Regional breakdown, top players, big games, big names, teams to beat, teams to watch and more…
Region 20 Preview
Playoff Teams: Our Predictions
Coldwater, Versailles, Marion Pleasant, Covington, West Liberty-Salem, Dayton Christian, Triad, West Jefferson
Dark Horses: Dixie, Miami East, Fairbanks
10 Players To Watch
1. Austin Bruns, QB. sr, Coldwater:Thrown for 5,378 yards & 55 TDs the last two years
2. Delvin McDaniel, WR, sr., Pleasant: Had over 1,800 total yards (1,200 receiving) last year
3. Heath Harding, RB, sr., Dayton Christian: 62 career TDs; Ran 4.33 40 at Ohio State camp
4. Nick Campbell, QB, jr., Versailles: Had 3,776 total yards & 46 TDs as a sophomore
5. Matt Isaacs, TE/DE, sr., Dixie: Led team in tackles (101) & TFL (16); Added 25 rec.
6. Caleb Siefring, WR/DB, sr., Coldwater: Scored 18 TDs & had seven INTs as a junior
7. Michael Fellers, ATH, jr., Miami East: 1,486 total yards, 10 TDs, 48 tackles & six INTs last year
8. Colton Young, QB, sr., Triad: Accounted for 24 TDs & 2,361 total yards as junior
9. Riley Sims, QB, sr., West Liberty-Salem: Accounted for 1,847 total yards & 24 TDs last year
10. Chandon Williams, WR, sr., Anna: Caught 38 passes for 702 yards & six TDs last year
Coldwater at Kenton, Aug. 24 (Week 1)
North Union @ Marion Pleasant, Aug. 31 (Week 2)
Marion Local @ West Jefferson, Aug. 31 (Week 2)
Coldwater @ Versailles, Sept. 7 (Week 3)
Miami East @ Covington, Sept. 28 (Week 6)
Triad @ West Liberty-Salem, Oct. 26 (Week 10)
Team To Beat
* Coldwater (11-4, State Runner-Up): The Cavaliers have won more games (145) than any program in Ohio since 2000 and have been to the playoffs 15 straight times. Expectations are high again and why not? This year’s senior class has been tabbed Coldwater’s “best” by several sources and that’s backed up by the fact that the Cavs Class of 2013 has the rare opportunity to play in 60 high school games and make four straight state finals. Coldwater has been state runner-up the last three years. They want a title this year and are a favorite. Senior QB Austin Bruns (6-4, 205) is back for his third season as a starter. He’s thrown for 5,378 yards and 55 TDs the last two years. Also back are key players WR/DB Caleb Siefring (5-10, 170, sr./team’s leading receiver, 18 TDs, seven INTs), RB/DB Jordan Chapin (5-10, 175, sr./200-plus tackles in two years, six fumble recoveries), LB Zach Dickman (6-1, 220, sr./143 tackles), OL/DE Jordan Harlamert (6-1, 235, sr./67 tackles, five sacks), OL Mike Rios (6-1, 205, sr.), P/PL Kyle Bergman (sr.), DL Alan Kunk (5-10, 215, sr.) and DL Cody Madaj (5-7, 215, sr.). Said head coach Chip Otten (22-8 in two years at CHS): “(We’re) cautiously optimistic with the productive returners we have coming back. We must strive to become better, enjoy the journey and DTIFG – ‘don’t take it for granted’ that we will be successful.”
Teams To Watch
* Marion Pleasant (11-1, Region 20 Semifinalist): After a two-year postseason absence the Spartans earned the program’s 17th playoff berth in 21 years last season and scored 79 points in a first round win over Cincinnati Summit Country Day. Pleasant lost to West Jefferson 49-42 in OT a week later. Gone from that team are several talented linemen and that’s cause for concern according to head coach Aaron Cook (18-4 in two years). That being said, don’t feel bad for the Spartans. They’re loaded at the skill positions. WR/DB Delvin McDaniel (6-1, 195, sr.) returns after accounting for over 1,800 total yards (including 1,200 receiving) and FB/NG Holden Rosebrough (6-0, 35, sr.) is back after rushing for 1,500 yards and 22 TDs. Defensively, McDaniel (eight INTs), RB/LB Blake Sims (6-1, 215, sr./70 tackles), DB/QB Collin Wood (6-2, 175, sr./40 tackles, four INTs) and LB/OL Nathan Jerome (6-1, 205, sr./47 tackles) lead a solid unit.
* Covington (10-1, Region 20 Quarterfinalist): The Buccs are postseason regulars, having made the playoffs seven straight seasons and 12 of the last 13. Expect the same this season. Covington returns nine starters on defense and seven on offense. Leadership, however, is a concern according to head coach Dave Miller (49-10 in five years at Covington; 88-34 overall). The Buccs graduated just six seniors from last year’s team but four were four-year letterwinners and the other two were three-year letterwinners. Of the four-year players, three were on the OL.
