Regional breakdown, top players, big games, big names, teams to beat, teams to watch and more…
Region 1 Preview
Playoff Teams: Our Predictions
St. Edward, St. Ignatius, Solon, Glenville, Mentor, Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Willoughby South, Cleveland Heights
Dark Horses: Boardman, Fitch, Euclid
10 Players To Watch
1. Mitch Trubisky, QB, sr., Mentor: North Carloina commit; Accounted for 53 TDs last year
2. Billy Price, DL/OL, sr., Fitch: Ohio State commit is Ohio’s No. 2 overall prospect
3. Darian Hicks, DB, sr., Solon: JJHuddle Top 100 prospect is a Michigan State commit
4. Shelton Gibson, WR, sr., Cle. Heights: Offers include Ohio State, Auburn & Nebraska
5. Kareem Hunt, RB, sr., Willoughby South: Accounted for 2,734 yards & 41 TDs last year
6. Donovan Munger, OL, sr., Shaker Heights: Ohio State, Notre Dame & Auburn among offers
7. Ben Josipovic, WR, sr. Eastlake North: Had over 1,000 yards receiving last year (and 11 TDs)
8. Jalyen Powell, DB, sr., Waren Harding: Michigan State commit, JJHuddle Top 100 prospect
9. Tommy Tupa, QB, sr, Broadview Hts.: Miami (Oh) commit, JJHuddle Top 100 preospect
10. Kevin Kavalec, DL, sr., St. Ignatius: Had 37 TFL and 15.5 sacks last year, Boston College commit
Glenville @ Solon, Aug. 31 (Week 2)
Hudson @ Broadview Heights, Sept. 7 (Week 3)
Mentor @ St. Igntius, Sept. 8 (Week 3)
Glenville @ St. Ignatius, Sept. 29 (Week 6)
Solon @ Mentor, Oct. 5 (Week 7)
St. Edward @ St. Ignatius, Oct. 27 (Week 10)
Team To Beat
Lakewood St. Edward (8-4, Region 1 Semifinalist): The Eagles have made the postseason 10 of the last 12 years and should be primed for another November run. On offense St. Ed has a pair of standout senior RBs in Dwayne Aaron (5-7, 170) and Kenneth Butler (5-10, 190). Senior WR Anthony Young (6-1, 171) is a JJHuddle Top 100 prospect with offers from Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana, Cincinnati and others. Directing the offense is second-year starting QB Ryan Fallon (6-1, 185) who returns for his senior season after throwing for 1,350 yards and 14 TDs last year. He also rushed for six scores and 400 yards. Defensively, the Eagles secondary – led by seniors Domenic Abounader (6-0, 190/state wrestling champion), Soloman Warfield (6-0, 185) and Steven Clark (5-10, 160) – is one of the state’s best. Warfield is a JJHuddle Top 100 prospect who is heqaded to Iowa. Senior LB Lavonte Robinson (5-11, 215) holds a Toledo offer.
Teams To Watch
Cleveland St. Ignatius (13-2, State Champions): A year after missing the playoffs for the first time since 1987, St. Ignatius rebounded to win the program’s record-setting 11th state championship. For en encore Iggy will attempt to repeat. There are holes to fill but this is Ignatius after all. The Wildcats defensive line is stacked with two D-I prospects in senior DL David Katusha (6-3, 274) and senior DE Kevin Kavalec (6-3, 240). Both own offers from MAC schools. Senior RB Tim McVey returns to lead the offense. Junior OL Jimmy Byrne (6-4, 285) is a top 2014 prospect and has offers from Ohio State and Illinois. Head coach Chuck Kyle owns a career record of 290-67-1 since taking over at Ignatius in 1983. He has led the Wildcats to 11 state titles and a 61-12 postseason record.
Mentor (11-2, Region 1 Finalist): Head coach Steve Trivisonno has had some explosive teams in the past, but the 15-year veteran says this year’s offensive group “could be the best we have ever had.” Senior QB Mitch Trubisky (6-3, 205) is a Top 10 Ohio prospect and has verballed to North Carolina. Last year he threw for 3,845 yards and 41 TDs and ran for 611 yards and 12 TDs. Trubisky has two standout WRs to throw to in juniors Conner Krizancic (58 receptions, 19 TDs) and Brandon Fritts (60 receptions). Mentor added Erie (PA) McDowell to its non-league slate, which also includes St. Ignatius.
Cleveland Heights (9-1, Region 1 Quarterfinalist): The Tigers made the postseason for the first time last season. To get back they’ll have to have big years from JJHuddle Top 100 prospects WR Shelton Gibson (6-0, 179) and LB Deniro Laster (6-4, 220). Gibson has offers from Ohio State, Auburn, Nebraska, Michigan State and others. Laster, a transfer from Shaker Heights, has offers from several MAC schools.
Willoughby South (8-3, Region 1 Quarterfinalist): The Rebels are looking for back-to-back playoff appearances and have the horse to get them there in senior RB Kareem Hunt. Hunt (5-10, 190) had 2,734 total yards and 41 TDs last season. He rushed for 2,519 yards and 39 TDs on 281 carries. Hunt has offers from Toledo and Akron.
