MVP Football Preview Excerpt:
A look at Division V, Region 18 and what to expect this season. We look
at the top teams, players and offer up our playoff predicitons. Who has what? And what will they do?
JJHuddle’s Region 18 Previews and Predictions
TEAMS TO WATCH
Lima Central Catholic (12-2, D-V State Semifinalist)
* Players to Watch – QB Tyler O’Connor (6-3, 210, sr.), OL Sean Griesdorn (6-4, 265, sr.), WR/DB Corey Stump (6-0, 160, sr.), RB Jonathan Washington (5-9, 190, jr.), OL Anthony Wilkerson (6-2, 255, sr.), OL Gabe Schawiger (6-0, 205, sr.), DL/OL David Gremling (6-2, 200, sr.), DB/WR Sam Huffman (6-2, 175, jr.), OL/DL Ben Stolly (6-1, 220, jr.)
* Outlook – Head coach Jerry Cooper owns a career record of 206-72, but his last six years at LCC have been extremely noteworthy. The T-Birds are 58-16 with five playoff appearances since 2005. Last year LCC made the state semis before falling to Ursuline. O’Connor is arguably the state’s top QB prospect and owns over 20 offers from BCS schools (including Michigan State, Illinois, Northwestern, West Virginia and Boston College). The additional talent that returns around O’Connor has T-Bird faithful thinking state title. Meetings with Ada and Delphos St. John’s highlight a challenging schedule.
Columbia Station Columbia (9-2, D-V R18 Quarterfinalist)
* Players to Watch – QB John Banyasz (6-2, 190, sr.), RB Zach Bican (6-0, 185, sr.), RB Brandon Heidinger (5-10, 215, sr.), WR Shane Lambert (5-8, 165, sr.)
* Outlook – Coming off the most successful season in Columbia history, head coach Jason Ward (24-26 in five years) warns people not to sleep on the Raiders. Despite losing 15 seniors, Columbia returns a ton of skill position talent including Banyasz and Heidinger who have started since they were freshman. Banyasz, who already owns school career records for yardage and TDs, threw for 1,478 yards and 23 TDs last season. He also ran for six more TDs. Heidinger (141 carries, 716 yards, seven TDs) and Bican (74 carries, 686 yards, eight TDs) are an above-average duo. Lambert (21 receptions, 387 yards, five TDs) leads the receiving corps.
Northwood (7-4, D-V, R18 Quarterfinalist)
* Players to Watch – LB Nick Whitmore (6-0, 224, jr.); DB Ricky Hartley (6-0, 192, sr.); DB Tyler Mack (5-9, 152, sr.); LB Andrew Lord (5-8, 170, sr.); DL Collin Molnar (5-9, 217, sr.); DB Nick Russell (5-11, 163, jr.); DL Dustin Rohrs (6-0, 240, jr.); FB Andrew Lord (5-8, 170, sr.), OL Mike Tonti (6-0, 227, jr.); OL John Segura (6-1, 216, jr.); OL David Bogart (6-3, 227, jr.); OL Matt Yates (6-1, 251, jr.)
* Outlook – Longtime head coach Ken James (132-125) starts his 26th season at Northwood with another solid squad. The Rangers defense – led by Whitmore (139 tackles), Hartley (55 tackles, four INTs) and Mack (80 tackles, 11 TFL) – will be formidable again. The offense, however, is a question mark. Most of last year’s ball carriers graduated (Lord is the top returning rusher with 127 yards). Replacements will be found from last year’s undefeated JV team. The good news is the offensive line returns four starters – Tonti, Segura, Bogart and Yates. Northwood has a new opener this year with Delphos Jefferson.
* Players to Watch – QB/DB Justin Miller (6-1, 190, sr.), RB/LB Seth Klepper (6-0, 210, sr.), RB/DB Kaleb Johns (5-11, 170, so.), TE/LB Charlie Emenhiser (6-2, 200, sr.)
* Outlook – After going 9-2 in 2009, the Aces dropped their last two games last year and finished below .500. The good news for fourth year head coach Lucas Smith (21-10) is that 21 of 22 starters return, including all 11 on offense and the kickers, holder, long-snapper and returners. Said Smith: “We have a great opportunity this year to be really good. We return (all but one starter), but we were also 4-6.” Miller is a three-year starter who led the team in rushing (850 yard) and TDs (11). He also threw for 586 yards and six TDs. Defensively Miller had five INTs. Klepper is a four-year starter who had 107 tackles and a Green Meadows Conference leading 8.5 sacks last year. He also rushed for 562 yards. Johns ran for 680 yards as a freshman. The Aces schedule got an upgrade this year with the addition of Coldwater in Week 2.
Columbus Grove (7-3)
* Players to Watch – QB Jordan Travis (6-2, 185, sr.); RB Wade Heffner (6-3, 185, sr.); OL/LB Gavin Windau (6-0, 195, sr.); RB Zac Barrientes (5-6, 150, sr.); FB/LB Trent Kerns (n/a, sr.); OL/DL Blake Neu (6-5, 285, sr.)
