Looking for the most competitive Division in Ohio high
school football for the next two seasons?
Division III might just be it.
Following the divisional realignment in June, D- III was
left with some of the top teams in the state regardless of division. With the
addition of Youngstown Mooney, Akron Hoban, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, Parma
Padua Franciscan, Columbus DeSales, Columbus Watterson, New Lexington,
Steubenville, Cincinnati Wyoming and Waverly to name a handful, D-III now boasts
eight regional finalists from a year ago including six state semifinalists.
And with 2008 D-III state champion Aurora moving up to D-
II, a new state champ will be crowned in 2009.
The following is a look at the new-look D-III:
TEAMS TO WATCH
Akron Hoban (9-5)
Hoban reached the state semifinals in Division
II last season before falling to eventual state champion Sylvania Southview
31-0. It was the first postseason appearance for Hoban since 2005, which was the
last season of an eight-year playoff berth run.
This season, Hoban drops back down to Division
III after four seasons in Division II.
“Division III has always been a strong
division in the state of Ohio year in and year out. As far as that goes, it is
not going to get any easier,” head coach Ralph Orsini said.
Hoban loses the bulk of its offensive
production from last season as WR/DB Brian Courdriet, WR/DB Ryan Ross, RB/DB
Xavier Kirksey-Ivery, RB/DE Lawrence Wynn and FB/LB Travis Howe each step into
“I think we have enough people coming back
where we have a chance of being a real good ball team. One area we really need
to address early is the inexperience factor.”
Guiseppe Frisone, Greg McMullen, Stephan
Veillette and Norm Jesser will be the anchor on defense at the linebacking
“Defensively, we ought to be a pretty good
ball team,” Orsini said.
Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (7-3)
Heading into the final week of the regular
season last year, SVSM needed a win over Ursuline to earn a playoff berth but
the Fighting Irish fell to the eventual Division V state champ to keep them out.
SVSM will look to its defense early this fall
while some younger players gain experience on offense.
“It was interesting, I thought at the
beginning of last year our strength was going to be our defense but we lost
three kids with season ending injuries,” head coach Dan Boarman said. “We had to
play a bunch of younger kids.
“I think we’re going to be pretty strong
defensively. If our offensive line comes around, we could have a pretty good
OL/DL Bryan Ausperk and RB/LB Brian Foster are
Division I college caliber players and will lead a senior group that last made
the postseason in 2007.
“We’re working hard,” said Boarman. “It is a
great senior class backed up by a good sophomore and junior class and I am
looking forward to the season.”
Beloit West Branch (5-5)
The bulk of West Branch’s offense returns in
the backfield with Mike Smith under center and Mark Smith toting the ball for
Mike Smith was 123-of-217 passing for 1,811
yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Mark Smith had 71 carries for 507
yards and four touchdowns.
“Other than them, we’re going to have to rely
on some young skill guys in the skill positions,” head coach Bob Altenhof said.
“There are some unproven guys so that is concerning.”
Defensively, Brad Ferguson, John Wilson and
Seth Guy will lead the charge up front.
“We’re just hoping to improve,” Altenhof said.
“We got off to a good start last year but then (the Northeastern Buckeye
Conference) was really, really good last year and we ended up staggering to the
finish. We hope to get off to another fast start but we hope to maintain it this
season in the conference but it will be a challenge. ”
The Warriors last made the playoffs in 2007
and have made its four times since 2000.
Hubbard has been flying high since alumnus and
third-year head coach Brian Hoffman took over.
The Eagles are aiming to make the playoffs for
the fourth straight season and have only missed the playoffs twice since 1999.
Hubbard will have the talent at the skill
positions to get them off the ground early.
Andre Givens rushed for 1,433 yards and 18
touchdowns last season and Kurtis Drummond had 16 catches for 281 yards and four
touchdowns. On defense, he had 49 tackles, two sacks and three interceptions as
Both are Division I college prospects with
scholarship offers in hand.
“(Givens and Drummond) are outstanding
athletes but the other guys are going to have to come together and elevate their
games in order for our team to continue to make strides this season,” said
Matt Shelton started six games under center in
2008 following the injury to then-senior Sam Bellino but Chase Myers will make
his case for the job this season as well.
“I like what both (quarterbacks) bring to the
table,” said Hoffman. “That is definitely one of the areas we are going to be
looking at hard in the preseason. To be honest, the one that starts the first
game will be the one that shows me the most leadership and that is what we are
looking forward to.”
Dom Dionisio will anchor the line on offense
for the returning skill positions.
“We feel good about building a line around Dom
and feel we have some underclassmen that will hopefully help us with that,”
Notre Dame Cathedral Latin (5-6)
In the two seasons prior to head coach Byron
Morgan showing up at NDCL, the Lions were a combined 5-15. Since then, NDCL is
11-10 in two campaigns including the third playoff berth in school history last
season. The Lions fell to eventual state champ Aurora in the first round and are
looking to take the next step in 2009.
“After getting into the state playoffs last
season, we look to return even though (Region 9) is very strong,” said Morgan,
who has a 211-86-3 record.
Play in the trenches should be strong early
on, according to Morgan.
“The offensive line and defensive line should
be very strong and the team as a whole has had a great offseason,” he said.
Terry Smith started two games at quarterback
last season as a sophomore winning both. The starting job will come down to him
and senior Ben Smith.
