Blue-chip talent, experience makes Columbus DeSales early favorite in D-III

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Columbus DeSales Stallions

DeSales has made the playoffs every season since 1994 including two state titles and three runner-up finishes.
While Northeast and Southwest Ohio have locked down football on the statewide level, respectively, DeSales has been a constant out of the Central area of the state.

Much of the same can be expected this season.


Columbus DeSales (13-1)

* Players to Watch
– RB/LB Evan Killea (6-0, 190, Sr.), WR/DB Chi Chi Ariguzo (6-2, 200, Sr.),
RB/DB Adam Griffin (5-9, 180, Sr.), OL/DL Travis Jackson (6-4, 245, Sr.), OL/DL
Alex Vance
(6-4, 215, Sr.), OL/DL Joe Riley (6-0, 235, Sr.), TE/DL Chris Rock
(6-5, 245, Jr.), QB/DB Mitch Herbert (5-11, 170, Sr.), WR/DB Mitch Yinger
(5-10, 170, Sr.), QB/LB Sam Borghese (6-2, 170, Jr.), QB/DB Nick Gentile (6-1,
190, Jr.), RB/LB Malcolm Burrell (5-10, 210, Sr.)

Outlook – DeSales
has made the playoffs every season since 1994 including two state titles and
three runner-up finishes.

While Northeast and Southwest Ohio have locked down football on the statewide level, respectively, DeSales has been a constant out of the Central area of the state.

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.”

DeSales drops to D-III, Region 10 this season with bitter
rival Columbus Watterson so the Week 7 matchup will have plenty of playoff
implications.

“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.

“The rivalry games are difficult to play and the Watterson
game is always a very hard-fought game and it doesn’t matter what the records
are. Both schools know each other very well from the coaches to the players.

“It is an exciting game and it is a challenge for both of us.”

Besides Watterson, DeSales also has Cincinnati Anderson,
Cincinnati Elder, Cleveland Benedictine and Cincinnati LaSalle on the schedule.
Anderson and Elder finished D-II and D-I state runners-up last season,
respectively.

“Our regular season is so tough it doesn’t matter what
division you’re in,” said Wiggins. “It is a chore just to get (to the playoffs) and you
have your work cut out each in every week with the schedule we have. So, that
has to be our main focus.

“You look at that schedule and I don’t see any teams that
aren’t going to win some games. You’ve just got to
be able to win a few and get some points out of it.”

The Stallions have a solid nucleus back, especially upfront,
to go up against that schedule. Jackson is ranked as the No. 30 top prospect in the Ohio High magazine top 150 and is a Tennessee recruit Vance, a top 150 Contender, is a Division I college
prospect and Rock is one of the top players in Ohio’s 2011 class.

“The one thing I am excited about is we have a decent group
of linemen and that goes a long way in Division III. You can’t have enough good
linemen,” said Wiggins.

Ariguzo, a Northwestern recruit, will anchor the linebacking
group. He is ranked No. 35 in the 2010 class.

“When you look at that group right there you’ve got some
linemen and you’ve got some defense, which is a good place to start,” Wiggins
said.

On offense, Griffin
rushed for 800 yards last season as a role player. He is the son of two-time Heisman
Trophy winner Archie Griffin and also stars on the hardwood for the Stallions.

“(Griffin)
is one of the best players on the field in any sport he plays and he is going
to give us a lot,” Wiggins said.

DeSales will have a new quarterback under center with the
departure of Thomas Gentile and the starting job will come down to Herbert,
Nick Gentile or Borghese.

“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 scheme. All of
them are capable football players but I don’t think you can look at any of them
and say they are a pure quarterback.

“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.”

Schedule 

Aug.
28, Gahanna Lincoln, 7:30 p.m.

Sept.
4, at Youngstown Cardinal Mooney, 7:30 p.m.

Sept.
11, at New Albany,
7:30 p.m.

Sept.
18, Cincinnati Anderson, 7:30 p.m.

Sept.
25, Findlay, 7:30
p.m.

Oct.
2, at Columbus St.
Charles, 7:30 p.m.

Oct.
9, Columbus
Watterson, 7:30 p.m.

Oct.
16, at Cincinnati
Elder, 7:30 p.m.

Oct.
23, at Cincinnati
LaSalle, 7:30 p.m.

Oct.
30, Cleveland Benedictine,
7:30 p.m.

 

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