Regional breakdown, top players, big games, big names, teams to beat, teams to watch and more…
Region 16 Preview
Playoff Teams: Our Predictions
Chaminade Julienne, Clinton-Massie, Westfall, Fenwick, Maderia, Milton-Union, CHCA, North College Hill
Dark Horses: Badin, Waynesville, Carlisle
10 Players To Watch
1. Darrien Howard, LB, sr., Chaminade-Julienne: JJHuddle Top 100 prospect is headed to West Virginia
2. Trent Williamson, QB, sr., Westfall: On pace to end with 10,000 career total yards & 100 TDs
3. Ty Black, WR, sr., Waynesville: Will become school’s all-time receptions, yardage leader
4. Bayle Wolfe, RB, jr., Clinton-Massie: Ran for 1,390 yards & 31 TDs as a sophomore
5. Ricky Davis, QB, sr., Fenwick: Transfer from Moeller has MAC offers
6. Zach Jansen, QB, sr., Maderia: Career numbers are 3,167 yards passing & 40 TDs
7. Tevin Brown, RB, sr., North College Hill: Scored 21 TDs and ran for 1,626 yards as a junior
8. Nate Jackson, WR, sr., Dayton Northridge: Caught 58 passes for 970 yards and seven TDs last year
9. Marquez Sneed, WR, sr. Finneytown: Caught 37 passes for 628 yards & nine TDs as a junior
10. Trent Smart, DE, sr., Clinton-Massie: Holds offers from Ohio & Miami (Oh); 12.5 sacks last year
Waynesville @ Clinton-Massie, Aug. 31 (Week 1)
North College Hill @ Maderia, Sept. 7 (Week 3)
Badin @ Fenwick, Sept. 14 (Week 4)
CJ @ Fenwick, Oct. 12 (Week 8)
Waynesvile @ Milton-Union, Oct. 19 (Week 9)
CJ @ Alter, Oct. 26 (Week 10)
Team To Beat
* Chaminade-Julienne (9-4, Region 16 Finalist): The Eagles
rebounded from an 0-2 start last season (losses to playoff teams Troy
and Thurgood Marshall) to win nine of the next 10 games and land in the
regional finals. CJ will contend for the Region 16 title again. Senior
LB Darrien Howard (6-2, 241) is a JJHuddle Top 100 prospect and has
committed to West Virginia. Howard had 154 tackles, three INTs and two
fumble recoveries last year. He also doubles as a bruising back and
scored 13 TDs. Two other big names are senior LB JaMel Sanders (6-1,
190) and senior RB Brandon Payne (5-10, 215). Sanders, who has offers
from Miami (Oh) and Eastern Michigan, had 70 tackles, 5.5 TFL and
returned both a kickoff and interception for TDs last year. Payne ran
for 1,490 yards and 13 TDs as a junior. All three (Payne, Howard and
Sanders) were first team GCL North. Other key returners are senior DL
Chris Darden (5-11, 215), senior DL Kris Lampkin (6-1, 215/57 tackles,
three fumble recoveries) and senior OL Zach Poelking (6-1, 245).
Replacing QB Sam Spees is a concern.
Teams To Watch
* Westfall (8-3, Region 16 Quarterfinalist): The Mustangs have been to the playoffs seven of the last nine years and look primed to defend their Scioto Valley Conference crown and challenge for a regional title. Said head coach Scott Keller (42-12 in five years): “This isn’t the most talented team we’ve ever had, but they are very close.” Headlining the roster is senior QB Trent Williamson (5-11, 200) who returns for his third year as a starter and has a chance to become the SVC and school’s all-time leading passer and the school’s all-time leading rusher. Williamson has thrown for over 4,200 yards and rushed for over 2,200 the last two years. He’s accounted for 65 TDs. Two three-year starters return on the OL and DL in seniors Doug Hardin (6-4, 280) and Cody Schmitzer (5-11, 250). Senior DB Luke Cline (6-0, 180) was the SVC DB of the Year last year after recording five INTs and returning three for TDs. Said Keller: “This season we welcome back a wealth of experience on both sides of the ball. We return nine starters on offense and nine on defense. We have been very young the last couple of years, so we’re expecting those youthful mistakes (turnovers and penalties) to be eliminated.”
