Region 13 Preview: Can Norwayne defend its state championship?

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Region 13

Regional breakdown, top players, big games, big names, teams to beat, teams to watch and more…


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Region 13 Preview

Playoff Teams: Our Predictions

Norwayne, Brookfield, Black River, Orrville, Manchester, Streetsboro, LaBrae, Lakeview

Dark Horses: Canton Central Catholic, Fairview Park, Cleveland Central Catholic

10 Players To Watch

1. Jon Zimmerly, DL/RB, sr., Norwayne: Ran for 1,105 yards & 15 TDs as junior, added 70 tackles
2. Jeremy Quinlan, QB/DB, sr., Brookfield: Four-year starter, limited to four games last year (injury)
3. Andrew Vaughn, RB, sr., Black River: Set school record with 1,896 yards rushing last year
4. Kyle Lichti, QB, sr., Orrville: Thrown for 3,527 yards & 32 TDs the last two years
5. Nick Peyakov, QB, sr., Manchester: PAC 7 POY threw for 2,464 yards & 28 TDs last year
6. Elijah Henderson, WR, sr., Lakeview: Could become school’s all-time leader in rec., yards & TDs
7. Brandon Gency, LB, sr., Streetsboro: Had 101 tackles (10 sacks) and three FF as a junior
8. Corey Schmidt, TE/LB, sr., Fairview Park: 25 rec. for 390 yards & three TDs (& 70 tackles) last year
9. Austin Phillips, RB., sr., Black River: 1,358 yards rushing & 72 tackles (11 sacks) last year
10. Dorian Williams, RB/DB, sr., Streetsboro: 1,289 yards & 25 TDs last year, added 45 tackles on D

Top Games

Norwayne @ Wellington, Aug. 24 (Week 1)
Manchester @ Black River, Sept. 7 (Week 3)
Kent Roosevelt @ Sreetsboro, Sept. 28 (Week 6)
GlenOak @ Canton CC, Sept. 28 (Week 6)
Brookfield @ LaBrae, Oct. 26 (Week 10)
Orrville @ Wooster, Oct. 27 (Week 10)

Team To Beat

* Norwayne (14-1, State Champions): The Bobcats broke through for
their first state title with a historic 48-42 win over Kenton in a
memorable state final. Now what? For an encore Norwayne will attempt to
continue writing program history. The Bobcats will attempt to win their
first back-to-back Wayne County League titles and will also try to make
the playoffs for just the fourth time in program history and third time
in a row. Despite the loss of a talented senior class which included
standout QB/LB Adam Wallace, head coach Joe Harbour (28-9 in three
years) said this year’s team could be more “talented” than last year’s.
Offensively, four starters return on the OL in seniors Zac Croftcheck
(6-1, 255), Caleb Barb (6-0, 200) and Cody Scrugs (6-0, 230) and junior
Zack Weinman (6-1, 255). They’ll block for senior RB Jon Zimmerly who
rushed for 1,105 yards and 15 TDs last season. The receiving corps is
loaded with seniors Brady Berger (6-1, 190/747 yards, 12 TDs) and Mitch
Knieriem (5-9, 160/356 yards, six TDs) and junior Kaleb Harris (6-3,
195/560 yards, eight TDs). Defensively, Zimmerly (77 tackles, 10 sacks)
is a beast. The secondary is anchored by junior DB Trevahn Berry (6-1,
170/five INTs, 51 tackles, 18 PBU) and senior DB Logan Studer (5-10,
160/54 tackles). “We have a strong core of returning players in 2012 who
either started or saw extensive time as key backups on our 2011 state
championship team,” harbor said. “If they do the work and show the
growth we expect them capable of then 2012 can also be a very special
season in which we compete for a league title, playoff birth, and make a
playoff run that maybe if things go right could culminate with another
state title.”

Teams To Watch

* Brookfield (9-2, Region 13 Quarterfinalist): The Warriors had their first winning season and made the playoffs for the first time since 1994 last year. And they’re set up for another run. Brookfield’s senior class, which saw a lot of action as freshman, is loaded and ready to take the program to the next level. Brookfield has gone 1-9, 5-5, 9-2 the last three years. Senior QB/LB Jeremy Quinlan (6-3, 180) is a four-year starter under center and one of the D-IV’s best all-around players. He’s coming off a season shortened by a collarbone injury in Week 4. Senior RB/LB Ryan Mosora (5-11, 185) returns after rushing for 1,773 yards. He also had 55 tackles and three INTs. Another key two-way player is TE/LB Jimmy Quinlan (6-2, 185, sr.). He had 106 tackles as a sophomore and 123 last year. The OL and DL will be anchored by senior Gary Hiner (6-4, 295).

* Girard (11-2, Region 13 Finalist): The Indians must find a replacement for standout QB Dan Graziano who rushed and passed for over 1,400 yards and accounted for 35 TDs last year. Also gone is RB Ahmed Eggleston who ran for 1,292 yards and 25 TDs. Girard is 37-8 the last four years.

* Canton Central Catholic (8-3, Region 13 Quarterfinalist): The Crusaders have posted back-to-back eight-win seasons after suffering back-to-back eight-loss seasons in 2008 and 2009. Finding a replacement for bruising RB Devin Green is a priority. The Crusaders add nearby D-I schools GlenOak and Hoover to the schedule.

