Regional breakdown, top players, big games, big names, teams to beat, teams to watch and more…
Region 12 Preview
Playoff Teams: Our Predictions
Alter, Jonathan Alder, Springfield Shawnee, Thurgood Marshall, Gallia Academy, Dayton Dunbar, Cincinnati McNicholas, Wyoming
Dark Horses: Athens, Eaton, Miami Trace
10 Players To Watch
1. Malik Zaire, QB, sr. Alter: ND recruit ran & passed for over 1,000 yards last year
2. Greg Hart, TE, sr., Alter: JJHuddle Top 100 prospect is committed to Nebraska
3. Alex McCrory, RB, sr., Shawnee: Two-time first team All-CBC performer; 1,600 yards
4. Derritt Potts, RB, Sr. Jonathan Alder: Rushed for 1,538 yards last year
5. Nick Smith, K, sr., Jonathan Alder: Regarded as Ohio’s top kicker by most
6. Denzzel Norvell, RB, sr., Marshall: Ran for 1,800 yards & 30 TDs as junior
7. Will Marty, QB, jr., Wyoming: Threw for 2,054 yards and 19 TDs last year
8. Leo Montgomery, RB, sr., Dunbar: Ran for 15 TDs as a junior
9. Ty Warnimont, WR, jr. Gallia Academy: Earned first team All-SEOAL honors last year
10. Jordan Huggins, DB, sr., Shawnee: All-CBC selection picked off five passes last year
Troy @ Shawnee, Aug. 31 (Week 2)
Dunbar @ Trotwood-Madison, Aug. 31 (Week 2)
Clinton-Massie @ Jonathan Alder, Sept. 7 (Week 3)
Marshall @ Eastmoor, Sept. 7 (Week 3)
Marshall @ Jonathan Alder, Oct. 5 (Week 7)
Chaminade Julienne @ Alter, Oct. 26 (Week 10)
Team To Beat
* Alter (10-1, Region 12 Quarterfinalist): The Knights have won
74 games the last six years and have won two state titles and four
regional titles over that stretch. They’ll challenge to add to those
tallies this season despite losing eight out of nine first team All-GCL
selections. The one returner? Senior QB Malik Zaire (6-2, 207). Zaire,
the reigning GCL North Player of the Year, is headed to Notre Dame. He
rushed for 1,100 yards, threw for 1,058 and accounted for 22 TDs last
year. Other key returners are senior WR Conner Vannatta (6-1, 175) and
senior TE Greg Hart (6-4, 223/committed to Nebraska). The Knights
offensive line was dealt a blow when All-GCL performer Cody Collins
transferred to Trotwood-Madison. Regardless, look for junior OL Jeff
Duncan (6-6, 265) to blossom and fill the void. Duncan is in just his
third year of organized football but has impressed all summer on the
Teams To Watch
* Springfield Shawnee (14-1, State Runner-Up): The Braves became just the second team from Clark County to make a state football final last year and fell just short against Mooney. Asking them to get back might be a stretch, but making the program’s fourth straight playoff appearance isn’t out of the question. Shawnee has to replace the CBC offensive (Brad Jarzab) and defensive (Lucas Sparks) players of the year and graduated eight All-CBC players. The good new is that senior RB Alex McCrory (6-2, 230) is back. McCrory is a two-time first team All-CBC performer who ran for over 1,600 yards last year. Also back is senior DB Jordan Huggins (6-0, 160/first team All-CBC), senior DB Andrew Young (6-0, 190/All-CBC) and senior DE Grant Miller (6-4, 190/All-CBC).
* Jonathan Alder (12-1, Region 12 Finalist): The Pioneers have made the playoffs 11 years in a row. To make it 12 they’ll dish out steady doses of Derritt Potts (5-8, 170) who rushed for 1,538 yards last year. Senior Nick Smith (5-10, 155) is Ohio’s best kicker. Defensively, senior DL Mason Will (5-11, 190) and senior DB Brad Miller (5-9, 170) will be key. Alder’s schedule includes two D-I schools and four D-II schools, including Winton Woods and Zanesville. The Pioneers also face D-III stalwarts Dayton Thurgood Marshall and Columbus Watterson and D-IV giant Clinton-Massie.
* Dayton Thurgood Marshall (10-2, Region 12 Semifinalist): The Cougars are 28-4 on the field the last three years and surprised Alter in the first round of the playoffs last season with their run-oriented double wing attack. Marshall scored over 50 points six times last year and averaged 40 points per game. Its only two losses were to D-II state champion Trotwood-Madison (Week 1) and D-III state runner-up Springfield Shawnee (Week 12). Expect the Cougars to challenge for back-to-back playoff berths. Senior RB Denzel Norvell (5-8, 175) returns after rushing for 1,800 yards and 30 TDs last season. Keep an eye on senior TE/DE Gerry Green (6-6, 240). The schedule isn’t easy with four fo the first five games on the road (at Lima Senior, at Chillicothe, at Columbus Eastmoor and at Winton Woods). The lone road game the last half of the season is at Jonathan Alder.
