Region 4 Overview: Southwest Ohio is again loaded with Big School powers


Region 4

As usual, Southwest Ohio is a hotbed for big-time, big school football. St. Xavier, Colerain, Moeller, Centerville, Wayne, Northmont, Lakota West, Elder…the list is a lengthy one and one that few – if any – region in the country can match.




Cincinnati St. Xavier (9-3)
* Players to Watch –
LB Steven Daniels (6-1, 240, Sr.), TB Connor Hundley (5-9, 200, Jr.), LB Sean Duggan (6-4, 215, Sr.), OL Jack Woodall (6-3, 260, Sr.).
* Outlook – St. Xavier has won a pair of state titles with 15-0 seasons in the last five years. Last year, the Bombers got back into the playoffs after missing the field in 2008. St. X dropped a 17-14 decision to rival Cincinnati Elder in the regional semifinals.
Coach Steve Specht, back for his seventh season at the helm, has six starters returning on each side of the ball.
“I feel good about our experience up front on offense and defense,” Specht said. “Our offensive line and our running game should be good. In our defensive front, we have three down linemen and three linebackers who should be the strength of our team.”
St. X will look to senior Nick Albers or junior Griffin Dolle to replace departed starter Luke Massa (Notre Dame) at quarterback. Daniels was a third-team All-Ohio pick last year.

Clayton Northmont (6-4)
* Players to Watch –
WR/OLB Josh McClain (6-2, 230, Sr.), DT Chavez Leath (6-0, 275, Sr.), QB Rob Sakosky (5-11, 175, Sr.), MLB Kaleb Ringer (6-1, 220, Jr.), DT Jeremy Campbell (6-0, 245, Jr.).
* Outlook – The Thunderbolts have qualified for the playoffs in seven of the last nine seasons, but missed the field last year. Coach Lance Schneider, starting his 12th year at Northmont, has five starters back on offense and six on defense.
“We have to replace three of our five offensive linemen and three of our four defensive backs,” Schneider said. “It really comes down to those two areas for us.”
McClain moves from being primarily a wide receiver to a linebacker. Sakosky returns at quarterback after throwing for 951 yards and eight TDs last year. Ringer is considered one of the state’s top 10 prospects for 2012.
“Kaleb already has offers from Cincinnati and Iowa,” Schneider said. “He is very physical and just mentally unbalanced enough to be a great linebacker.”

Centerville (9-3)
* Players to Watch –
OL/DL Michael Bennett (6-3, 275, Sr.), OL/DL Benny McGowan (6-4, 290, Jr.), DL Kyle Rose (6-4, 240, Sr.), LB Mike Replogle (6-3, 215, Sr.), DL Connor Donnini (5-11, 275, Sr.), S Jay Mastin (6-1, 200, Jr.), S Brandon Reese (5-10, 185, Sr.); RB Tristan Boykin (6-0, 190, Sr.)
* Outlook – The Elks have been one of the most consistent programs in Ohio under Ron Ullery, who returns for his 12th year as the Centerville coach. Centerville dropped its playoff opener to Cincinnati St. Xavier 37-12 last year. Ullery welcomes back six starters on offense and nine on defense.
“We feel really good about the team we’ve got coming back,” Ullery said. “We should be strong up front. We have some experience there and some good players there. We have good size and good speed and decent depth.”
Bennett is considered one of Ohio’s top 10 prospects for 2011 and has already committed to Ohio State. McGowan and Rose join him in what could be a dynamite defensive front four.
Boykin is the team’s leading returning rusher (749 yards, four TDs) and was it’s leading receiver (396 yards, two TDs). He has an offer from Buffalo.

Cincinnati Colerain (8-2)
* Players to Watch –
FB Trayion Durham (6-2, 245, Sr.), RB Tyler Williams (5-7, 160, Sr.), MLB Jarrett Grace (6-4, 242, Sr.), CB Chris Dukes (5-10, 180, Sr.), OLB Andrew Smith (6-2, 215, Sr.).
* Outlook – Tom Bolden has posted a 29-5 record in three seasons at Colerain, but the Cardinals missed the playoffs last year. Bolden has seven starters returning on each side of the ball.
“We’re happy with how we ended up last year,” Bolden said. “We played St. X and Elder the first two weeks and dropped both games and then won the next eight. We’re battle tested. We went into our lifting with a chip on our shoulder and I hope we play with one from the fact we missed the playoffs.”
Colerain has two key pieces of its running game back in Durham (1,113 yards, 14 TDs last year) and Williams (893 yards, eight TDs). Grace has already committed to Notre Dame as a linebacker.

