first winning season this century and may still be a year away. There is however the potential for Jackson-Milton to contend with several stellar underclassmen, including juniors Jeff Balent (WR/CB; 6-1, 195; 58 tackles) and Ben Carlile (QB/SS ; 6-1, 185; 28 tackles) and sophomore Wilbur Wilson (FB/LB; 6-0, 180; 560 yards rushing).

New Bremen (2-8)

The Cardinals return some talent in first team MAC running back Corey Jutte (Sr.).

New Miami (6-4) Released 8/16

The Vikings recorded their first winning season in 13 years last season and would like to keep the momentum going. Senior running back Josh Hampton (5-11, 165) returns after rushing for 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns a year ago. He needs 1,300 yard to set the school’s career mark. Also back is senior defensive end Kris Roberts (5-10, 220) who had 105 tackles and 12 TFL last year.

Newbury (2-8)

The Black Nights ready for breakout year. Offensively Newbury gets big boost from return of first-team All-Ohio running back Joe Nagle.

Portsmouth Notre Dame (6-5)

The Titans earned first playoff berth in six years last season and sixth overall before losing on road to Covington in regional quarterfinals. Notre Dame is now looking for first back-to-back playoff appearances since 1986-88.

Portsmouth Sciotoville Community School (10-1)

Sciotoville made the school’s first playoff appearance last season before falling in opening round to Mechanicsburg. This year, the Tartans are looking for the school’s first playoff win … and possibly the second, third and so on. DL Jacob Howard (5-9, 200, Sr.) and LB Chase Mault (6-2, 195, Sr.) are back after being named first-team All-Ohio.

Sandusky St. Mary Central Catholic (5-5)

The smallest school in the Sandusky Bay Conference faces annual daunting task against talented bigger schools including Clyde, Perkins, Edison and Oak Harbor. A win over St. Paul in season opener could propel Panthers to first postseason since 2005.

Shadyside (11-2)

A state finalist in 2006, the Tigers lost in the regional final last year to Newark Catholic (41-28). Replacing three-year starter Billy Merryman at quarterback and a senior class that went 32-8 the last three years is a big chore.

Seniors Johnny Merryman (LB; 5-8, 170) and Matt Mastracci (DL; 6-2, 250) anchor the defense.

Springfield Catholic Central (13-1)

Head coach Steve DeWitt starts his 31st season at SCC where the Irish have been to the playoffs five straight times. SCC made the state semis last season before losing to Newark Catholic 21-14.

Brendan Kelley, a four-year starter, was second team All-Ohio last year after completing 97 of 154 passes for 1,481 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also carried the ball 92 times for 573 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Finding a replacement for four-year standout Brian Wagner (Akron), the school’s all-time leading rusher and scorer, will be a huge hurdle. There are other holes as well with the loss of 14 seniors.

Steubenville Catholic Central (8-3)

The Crusaders returned to the playoffs last season after missing the postseason in 2006. SCC was state runner-up in 2005. Overall, Crusaders have been to playoffs nine times.

Sugar Grove Berne Union (6-5)

The surprise Rockets gave Newark Catholic its toughest game in the playoffs (21-18 NC win in first round). BU suffered a big loss in the off-season with departure of state coach of the year Gary Cox. Rockets do return standout defensive back Colton Speelman (5-11, 200) who was first team All-Ohio.

Tiffin Calvert (6-4)

The Senecas are looking for their first playoff appearance since making five straight postseasons from 1998-2002. Calvert was close last year, finishing 10th in the region with losses to four playoff teams (McComb, St. Paul, Hopewell-Loudon and Carey).

Toledo Christian (8-3) Released 7/12

The Eagles are looking to continue to make strides. TC has won eight games each of the last two seasons and earned the school’s first playoff berth last year.

Warren JFK (9-3)

The Eagles have been to the playoffs five straight seasons. JFK bowed out in the second round last year (lost to St. Paul) after making the D-V state final in 2006 (lost to St. Henry).

Waterford (9-1)

The Wildcats faced harsh reality of having nine wins and being left out of the playoffs last year. Six of Waterford’s opponents finished with two wins or less. Bad timing.