Poland Seminary (9-3)
Poland has the opportunity to make history
The Bulldogs have the potential to make the
playoffs for the third straight season – a feat never accomplished at the
“For (the seniors), their personal goal is to
be the first class to make the playoffs three years in a row and that is one of
their primary motivations,” head coach Mark Brungard said.
Luke Wollet will lead the offense out of the
backfield after rushing for over 2,500 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior. He
also had three interceptions on defense and has offers to Eastern Michigan, Kent
State and the Virginia Military Institute.
With Trey Lidle under center for the first
time, Brungard said Wollett will be the catalyst on offense early on.
“We’ll ride that horse as long as we can,” he
said. ”With those situations you try to break those guys in efficiently and
special teams become more important. Our defense will give us a chance.”
Poland moves in from Region 11 this season.
Youngstown Cardinal Mooney (9-3)
Mooney has been one of the top programs in the
state regardless of Division over the last several years winning two state
titles since 2004.
After reaching the regional finals last season
in D- IV, the Cardinals make the jump up to D-III.
Mooney returns eight starters on offense and
defense led by a solid nucleus of seniors.
“As any other successful Mooney team, senior
leadership is key,” head coach P.J. Fecko said. “The seniors are a very close
group and might be the hardest working senior group we have had at Mooney in
Mooney will be strong in the backfield with
Braylon Heard, Vinaopal and Griffin toting the ball. Donald D’Alesio and George
Lyras provide athleticism at wideout and in the secondary.
Team speed will also be key.
“This is not only the hardest working group
but also by far the fastest group we have ever had,” Fecko said.
Also Keep An Eye On
|Akron Buchtel (5-5)
Buchtel drops from D-II and is looking for its
first postseason berth since 2005. Despite the drought, the Griffins have made
the playoffs five times since 2000.
|Cleveland Benedictine (3-7)
Six-time state champion Cleveland Benedictine
is a dismal 13-27 the last four seasons and hasn’t made the playoffs since 2005.
OL Simon Cvijanvic (6-5, 240, Sr.) is a Division I college prospect.
Mogadore Field (8-3)
Field made the playoffs for the first time in
school history in 2007 and returned last season. Now, the Falcons are looking to
swoop in on their first postseason win in 2009.
Parma Padua Franciscan (8-3)
The Bruins are on the hunt for their third
straight playoff berth behind TE/DE Anthony Stryffeler (6-4, 220, Sr.), who is a
Ball State recruit. QB Nick Kaszei (5-11, 175, Sr.) and FS James Flowers (6-4,
210, Sr.) also return.
The Rockets finished with a respectable record
last season but didn’t earn enough points to make their first playoff appearance
since 1992 finishing No. 10 in Region 9.
Other Teams In The Region
Akron Coventry (3-7),
Akron Springfield (0-10), Ashtabula Edgewood (0-10), Bay Village Bay (2-8),
Hunting Valley University School (4-5), Cleveland East (0-10), Cleveland East
Tech (1-9), Conneaut (4-6), Jefferson Area (2-8), Mantua Crestwood (3-7), Medina
Buckeye (6-4), Niles McKinley (2-8), Norton (2-8), Oberlin Firelands (2-8),
Parma Heights Holy Name (4-6), Pepper Pike Orange (4-6), Struthers (2-8),
Warrensville Heights (2-8)
Moving from Region 12, Bexley is looking to
roar into the playoffs for the second straight season following its first
appearance in school history last year.
And the Lions will do so after graduating only
11 seniors and returning 27 lettermen.
“We lost some important kids but I think we
will be well-rounded,” head coach John Smith said.
RB/Db Mike Edwards is a two-year starter and
is coming off a 582-yard, three touchdown season. RB/LB Ronnell Armstrong,
primarily a special teams player last season, will join Edwards in the backfield
Adam Leeds takes over at quarterback for Seth
White, now at Ball State.
“He won’t be as quick to tuck it and run 80
yards for a touchdown (as White),” Smith explained. “He will be a more willing
to stay in the pocket and make the reads to complete those balls.”
The defense will center around LB Josh Lake,
LB Tommy Zervas and LB Dylan Myers.
“They set the tone on what has to happen,” said Smith. “We need to sure up the
secondary a little bit but I think we’ll be better. We have kids coming back at
those positions and I think we’ll be better.”
Clyde has won the Sandusky Bay Conference
title three of the last four seasons and made the playoffs four of the last five
The Fliers will be without three-year starting
quarterback and two-time all-state selection Alex Gillet (Eastern Michigan) for
the first time in three years. Gabe Gilbert will step in under center.
“(Gilbert) played various positions on offense
last season and will lead the offense in much of the same way Gillett did,” head
coach Marc Gibson said.
Clyde set the school rushing record last
season with over 3,500 yards behind returning starters David Weisz, Gage Goble,
Jordan Brown and Alex Ellenburger up front. First team all-conference selection
Smetzer also returns on the line at tight end.
Kade Kramer had over 1,000 yards rushing and
will tote the ball again for the Fliers.
Defensively, Clyde returns five starters so
will have some holes to fill in key areas, according to Gibson.
“We should be in contention (for the playoffs)
once again if our returning players stay focused on our task and out seniors
respond with the right leadership,” said Gibson.
Clyde is 33-9 in four seasons under Gibson.
|Columbus Bishop Watterson (5-6)
Columbus Watterson made the postseason last year in Division II after
missing the playoffs for the first time this decade in 2007. But the
Eagles fell to bitter rival Columbus DeSales 20-17 in the first round.
