A look at those teams we think will challenge for the top spot in the region.
2013 Ohio HS Football Preview
Region 16 Preview
Teams To Watch
*Archbold (8-3, Region 18 quarterfinalist): The Blue Streaks made the playoffs for the fourth time in six seasons last year thanks in part to the play of QB Evan Wyse. The good news? He’s back. A senior, Wyse (6-0, 180) threw for 2,446 yards and 19 TDs last season. He ran for 917 yards and 17 TDs. Senior WR Lincoln Parsley (5-11, 170) also returns after catching 35 passes for 655 yards and five TDs. Parsley doubles as an outstanding kicker.
*Coldwater (15-0, D-IV State Champions): The Cavaliers have been in four straight state finals and own the state’s longest current playoff streak (16 seasons). Both runs are in jeopardy. Coldwater graduated a talented senior class that left plenty of holes, but talent does remain. Junior Brody Hoying (5-11, 180) takes over at QB after catching 23 passes for 318 yards and a TD last year. Hoying is a Division I caliber prospect who also had 59 tackles, six INTs and two forced fumbles as a DB. Senior WR/LB Mitch Schoenherr (6-2, 195) returns after catching 25 passes for 428 yards and six TDs and registering 66 tackles, four sacks, three fumble recoveries and two INTs. Senior DE/OL Andrew Schwieterman (6-1, 215) is also back after making 50 tackles and four sacks. “We’re trying to rebuild after losing 23 seniors,” Coldwater head coach Chip Otten said. “We’ve got a good group of core skill players returning, but the front 7 on both sides is very inexperienced and untested.” The Cavaliers schedule opens with six straight former state champions (Kenton, Hartley, Versailles, Delphos St. John’s, minster and St. Henry). A road game at Marion Local looms in Week 8. Of note, defensive coordinator Tim Hoyng is retiring after 36 years at Coldwater and 39 years overall. Said Otten: “It’s going to be a huge challenge for us to compete for the MAC title and continue our playoff streak.”
*Collins Western Reserve (8-3, Region 18 quarterfinalist): The Roughriders have been to the playoffs two of the last three years and are looking to make it back-to-back seasons for the first time ever. Odds are good. All-Firelands Conference senior QB Will Pritt returns as does all-league WR/DB Nate Good (sr.). The defense is lead by the senior foursome of LB Mason Robson, DL Tim Hunkley, LB Damian Conglose and Good.
*Columbia Station Columbia (10-2, Region 18 semifinalist): The Raiders are riding the momentum of the best season in school history. Last year, Columbia won the Patriot Athletic Conference title outright, hosted its first-ever playoff game and won its first-ever playoff game (39-34 over Archbold). A solid core returns from that squad led by the conductor – senior QB/DB Jay Banyasz (6-3, 180). Last year, Banyasz threw for 1,549 yards and 14 TDs and ran for 1,040 yards and 18 TDs. He also had 54 tackles, four INTs, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a defensive TD. Banyasz holds offers from Ohio Dominican and Lake Erie. Also back are senior DB Justin Reznik (61 tackles, five INTs), senior DL Dan Laub (12 TFL, eight sacks) and senior LB Jacob Kleinhenz (team-high 115 tackles).
*Elyria Catholic (6-4): The Panthers had their ups and downs last season and ultimately failed to reach the postseason. The expectations haven’t diminished. This year’s team should contend for the program’s 15th playoff berth and beyond. . Senior QB Jeremy Holley (6-5, 210) returns for his third year under center. He played in just three games last year (tossed 10 TDs) after throwing for 21 TDs as a sophomore. Also back is junior RB Justin Rankin (5-10, 190) who ran for 900 yards and had 300 yards receiving last year. Rankin doubles as a standout DB. Leading the way up front is senior OL Dakota Tallman (6-5, 300/170 career knockdowns), whom head coach Mike Polevacik says is the best lineman he’s coached since Alex Boone at St. Edward. Senior DB/WR Conner Riddell (6-0, 190) impacts both sides of the ball. The defense will be led by senior LB Will Washington (5-11, 195), senior LB Luke Michalski (6-1, 185) and senior DB Lucas Ball (6-0, 185). The Panthers ,must overcome a brutal schedule if they want to make the postseason. EC plays four D-I and two D-II schools. “I feel we have enough talent to be a major contender in our region,” Polevacik said. “The brutality of our schedule is something we must over come. We have not been able to get wins against the big boys on our schedule the last two years. There are plenty of playoff points available for us to get. We have the talent and experience to compete with our schedule. We have a wealth of experience on both sides of the ball and some of the most talented players I have coached (Tallman/Holley/Rankin). If we can make the jump and beat the majority of the teams on our schedule, I can’t see how we would miss the playoffs. We could tehn make some serious noise.”