Solon (10-2, Region 1 Semifinalist): Solon has been to the playoffs 12 of the last 13 years and has won three straight Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division titles. Head coach Jim McQuaide (84-22 in nine years at Solon) welcomes back several key standouts including top senior prospects QB/WR Drew Barksdale (6-0, 184) and DB/WR Darian Hicks (5-10, 172). Senior RBs Khoury Crenshaw (5-10, 155/599 yards and eight TDs) and George Berry (5-11, 170/347 yards and five TDs) will share carries behind a line that returns three starters (Sandip Janda, 5-11, 254, sr.; Ryan Pastor, 6-3, 215, sr.; and Nick Spitaleri, 6-0, 235, jr.). Defensively, Berry (79 tackles, 17 TFL), Hanna (97 tackles, 18 TFL) and Pastor (18 tackles, five TFL) return. A Week 2 meeting with Glenville lingers. The Comets close with three of their last four (Mentor, Brunswick and Strongsville) on the road.
Boardman (7-4, Region 1 Quarterfinalist): The Spartans are coming off their third playoff appearance in five years and looking to make back-to-back posteason trips for the first time in school history. They must replace seven first and second team All-Federal League players. Senior brothers Justin (6-1, 230, LB) and John Babos (6-1, 225, DE) anchor the Boardman defense. Justin, first team All-Federal League, led the Spartans in sacks last year (nine) and was second in tackles (102). John, second team All-Federal League, added 57 stops.
Glenville (6-3): The Tarblooders missed the playoffs last year for just the second time since 1999 and are eager to get back. Head coach Ted Ginn returns another talented roster, but one that lacks a ton of big-time recruits like in year’s past. The headliner is JJHuddle Top 100 prospect Chris Worley (6-3, 185), a DB with offers from Ohio State, Arkansas, West Virginia and others. Other key contributors will be RB Herbert Walker, Jr. (5-7, 172, sr./six TDs) and LB Singleton Grant (6-1, 185, sr.).
Brecksville-Broadview Heights (6-4): The Bees haven’t been to the playoffs in three years but fully expect to get to Week 11 – and beyond – this season. Senior QB Tommy Tupa (6-4, 214) returns to lead the offense. A Miami (Oh) commit, he threw for 1,700 yards and 18 TDs as a sophomore. Last year Tupa suffered a left shoulder injury in Week 2 and played half the season. He threw for 980 yards and eight TDs. Senior TE/DE Mike Tyler (6-5, 220) is also a D-I prospect. Tyler (69 tackles last year) holds offers from Pitt, Minnesota, Syracuse and others.
Austintown-Fitch (6-4): The Falcons have a lot to replace. Gone are the Davis brothers (Chris and Demetrious to Pitt) and William Mahone (Notre Dame). The good news is senior two-way lineman and Ohio State recruit Billy Price (6-4, 305). Price is the No. 2 overall prospect in the JJHuddle Top 100. Also back is senior QB Matthew Futkos (5-11, 190) who holds an offer from Navy.
Keep An Eye On
* Cleveland JFK (9-2, Region 1 Quarterfinalist): The Eagles will see what they can do to follow-up the school’s first playoff berth.
* Eastlake North (5-5): The Rangers have one of Ohio’s best high school WRs in senior Ben Josipovic (6-2, 190). Josipovic caught 69 passes for 1,023 yards and 11 TDs last year. As a sophomore he hauled in 43 passes for 500 yards and six TDs. Replacing four-year starter George Gresko at QB is a huge hurdle.
* Warren Harding (2-8): The Raiders are led by Michigan State commit and senior DB Jalen Powell (6-2, 190). Powell is a JJHuddle Top 100 prospect.
* Shaker Heights (2-8): The Raiders have arguably the state’s top OL prospect in senior Donovan Munger (6-4, 285). A JJHuddle Top 100 prospect, Munger has offers from Ohio State, Notre Dame, Georgia, Auburn, Penn State and others.
* Euclid (4-6): The Panthers are looking for their 15th playoff appearance and 15th league title. Six starters back on each side of the ball bodes well for head coach Tom Gibbons (21-21 in four years). Watch out for senior WR Rakeesh Nolden (6-2, 185) and senior LB Myles Alexander (6-1, 205).
* Lakewood (6-4): The Rangers and head coach Ron Lewis will lean on DB Marquise Tyus (5-10, 160, sr.), LB Jacob Supinski (5-11, 205, sr.), OL Ricky Dill (6-0, 240, sr.), DB Dylan Bruening (5-8, 160, sr.) and WR Capriese Jackson (6-2, 185, sr.)
* Lyndhurst Brush (4-6): Senior LB Patric Hannon (6-1, 215) is a JJHuddle Top 100 prospect and committed to Bowling Green. Senior ATH/DB Harry Durrah (5-9, 170) is one tow watch. Last year he scored six TDs on offense and excelled as a kick returner. In two years as a starter in the secondary, Durrah has nine career INTs.
Also In This Region
Garfield Heights (5-5), Mayfield (6-4), North Royalton (5-5), Parma (4-6), Cleveland John Marshall (6-4), North Olmsted (5-5), Cleveland Rhodes (5-4), Youngstown East (3-7), Painesville Riverside (3-7), Cleveland John Adams (3-7), Parma Heights valley Forge (1-9), Midpark (2-8), Strongsville (1-9), Cleveland West (2-8), Cleveland East Tech (1-9)