MVP Football Preview Excerpt:
A look at Division VI, Region 22 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 22 Previews and Predictions
TEAMS TO WATCH
Delphos St. John’s (15-0, D-VI State Champion)
* Players to Watch – LB Kyle Neumeier (5-10, 205, sr.), WR/DB Tanner Calvelage (6-0, 180, sr.), RB/LB Jordan Bergfeld (5-11, 195, sr.), WR/DB Ryan Densel (5-9, 155, sr.), DL Drew Neumeier (n/a, sr.)
* Outlook – The Blue Jays have gone 42-3, made three straight D-VI state finals and won two state championships since 2008. A fourth straight trip to Stark County isn’t out of the question but it will be a stiff challenge for a team that lost 21 seniors and plays in the MAC. The Jays two non-conference games are Lima Central Catholic and Detroit Central Catholic (Michigan’s 11-time D-I champion). Head coach Todd Schulte is 127-32 in 12 years.
Tiffin Calvert (4-6)
* Players to Watch – OL/DL Nathan Mathais (6-1, 300, sr.), QB/DB Nathan Ritzler (5-10, 175, sr.), DE Ben Nielson (6-4, 200, sr.), FB/LB Dan Kwiat (6-1, 200, sr.)
* Outlook – The Senecas beat defending state champion Norwalk St. Paul in Week 2 last year and then lost five of their next six due in part to injuries. Calvert did rally to win their final two games (both by one point). Second year head coach Todd Fox is excited about the return of 16 seniors and 18 starters (nine on each side of the ball). Size will not be an issue for Calvert which returns five starters on the OL and its entire backfield. The defense has no holes. The Senecas haven’t been to the playoffs since the last of five straight trips in 2002, but this year that drought could end. Calvert won state titles in 1980 and 1981.
Norwalk St. Paul (7-3)
* Players to Watch – FB/DT Isaac Livengood (5-9, 215, sr.), WR/LB Shawn Dankelson (5-10, 185, sr.), OL/DL Joe Hemenway (5-11, 195, sr.), OL/DL Hayden Service (5-11, 255, sr.), TE/DE C.J. Livengood (5-11, 185, sr.), RB/LB Kyle Brake (n/a, sr.), QB/DB Joe Hinckley (5-10, 175, so.), RB/LB Alaric Newcomer (6-0, 175, sr.), OL Kevin Rospert (5-9, 265, sr.), WR/LB Danny Ross (5-11, 185, sr.)
* Outlook – After reaching the regional finals or farther for six straight years, the Flyers (the 2009 state champions) missed the playoffs for the first time since 2002 last year. Head coach John Livengood (188-52 in 20 years) is excited about what this year’s team has to offer. “Our seniors have a renewed energy and commitment coming off a substandard year,” Livengood said. “They expect more and they are proving it in the weight room and their off season work ethic. Our leadership is as good as it has ever been.” Hinckley is back under center after a solid freshman season that produced 790 yards passing, 513 yards rushing and 13 combined TDs. Issac Livengood is a bruising back (518 yards rushing, 12 TDs), while Dankleson (13 receptions, 191 yards, two TDs) is the team’s top returning receiver. Defensively Issac Livengood (44 tackles, seven sacks), Hemenway (23 tackles), Service (36 tackles), CJ Livengood (30 tackles), Brake (31 tackles) Newcomer (33 tackles) and Ross (25 tackles) return to a unit that should be dominant.
Sycamore Mohawk (10-2, D-VI R22 Semifinalist)
* Players to Watch – LB Jonathon Morter (6-1, 215, sr.), OL Travis Baird (6-0, 200, sr.), RB Aric Shock (n/a, sr.)
* Outlook – After a three-year absence, the Warriors made the postseason last year. This year, regardless of what happens on the field, Mohawk has already scored a huge win. The Warriors have created “Operation Buckeye Guard,” a grass roots movement for Ohio high school football teams to show support for the Citizen-Soldiers of the Ohio Army National Guard. Mohawk has “adopted” Tiffin-based Charlie Company, 1-148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and will wear unit and American flag decals on their helmets. On the field the Warriors will be pretty good as well. Morter and Baird were first team All-MAL last year. Shock was second team.
KEEP AN EYE ON
* Leipsic (9-2, D-VI R22 Quarterfinalist) – The Vikings have made two of their school’s three trips to the playoffs in the last two years.
* Fremont St. Joe (9-2, D-VI R22 Quarterfinalist) – After 11 losing season in a row, the Crimson Streaks have been to the playoffs two years in a row. Graduation hits were heavy.
* Monroeville (8-2) – The Eagles return just two starters on offense and three on defense. Senior RB/DB Cory Long (889 yards rushing, 279 yards receiving) returns as does senior OL anchor John Clayton. Other contributors will be seniors Seth Collingwood (QB), Brian Fritz (OL), Cory Smith (OL), Ben Bercheck (LB) and John Burrow (WR/DB). Junior LB Jake Krill is also back.
* McComb (12-1, D-VI R22 Finalist) – The Panthers have been to the playoffs five of the last seven years but must replace a ton on offense – including record-setting WR Taylor Hanes and QB Andrew Dee – if they want to make it six for eight.
* Toledo Christian (8-3, D-VI R22 Quarterfinalist) – The Eagles made the second playoff appearance in school history last year. Finding replacements for record-setting QB Nick Rightnowar and RB Graham Miller is an immediate goal. The good news is both lines return nearly intact.
* Edgerton (7-4, D-VI R22 Quarterfinalist) – The Bulldogs key returners are WR Nate Stark (sr.), OL Jacob Adams (jr.), WR Jimmy Radabaugh (sr.) and OL Dylan Nickells (sr.).
* Arlington (6-4) – The Red Devils won three of their last four games last year and head coach Dick Leonard is hoping the momentum carries over. Arlington will have a talented defense that according to its coach will need to keep the team in games while the offense finds its identity. Experience at RB – juniors Jake Leonard (6-1, 185) and Matt Cheney (5-9, 163) and sophomore Kyle Bormuth (5-11, 180) – is a plus.
ALSO IN THIS REGION
Edon (7-3), Antwerp (4-6), Arcadia (4-6), Ayersville (3-7), Cardinal Stritch (4-6), Cory-Rawson (5-5), Convoy Crestview (2-8), Danbury (1-8), Hilltop (5-5), Holgate (0-10), Montpelier (1-9), North Baltimore (3-7), Ottawa Hills (3-7), Pandora-Gilboa (5-5), Lima Perry (2-8), Greenwhich South Central (5-5), Sandusky St. Mary (1-9), Fostoria St. Wendelin (1-3), Vanlue (2-8)
Norwalk St. Paul
Delphs St. John’s
Dark Horses: Toledo Christian