Watterson also fell to DeSales 21-17 in the regular season.
“(Division III) is still very
competitive,” head coach Dan Bjelac said. “I am sure there is a little
difference there if you analyze the points you need to get in the region to
makes the playoffs. But you’ve go to take care of things with the schedule you
play first and then that will take care of things with the playoffs.”
DeSales also drops into D-III and is in the
“We’ve played them a lot of times twice in a
season. But we don’t worry too much about it – we just do it and it is what it
is,” Bjelac said. “It will always be a good game, they are well-coached, have
some solid kids back and you approach it from that point.”
Watterson loses some key players on both sides
of the ball but have some talent returning including FB/LB Mark Theado, TE/LB
Matt Schweitzer, TE/DE Marc Elberson, QB Greg Hock and WR/DB Nick Liimatta on
offense and FB/LB Matt Redfield, QB/DB Dominic Clegg and Schweitzer on defense.
“I think we have had a very good offseason,”
Bjelac said. As I look at our senior group, I think they are a very close-knit
group. Obviously, though, there are always question marks.”
Columbus DeSales (13-1)
DeSales has made the playoffs every season
since 1994 including two state titles and three runner-up finishes.
“Columbus has good football,” said head coach
Ryan Wiggins, who was the D-II co-coach of the year last year. “Northeast Ohio
was always the king and now I think it is leveled off in Columbus.”
As mentioned, DeSales drops to D-III with
Watterson this season.
“When you look at Division III you’ve got some
really good traditional powers in there. I think Division III is a very solid
division but our challenge with our regular season is getting enough points (to
get into the playoffs),” he said.
Besides Watterson, DeSales also has Cincinnati
Anderson, Cincinnati Elder, Cleveland Benedictine and Cincinnati LaSalle on the
The Stallions have a solid nucleus back,
especially upfront, to go up against that schedule.
WR/DB Chi Chi Ariguzo and OL/DL Travis
Jackson both have numerous Division I college scholarship offers from some of
the top programs in the country and TE/DL Chris Rock is one of the top players
in the Class of 2011. RB Adam Griffin rushed for 800 yards last season as a role
Jackson ended his recruiting in mid-July committing to Michigan State.
DeSales will have a new quarterback under
center with the departure of Thomas Gentile and the starting job will come down
to Mitch Herbert, Nick Gentile and Sam Borghese (junior).
“There is no front-runner right now but the
thing about these guys is they are all good, athletic players,” Wiggins said.
“One of them will win the job and the others will fit somewhere else in our
“We have a lot of good players. I think one of
the things that makes DeSales special is we have great tradition so we have a
lot of guys waiting in the wings.”
|Columbus Eastmoor Academy (13-2)
Eastmoor finished D-III state runner-up last season in its
first trip to the state tournament.
The Warriors graduated 22 seniors and lose the bulk of
their offense from last year, including all skill players, but head coach Jim
Miranda feels confident in the players that will be stepping into those roles.
“I think we’re going to be strong at the skill positions
still given the amount of kids that graduated,” he said.
Ronald Tanner will take the snaps and Carl Washington will
tote the ball coming off a broken leg suffered in Week 4 last season. He tallied
600 yards and eight touchdowns before getting injured.
Denzel McDougald returns for his senior season after being
academically ineligible last year.
“Overall, we don’t have a whole lot of the experience that
we had last year but there are opportunities for some of the young kids to step
up,” Miranda said. “There is a lot of enthusiasm from kids that did not
participate last year and are looking forward to getting out here and getting an
Eastmoor moves in from Region 12 from last year.
Tipp City Tippecanoe (9-2)
Tipp has been one-and-done each of the last
four years bowing out in the first round of the postseason.
Can the Red Devils get over the hump this
“I think we have a good nucleus with
our running game and we can work on establishing the pass,” veteran head coach
Charlie Burgbacher said. “We need to be able to throw the ball so that we don’t
have people loading up on the running game. It seems like when we’ve done a
better in the passing game the running game functions well.”
RB/LB Joe Everhart will lead that running game
behind three of five returning linemen after suffering a broken leg last
The passing game will be up to either Ryan
Landwehr or Zach Watkins with the graduation of Wes Marsh.
“We could end up using both of them. They are
two different styles but both of them have athletic skill,” Burgbacher said.
“We’ve had times in the past where we’ve used two different quarterbacks.
Recently, it has just been one because there has been one that has been heads
and shoulders above the other.
“But this time around we’re going to have a
couple of kids that have limited experience.”
are coming off a sour season in which despite the fact they won nine games, were
left out of the playoffs. Urbana finished tied for the eighth playoff spot in
Region 10, but lost the tiebreak to an 8-2 Defiance team. The Hillclimbers lone
loss was to a 10-0 Tecumseh team that lost to Anderson in the second round of
the D-II playoffs. Not fair. But time to move on.
Calhoun, a first team CBC selection on defense (three interceptions), also
carries his weight offensively. Last season Calhoun carried the ball 47 times
for 426 yards and six TDs. He also caught nine passes for 224 yards and three
LB Brayden Gomes, another a first team CBC
pick, had 1.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
Also Keep An Eye On
The Redmen ended a three-year playoff drought
last season and are looking to rumble into their 12th postseason in program
|Delaware Buckeye Valley (7-3)
Despite a respectable record last season,
Buckeye Valley failed to make the postseason for the first time in school
history finishing No. 13 in the region.
|Lima Shawnee (7-3)
Losses to Columbus DeSales, Wapakoneta and
Defiance kept the Indians out of the postseason tying for the No. 10 spot in the
region. Shawnee has made the playoffs once in school history back in 2004.
