Regional breakdown, top players, big games, big names, teams to beat, teams to watch and more…
Region 6 Preview
Playoff Teams: Our Predictions
Toledo Central Catholic, Avon, Columbian, Fremont Ross, Maple Heights, Norwalk, Olmsted Falls, Perrysburg
Dark Horses: Sandusky, Mansfield Senior, Mansfield Madison
10 Players To Watch
1. Amir Edwards, RB, sr., TCC: All-TRAC back had 1,250 yards & 23 TDs last year
2.Ross Douglass, DB, sr., Avon: JJHuddle Top 100 prospect is committed to Penn State
3. Jack Jacoby, RB, sr., Columbian: Ran for 1,591 yards & 25 TDs last year; added 96 tackles
4. Tyler Wolf, QB, sr., Fremont Ross: Threw for 2,434 yards & 18 TDs; added 525 yards rushing
5. Jerry Braden, LB, sr., Norwalk: 276 tackles & 38 TFL the last two years
6. Cody Callaway, QB, jr. Midview: Set five school passing records as a sophomore
7. Mark Bernsdorff, WR. sr., Syl. Northview: 2011 Northern Lakes League leading receiver (54 rec.)
8. Jayme Thompson, DB, sr., TCC: JJHuddle Top 100 prospect is committed to Ohio Sate
9. Jake Fetherolf, QB, sr., Norwalk: Three-year starter; 2,600 yards & 24 TDs last two years
10. Drew Meketa, WR, sr., Olmsted Falls: Caught 57 passes for 762 yards & eight TDs last year
Sandusky at Fremont Ross, Aug. 24 (Week 1)
Tifin Columbian @ Clyde, Aug. 24 (Week 1)
Avon at Avon Lake, Aug. 24 (Week 1)
TCC @ Fremont Ross, Sept. 28 (Week 6)
Tiffin Columbian @ Norwalk, Oct. 26 (Week 10)
Mansfield @ Mansfield Madison, Oct. 26 (Week 10)
Team To Beat
* Toledo Central Catholic (8-4, Region 6 Semifinalist): The Irish
have been to the playoffs nine of the last 11 years and have their
sights set on something much bigger. TCC is loaded and a serious
contender to win its first state title since 2005. Offensively, head
coach Greg Dempsey (104-35 in 12 years) has one of the state’s best
backfield’s in junior QB DeShone Kizer (6-4, 205) and senior RB Amir
Edwards (5-10, 195). Kizer, who threw for 1,226 yards and 10 TDs last
year, is one of Ohio’s top junior prospects. Edwards, who ran for 1,250
yards and 23 TDs last season, is also a D-I prospect and was first team
All-TRAC. Up front the Irish will depend on two more D-I prospects in OL
Jeff Dew (6-3, 280/first team All-TRAC) and TE Keith Towbridge (6-5,
245/Louisville commit). The wildcard is junior slot Derich Weiland
(5-10, 180/first team All-TRAC) who had 860 all-purpose yards and three
TDs as a sophomore. Defensively, TCC must replace eight starters, but
“there is talent in the younger classes” according to Dempsey. Ohio
State recruit and senior DB Jayme Thompson (6-1, 180/first team
All-TRAC) will anchor the defense. Senior DL Jon Perrin (6-0, 305/first
team All-TRAC) is one of Ohio’s finest as well. Said Dempsey: “There
will be high expectations that we need to live up to.”
Teams To Watch
* Avon (13-2, State Runner-Up): The Eagles made their first state final last year and led Trotwood-Madison 7-0 before falling 42-28. Graduation wasn’t nice to Avon. Gone from that team are several key elements including record-setting pass-and-catch combo Justin O’Rourke and Matt Eckhardt. The good news is the Eagles return a Big Ten recruit in senior DB/RB Ross Douglass (5-10, 180) who is headed to Penn Sate. Also back is senior WR/DB Ralph Smith (5-9, 170) who has offers from Akron, Ball State, Navy and Air Force.
* Medina Highland (6-5, region 6 Quarterfinalist): The Hornets have one of the region’s most versatile player sin senior TE/QB/DE Austin Adams (6-6, 235). Adams ran for a TD, caught a TD and threw a TD last year. As a sophomore he threw seven TDs.
* Tiffin Columbian (10-3, Region 6 Finalist): The Tornados have made the playoffs nine of the last 12 years and have reached the regional final in back-to-back seasons. Don’t be shocked to see them get that far again. Head coach Brian Colatruglio (21-5 in two years at TC) welcomes back eight starters on offense, including the team’s two leading rushers. Senior RB/LB Jack Jacoby (6-1, 210) returns as the workhorse after rushing for 1,591 yards and 25 TDs and making 96 tackles a year ago. Also back on offense are junior RB Ryan Lynch (5-11, 185/569 yards rushing, 10 TDs) and senior WR Jordan Dye (5-11, 190/32 rec., 490 yards receiving, four TDs). On the OL three starters return including Alec Lucius (5-11, 230, sr.) and Isiah Moore (6-3, 273, jr.). The strength of the defense will be up front where six starters are back. The concern is replacing the entire secondary. Said Colatruglio: “We have led or been tied two straight years going into the fourth quarter of the regional championship game to a team that won it all and the other ended up runner-up. We know that we are close and hope to get over the hump.”
