After narrowly missing the playoffs in 2007, Columbus Eastmoor Academy stormed through the regular season and postseason to the 2008 Division III state title game where the Warriors fell just short to Aurora and finished state runners-up.
The bar has been raised at Eastmoor but the goals and expectations remain the same.
Columbus Eastmoor Academy (13-2)
* Players to Watch –
QB/FS Ronald Tanner (6-1, 170, Jr.),
RB/DB Carl Washington (5-9, 175, Sr.), WR/DB Steven Mitchell (5-11, 165,
Sr.), LB/WR Kevin Tucker (5-9, 155, Jr.), RB/LB Shawn Jackson (5-9, 172, Jr.),
TE/LB/K Kwesi Sample (6-0, 186, Jr.), OL/DL Shaquille Ragin (5-11, 260, Jr.), OL/DL
Jabari Howard (6-1, 280, Soph.), RB/DB Mikale Long (5-7, 145, Jr.), WR Denzel
McDougald (6-3, 185, Sr.)
Outlook – “Unfinished Business” was the motto
Columbus Eastmoor Academy played every game by last season.
The Warriors were 9-1 in the 2007 regular season but
narrowly missed the playoffs finishing ninth in the Division III, Region 12
final computer points standings.
“We went to bed thinking we were in (the playoffs) and we woke up and were
crushed in the morning,” head coach Jim Miranda told Ohio High at the end
of last season.
“The kids talked about unfinished business and the goal was to get to the
playoffs and get it done. They were willing to sacrifice.
was our thing.”
Eastmoor rode that motivation last season all the way to the Division III
state championship game but the Warriors were denied their first state title
falling to Aurora 21-10.
While the goal is the same this season, the approach has changed.
“Everybody knows who we are now so a lot of teams are
looking forward to playing us,” said Miranda. “It is good to be put up there
with some of those other teams but I think it is a lot for our guys to work for.
But I think they are excited and motivated to do so.
“There has been a lot of excitement from the kids in the
weight room and everybody is working hard, so that is a positive. I think (the playoff run) was
a great experience for the kids because we had to face some quality football
programs and to have achieved some success gives them a lot to be motivated for
this coming season.”
As the approach has changed, so has the Eastmoor roster –
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.
Tanner will take the snaps and already boasts a scholarship
offer from West Virginia. On defense, he had 102 tackles at safety and earned first team All-City honors.
Washington will tote the ball coming off a broken leg
suffered in Week 4 last season. He tallied 600 yards and eight touchdowns before
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
Eastmor tied Columbus Marion-Franklin for the City League
South title en route to the state title game and Miranda feels the league will
be just competitive this season if not more.
“A lot of teams in the City League were junior-laden last
year,” he said. “A lot of teams are pumped and I think the South Division is going
to be stronger. Hopefully they will win a lot more ball games again and
hopefully give us an opportunity to make a run towards the playoffs.”
Should Eastmoor make the postseason, the lineup of teams
will be different as the Warriors move into D-III, Region 10.
“The teams we played (in the playoffs) last season weren’t
slouches,” Miranda said. “Those are all storied and traditional programs that
are used to winning and being in the playoffs year after year. We had our hands
full last year and (the teams) are of the same quality this year also.”
Coming off last season’s success, Miranda’s knows Eastmoor
has some new faces and faces new challenges this season but feels confident in his team and staff.
“Last year, we made the most out of different kids stepping
up when the opportunity presented itself,” he said. “Some of those kids have
graduated so the opportunity presents itself for some other kids to come up and
make their name.
“The kids are excited, the coaching staff is excited and
we’re ready to get to work. We’re hoping to build on the excitement.”
Aug. 28, Columbus East, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 4, at Columbus St. Charles, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 11, at Canal Winchester Harvest Prep, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 18, at Columbus West, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25, Columbus Briggs, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2, at Columbus South, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 9, Columbus Walnut Ridge, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 16, at Columbus Marion-Franklin, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 23, Columbus Independence, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 30, Columbus Africentric, 7:30 p.m.