Defiance made their first playoff appearance
last season since 2003. The Bulldogs hoisted the state title trophy in 1997 for
its only championship.
Sandusky Perkins (7-3)
An above .500 record wasn’t enough for the
1999 state champion Pirates to make the playoffs last year. Perkins has made the
playoffs three times since 2000.
St. Marys Memorial (9-3)
Since 2000, Memorial has made the postseason
seven times including a state runner-up finish in 2004. The Roughriders will
have a new face on the sideline this season with following the retirement of
11-year head coach Doug Frye. Taking over is Mark Hollars from Westlake with his
Wing-T offense Memorial fans grew to know under Frye.
Other Teams In The Region
Bellefontaine (5-5), Bellefontaine Benjamin Logan (3-7), Bryan (5-5), Celina
(2-8), Columbus East (5-5), Columbus Linden McKinley (3-7), Columbus South
(0-10), Elida (0-10), Napoleon (5-5), Oak Harbor (2-8), Shelby (6-4), St. Paris
Graham Local (4-6), Toledo Libbey (4-6), Vermillion (6-4), Whitehall-Yearling
(0-10), Willard (2-8)
|Canal Fulton Northwest (8-3)
has made the playoffs eight straight seasons but if the Indians are going to win
their first state title it will have to happen within the next two. For the 11th
straight time, a levy failed to pass in the district, thus eliminating sports at
Northwest after the 2010-11 school year.
“We’re fighting for our lives here,” head coach Vic Whiting
said. “The kids on this football team have paid a price to be on this football
team. Not only do they work hard but they have to pay-to-play.
“We’ve got good kids and there is no doubt about that.
We’re going to be really young and we’re going to be small.”
Evan Bach headlines the roster after moving from receiver to the
backfield last season and rushing for 1,659 yards on 215 carries and 20
Bryan Jones is under center again coming off a 74-of-129 passing
effort for 975 yards, 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Defensively, the linebacking corps returns with Bobby Schilling
as the focal point. He tallied 166 tackles as a junior with four sacks and two
interceptions. Mitch Lewis had 52, respectively.
But according to Whiting, Northwest will field its share of
underclassmen in 2009
“We have a lot of sophomore kids stepping up and there is
quite a bit of speed and skill in that group,” he said. “But you don’t know what
is going to happen because you don’t know how they are going to play on the
Dover has only missed the playoffs once this
decade (2004) so it is safe to say the Tornadoes don’t rebuild, they reload.
Despite the loss of all-state quarterback Cory
Lisowski to graduation and his go-to receivers in head coach Dan Ifft’s patented
spread offense, Dover will be a force in the region once again.
“Some of our personality on offense might
change losing Cory and some of those fleet receivers,” Ifft said. “but we’re
going to try and do the same things – just get it done in a different way.
Marcus Mamarella steps in at quarterback after
tossing for 49 yards and two touchdowns last season. He also had 202 yards
rushing and nine touchdowns. Ian Drapcho will be his main target coming off 461
yards receiving on 26 catches and four touchdowns a year ago.
Alex Aubihl, Jason Orr, Cody Gordon, Danny
Jeandervin and Kyle Erwin will provide experience on the line while the skill
Defense will keep Dover in games early as the
offense gels with nine starters returning.
“We’re going to try and continue to throw the
ball but we might run it more – I won’t know that until we get rolling,” said
Ifft. “Hopefully we can throw the ball as well as we did last year.”
Veteran head coach Mike Hensley retired from
the Granville head coaching position in the offseason, but a new face won’t be
roaming the Blue Aces sideline in his place.
That’s because longtime assistant and
Granville alumnus J.R. Waite has taken over the top spot.
“It is a great honor and a great
responsibility,” Waite said. “It has special meaning to me. I learned a lot from
Mike and was fortunate to be given a lot of responsibilities by Mike.”
Waite retained the entire coaching staff.
“I am very familiar with our coaching staff
and that makes the transition a little easier. I have great familiarity with the
players,” he said.
Granville has to replace WR Adam Alderman and
QB Cory Becher on offense, which combined, claim five school records.
David Hettler takes over at quarterback and
Tyler Link is the leading returning rusher.
“We had a good core in the weight room in the
offseason. We feel good about where we are with strength and conditioning,”
Waite said. “It looks good – a very good future.”
Granville is looking for its third straight
playoff berth and fourth in school history.
|Newark Licking Valley (12-2)
Licking Valley has been a playoff mainstay
qualifying for the playoffs eight of the last nine seasons, which have included
two state runner-up finishes (2001 and 2007).
But that streak could be in jeopardy this
season with the well left mostly dry following last season’s state semifinals
The most notable player missing from the
roster is RB/LB Storm Klein. In his storied four-year career, the Ohio State
recruit set Central District records with 6,368 yards
rushing and 99 touchdowns.
The Panthers only return three starters on
offense and defense.
“We are very inexperienced,” longtime head
coach Randy Baughman said. “We had a successful (junior varsity) team last year
so we hope they are ready for Friday nights.”