* Black River (9-3, Region 13 Semifinalist): The Pirates return some solid talent – especially at the RB position – from last year’s playoff team, which was the school’s first since 2003. Senior Austin Phillips (6-1, 195) returns after rushing for 1,358 yards (fifth highest single-season total in school history) and registering 72 tackles (11 sacks). Not to be outdone, junior RB Andrew Vaughn (5-10, 170) is also back after running for a school single-season record 1,896 yards. Senior QB Dakota Kuntz returns as well. Black River became the first Patriot Athletic Conference team since the league was formed in 2005 to win a playoff game last year when it beat Manchester 49-24.

* Orrville (8-4, Region 13 Semifinalist): The Red Riders are in store for a historic season. Orrville is looking for the program’s 600th win (currently have 596) and will play the program’s 1,000th game in Week 8 against Mansfield Madison. The Red Riders will rely heavily on the arm of senior QB Kyle Lichti (6-1, 175). Lichti, a three-year starter, threw for 1,501 yards and 13 TDs during an injury-plagued junior season. As a sophomore he threw for 2,026 yards and 19 TDs. Junior LBs Joel Zook (6-1, 180) and Trevor Summers (6-2, 210) will anchor the defense.

* LaBrae (6-5, Region 13 Quarterfinalist): The Vikings made the playoffs for the third time in school history last year. Senior DL Paul Zigmont (6-1, 180, sr.) leads the defense. Junior QB Peyton Aldridge (6-6, 190/12 TDs) returns after earning All-AMC Blue Tier honors last year.

* Manchester (7-4, Region 13 Quarterfinalist): The Panthers made the playoffs for the third year in a row and should make it four straight this fall. Senior QB Nick Peyakov (6-4, 210) returns for his final campaign after earning first team All-PAC 7 honors for the second year in a row and being named the conference POY. Last year Peyakov threw for 2,464 yards, 28 TDs and just two INTs. He also ran for 202 yards and four TDs. As a sophomore Peyakov threw for 2,002 yards and 15 TDs. Senior LB Clayton Miller (5-10, 200/101 tackles) leads the defense.

* Cortland Lakeview (6-4): The Bulldogs have some holes to fill but none bigger than the one at QB where three-year starter Anthony Franco has finally graduated. Franco set 13 school records. Head coach Tom Pavlansky (83-54 career record) said that senior Erich Schmidt is the only returner with varsity QB experience and that he’ll be pushed by junior Tyler Gilmore. Three new starters must be found on the OL. Defensively, Lakeview will be young up front too (one starter back) but the LB and DB corps are stout. Key contributors will be seniors OL/LB Zac Sicilian (6-0, 195), OL/DL Drew Ball (6-5, 210), OL/DL Trevor Watson, WR/LB Brandon Bensing (6-1, 195) and WR/DB Elijah Henderson (6-4, 190). Henderson has a chance to become the school’s career receiving leader in receptions, yards and TDs.

* Streetsboro (6-4): The Rockets own just one playoff appearance in school history (1992) but could be on the verge of earning ticket No. 2. Senior LB/FB Brandon Gency (6-2, 195) is back after registering 101 tackles, 10 sacks and three forced fumbles last year. Offensively, senior RB Dorian Williams (5-11,190) returns after rushing for 1,289 yards and 25 TDs on 228 carries. He also tallied 45 tackles on defense. Other key returners are senior LB Nick Belsito (5-11, 195/33 tackles) and senior DB John Kelly (5-9, 165/35 tackles).

Keep An Eye On

* Middlefield Cardinal (1-9): Head coach Eric Cardinal (68-54 in 13 years) and the Huskies were young last year. Said Cardinal: “In 2011 we had three returning senior starters and 18 freshmen.  We found ourselves starting three 14 year-olds on the offensive line in three of our games, which was a formula for the kind of season we ended up having. This season, we will still be young, but not AS young and we expect and intend to be a better team.” Key returners are senior RB Tom Shirkey (5-11, 175) who rushed for 1,003 yards last year and senior FB Jon Farmwald (5-10, 190). Also back are seniors TE Brandon Bella (6-0, 190) and OL/DL Caleb Fry (6-2, 235). Sophomore OL Chad Delbo (6-1, 230) is one to watch.
* Fairview Park (5-5): The Warriors will rely heavily on senior TE/LB Corey Schmidt (6-2, 174) who had 70 tackles last season. He also caught 25 passes for 390 yards and three TDs. Senior LBs Josh Elenniss (5-8, 166) and Noah Carpenter (5-9, 160) are also back.

Also In This Region

Cleveland Central Catholic (6-4), Massillon Tuslaw (5-5), Beachwood (6-4), Wickliffe (5-5), Garretsville Garfield (6-4), Gates Mills Hawken (6-4), Pymatuning Valley (7-3), Grand Valley (6-4), Perry (4-6), Wooster Triway (2-8), Brooklyn (4-6), Newton Falls (2-8), Sandy Valley (3-7), Lutheran West (2-8), Ashtabula Edgewood (2-8), Fairless (2-8), West Salem Northwestern (3-7), Warren Champion (2-8), Chippewa (0-10), Youngstown Liberty (0-10)

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