Waynesfield-Goshen (8-3)

The Tigers (30-12 the last four years) made the playoffs for the second time in three years last season and third time overall. Senior lineman Tyler Johns (6-5, 250) is one of the state’s top recruits in the trenches.

Willow Wood Symmes Valley (3-7) Released 7/19

Since a making the postseason for the fourth straight time in 2005, the Vikings have gone 3-7 each of the last two years. Head coach Rusty Webb (45-30 in seven seasons) is hoping for a return to the playoffs and feels he has a team capable of reaching that plateau.

Despite having only five seniors, SV has played “a lot of young players” the last two years according to Webb and is ready to see that playing time “pay off this season.”

Senior linebacker Cody Bland returns after making 137 tackles last year.



Tyler Tucci, Malvern, QB (Sr.)
Matt Wilde, FB, Norwalk St. Paul (Sr.)
Tyler Brown, QB, Bascom Hopewell-Loudon (Sr.)
Joe Nagle, RB, Newbury (Sr.)
Kyle Baker, WR/DB, Ada (Sr.)
Quinn Tempel, QB, Antwerp (Sr.)
D.J. Duke, DL, Hannibal River (Sr.)
Gatlin Ridgeway, RB/LB, Danville (Sr.)
Andy Huffman, QB, Mechanicsburg (Sr.)
Brendan Kelly, QB, Springfield Catholic Central (Sr.)


Week 1

Dola Hardin Northern at Ada; Anna at Sidney Lehman Catholic; Toledo Libbey at Toledo Christian; West Unity Hilltop at Edgerton; Amanda-Clearcreek at Newark Catholic; Danville at Fisher Catholic; West Lafayette Ridgewood at Shadyside; Mechanicsburg at West Jefferson

Week 2

West Unity Hilltop at Antwerp; Sidney Lehman Catholic at West Milton Milton-Union; Leetonia at Columbiana; Findlay Liberty-Benton at Arlington; Minster at Springfield Catholic Central; Hubbard at Warren JFK

Week 3

Newark Catholic at Fisher Catholic; Huron at Norwalk St. Paul; Columbus Eastmoor at Canal Winchester Harvest Prep; Ada at Columbus Grove; Nelsonville-York at Berne Union

Week 4

Ada at Fort Loramie; Wheeling (W.Va.) Catholic at Shadyside; Mechanicsburg at Springfield Catholic Central; Miami East at Covington; Lockland at New Miami; Warren JFK at Elyria Catholic

Week 5

McComb at Arlington; West Unity Hilltop at Toledo Christian; Defiance Ayersville at Edgerton; North College Hill at New Miami; Fisher Catholic at Licking Heights

Week 6

Columbus Grove at Sidney Lehman Catholic; Woodbridge at Mogadore; Berne Union at Fisher Catholic; Beallsville at Caldwell; Seneca East at Bascom Hopewell-Loudon

Week 7

Defiance Ayersville at Defiance Tinora; Waterford at Glouster Trimble; Symmes Valley at Sciotoville Community School; Covington at Ansonia; Antwerp at Haviland Wayne Trace

Week 8

Malvern at Sugarcreek Garaway; Johnstown-Monroe at Danville; St. Henry at Fort Recovery; Lockland at Cincinnati Country Day; Arcadia at McComb

Week 9

McDonald at Leetonia; Dola Hardin Northern at Carey; Newark Licking Valley at Newark Catholic; Hannibal River at Lore City Buckeye Trail; Steubenville Catholic Central at St. Clairsville; Fort Recovery at Marion Local

Week 10

Norwalk St. Paul at Monroeville; Lima Central Catholic at Ada; Defiance Ayersville at Sherwood Fairview; Antwerp at Edgerton; West Liberty-Salem at Mechanicsburg; Milford Center Fairbanks at Waynesfield-Goshen; Lockland at North College Hill


Region 21
Norwalk St. Paul over Bascom Hopewell-Loudon

Region 22
Ada over West Unity Hilltop

Region 23
Hannibal River over Malvern

Region 24
Sidney Lehman Catholic over Mechanicsburg

Championship Game
Norwalk St. Paul over Sidney Lehman Catholic



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