Few teams, regardless of division, have
experienced the success Steubenville has the past decade. Since 1999, the Big
Red have missed the postseason only once, have won two state titles (2005, 2006)
and finished state runner-up last season. What’s more, this season has the
potential to mark Steubenville’s seventh straight undefeated regular season.
There is a good chance that streak will stay
alive with 15 starters returning.
“We have a good nucleus back and that is
always good to have and it is a nucleus we can build around,” said head coach
Reno Saccoccia, who was the D-IV co-coach of the year last season. “We have some
experienced players coming back but there is a difference between an experienced
player that is an underclassman and the experience of a senior leader.”
QB Dwight Macon is a Division I college
prospect with several scholarship offers already. He rushed for 837 yards and 12
touchdowns last season and passed for 2,424 yards and 28 touchdowns with only
four interceptions. He was the D-IV co-player of the year last season.
Steubenville moves up to D-III after two
successful seasons in D-IV.
“If you look at Division III and the way it is
set up, I can’t see any tougher division that is more competitive,” Saccoccia
said. “We are just concentrating on improving everyday and preparing ourselves
mentally and physically for a long and hopefully a long grind.”
Also Keep An Eye On
Cambridge made the playoffs for the first time
in 2004 and made three straight appearances but has failed to qualify since.
QB Billy Webb (5-11, 179, Sr.) was 60-of-116
passing for 798 yards and three touchdowns last season with 169 yards and four
RB/LB Tyler Hardesty (5-11, 205, Sr.) tallied
292 carries for 1,639 yards and 23 touchdowns and also had 13 catches for 167
yards. Experience on the offensive line will help with the ground game,
according to head coach Rich Goodrich.
“I feel we have a strong unit and will be a
little diversified this year,” he said. “We should have the best team speed that
we’ve had. We’ve got some young kids that can run and our older kids have above
average speed and above average quickness.”
New Concord John Glenn (6-4)
John Glenn missed the postseason last year
after three straight appearances and it will be difficult to keep the Little
Muskies out two seasons in a row.
New Lexington (12-2)
The Panthers move up to D-III after finishing
in the D-IV state semifinals last season. New Lexington has made the postseason
four straight seasons. QB/LB Clint Cannon (6-1, 202, Sr.) and RB/LB John
Robinson (6-1, 190, Sr.) headline the Panthers roster this season. Head coach
Bill Nutt was the D-IV co-coach of the year.
Pataskala Licking Heights (7-3)
The Hornets move up from D-IV after finishing
No. 10 in Region 15 last season.
Rayland Buckeye Local (7-4)
earned a playoff berth for the first time last season since 2003.
Thornville Sheridan (11-1)
Sheridan has made the playoffs six times since
2001 but the road ahead looks tough for the Generals this season. With the
graduation of 20 seniors, the entire offense needs to be replaced as well as the
“We have a lot of kids that are going to have
to play both ways this year for us,” head coach Paul Culver said. “When you lose
that many kids it is hard to find that many to take their place.
“I have been around this game long enough to
know what it takes to have a good football team and I think we have some
potential but potential doesn’t translate to what happens on the field unless
you are working hard and doing what you’re supposed to be doing.”
DL Drew Carpenter (6-1, 220, Sr.) was an
All-Ohio first team defense selection.
Other Teams In The Region
Holmes (5-5), Alliance (6-4), Alliance Marlington (5-5), Cadiz Harrison Central
(6-4), Carrollton (0-10), Philo (3-7), East Liverpool (1-9), Hebron Lakewood
(1-9), Lisbon Beaver Local (4-6), McConnelsville Morgan (1-9), Minerva (6-4),
Navarre Fairless (4-6), Richmond Edison (3-7), Salem (0-10), Uhrichsville
Claymont (3-7), Warsaw River View (2-8), Winterville Indian Creek (2-8),
Zanesville Maysville (0-10)
Chillicothe loses some key players from last
season’s team but should have enough pieces in place to compete in the Southeast
Ohio Athletic League and a third playoff berth in four years.
Caleb Knights, a four-year starter, leaves big
shoes to fill at quarterback as the Cavaliers leading rusher and passer. J.T.
Gray is the only lineman on offense returning and is a three-year starter.
Junior RB Casey Oates saw a little time last
season but will be thrown into the firs immediately carrying the ball for
On defense, Shay Netter is a one-man wrecking
crew tallying 151 tackles last season and an interception.
Despite the question marks on offense,
Chillicothe has some young, fast athletes in the program that should be more
than capable of stepping in and taking the reins.
Drew Basil is a Division I college prospect at
kicker and holds several scholarship offers, including Ohio State.
Cincinnati Indian Hill (8-2)
After four straight seasons finishing as the
No. 1 seed in the region, Cincinnati Indian Hill was out on the outside looking
in on the postseason last year finishing No. 9 – missing the playoffs by just
seven-tenths of a point.
New year, new season – new head coach.
With the departure of veteran head coach Kevin
Siple to Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, longtime assistant Mike Theisen
steps in to lead the Braves.
“It’s a great situation to go into,”
said Theisen, who was the Indian Hill defensive coordinator for 15 years. “I was
part of building the program. I think we built a quality program and it is on
very solid ground.
“Now it is my job to not only maintain it but
raise the program up a little bit. So, I am excited.”
Sam Hendrix will step in under center for
graduated three-time all state quarterback Bo Cordell. Hendrix is a Division I
college football prospect.