Cincinnati Moeller (9-2)
* Players to Watch –
DE Jesse Hayes (6-4, 230, Sr.), LB Kendall Walker (6-0, 210, Sr.), LB Dylan Ruter (6-1, 230, Sr.), OL Sam Fraley (6-6, 295, Sr.), CB Shaquille Jenks (6-1, 180, Sr.).
* Outlook – John Rodenberg has led Moeller to playoff berths in each of his first two seasons as the Crusaders coach. Rodenberg’s team could be poised to go deeper in 2010 with five starters back on offense and six returning on defense.
“It was good to make the playoffs again,” Rodenberg said. “We feel like we were establishing our identity. It feels like we are getting things moving in the right direction. Our strength program is set in stone now.”
Moeller must find a quarterback to replace Notre Dame signee Andrew Hendrix. Rodenberg likes what he sees on defense with the likes of Hayes (4.5 sacks last year) and Walker.

Cincinnati Elder (10-3)
* Players to Watch –
RB-WR Ben Coffaro (5-9, 180, Sr.), LB Jake Lindsay (6-2, 210, Sr.), DT Rakhim Johnson (6-0, 215, Jr.), LB Kevin Hyland (6-2, 205, Sr.).
* Outlook – Elder won back-to-back state titles in 2002-03 and then went largely quiet until a state title game appearance in 2008. The Panthers advanced to the state semifinals last year before falling to eventual champion Hilliard Davidson 24-20.
Coach Doug Ramsey, who is starting his 14th year as the Panthers head coach, has just five starters back (two offense, three defense).
“We are going to be inexperienced,” Ramsey said. “We will have some jobs that need to be won. We’ll have some seniors who have not played a lot and the question is whether they can step up and win a job and be leaders.”
Coffaro was a second-team All-Ohio pick as a junior. He is a dual threat player who had 684 yards and nine TDs rushing and 46 catches for 536 yards and four scores receiving.

Cincinnati Anderson (12-1)
this school’s Quarterspondent

* Players to Watch – LB Tony Martini (6-1, 195, Sr.), DB Thomas Krutka (6-0, 165, Sr.), DB Chris Shingleton (5-9, 150, Sr.), WR Jordan Shelton (6-2, 175, Sr.).
* Outlook – Over the last three years, Anderson has posted a 37-6 mark with a Division II state title in 2007 and a runner-up finish in 2008. Anderson moved up to D-I last year and showed it belonged with the only perfect regular season in Region 4. The run came to an end, though, with a regional final loss to Elder (28-21).
Coach Jeff Giesting returns for his fourth season at the helm and has six returning starters (two offense, four defense).
“We’re young,” Giesting said. “We have some good guys who have worked hard. We may only have 17 seniors. When we won the state, we only had 15. I’m not saying this team will do that, but it does help to have 25 seniors. It’s a good time to be a freshman or sophomore at Anderson.”
Shelton had 20 catches last year. Senior Ryan Ossenbeck and junior Nick Mason will battle for the quarterback job.

West Chester Lakota West (9-2)
* Players to Watch –
OL Ryan Kelly (6-5, 285, Sr.), OL Phillip Brinkman (6-3, 270, Sr.), DE Matt Fox (6-4, 230, Sr.), NG Blake Bell (6-0, 240, Jr.), LB Dylan Romero (6-1, 195, Sr.), QB Ben Gooch (6-0, 175, Sr.).
* Outlook – Lakota West coach Larry Cox is back for his 14th year with the Firebirds. He welcomes back five starters on offense and four on defense.
“We graduated 33 seniors, so it’s a situation where you go and scratch your head a little bit,” Cox said. “We do return a lot of guys up front and that helps. Our biggest inexperience will be in the skill positions. We have to replace our entire secondary and our entire offensive backfield.”
Gooch is the leading candidate to take over at quarterback. Kelly has offers from a number of top schools, including Alabama, Florida State, Florida and Michigan.