* Logan Elm (9-2, Region 12 Quarterfinalist): After going 33-13 and earning three playoff berths, three Pickaway County championships and two Mid-State League Buckeye Division titles the last four years under former head coach Scott Bartholomew, the Braves will have a new head coach in 2012. Wait, no they won’t. After retiring from the position in May, Bartholomew decided to come back in June. The Braves have several holes to fill on the roster, despite the coaching staff remaining mostly intact.
* Jackson (11-1, Region 12 Semifinalist): The Ironmen have been to back-to-back postseasons. To make it three in a row they’ll have to find replacements for 2011 SEOAL Co-Players of the Year Drew Ervin (RB/LB, Lake Erie College) and Austin Osborne (QB/DB). This year returning All-SEOAL performer RB/LB Morgan Landrum (6-0, 215, sr.) will get his share of caries.
* Wyoming (6-4): The Cowboys have a new head coach in longtime assistant Aaron Hancock who takes over for legend Bernie Barre (317-110 career record). Hancock inherits a sound program and solid returning team. The Cowboys return eight starters on offense and six on defense. Junior QB Will Marty (6-4, 185) is back after throwing for 2,054 yards and 19 TDs. Also back are WRs Ben Kurtz (6-3, 205, sr./17 rec., 323 yards, three TDs), Dawson Rogers (6-0, 170, sr./10 rec., 171 yards, TD) and Domonic Vamosi (5-8, 160, jr./13 rec., 209 yards, four TDs). The defense will be led by senior LB Connor Hughes (6-1, 200/76 tackles), junior LB Casey Howell (5-10, 175/87 tackles) and junior DB Brandford Darlington (5-8, 160/81 tackles). Said Hancock: “Offensively, we have some very fast and talented skilled players and a solid quarterback in junior Will Marty. Defensively we will play aggressive gap sound defense and will have great pursuit to the ball. We have some very talented players returning and should be a solid defense. Our goals are to win the Cincinnati Hill League and return to the playoffs in 2012.”
* McNicholas (2-8): The Rockets made the state semis in 2010 and then won just two games last year. They should win more this season. Senior QB Austin Ernst (6-1, 185) returns after earning first team All-GCL Central honors last year. Also back are seniors K Pat DiSalvo (5-10, 170), LB Kevin McHale (6-0, 195), WR Thomas Vogele (6-1, 180) and DB Paul WIlson (5-11, 220).
Keep An Eye On
* Cincinnati Taft (7-4, Region 12 Quarterfinalist): After making the playoffs the last two years, the Senators must fill some big holes left by all-everything DL Adolphus Washington (Ohio State) and standout WR Dwayne Stanford (Oregon).
* Monroe (5-5): The Hornets return All-SWBL RB Chris Wilson (sr.).
* Athens (10-1, Region 12 Quarterfinalist): The Bulldogs made the school’s second playoff appearance ever and first since 1990 last year.
* Eaton (8-2): The Eagles have to replace seven all-league performers and several impact players including standouts Cole French (QB), Joey McCafferty (WR), Nathan Clark (RB), Sam Borst (RB) and Andrew McKee (OL/DL). Eaton will build around seniors Andrew Holderman (WR/DB) and Tyler Claybaker (DL).
* Gallia Academy (6-4): Head coach Mike Eddy begins his fourth year with a 15-15 record. Junior WR Ty Warnimont (5-10, 175) was All-SEAOL last year.
* Miami Trace (5-5): Longtime Carroll and South Charleston Southeastern coach Steve Bartlett returns to the head coaching ranks after a short retirement.
* Kenton Ridge (8-2): The Cougars lose seven All-CBC players but return senior OL/DL Mitch Arnold (5-10, 240) and junior LB/RB Zach Holt (5-8, 200/70 tackles, four TDs).
* Dayton Dunbar (6-4): The Wolverines will rely heavily on senior RB Leo Montgomery (5-10, 205) who ran for 549 yards and 15 TDs last year.
* Indian Hill (7-3): The Braves are looking to snap a four-year absence from the postseason. Senior OL Sami Kassem (6-5, 315) is one of the region’s best.
* Carroll (4-6): Second-year coach Bob Levy faces the task of replacing eight All-GCL players.
Also In This Region
New Richmond (8-2), Washington Court House (5-5), London (4-6), Goshen (4-6), Dayton Meadowdale (3-6), Circleville (2-8), Hillsboro (2-8), Vinton County (1-9), Greenfield McClain (1-9), Cincinnati Aiken (2-8), Fairfield Union (0-10), Dayton Oakwood (0-10)