Regional breakdown, top players, big games, big names, teams to beat, teams to watch and more…
Region 10 Preview
Playoff Teams: Our Predictions
Clyde, Watterson, Columbus DeSales, Elida, Bryan, Eastmoor, Urbana, Belleve
Dark Horses: River Valley, Ben Logan, Napoleon
10 Players To Watch
1. Brad Smith, RB, sr., Clyde: SBC POY ran for 2,148 yards & 26 TDs as junior
2. Thomas Glick, LB, sr., Clyde: Reigning Northwest District Defensive Player of the Year
3. Alex Perrine, QB, sr., DeSales: Threw for 1,123 yards and nine TDs last year
4. Quentin Poling, LB, sr., Elida: Holds MAC offers; Had 200 tackles, 26 TFL as junior
5. Daivon Barrow, DB, sr., Eastmoor: Had 86 tackles, including 14 TFL, last year
6. Nathan Mays, QB, so., Urbana: Threw for 2,000 yards, 27 TDs & four INTs as frosh
7. Jalen Santoro, QB, sr., Bellevue: Eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing & passing last year
8. Colin Bacon, QB, sr., Bryan: Three-Time NWOAL selection; Accounted for 25 TDs
9. Isaiah Turner, LB, sr., Whitehall: Had 70 tackles, 20 TFL & 12 sacks as junior
10. Tanner Lawrence, RB, sr., Urbana: Four-year starter has 2,323 career yards & 26 TDs
Tiffin Columbian @ Clyde, Aug. 24 (Week 1)
Spg. Shawnee @ Urbana, Sept. 7 (Week 3)
Elida @ Ottawa-Glandorf, Oct. 5 (Week 7)
DeSales at Watterson, Oct. 12 (Week 8)
Marion-Franklin @ Eastmoor, Oct. 19 (Week 9)
Jonathan Alder @ Watterson, Oct. 26 (Week 10)
Team To Beat
* Clyde (9-3, Region 10 Semifinalist): The Fliers have won five
straight Sandusky Bay Conference titles and have the horses to make it
six in a row. Head coach Marc Gibson (104-60 career record) brings back
five starters on each side of the ball and “plenty of kids who saw
considerable playing time last year.” The big dogs are senior RB Brad
Smith (5-9, 190) and senior LB Thomas Glick (6-1, 225). Smith ran for
2,148 yards and 26 TDs as a junior en route to winning SBC Player of the
Year honors. Glick is the reigning Northwest District Defensive Player
of the Year. Additional key pieces are senior LBs Bennett Brown (5-10,
245) and Chris Moore (6-1, 190). Brown is trying to be the team’s
leading tackler for four straight years and Moore is a state wrestling
champion. Clyde has to replace three starters on the OL and two on the
DL. Tough non-conference games with Tiffin Columbian, Eastwood and
Bellevue start the season. Said Gibson: “We have established a tradition
over the past seven years where every team who steps on the field to
represent our school realizes the responsibility they owe the past teams
to keep the tradition alive.”
Teams To Watch
* Watterson (3-7): Denied a chance to defend its 2010 state title, the Eagles failed to make the playoffs last year for just the third time in 20 years. Head coach Dan Bjelac (76-34 in nine years) welcomes back a solid core led by senior QB/FS Andy Elberson (6-2, 200). The QB threw for 597 yards and six TDs and ran for 255 yards in five games before getting hurt. His health is key. OL/DL Andrew Lorenz (6-3, 275, sr./32 tackles), LB Matt Stafford (6-0, 207, sr./47 tackles) and CB Cody Calhoun (5-10, 190, sr./21 tackles) anchor the defense. As usual, a brutal schedule awaits. In addition to rivals DeSales and St. Charles, Watterson opens with three road games in the first four weeks and faces five teams that made the playoffs last year (including Walsh Jesuit, Columbus Hartley and Jonathan Alder).
* Columbus DeSales (7-4, Region 10 Semifinalist): The Stallions string of 18 straight playoff berths is Ohio’s longest current streak and head coach Ryan Wiggins (48-16 at DeSales) knows the pressure that comes with maintaining that streak. Said Wiggins: “Expectations at DeSales do not change. This tradition that we represent was created long before any of us were around. We are expected to continue it and everyone involved with our program understands that. We also know it is a huge challenge, but its one we look forward to.” This year another challenge is finding a replacement for RB Warren Ball who is now enrolled at Ohio State. Cushioning that blow though is the return of starting senior QB Alex Perrine (5-9,185) and senior RB JT Blubaugh (5-9, 185). Perrine ran for 568 yards last year and threw for 1,123 yards and nine TDs. Blubaugh, committed to Ohio State for lacrosse, ran for 780 yards and five TDs a year ago. On defense DeSales will have several new faces. Said Wiggins: “We had quite a few seniors in the lineup in 2011. Some of them were returners, but many were in the lineup for the first time. It is not uncommon for seniors to wait their turn at DeSales. We have a lot of good younger players who are waiting for their opportunity to carry on the tradition.”
* Caledonia River Valley (7-4, Region 10 Quarterfinalist): The Vikings earned the school’s first playoff berth since 2002 last year and are hoping to build off that momentum. Head coach Doug Green (74-65 career record) begins his third year at RV with some nice talent. Junior QB Matt Green (5-9, 160) returns after running for 765 yards and 11 TDs last season. Also back is senior RB Carson Gibson (5-9, 180) who logged 426 yards rushing and scored seven TDs. Defensively RV will be led by senior DB Hunter Mercer (6-0, 180/two INTs), senior DL Jonah Hensley (5-10, 235/42 tackles, 12 TFL), senior DE Nick McCleese (6-5, 240/30 tackles) and junior DB Dylan Kelley (36 tackles).