“We’re pretty fortunate that Sam Hendricks is
going to step right in. I think Sam would have been the starting quarterback had
we not had a three-year starter in Bo Cordell,” Theisen said
The new head coach admits the offense may have
a new look this season making a shift from the pass to a more balanced attack.
Jacob Bauer rushed for 366 yards and six touchdowns in five games last season.
“We’re going to be a little different. We’re
not going to throw the ball as much and we are going to be more run-oriented,”
|Circleville Logan Elm (12-1)
It is one of those turnarounds that is rarely
witnessed in high school sports.
A year after finishing 0-10, head coach Scott
Bartholomew stepped into the Logan Elm program last season and led the Braves to
a perfect regular season and regional finals finish. The season marked the first
undefeated season, home playoff game, playoff win and 12-win season.
But Bartholomew, the D-III coach of the year
last season, refuses to take the credit.
“I didn’t do it, the kids did it,” he said.
“It was a complete change as far as the coaching staff went and I think it gave
the kids a reason for something to believe in. Whether we were selling anything
different from what the old coaching staff did – it was just different and new.”
Johnnie Brown rushed for 1,407 yards on 235
carries at quarterback and passed for 912 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Logan Hauserman is a Division I college
prospect on the line.
With the success experienced last season,
Bartholomew admits his team was able to sneak up on some teams. This year, those
teams will be gunning for Logan Elm.
“Last year we were earning respect and this
year it is a matter of validating what we did last year,” he said. “We are going
to have to be ready for everybody’s best game. No one is going to overlook us
this time around and we are going to be the team they want to beat.”
Waverly took its lumps last season in D-IV with a lineup of
This season in D-III, those players are back and aiming to
reach the postseason for the third time on four years.
“We’re going to have just about everybody back from last
year,” head coach Rusty Wright said. “Those kids played for the first time last
year because they had a bunch of good football players in front of them. Last
year, they were just thrown in the mix and hadn’t really played.”
“It was a tough year but it was a growing year. We’re
coming back with a lot of good kids that got a lot of good time last year.”
Derek Roback is back at quarterback after tossing for 1,585
yards and 21 touchdowns while rushing for 480 yards and four more touchdowns in
his first season under center. He was an all-state receiver as a sophomore.
“It really took a year for Derek to learn, especially with
the offensive line that we had,” Wright said. “We expect Derek to be a lot
better quarterback this year. With Derek’s ability to make plays, hopefully the
burden won’t be all on his shoulders.”
Kevin Malone returns at tailback after missing six games to
injury last season and Price will be out wide for Roback after starting ten
games last season.
“We feel pretty good about what we got as far as skills guy
and the offensive line back,” Wright said.
Also Keep An Eye On
QB Jay Bucher (6-4, 220, Sr.), OL/DL Matt
Longo (6-1, 190, Jr.) and O/DL Brian Baird (6-4, 210, Jr.) headline the Golden
Eagles roster has Bellbrook drops from D-II. Bucher is a Division I college
football prospect and Longo is the younger brother of Ohio State freshman OL Sam
Bellbrook’s last playoff appearance was in
|Cincinnati Wyoming (7-3)
DL Jibreel Black (6-2, 260, Sr.) headlines an
experienced roster this season with scholarship offers to some of the top
schools in the country. He ended his recruiting in late June committing to
Indiana and will join his older brother Larry in Bloomington. Wyoming has made the playoffs three of the last four
Dayton Chaminade Julienne (6-4)
RB Ahmad Mack (5-9, 162, Sr.) rushed for 572
yards and five touchdowns in nine games for the Eagles while WR Laron Brown
(6-4, 178, Sr.) ranked in the top 20 in receiving in the Greater Catholic League
with 270 yards and three touchdowns in just six games.
C-J faces the challenge of replacing
three-year starting quarterback Kurt Hess, who was the No. 3 rated passer in the
GCL last season. C-J made the playoffs every season from 1999-2005, including a
D-II state title in 2002 but the Eagles have yet to make the postseason since.
Dayton Dunbar (8-3)
The Wolverines made the postseason last year
in D-II for the first time since 2002. However Dunbar could be without head
coach James Lacking after he was placed on administrative leave May 22 after an
alleged altercation with a student.
Dayton Oakwood (8-4)
The Lumberjacks made the playoffs for the
third straight season last year but moves up from D-IV without leading rusher
and graduate Robbie Sherk.
Leading rusher Dalton Caudill (5-10, 180, Sr.)
returns after notching 1,455 yards and 16 touchdowns last season as well as
leading passer Austin Fudge (6-2, 170, Sr.). He threw for 1,213 yards, 10
touchdowns and four interceptions.
OL Clint Sheppard (6-4, 265, Sr.) is a
have to rebuild the defensive line and linebacking corps,” head coach Ron Neanen
said. “Some of our players will have to play both ways to fill in positions and
give us depth on defense.”
Eaton missed the postseason last year coming
off three straight appearances.
The Wildcats made the playoffs last season for the first time since 1993.
The typically strong Ironmen program has
missed the playoffs the past two seasons.
Other Teams In The Region
Cincinnati Roger Bacon
(4-6), Bethel-Tate (4-5), Cincinnati McNicholas (3-7), Circleville (1-9),
Gallipolis Gallia Academy (5-5), Goshen (4-6), Greenfield McClain (2-8),
Hillsboro (2-8), McArthur Vinton County (1-9), Monroe (5-5), New Richmond (7-3),
North Bend Taylor (2-8), Norwood (7-3), Springfield Greenon (5-5), Springfield
Kenton Ridge (3-7), Springfield Shawnee (5-5), Washington Court House Miami
Trace (6-4), Washington Court House (1-9).