* Outlook – The Bulldogs will be led by Travis, a four-year starter who threw for 1,942 yards, 24 TDs and just six INTs last year. Heffner is back after rushing for 577 yards and six TDs and catching 19 passes for 242 yards. Barrients (five TDs) and Kerns (345 yards rushing, two TDs) will get touches too. A small concern is experience on the OL where just one starter returns. Windau (51 tackles, eight TFL) leads the defense, which returns six starters. Head coach Scott Palte is 39-24 in six years.
Archbold (11-1, D-V R18 Semifinalist)
* Players to Watch – WR/S TJ Gerken (n/a, sr.), WR/DB Danny Young (n/a, sr.), DE/WR Hayden Stamm (n/a, sr.), LB/G Zach Driver (n/a, sr.), C/WR Gabe Rodriguez (n/a, sr.), DB Chandler Tuckerman (n/a, sr.), OT Kellen Seamn (n/a, sr.), DE/OL Tyler Rufenacht (n/a, sr.), LB/WR Tanner Wyse (n/a, sr.), QB/DE Tyson Dietrich, (n/a, sr.), QB/DE
* Outlook – Head coach Bryan Miller (17-5 in two years) and the Blue Streaks have reached the postseason three of the last four years. Gerken and Stamm will be replied upon heavily.
Patrick Henry (10-2, D-V R18 Semifinalist)
* Players to Watch – WR/DB Kyle Bergstedt (5-9, 165, sr.), RB/LB Lucas Rosebrook (5-10, 185, sr.), DL Jake Carrizales (6-2, 230, jr.), WR/DB Alex Wilhelm (5-10, 180, sr.), OL Colt Pettit (6-4, 235, so.), RB/DB Tobey Hernandez (5-9, 170, so.)
* Outlook – The Patriots have been in the playoffs nine straight seasons and should make it 10. Carrizales (124 tackles, nine sacks last two years) is one of Ohio’s top juniors and Hernandez (52 tackles; four TDs) and Pettit are 2014 gems. Rosebrook is a 1,000-yard rusher and Bergstedt and Wilhelm form one of the state’s top 1-2 receiving punches.
Tinora (10-1, D-V R18 Quarterfinalist)
* Players to Watch – RB/DB Kipp McCann (n/a, jr.), OL Marc Moser (n/a, sr.), OL Austin Little (n/a, sr.), RB Marshall Gerschultz (n/a, sr.), DB Austin Farrington (n/a, sr.), OL Brandon Rittenhouse (jr.), DE Tyler McKenney (n/a, sr.)
* Outlook – Last year the Rams defense recorded eight shutouts and allowed just 25 points in the regular season. Tinora then dropped a close 21-20 decision to Lima Central Catholic in the first round of the playoffs. Expectations remain. Expect McCann to have a huge year.
KEEP AN EYE ON
* Hopewell-Loudon (6-4) – Senior WR Logan Sendelbach (6-3, 155) led the Midland Athletic League in receptions last year with 60. He averaged 14.3 yards per catch and scored eight touchdowns.
* Haviland Wayne Trace (5-5) – The Raiders and head coach Bill Speller (43-49 in nine years) could turn a corner this year. WT returns a standout pair of RBs in seniors Dylan Horner (5-11, 175) and Kim Brickford (6-0, 180). Horner, who ran for 1,009 yards last season needs 720 to become the school’s all-time leader. Brickford rushed for 830 yards and 13 TDs last season. The Offensive line – Reuben Stoller (6-1, 250), Devin Stahl (5-11″, 260), Gary Klopfenstein (5-8″, 180), Pete Sinn (6-2, 290) and Ryan Kortokrax (6-5, 280) – will be a strength. Senior LB Austin Spiece (6-1, 190) leads the defense (90 tackles last year).
* Oberlin (0-10) – Second-year head coach Fred Howery feels his squad can make a run at the Patriot Athletic Conference title. The Phoenix have a new coaching staff (complete with two former head coaches), a large senior class and renewed interest in the program. How that translates to the W-L column has yet to be determined. Senior QB Melvin Medina (5-11, 170) threw for over 700 yards last year. Defensively, senior LBs Trevon Tucker (89 tackles, nine sacks) and Drew Randleman (154 tackles) spearhead the unit.
ALSO IN THIS REGION
Collins Western Reserve (10-1, D-V R18 Quarterfinalist), Carey (6-4), Liberty Benton (7-3), Sherwood Fairview (6-4), Lafayette Allen East (3-7), Bluffton (5-5), Bloomdale Elmwood (5-5), Metamora Evergreen (7-3), Gibsonburg (0-10), Delphos Jefferson (5-5), Kansas Lakota (0-10), Liberty Center (4-6), Castalia Margaretta (6-4), New London (1-9), Attica Seneca East (5-5), Spencerville (0-10), Van Buren (2-8), Elmore Woodmore (3-7)
Lima Central Catholic
Dark Horses: Archbold, Hillsdale, Hopewell-Loudon