* Elida (10-4, State Semifinalist): The Bulldogs won their first regional title last year and set a record for the most wins in school history. They’ll have a hard time following that up, but there is plenty of talent still around despite the loss of standout QB Reggie McAdams. The Elida defense returns nine starters and will be led by senior LB Quentin Poling (6-1, 215) who had 200 tackles, 26 TFL, eight forced fumbles and four INTs last year. Also back are DL Chance Weitz (6-2, 225, sr./72 tackles, 20 TFL, seven sacks) and DB Anthony Sumpter (6-0, 200, sr./115 tackles, nine TFL, four sacks). Offensively, senior WR Brandon Stinson (6-3, 180/66 rec., 910 yards, seven Tds) is back. Said head coach Jason Carpenter (24-32 in five years): “The strength of the team will be in the defense. The offensive key will be the play of a new quarterback.” Elida added Piqua in Week 1.
* Eastmoor Academy (10-3, Region 10 Finalist): The Warriors have been to the playoffs five of the last six years and four straight. They will be in the hunt again. Key returners include senior DB Daivon Barrow (6-1, 190) and senior DE Devon Edwards (6-6, 235). Barrow holds an offer from Toledo and had 86 tackles last year, including 14 TFL. Edwards has offers from Nebraska, Pitt, Cincinnati, West Virginia, North Carolina State and Boston College. Other impact players include senior DL Donzell Watkins (6-0, 280) and senior LB Brent Granger 95-10, 225).
* Urbana (8-3, Region Quarterfinalist): The Hillclimbers made the playoffs for the 13th time last year. Expect them to challenge for a CBC title and playoff berth again. Senior RB Tanner Lawrence (6-1, 180) returns for his fourth year as a starter and has career totals of 2,323 yards and 26 TDs. He’ll be joined in the backfield by sophomore QB Nathan Mays (6-2, 155) who was first team All-CBC last year after throwing for 2,000 yards, 27 TDs and just four INTs. Also back are All-CBC performers Drake Frost (jr., LB, 5-11, 170/90 tackles), Sam Harris (sr., DL, 6-1, 190/40 tackles), Landon Johnson (jr., LB, 5-5, 165/48 tackles), Tyler Powell (sr., DB, 5-8, 135/54 tackles, four INTs), Aaron Sidders (sr., WR/DB, 5-9, 150/63 tackles, three TDs), Neil Shaw (jr., OL/DL, 6-1, 175) and Shane Ware (jr., RB, 5-9, 180/533 yards rushing, three TDs).
* Bellevue (7-4, region 10 Quarterfinalist): The Redmen snapped a two-year absence from the playoffs and earned the program’s 13th postseason berth. Leading the defense this year will be senior LB Matt Dudek (6-1, 195) who made a team-high 88 tackles last year. Senior QB Jalen Santoro (6-0, 155) returns to lead an offense that had nearly 3,500 yards and scored 48 TDs last year. Santoro alone ran for 1,436 yards and 23 TDs and threw for 1,078 yards and 10 TDs as a junior.
Keep An Eye On
* Bexley (5-5): The Lions and head coach John Smith (22-29 in five seasons) must replace 17 seniors. Said Smith: “We are continuing taking steps in changing the culture in Bexley. Trying to make football important.” Bexley’s last winning season (7-3) was 2008.
* Ben Logan (6-4): The Raiders (13-7 the last two years) continue the climb towards the school’s first postseason berth. Head coach Carleton Cotner (39-51 career record) welcomes back a solid cast including QB Trent Rodenberger (6’1, 175, sr./six TDs rushing, five TDs passing), OL Beau Swank (5’11, 235, jr./All-CBC), DE Tanner Penwell (6’1, 275, sr./All-CBC) and LB Brent Weiss (5’10, 175, sr./133 tackles, All-CBC).
* Napoleon (5-6, Region 10 Quarterfinalist): The Wildcats made the postseason with a 5-5 record but were bounced in the first round by Clyde. Senior DB Charlie Harris (5-8, 160) returns after rushing for 339 yards and making four INTs last year.
* Bryan (8-2): The Golden Bears have been on a solid streak, going 22-9 the last three years. This should be another good run. Three-time All-Northwest Ohio Athletic League selection and senior QB/LB Collin Bacon (6-1, 200) is back after throwing for 768 yards and nine TDs and running for 893 yards and 16 TDs. Also back are five juniors who earned All-NWOAL honors in DB Brandon Ponczak (6-1, 160), DL Jerad Carroll (6-0, 195), DB Brock Minor (6-0, 185), ATH Austin Schimmoeller (6-2, 185) and LB Jason Hug (6-1, 195).
* Whitehall-Yearling (6-4): The Rams will lean on senior LB Isaiah Turner (6-1, 210/70 tackles, 12 sacks, 20 TFL, four forced fumbles).
* St. Marys Memorial (4-6): In his first year at SM, head coach Greg Phillips (formerly of Oak Hill) helped the Roughriders go from 1-9 in 2010 to near .500. To take the next step he’ll have to find a replacement for RB D.J. Manning who graduated after rushing for a school record 2,070 yards and 25 TDs last season.
* Lima Shawnee (5-5): The Indians played five playoff teams and two state finalists (beat Marion Local 13-7 in OT in opener) last year. The same schedule awaits.
Also In This Region
Buckeye Valley (6-4), Defiance (4-6), Port Clinton (5-5), Columbus Independence (5-5), Wauseon (5-5), Perkins (2-8), Columbus Linden McKinley (3-7), Indian Lake (3-7), Graham (2-8), Vermillion (1-9), Columbus Centennial (2-8), Rossford (1-9), Bellefontaine (2-8), Columbus East (1-9), Columbus South (0-10)