* Dayton Christian (9-1): The Crusaders missed the playoffs last year despite nine wins. That sour taste looms but so does RB Heath Harding (5-10, 175, sr.) – one of Ohio’s best small school runners. According to head coach David Amlin: “Next to Josh Betts (Vandalia-Butler/Indianapolis Colts), Harding is the best kid I have coached in 34 years.” Last year Harding ran for 1,501 yards and 29 TDs on 122 carries. He had 33 TDs total (KO return and three receiving). For his career, Harding has rushed for 2,902 yards and 48 TDs. He’s accounted for 62 TDs total, including seven on returns. He has offers from Ohio, Toledo, Buffalo, Miami of Ohio and Bowling Green. Harding also rant he fastest 40-yard dash at Ohio State’s advanced camp in June (4.33 seconds). Anchoring the line will be OL/DL Adam Jackson (6-0, 270, sr.).
* West Liberty-Salem (10-1, Region 20 Quarterfinalist): The Tigers have become playoff regulars, making it six of the last seven years and head coach Toby Smith (100-38 in 13 years) has the cast to make it seven in nine. The Tigers return four All-Ohio Heritage Conference players in seniors Riley Sims (QB/LB), Landon Hormann (WR/DE), Alex Gardner (OL/DL) and Travis Mayse (RB/DB). Hormann (6-5, 2101) had 66 tackles last year and 13 sacks. Sims threw for 1,180 yards and 14 TDs and was the etam’s leading rusher (667 yards, nine TDs). Also back is standout senior K Grant Burden (6-2, 200).(RB/DB).
* Versailles (9-3, Region 20 Semifinalist): First-year head coach Adam Miller inherits a cupboard left stocked by former coach Bob Olwin. The Tigers snapped a five-year playoff drought last year and made the postseason for the first time since 2005. Getting back is attainable. Junior QB Nick Campbell (6-1, 170) returns after earning JJHuddle Division V Offensive Player of the Year honors last year when he threw for 2,910 yards and 37 TDs and ran for 866 yards and nine TDs. Defensively, senior LB Mike Rutschilling (6-0, 170) is one of the region’s best.
* Anna (6-4): The Rockets have some holes. “Since we graduated a senior class of 28, we will only have four returning starters,” head coach Bryan Rioch (97-36 in 14 years) said. “Even though we believe that there is plenty of talent, we will still have a lot of question marks.” This is one of the MAC’s deepest years so that heightens Anna’s urgency to find replacements. Key contributors will be WR/CB Chandon Williams (6-1, 190), G/LB Stewart Watkins (6-2, 230, sr.), OL/DL Chandler Cotterman (6-3, 280) and OL/DE Logan Greve (6-0, 225, sr.).
* Dixie (4-6): In 2010 the Greyhounds recorded their first winning season since 1983. This year the program would like to win its first league title since then and make the school’s first-ever playoff appearance. Those expectations are warranted. Dixie returns several key players including senior QB/DB Luke Bowling (6-0, 190/three-year starter) and senior RB/LB Ryan Jordan (5-9, 190). In addition to running for 1,046 yards and 14 TDs last year, Jordan also led the team in sacks with seven. Senior TE/LB Matt Isaacs (6-3, 210) is a two-way standout. Last year the team’s leading tackler (101, 16 TFL) also caught 25 passes for 467 yards. Senior lineman Soloman Shepherd (5-10, 230) anchors both lines. New additions to the schedule are Valley View (Week 2) and Springfield Northeastern (Week 3).
* Miami East (6-4): Led by head coach Max Current (58-74 in 13 years), the Vikings are trying to earn their first playoff berth since 2008. ME has some talent. Junior RB/DB/KR/K/P Michael Fellers (6-1, 155) is one of the state’s most versatile players and excels in all facets. Last year he rushed for 638 yards and 10 TDs, caught 15 passes, averaged 51.3 yards on kickoffs, put five punts inside the 20, returned one kickoff for a TD, had 1,486 all-purpose yards, made 48 tackles and had six INTs. Said Current: “Offensively, we feel like we have good skill at the running back positions. We need some players to rise to the occasion up front on the offensive line to get our backs going. We will be very young and inexperienced at the QB position with only sophomore and freshmen candidates at the moment. Defensively we need to replace three out of four starters on the line, two out of four starters at the linebacker spots and one out of three starters in the secondary. But we have players who have lettered at those positions and who received valuable experience last season.” Other key returners are seniors TE/DE Kevin Jackson (6-1, 170/27 tackles) and WR/DB Cole Hale (5-10, 145/44 tackles), juniors RB Alex Brewer (5-10, 155/287 yards) and DT/FB Robbie Adams (5-10, 190/67 tackles) and sophomore RB Colton McKinney (5-10, 155/236 yards). The Vikings open with Miami County non-league rival Milton-Union, which they haven’t beaten since 2001.