* Waynesville (11-1, Region 16 Semifinalist): The Spartans have become a regional force, making five straight postseasons. But third-year head coach Brandon Philpot has holes to fill this year. Gone is record-setting QB Luke Creditt. Who fills his shoes is the big key. Senior WR Ty Black (6-1, 175) needs just four catches and 250 yards to set career receiving records in both categories. The Spartans have replaced Eaton with Blanchester in Week 3. Other big games include Clinton-Massie, Carlisle and Milton-Union.
* Milton-Union (8-3, Region 16 Quarterfinalist): The Bulldogs snapped a three-year hiatus from the postseason last year and would like to log back-to-back postseason trips. Replacing the school’s all-time leading rusher (Jake Finfrock) is a big hurdle, but senior RB Tyler Brown (6-0, 215) is seasoned and will carry more of the load. The Bulldogs return five starters on offense. Defensively, head coach Bret Pearce (67-60 in 12 years) welcomes back eight starters and expects that unit to be “strong.” Key contributors will be Brown, DL Jesse Simpson (5-11, 188, sr.), DL Cole Pennington (6-2, 230, sr.), LB Chris Boggs (5-11, 195, sr.), LB Josh Bryan (5-11, 187, sr.), LB Austin Dickison (6-0, 190, sr.) and DB Joe Thoele (5-10, 175, sr.). Milton’s secret weapon? Try senior K Nick Fields who is considered a Top 20 2013 kicker nationally by prokicker.com. Said Pearce: “We expect a big year out of him.”
* Clinton-Massie (11-3, State Semifinalist): The Falcons have made the playoffs 10 years in a row. Expect that string to reach 11. Last year Massie had three backs rush for over 1,000 yards and this year it would like to duplicate the feat. Junior RB Bayle Wolfe (6-0, 195) is back after running for 1,390 yards and 31 TDs last season. Also back is senior RB Wyatt Running (5-11, 185) who ran for 1,071 yards and 15 TDs. Those two will run behind a line anchored by seniors Trent Smart (6-3, 235/MAC offers) and Jake Weaver (6-2, 225). Defensively, Smart (51.5 tackles, 19.5 TFL, 12.5 sacks) and senior Duane Sowers (6-0, 200) headline a talented DL.
* Hamilton Badin (6-4): The Rams are looking to defend their GCL North title and win the division for the fifth time in seven years. Consider them a contender. Badin returns eight All-GCL Central players, including five on defense. Included in that group are DL Houston Krause (6-2, 220, sr.), DB Austin Rieman (5-11, 190, sr.), DB Nick Browning (5-10, 170, sr.), LB Michael Davis (6-0, 190, sr.), DL Jack Fetters (5-11, 200, sr.) and DL John Fowler (5-11, 250, sr.). Offensively, the Rams must replace their leading rusher, leading receiver and QB. They return OL anchors Greg Childs (6-1, 215, sr.) and Kevin Kugler (5-10, 230). Expect senior RB Drew Evers (5-11, 190) to log plenty of carries.
* Fenwick (8-2): The Falcons replace one outstanding QB (Austin Gearing/Miami, Oh) with another. After spending the first three years of his career at Moeller, senior QB Ricky Davis (6-3, 195) has transferred to Fenwick. Davis holds offers from Bowling Green, Akron and Kent State. Seniors Lucas Cunningham (6-1, 248) and Ben Hinkel (6-1, 240) anchor the OL. Senior WR Leo Haenni (6-4, 220) is a potential D-I prospect and coming off a season in which he caught 30 passes for 523 yards and five TDs. Another weapon will be junior WR Frank Catrine (6-0, 180/1,235 all-purpose yards) who rushed for eight TDs, caught a TD pass and returned a kickoff and punt for TDs last year. Fenwick’s defense will be stout. In addition to Haenni (six interceptions) and Catrine (five INTs) who will lead the secondary, the Falcons return three additional All-GCL North selections in senior DL Colin Smith (6-3, 280), senior DL Ian Barton (6-2, 220) and senior LB Cory Chapman (5-11, 210).
