Winton Woods just getting started; Warriors out to defend state title


Winton Woods Warriors

Winton Woods stormed its way to the 2009 Division II state
by outscoring its five postseason opponents by an average of 34 points. The only thing that would feel better to the Warriors
would be a repeat.

And They have the horses to do it.

Winton Woods (13-2)
Division II
Region 8

2009 Record: 13-2, State Champions

* Players To Watch – QB Thomas Owens (5-10, 205, Sr.), MLB Antonio Poole (6-1, 207, Sr.), CB Corey Webber (6-2, 182, Sr.), DB Zach Bomar (6-0, 170, Sr.), DB Chuck Wynn (5-11, 195, Sr.), DE Walter Richardson (6-2, 198, Sr.), RB Aaron Kemper (5-8, 186, Jr.).

* Outlook – Winton Woods stormed its way to the 2009 Division II state championship and the only thing that would feel better to the Warriors would be a repeat.

Just how dominant was Winton Woods last year? It won its five postseason games by an average margin of 34 points (an average score of 47.6-13.6) cumulating in their 42-12 triumph over Maple Heights in the title game. The Warriors’ closest game in the playoffs was 28-7 against Trotwood-Madison in the regional final.

This year, Winton Woods must replace several talented starters – such as QB Dominique Brown and RB Jeremiah Goins – but it returns with plenty of weapons in its arsenal.

Owens is ranked as one of the state’s top 25 senior wide receiver prospects by Ohio High/Scouting Ohio. He played running back the last couple years, but will move to quarterback this season.

“Yeah, we think Thomas will end up being our quarterback,” former Winton Woods head coach Troy Everhart said. “We had a really good one the last three years, but Thomas filled in for us some and did a good job. He’s extremely explosive and the consensus on the staff is that we need to get the ball in his hands a lot and the best way to do that is to play him at QB.”

Owens is getting some looks from MAC schools, but by far the most highly-recruited player on the team is Poole. He already has over 20 scholarship offers and is ranked as the No. 2 senior middle linebacker in the state by Ohio High/Scouting Ohio. Only Trey DePriest of Springfield (who is one of the top recruits in the nation and will likely pick between Alabama and Ohio State) is ranked higher.

“Antonio is the most high-profile defensive kid we’ve had in a while,” Everhart said.

Other players to keep a close eye on include Webber (ranked as the No. 12 corner prospect in the state), Bomar (ranked as the No. 15 safety prospect in the state) and Kemper (first-year starter who the staff is very high on – he will replace Goins in the backfield).

Looking back on last season, Everhart is a bit shocked at how well everything turned out.

“The surprise for me was I thought our ’08 team was better than the ’09 team,” he said. “But, obviously other factors go into it. It was real nice experience for us when you consider the turmoil our school district was under. Then once we passed the levy, the kids’ minds were back on football. I know a lot of kids were worried about where they were going to play football in 2010. They knew they weren’t going to stay at Winton Woods if we didn’t have football. So, passing the levy and then playing like we did and winning the state championship made everything great in the community.

“As far as what you said about us winning in dominating fashion in the playoffs, I thought all of our opponents were very good. I just think that every week we felt really confident and we got some balls to bounce our way. So, yeah, looking at the scores, we dominated. But it came from the strong teams that we had played in the regular season. Our kids pride themselves on our schedule and the fact that we play a lot of tough teams. Winning at (Columbus) Watterson proved to me that we could win anywhere. We thought we had a really good chance to do some big things last year and fortunately we able to accomplish all of our goals.”

In terms of expectations for this season, Everhart says his team has a “quiet confidence” that they will do well.

“Our goals really haven’t changed,” he said. “Our goal is always to be in the hunt for and to win championships, whether that’s the league, region or state champions. Partly because of what happened last year, our kids have gone from saying ‘We want to win the league,’ to ‘We want to win regional and state.’

“We want to become one of those programs that are always in the discussion. But to win state, you have to be good and lucky. We were very healthy the last few years – our starting quarterback and running back missed a total of one game through three years.”

And looking a couple years down the line, the Warriors have an abundance of young talent in the system.

“We have a dynamite freshman class,” Everhart said. “It’s probably the best I’ve ever had.”

Everhart himself will be missing from the sidelines this fall as well. He resigned in mid-July.

Citing “highly placed sources in the Unviersity of Cincinnati football program,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Everhart will join the Bearcats staff as an assistant coach.

“Troy has communicated to us that he would pursue an outside opportunity,” Winton Woods athletic director Dwight Campbell told the paper. “He didn’t specify what that would be. It’s something that came as a surprise to us, but we understand his position and his aspirations. We’re happy for him but not pleased with the timing.”

Andre Parker, Winton Woods’ defensive coordinator, will become interim head coach.

* Schedule – After openers with GCL South clubs Moeller, LaSalle and St. Xavier the last three years, the Warriors draw Elder this season. Another crucial non-league meeting occurs with Watterson in Week 3.

8/27    @ ELDER         
9/3      @ WITHROW 
9/24    @ WALNUT HILLS 
10/1    HARRISON
10/8    LOVELAND
10/15  @ MILFORD
10/29  @ GLEN ESTE

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