Region 22 Teams To Watch: Fairbanks, Miami East, Minster, Versailles, WLS among suitors

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Region 22

A look at those teams we think will challenge for the top spot in the region.


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2013 Ohio HS Football Preview

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Region 22 Preview

Teams To Watch

*Anna (5-5): The Rockets will build around junior RB Christiaan Williams (5-10, 215) and junior DL Chandler Cotterman (6-5, 280). Both were second team All-MAC last year. Two additional all-conference players return in senior WR/DB Nick Ihle (6-2, 170) and junior TE/LB Wes Showalter 6-4, 210).

*Casstown Miami East (7-4, Region 20 quarterfinalist): The Vikings made the playoffs for the third time in six years last season but are still searching for their first postseason win (0-3 all-time). Head coach Max Current (65-78 in 14 years)  thinks this year’s team is capable of getting that program “first.” Seven starters return on each side of the ball as do 19 lettermen and 14 seniors. The catalyst is senior RB/K/KR/DB Michael Fellers (6-0, 170) who accounted for 14 TDs last year (eight rushing, four on returns, two receiving). He also connected on 35 PATs, punted 35 times (37.8 avg.), made 38 tackles and had an INT and fumble recovery.  Also back are three starters on the offensive line, WR Dalton Allen (sr., 5-9, 160/339 yards receiving, four TDs) and RB Colton McKinney (jr., 5-11, 170/227 yards rushing, two TDs). Two players return with varsity experience in junior Conner Hellyer (6-0, 165) and sophomore Braxton Donaldson (6-2, 230). Hellyer threw for 528 yards and six TDs before being injured in Week 6. Donladson (338 yards passing, two TDs) finished the season under center. Defensively, senior DL Robbie Adams (6-0, 180) returns after making 91 tackles, 10 TFL and six sacks last year. He also had three TDs as a FB. Other key defensive contributors will be seniors DB Dalton Allen (5-9, 160/56 tackles), LB Franco Villella (5-8, 155/83 tackles) and DE Alex Brewer (5-11, 170/93 tackles, 10 TFL, three sacks). Overall, the Vikings return 10 players who had at least 23 tackles each last year. Miami East opens with Miami County rival Milton-Union, which it hasn’t beaten since 2001.

*Milford Center Fairbanks (5-5): The Panthers started 1-5 last year but won their final four games, including key victories over Lehman Catholic and playoff team Waynesfield-Goshen, to capture a share of the Northwest Central Conference title with Fort Loramie. The goal this year is to win a league title in the program’s first year in a new league (the MOAC) and earn the program’s first playoff berth since 2007 and second since 2000. Several key pieces return. Senior QB Hunter Burnett (6-1, 190) is back after throwing for 2,082 yards and 22 TDs last season. He also ran for three TDs. Joining Burnett in the backfield is senior RB Brent Nicol (6-1, 185) who ran for 1,009 yards and 13 TDs last year. On defense, Fairbanks returns its top two tacklers in senior LB Connor Smith (5-11, 195/70 tackles) and junior DL Will Day (6-1, 180/59 tackles). The schedule is totally different. The only remaining opponents from 2012 are non-league foes Mechanicsburg (Week 2) and Triad (week 3). Galion comes aboard in Week 1 and the MOAC, which includes Jonathan Alder, Marion Pleasant and North Union, starts in Week 4. Said head coach Dave Gebhart: “The road to success is always under constuction.”

*Minster (9-3, Region 24 semifinalist): The Wildcats have made the playoffs three years in a row but must replace several key offensive skill players if they want to make it four. They also have a new head coach. Geron Stokes, who spent he last four years at Urbana, takes over for Nate Moore who landed at Cincinnati LaSalle. Stokes, just 28, inherits a team with some talent. Senior TE Ethan Wolf (6-6, 232) has committed to Tennessee. Wolf, who caught 77 passes for 885 yards and 14 TDs, has over 20 offers including Alabama, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Nebraska and Arkansas. Also back are senior DL/OL Wes Hagerman  (6-2, 250) and senior LB/RB Paul Dues (6-3, 185). Hagerman is a four-year starter, while Dues had 67.5 tackles, four forced fumbles and three INTs last year. Due to the MAC’s revolving schedule, the Wildcats don’t face Marion Local (during the regular season). The Week 1 visit from Fort Loramie is a big one.

*Tri-County North (7-4, Region 24 quarterfinalist): The Panthers return several solid players on both sides of the ball. Senior QB/DB Austin Hutchins (6-3, 185) returns after throwing for 1,319 yards and 18 TDs and running for 232 yards and four TDs last year. Also back is junior RB/LB Colton Booth (5-11, 190) who ran for 560 yards and seven TDs. Booth had 69 tackles, 8.5 TFL and four caused fumbles on defense.  Hutchins chipped in 66 tackles. Those two are just part of a formidable defense. Other key returnees are sophomore LB Garrett Woodyeard (511, 175/82 tackles, three fumble recoveries, two INTs), junior DE Blake Lawson (5-10, 175/57 tackles, 13 TFL), junior DL Reilly Lipinski (5-10, 210/50 tackles, 21.5 TFL) and senior DL Cole Gunder (6-0, 200/46 tackles, nine TFL). Junior K Trey Summers (5-11, 160) returns as well.

*Versailles (5-5): Senior QB Nick Campbell (6-1, 190) is one of the state’s top small school signal callers. In the last two years he’s thrown for 4,307 yards and 55 TDs. He’s also rushed for 1,316 yards and 11 TDs. One of Campbell’s favorite targets returns in All-MAC senior WR Damien Richard (32 receptions, 342 yards, six TDs).

*West Liberty-Salem (11-1): The Tigers have been in the playoffs seven of the last nine seasons and have won 26 straight Ohio Heritage Conference games. This season, Dan McGill, an eight-year assistant at WLS, assumes head coaching duties from Toby Smith (who took the Bellefontaine job). Senior RB/DB Taylor Cordell will contribute heavily. 
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Region 22: Team To Beat

Our favorite to win the Region is…CLICK HERE

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Region 22: Keep An Eye On

Teams, players and programs of note entering 2013…CLICK HERE

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Region 22: Also In This Region

Who rounds out the region?…CLICK HERE

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D-VI Preseason All-Ohio Team

INCLUDED IN THE 2013 JJHUDDLE OHIO HS FOOTBALL PREVIEW

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Playoff Teams: Our Predictions

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10 Players To Watch

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Top Games

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