* Triad (7-3): The Cardinals have positioned themselves for a big season. Said head coach Payton Printz (55-58 in 11 years): “We feel like the group coming in this season is one of the most athletic and talented teams we’ve had quite a long time. We have a good balance of athleticism and experience, which will give us a chance to compete for the OHC title. We have a great group of skill players on offense coming back who have a lot of experience. In addition, we’ll have a lot of speed at the skill positions, which will make us tougher to defend and match up with. We’ll continue to run our spread offense and find ways to put the ball in the hands of our playmakers.” Those guys include: senior QB Colton Young (6-2, 185/1,712 yards passing, 13 TDs, 649 yards rushing, 11 TDs), junior RB Tre’ McIntyre (6-1, 185/44 rec., 661 yards receiving, four receiving TDs, 450 yards rushing, five rushing TDs), senior WR Austin Sanford (5-10, 170/34 rec., 472 yards, three TDs) and senior WR Brandon Edwards (5-7, 150/24 rec., 152 yards, three TDs). Defensively senior DE Seth Collier (6-0, 170/68 tackles), junior LB Rickey Bruce (6-1, 190, 31 tackles) and sophomore LB Chaz Adams (5-10, 165/58 tackles) all return.
* West Jefferson (10-3, Region 20 Finalist): The Roughriders continued their recent postseason success by making the regional final for the fifth time in the last six years. West Jeff, however, is 0-5 in those contests, losing to Amanda-Clearcreek, Marion Local (twice) and Coldwater (twice), respectively, in succession. To keep the streak in tact, the Roughriders must replace QB Cody Williams, RB Chaney Fulton, RB Josh Hatfield and RB Tommy Blair – a quartet that accounted for 62 TDs and 372 yards a game. The good news? The Roughriders return their leading receiver in junior WR Ryan Love (38 rec., 815 yards, 14 TDs). Senior Corey Ginn anchors both lines. Other key returners are senior QB/DB Seth Casto, senior WR John Fluke, senior K Steven Lollo (568 points, 4-6 FGs), senior LB Chris Ramsey (48 tackles), senior QB/LB Hayden Murry (23 tackles), senior DB Austin Johnson (56 tackles) and junior RB/LB Jake Hatfield (90 tackles).
Keep An Eye On
* Frankfort Adena (9-2, Region 20 Quarterfinalist): The Warriors made the playoffs for the fourth time ever and first since 2005, but failed to capture the school’s first postseason victory. This season Adena must replace the SVC Back of the Year (Reid Hutchison) and the SVC Offensive Lineman of the Year (Ryan Mickle). Senior OL Trenton Bartley is a two-time All-SVC pick.
* Chillicothe Southeastern (4-6): New head coach Colton Coy takes over a team that opens with four straight road games and has six overall. Key contributors will be senior DB Gage Hurles (5-9, 170), senior WR Stoney Atwood, (5-10, 170) and junior RB Dez Perkins (5-10, 185).
* Twin Valley South (3-7): There may not have been a younger team in Ohio last year than the Panthers. In head coach Lance Engleka’s first season, TVS started six freshmen and five sophomores. Said Engleka: “Our No. 1 priority is that we have to become mentally and physically tougher. We lost three games last year simply because the other team was mentally and physically tougher than we were. That has been a huge emphasis in the off-season and will continue into the summer and preseason.” Senior WR Mike Burke (5-10, 180) is back after catching 28 passes for 506 yards and 11 TDs last year. Also back are juniors WR/DB Darren Brown (6-0, 170/20 rec., 322 yards, five TDs), DL Cody Clayton (6-2, 240/32 tackles, 10 TFL) and WR/DB Zane Cottingim (5-7, 140). Sophomore Wes Cole (6-1, 165) becomes the QB after seeing duty last year at RB and WR. He also had 37 tackles as a DB.
* Summit Country Day (7-4, Region 20 Quarterfinalist): The Silver Knights have been to back-to-back postseasons and want to keep the string alive. Said second-year head coach Mike Brown: “Over the past few years the attitude within the program of Summit Football has really changed. Having gone to the playoffs for the first time in a decade in 2010 and making history by going back-to-back for the first time in school history by making it in 2011 really shows how hard the student-athletes at Summit have been working.”
* Fairbanks (7-3): The Panthers return a solid signal caller in junior Hunter Burnett (6-1, 190) who threw for 1,157 yards and 16 TDs last year. Also back is senior WR Phillip Gibson (6-1, 175) who caught 23 passes for 439 yards and eight TDs.
Also In This Region
Williamsburg (6-3), Mariemont (6-4), Bethel (5-5), Parkway (3-7), Clark Montessori (4-6), Mechanicsburg (3-7), Madison Plains (3-7), Marion Elgin (4-6), Paint Valley (4-6), Riverdale (2-8), Purcell-Marian (2-8), Deer Park (1-9), National Trail (1-9), Chillicothe Huntington (0-10)