PLAYER OF THE YEAR CANDIDATES
Chi Chi Ariguzo,
WR/DB, Columbus DeSales
Bryan Ausperk, OL/DL, Akron SVSM
Evan Bach, RB/DB,
Canal Fulton Northwest
Bauer, RB, Cincinnati Indian Hill
Jibreel Black, DL, Cincinnati Wyoming
Jay Bucher, QB, Bellbrook
Kurtis Drummond, WR/ATH, Hubbard
Austin Fudge, QB,
Andre Givens, RB/DB, Hubbard
Doran Grant, RB, Akron SVSM (junior)
Adam Griffin, RB,
Hardesty, RB/LB, Cambridge
Hauserman, DL/TE, Circleville Logan Elm
Braylon Heard, RB/DB, Youngstown Mooney
QB/WR, Cincinnati Indian Hill
David Hertler, QB, Granville
Travis Jackson, OL/DL, Columbus DeSales
Adam Leeds, ATH, Bexley
Trey Lidle, QB, Poland Seminary
Dwight Macon, QB,
Marcus Mamarella, QB, Dover
Shay Netter, RB/LB, Chillicothe
Derek Roback, QB, Waverly
John Robinson, RB/LB, New Lexington
Clint Sheppard, OL, Eaton
Bobby Spence, RB/DB, Rayland Buckeye Local
Stryffeler, TE/DL, Parma Padua Franciscan
Carl Washington, RB/DB, Columbus Eastmoor Academy
Luke Wollet, RB, Poland Seminary
GAMES OF INTEREST
Akron SVSM vs. Columbus Watterson, Hubbard vs. Poland Seminary, Chardon NDCL
vs. Cleveland Benedictine, Youngstown Boardman vs. Youngstown Mooney, Massillon
Washington vs. Akron Buchtel, Olmsted Falls vs. Parma Padua Franciscan, Canal
Winchester vs. Bexley, Columbus DeSales vs. Gahanna Lincoln, Tipp City
Tippecanoe vs. St. Paris Graham, Sandusky Perkins vs. Bellevue, Delaware Hayes
vs. Delaware Buckeye Valley, Lima Shawnee vs. Maria stein Marion Local, Defiance
vs. Napoleon, Sandusky vs. Sandusky Perkins, Canton South vs. Dover, Cuyahoga
Falls Walsh Jesuit vs. Newark Licking Valley, Martins Ferry vs. Rayland Buckeye
Local, Thornville Sheridan vs. Bellaire, Cincinnati Indian Hill vs. Cincinnati
McNicholas, Miamisburg vs. Bellbrook, Cincinnati Wyoming vs. Cincinnati hills
Christian Academy, Dayton Chaminade Julienne vs. Troy, Germantown valley View
vs. Dayton Dunbar, Versailles vs. Dayton Oakwood
Akron Hoban vs. Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit, New Philadelphia vs. Beloit
West Branch, Hubbard vs. Warren JFK, Chagrin Falls vs. Chardon NDCL, Youngstown
Mooney vs. Columbus DeSales, Cleveland Benedictine vs. Mentor Lake Catholic,
Streetsboro vs. Ravenna, Clyde vs. Olmsted Falls, Columbus Watterson vs.
Westerville South, Columbus St. Charles vs. Columbus Eastmoor Academy, Dover vs.
Ashland, New Concord John Glenn vs. New Lexington, Rayland Buckeye Local vs. St.
Clairsville, Chillicothe vs. Sunbury Big Walnut, Germantown Valley View vs.
Cincinnati Indian Hill, Williamsport Westfall vs. Circleville Logan Elm, Jackson
vs. Waverly, Bellbrook vs. Kettering Alter, Dayton Oakwood vs. Cincinnati
Wyoming, Dayton Chaminade Julienne vs. Dayton Thurgood Marshall, Dayton Dunbar
vs. Trotwood-Madison, Eaton vs. St. Henry
Louisville vs. Akron Hoban, Akron SVSM vs. Akron Garfield, Chardon NDCL vs.
Hunting Valley University School, Warren G. Harding vs. Akron Buchtel, Parma
Padua Franciscan vs. Strongsville, Bexley vs. Columbus Hartley, Clyde vs.
Bellevue, New Albany vs. Columbus DeSales, West Milton Milton-Union vs. Tipp
City Tippecanoe, Delaware Buckeye Valley vs. Marion Pleasant, Canal Fulton
Northwest vs. Mogadore Field, Canfield vs. Dover, Cambridge vs. Newark Licking
Valley, New Concord John Glenn vs. Thornville Sheridan, Wilmington vs.
Chillicothe, Cincinnati Indian Hill vs. Cincinnati Turpin, St. Bernard Roger
Bacon vs. Cincinnati Sycamore
Akron Hoban vs. Akron SVSM, Poland Seminary vs. Cortland Lakeview, Youngstown
Mooney vs. Warren G. Harding, Kent Roosevelt vs. Mogadore Field, Madison vs.