* Maderia (10-1, Region 16 Quarterfinalist): The Mustangs made the playoffs for the first time since 2005 last year and won their first outright Cincinnati Hills League title. This season they return All-CHL senior QB Zack Jansen who threw for 1, 703 yards and 22 TDs last year. He enters his senior season with 3,167 yards and 40 TDs. Jansen doubles as the team’s placekicker as well and has 84 career kicking points. Senior OL Will Steur (6-4, 290) is a two-time All-CHL selection.
* North College Hill (8-3, Region 16 Quarterfinalist): The Trojans have been to the playoffs four years in a row and five of the last six. If they add to those streaks senior RB Tevin Brown (5-10, 180) will play a large part. Brown ran for 1,626 yards and 21 TDs as a junior.
* Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (8-4, Region 16 Semifinalist): The Eagles reached the postseason for the seventh time in 10 years last season and surprised host Maderia in the first round. Don’t be surprised if they reach Week 11 again. CHCA returns junior QB Conner Osborne (5-10, 150) who threw for 1,289 yards and 14 TDs last year. Osborne finished the season exceptionally strong (throwing 10 of his TDs in the final five games, playoffs included). The Eagles also return their top two leading rushers from last year in junior RBs Nick Marsh (6-0, 160) and Tyler Renners (5-7, 130). Marsh carried the ball 102 times for 517 yards and six TDs, while Renners ran it 78 times for 495 yards and six TDs. Senior WR Nick Weaver returns after catching a team-high 31 passes for 410 yards and four TDs. Defensively, Marsh returns to lead the charge from his LB spot. Last year he had a team-high 51 tackles and eight sacks.
Keep An Eye On
* Valley View (2-8): The Spartans have a new head coach for the first time in 29 years. Jay Niswonger, who led the Spartans to three state titles, seven regional titles and 16 playoff berths, resigned as football coach and AD after last year and has since become an assistant at Wilmington College. New head coach Kris Ketron takes over after spending last year as an assistant at the University of Dayton. Two years prior to that Ketron served as Valley View’s defensive coordinator. The Spartans return first team All-SWBL RB/DB Kenny Duff (sr.).
* Carlisle (6-4): The Indians return two All-SWBL performers in DL Brad Topp (sr.) and RB/LB Ryan McLaughlin (sr.).
* Middletown Madison (4-6): The Mohawks will build around returning All-SWBL player WR/DB Ryan McLaughlin (sr.)
* Dayton Northridge (0-10): The Polar Bears have one of the region’s top WRs in senior Nate Jackson, a first team All-SWBL selection last year who caught 58 passes for 970 yards and seven TDs.
* Brookville (7-3): The Blue Devils and head coach Mike Hetrick return first team All-SWBL RB/LB Luke Landis (sr.).
* Greeneview (2-8): The Rams start Year 2 under head coach Neal Kasner (89-52 career record) with another young team. Said Kasner: “The team’s overall athletic and football ability will be better. It remains to be seen if we can come together as a team, take our off-season gains into the season and eliminate the mistakes that cost you football games.” Greeneview hasn’t had a winning season since 1999, but is on the right track with Kasner, who said the Rams may start just one senior this fall. “If we can be competitive (this year), that should be a good sign for future,” Kasner said.
* Blanchester (7-3): The Wildcats have to replace RBs Andy Lakes (11 TDs) and Tyler Barney (eight TDs). They do return leading tackler Kevin Roy (5-11, 170) a senior LB who had 77 tackles as a junior.
* Finneytown (6-4): The Wildcats lose 1,000-yard rusher Marcus Owens (13 TDs) and QB Kevin Johnson (accounted for 27 TDs). The good news is senior WR Marquez Sneed (6-2, 185) returns after hauling in 37 passes for 628 yards and nine TDs.
* East Clinton (7-3): The Astros opened (Waynesville and Adena) and closed (Clinton-Massie) with defeats while putting together a seven-game winning streak in between. This year they move into a new league, the South Central Ohio League.
Also In This Region
Cincinnati Shroder (4-5), Preble Shawnee (2-8), Dayton Ponitz Tech (3-6), Clermont Northeastern (2-8), Norwood (2-8), North Bend Taylor (2-8), Batavia (2-8), Bethel-Tate (0-10), Reading (0-10), Roger Bacon (4-6)