* Sandusky (9-2, Region 6 Quarterfinalist): After a 20-year absence from the postseason, the Blue Streaks have now played in two straight. Can they make it three? Head coach Mike Franklin (32-31 in six years) must replace nine starters on each side of the ball but talent remains. Said Franklin: “We have a large number of underclassmen that have been waiting for their chance to see the Friday atmosphere. Our overall team speed will be exceptional, maybe better than last year’s talented group. Our preseason will be the key to our 2012 success.” Junior WR/DB Mike Delk (5-11, 170) is one to watch.
* Maple Heights (8-2, Region 6 Quarterfinalist): The Mustangs have been in the playoffs three years in a row and were state champions in 2010. They were state runner-up in 2009. If MH makes it to the playoffs again, it’ll do so under a new head coach. Todd Filtz, who went 41-10 in four years at MH, left the program in March to become the head coach at Canton McKinley.
* Olmsted Falls (7-4, Region 6 Quarterfinalist): The Bulldogs haven’t had a losing season since 1991. Head coach Jim Ryan (178-84 in 25 years) will count heavily on contributions from senior WR Drew Meketa (5-11, 175) and senior LB Brandon Friedrich (6-0, 200). Both were All-Southwestern Conference last year. Meketa caught 57 passes for 762 yards and eight TDs. Friedrich had 130 tackles. Also back is senior DB Mike Gib (6-0, 155) who had 109 tackles.
* East Cleveland Shaw (7-4, Region 6 Semifinalist): The Cardinals have won 14 games the last two years and will attempt to make back-to-back postseasons for the first time in school history.
* Fremont Ross (5-5): The Little Giants dropped down to D-II last year and finished a disappointing season by dropping four of their last five games, including their final three. Things don’t get any easier this year. In addition to its brutal Three Rivers Athletic Conference schedule, Fremont faces Sandusky, Brecksville-Broadview Heights and Pickerington North in non-conference games. Cushioning the blow is the return of first team All-TRAC DBs and seniors Dylan (6-1, 165) and Drew Starks (6-0, 150). Senior QB Tyler Wolf (6-1, 175) and junior RB Jabree Lather return on offense after being named second team All-TRAC last year. Wolf threw for 2,434 yards and 18 TDs and rushed for 525 yards last year. Lather rushed for 1,082 yards and 10 TDs.
* Norwalk (7-3): The Truckers won their first six games last year to secure their first winning season since 1977. This year they’ll try to earn their first playoff berth (and just second overall) since winning the state title in 1974. The offense will be led by senior QB Jake Fetherolf (6-5, 205) who threw for 1,300 yards and 15 TDs. Fetherolf is a three-year starter who threw for 1,277 yards and nine TDs as a sophomore. Senior LB Jerry Braden (6-1, 215) returns to lead the defense. Braden is a two-time All-Northern Ohio League selection who had 126 tackles, 19 TFL and seven forced fumbles as a junior. As a sophomore Braden had 150 tackles, 19 TFL and four forced fumbles.
Keep An Eye On
* Mansfield Senior (3-7): The Tygers will be led by junior QB Jalen Reese (6-0, 190) and senior WR Deonte Leadingham (6-0, 170). Reese set a school record with 388 yards and five TDs in a win over West Holmes last year, while Leadingham caught 32 passes for 620 yards and eight TDs. Senior DL Raheem Washington (6-4, 280/32 tackles) and senior DBs Jakarr Bishop (6-0, 180/61 tackles) and Matt Robinson (6-0, 180/68 tackles) anchor the defense. Head coach Chioke Bradley is 9-11 in two years.
* Sylvania Northview (3-7): Senior WR Mark Bernsdorff (5-11, 180) led the Northern Lakes League in receiving last year with 54 receptions. He’s part of a senior class second-year head coach Marek Moldawsky said has “dedicated themselves to rebuilding the Wildcat football program.”
* Lexington (5-5): The Minutemen return All-OCC selections in senior RB/LB Andrew Hunt (6-0, 220) and senior DB/WR Brandon Henderson (5-8, 170).
* Maumee (7-3): The Panthers have to replace standout QB Jake Schneider. Key returners include senior WR/DB Sean McGovern (5-8, 145/three INTs, 31 tackles).
* Grafton Midview (8-2): The Middies rebounded from a 3-7 season in 2010 to post eight victories. Key returners include senior WR/DB Zach Bates (6-2, 165/three INTs, two fumble recoveries, 40 tackles), senior OL/DL Steven Best (6-3, 240) and junior QB Cody Callaway (6-2, 185). Callaway broke five school passing records last year including season yardage (2,107), season TDs (20) and completion percentage (62-percent). He also threw for a record five TDs in a game (twice) and added seven rushing TDs.
* Perrysburg (6-4): The Yellow Jackets return two playmakers in senior WR/DB Austin Bishop (6-2, 183) and senior WR/DB Steve Slocum (6-1, 187). Bishop averaged 25.6 yards per catch and scored 10 TDs on 25 receptions last year. He also ran for three TDs. Slocum caught 43 passes for 673 yards and 10 TDs. He also ran for 226 yards and two TDs.
* Mansfield Madison (7-3): The Rams went 2-8 in 2010, but improved significantly last year. Is this the year Madison returns to the playoffs? Several puindits think it is.
Also In This Region
Toledo St. Francis (3-7), Berea (5-5), Bedford (4-6), Toledo Rogers (5-5), Bowling Green (5-5), Lodi Cloverleaf (4-6), Westlake (4-6), Oregon Clay (3-7), Parma Normandy (3-7), Holland Springfield (2-8), Toledo Scott (2-8), Collinwood (0-10), Toledo Woodward (0-10)