*Huron (6-4): The Tigers will be led by senior QB Cody Thompson (6-2, 180) who is coming off a season in which he threw for 1,574 yards and 14 TDs and ran for 1,001 yards and 15 TDs. Thompson has committed to Toledo. Huron will also get a boost from senior DB Gabe Camella (6-3, 185) who had 77 tackles and two INTs in six games last year.
*Liberty-Benton (12-2, D-V state semifinalist): The Eagles made a remarkable run to their third state semifinal appearance in school history last season before being derailed by Coldwater. Senior WR Chase Cook (6-0, 170) returns after catching 54 passes for 1,020 yards and 14 TDs (school record) as a junior. He also had a punt return for a TD and a 102-yard INT return for a TD. As a sophomore, Cook caught 24 passes for 425 yards and four TDs. Senior DL Brandon May (62 tackles, eight sacks), senior LB Anthony Webb and junior RB Austin Combs are back too.
*Liberty Center (8-3, Region 18 quarterfinalist): The Tigers have one of the state’s best two-way lineman in senior OL/DL Nick Demaline (6-4, 285) who has earned first team All-NWOAL honors the last two seasons on both sides of the ball. He’s accounted for 83 tackles and eight sacks the last two years. Also back is first team All-NWOAL OL Kam Pohlman (sr., 6-0, 170). Those two will open holes for returning standout Anthony Righi (sr., 5-11, 195) who ran for 822 yards and 11 TDs and earned All-NWOAL honors at three different positions – RB (second), DB (first) and K (second) – last season.
*Loudonville (8-3, Region 19 quarterfinalist): The Redbirds snapped a 12-year postseason drought by making the 2012 playoffs. A 24-0 loss to Bucyrus Wynford in the regional quarterfinals should ignite expectations. Senior RB/LB Ryan Weber (6-0, 210) and junior RB Kolton Edmondson are two reasons hopes are high. Last year Edmondson went over 1,000 yards in seven games. Weber was a team captain. Other key contributors will be seniors Ty Young (OL) and Craig Henderson (LB) and juniors Tristan Bender (DB) and Tucker Bender (K).
*Marion Pleasant (7-3): The Spartans missed the playoffs for the third time in four years last season, but expectations have not changed for a program that owns 19 postseason berths and three state titles. “We were very young a year ago and will be returning a lot of experience and depth,” Head Coach Aaron Cook (25-7 in three years) said. “Our seniors are great leaders and the underclassman are a great supporting cast. We always have high expectations and goals at Pleasant and this year is no different.”Senior LB Chase Kelly returns after earning first team All-MOAC honors last season. Second team All-MOAC selections return in senior WR/DB Jordan Kelly (6-2, 185/78 tackles, 10 INTs) and senior OL/DL Scott Foster. Other key contributors will be senior OL/DL Jeff Fairchild and juniors Ryan Maniaci (QB/DB), Kyle Galyk (RB/WR/KR/DB) and Bryce McDonald (OL/DL). Galyk (5-8, 175) caught 15 passes for 455 yards (30.3 average) and 11 TDs last year. He also rushed for three TDs and had 1,117 all-purpose yards. The schedule has been overhauled and includes new non-league games with Sycamore Mohawk, Triad and Lima Central Catholic. Jonathan Alder is also a new MOAC foe. “Our schedule is very difficult and is probably one of the most challenging schedules we have ever had at Pleasant,” Cook said. “We look forward to the challenge.”
*West Salem Northwestern (8-3, Region 13 quarterfinalist): The Huskies have a good one in senior RB/LB Tyler Smith (5-8, 180). A four-year starter, Smith is looking for his third straight 1,000-yard season rushing. He accounted for 25 TDs last year. Senior DB Malachi Nolletti (6-3, 190) teams with Smith to lead the defense.
Region 16: Team To Beat
Our favorite to win the Region is….CLICK HERE
Region 16: Keep An Eye On
Teams, players and programs of note entering 2013….CLICK HERE
Region 16: Also In This Region
Who rounds out the region?….CLICK HERE
D-V Preseason All-Ohio Team
Playoff Teams: Our Predictions
10 Players To Watch