Parma Padua Franciscan, Columbus Watterson vs. Cincinnati Winton Woods, Columbus
DeSales vs. Cincinnati Anderson, Columbus Academy vs. Granville, Thornville
Sheridan vs. Cambridge, Lancaster Fisher Catholic vs. Pataskala Licking Heights
(Saturday at Columbus Hartley), Chillicothe vs. Zanesville, Amanda-Clearcreek
vs. Circleville Logan Elm, Dayton Oakwood vs. Germantown Valley View, Brookville
vs. Eaton, West Milton Milton-Union vs. Franklin, Portsmouth vs. Jackson, Dayton
Carroll vs. St. Bernard Roger Bacon
Alliance vs. Beloit West Branch, Hubbard vs. Cortland Lakeview, Youngstown
Mooney vs. Mentor Lake Catholic, Cleveland Benedictine vs. Columbus Watterson,
Parma Padua Franciscan vs. Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit, St. Marys Memorial vs.
Defiance, Sandusky St. Mary’s vs. Sandusky Perkins, Louisville vs. Canal Fulton
Northwest, Granville vs. Bexley, Chillicothe vs. Portsmouth, Columbus Hartley
vs. Dayton Dunbar, Eaton vs. Dayton Oakwood
Canton Central Catholic vs. Akron SVSM, Beloit West Branch vs. Louisville,
Cleveland Benedictine vs. Lakewood St. Edward, Parma Padua Franciscan vs. Mentor
Lake Catholic, Columbus Watterson vs. Cincinnati LaSalle, Tiffin Columbian vs.
Bellevue, Canal Fulton Northwest vs. Canton South, Granville vs. Newark Licking
Valley, Ironton vs. Chillicothe, Bellbrook vs. Germantown Valley View, Dayton
Oakwood vs. Brookville, Eaton vs. West Milton Milton-Union
Akron Hoban vs. Elyria Catholic, Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit vs. Akron SVSM,
Canton South vs. Beloit West Branch, Chardon NDCL vs. Parma Padua Franciscan,
Warren Howland vs. Poland Seminary, Cleveland Benedictine vs. Youngstown Mooney,
Streetsboro vs. Mogadore, Newark Catholic vs. Bexley, Sandusky St. Mary’s vs.
Clyde, Columbus DeSales vs. Columbus Watterson, Bellevue vs. Fostoria, Defiance
vs. Lima Shawnee, Steubenville vs. Massillon Washington, Cambridge vs. Dover,
Bellbrook vs. Eaton, Dayton Carroll vs. Dayton Chaminade Julienne, Waynesville
vs. Dayton Oakwood, Germantown Valley View vs. Franklin, Ironton vs. Jackson
Mentor Lake Catholic vs. Akron Hoban, Akron SVSM vs. Youngstown Cardinal
Mooney, Hubbard vs. Youngstown Liberty, Steubenville vs. Poland Seminary,
Youngstown Ursuline vs. Akron Buchtel, Cleveland Benedictine vs. Cuyahoga Falls
Walsh Jesuit, Parma Padua Franciscan vs. Cleveland VASJ, Bexley vs. Columbus
Academy, Cincinnati Elder vs. Columbus DeSales, Clyde vs. Sandusky Perkins,
Newark Licking Valley vs. Newark Catholic, New Philadelphia vs. Cambridge,
Chillicothe vs. Jackson. Wheelersburg vs. Waverly, Brookville vs.
Bellbrook, Eaton vs. Franklin, St. Bernard Roger Bacon vs. Kettering Alter
Akron Hoban vs. Parma Padua Franciscan, Canal Fulton Northwest vs. Beloit
West Branch, Mentor Lake Catholic vs. Chardon NDCL, Youngstown Mooney vs.
Youngstown Ursuline, Ravenna vs. Mogadore Field, Oak Harbor vs. Clyde,
Cincinnati Elder vs. Columbus DeSales, Columbus Eastmoor Academy vs. Columbus
Independence, New Carlisle Tecumseh vs. Tipp City Tippecanoe, Lima Shawnee vs.
St. Marys Memorial, Columbus Academy vs. Newark Licking Valley, New Concord John
Glenn vs. New Philadelphia, Dayton Oakwood vs. Bellbrook, Dayton Thurgood
Marshall vs. Dayton Dunbar, Germantown Valley View vs. Eaton, Franklin vs.
Brookville, Logan vs. Jackson, Dayton Chaminade Julienne vs. St. Bernard Roger
Chardon NDCL vs. Akron Hoban, Youngstown Ursuline vs. Akron SVSM, Poland
Seminary vs. Canfield, Columbus Watterson vs. Youngstown Mooney, Columbus
DeSales vs. Cleveland Benedictine, Bexley vs. Newark Licking Valley, Alliance
vs. Canal Fulton Northwest, Dover vs. New Philadelphia, Granville vs. Newark
Catholic, Steubenville vs. Cardinal O’Hara (N.Y.), New Lexington vs. Thornville
Sheridan, Logan vs. Chillicothe, Cincinnati Wyoming vs. Cincinnati Indian Hill,
Bellbrook vs. West Milton Milton-Union, Dayton Chaminade Julienne vs. Kettering
Alter, Dayton Oakwood vs. Franklin, Zanesville vs. Jackson
OHIO HIGH PREDICTIONS
Youngstown Mooney over Akron Hoban
Columbus DeSales over Columbus Watterson
Steubenville over Canal Fulton Northwest
Waverly over Cincinnati Wyoming
Columbus DeSales over Steubenville