Middletown (10-2)
* Players to Watch –
LB Kyle Schwarber (6-2, 225, Sr.), WR Zach Edwards (6-0, 180, Jr.), S Alec Fultz (5-11, 185, Sr.), OL Kevin Henderson (6-2, 245, Jr.), QB Giovonie McKnight (6-3, 185, Jr.).
* Outlook – It was a breakthrough season in 2009 for Middletown. The Middies qualified for the playoffs for the first time in 19 years and defeated host Moeller in their opening game (45-10) before falling to Anderson in the regional semis (41-20). Still, coach Jason Krause, who earned a share of the state coach of the year award, likes what he sees with his program.
“I think last year showed the kids in our program that the things we are doing work,” said Krause, who is back for his third year at the helm. “We had a nice run and won 10 games. I think the kids believe in the things we are asking them to do.”
Krause welcomes back 12 starters (six offense, six defense).
“It will be a junior-dominated team,” he said. “We played a lot of sophomores last year. We’ll have a few seniors who will also have to step up.”
McKnight figures to step in at quarterback.

Cincinnati LaSalle (5-5)
this school’s Quarterspondent

* Players to Watch – QB Drew Kummer (6-3, 206, Sr.), WR/FL Matt Woeste (6-0, 180, Sr.), RG Jessie Back (6-4, 280, Sr.), S Ben Ingle (6-1, 205, Sr.), SE/WR Rod Coleman (6-3, 180, Sr.).
* Outlook – LaSalle coach Tom Grippa has nine returning starters (six offense, three defense). Some believe LaSalle could be the team to beat in the always tough GCL South this year.
“Our younger guys have been very successful,” Grippa said. “The juniors we have were 9-1 as freshmen and 10-0 on the JV. Four of them played varsity for us last year. This could be LaSalle’s year. We only have one league championship and that was a co-championship in 1995 when I was at Elder.”
Woeste had 35 catches and Coleman had 30 last year. Kummer is one of the top returning quarterbacks in Region 4. He threw for 1,863 yards and 14 touchdowns last year.

Huber Heights Wayne (8-3)
* Players to Watch –
QB Braxton Miller (6-3, 202, Sr.), DB Tre Moore (5-11, 192, Sr.), DB Tre Thomas (6-0, 200, Sr.), CB Mike Bonner (5-11, 175, Sr.), RB Anthony Taylor (5-11, 205, Sr.).
* Outlook – Wayne reached the playoffs last year but dropped its opener to Cincinnati Elder 35-14 at The Pit. Coach Jay Minton returns for his 12th year at Wayne and 20th season as a varsity head coach. He finds 15 returning starters (nine offense, six defense).
 “It is a good nucleus,” Minton said. “I hate that word potential because potential gets you beat every time. We have a high expectation, but every year we do. Our kids are working. We’re the strongest we have ever been here in the weight room.”
Of course, much of the focus here is on Miller, who was rated by one service as the nation’s top quarterback prospect.
In three years as a starter, he has posted a 20-4 record, thrown for 2,628 yards and 23 TDs and rushed for 1,004 yards and 29 scores.


* Springboro (8-2) – Ryan Wilhite is back for his fifth year at Springboro. Some of his top returnees include OL Jake Rigg (6-3, 250, Sr.), LB Kyle King (5-11, 200, Sr.), WR Jeron King (5-10, 175, Sr.), DL Ryan Jackson (5-10, 215, Sr.) and DL Chris Waldroff (6-3, 245, Jr.). Jackson and King were first team GWOC selections.

* Xenia (2-8) –
Longtime coach Bob DeLong returns for his third year at Xenia. The Buccaneers will look for improvement behind several key players, including LB/FB Terrence Moore (6-0, 215, Sr.), OL Nathan Nicol (6-6, 310, Sr.) and DB/RB Robert Harden (5-10, 185).


Lebanon (8-2)
Cincinnati Withrow (8-2) Become
this school’s Quarterspondent

Loveland (5-5)
Fairfield (6-4)
Fairborn (6-4)
Milford (5-5)
Cincinnati Princeton (5-5) Become
this school’s Quarterspondent

Cincinnati Oak Hills (3-7) Become
this school’s Quarterspondent

Kettering Fairmont (4-6)
Cincinnati Glen Este (4-6)
Beavercreek (4-6)
Mason (3-7)
Liberty Twp. Lakota East (3-7)
Hamilton (2-8) Become
this school’s Quarterspondent

Cincinnati Western Hills (3-7) Become
this school’s Quarterspondent

Cincinnati Sycamore (2-8)
Miamisburg (1-9) Become
this school’s Quarterspondent

Cincinnati Woodward (2-8) Become
this school’s Quarterspondent




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *