A look at some players, teams, programs and news of note for the region…
2013 Ohio HS Football Preview
Region 5 Preview
Keep An Eye On
*Ashland (6-4): Senior DE Heath Reinke (6-3, 220) has committed to Toledo. Senior OL/DL Ty Green (6-4, 295) is one to watch.
*Ashville Teays Valley (5-5): Head coach Steve Evans is 23-17 in four years at TV where the Vikings are looking for their first playoff berth since 1999. Key returners are seniors Tyler Primmer (WR/P, 6’4, 190), Clayton Seymour (OL/DL, 6’3, 230) and Thad Smith (OL/DL, 6’1, 240), junior Anthony Jones (RB/DB, 5’10, 170) and sophomore Neal Davis (OL/DL, 5’10, 240). Primmer caught 38 passes for 489 yards and seven TDs last year. Seymour made 54 tackles, including 13 TFL. New to the schedule are Logan and Chillicothe.
*Canal Winchester (9-3, Region 7 semifinalist): The Indians join the OCC Cardinal Division this year after being a member of the Mid-State League since 1966. Only two teams (Delaware Hayes and Dublin Scioto) remain from last year’s schedule. Senior DB Khari Golden (5-9, 170) returns after making 100 tackles and eight INTs as a junior. Also back is junior WR Skyler Scott (6-2, 215) who caught 25 passes for 545 yards and six TDs.
*Columbus Briggs (1-9): Former Buckeye great Butler By’not’e returns for his second season as head coach.
*Columbus Northland (5-5): The Vikings return a potent offensive skill set in juniors Glen Smith (QB), Nateshawn Hargrove (RB) and Abu Turay (RB). Smith threw for 753 yards and six TDs and ran for 363 yards and seven TDs last season. Hargrove ran for 516 yards and six TDs, while Turay ran for 577 yards and four TDs. Senior LB Jhustus Cornley (61 tackles, six sacks, two INTs) leads the defense.
*Columbus West (5-5): Senior WR Charles Holland (6-2, 180/17 rec., 305 yards, TD) returns.
*Columbus Whetstone (4-6): The Braves have never been to the playoffs but will try to ride the momentum of a 3-1 finish last year and the arm of senior QB Ramroth Finnegan (6-3, 210) to Week 11. Finnegan, who owns an offer from Buffalo, threw for 2,458 yards and 20 TDs last year. He also ran for two TDs and three 2-point conversions. Whetstone returns three of its top five WRs in seniors Trent Harper (6-1, 185/32 receptions, 449 yards, three TDs) and Chris North (5-8, 180/39 receptions, 333 yards, four TDs) and sophomore Aiden Tuttle (6-1, 180/24 receptions, 279 yards, two TDs).
*Dublin Jerome (4-6): The Celtics finished 2012 under .500, but there wasn’t a better four-win team in the state, if there was such an honor. The Celtics, however, will need to replace Dononvan Wilson, who left Jerome holding every rushing record in school history. The Georgia Tech frosh ran for 2,068 yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior, which helped earn him nearly 5,000 career-rushing yards and 59 TDs. Senior quarterback Jake King (6’0/170) will be welcomed back along with seniors WR Connor Kerns (6’1/175) and RB Mikey Bano (5’9/160). Senior Erik Harlock (5’9/165) also returns as receiver. Up front, senior Nate Fairland (5’9/250) will anchor the offensive line. On defense, linebackers Louis Torchio (6’0/210/Sr.), James Hanson (5’11/203/Sr.), and Steve Kidwell (6’0/175/Sr.) return. Another weapon for Jerome will be senior punter Tommy Keller (6’1/175). The only change to the schedule is the addition of Canal Winchester. The Celtics lost to four playoff teams a year ago, and the other two setbacks came from teams that were a combined 15-5. Jerome dropped its final two decisions of the year by a combined four points playing a total of four overtimes. “We want to compete against the two other Dublin schools, Coffman and Scioto,” Jerome boss Mark Hundley mentioned.
*Dublin Scioto (8-3, Region 3 quarterfinalist): The Irish will be dropping to Division II after making week 11 a season ago in D-I. Scioto dropped regular season decisions to playoff participants Dublin Coffman and Hilliard Darby before losing to Olentangy in the playoffs. “We graduate a talented senior class that took us back to the playoffs and had us in the hunt for a league championship,” stated head coach Karl Johnson. “Our success in 2013 will be dependent upon our ability to fill those positions lost by graduation and our juniors ability to step into leadership roles and to lead by example” Scioto welcome backs a pair of offensive lineman in Jacob Schafer (5’11/240/Sr.) and Brennen Sawicki (6’2/260/Jr.). The latter is drawing Division I interest and earned 1st Team all-league as a sophomore. Versatile senior Darius McDonald, who owns a Kentucky offer, returns after hauling in 45 receptions as a junior. Senior Cody Steffy (5’8/160) snatched 24 balls for 160 yards a year ago. Troy Zimmerman (6’0/250) returns on defense after making 131 stops last year earning him 2nd Team all-league. Jack Flood (5’11/180/Sr.) recorded 101 tackles from his safety spot. Spencer Talentino (5’9/175/Sr.) also returns following a 78-tackle campaign and Division 1 prospect Elijah Berry (6’0/250/Sr.) is welcomed back on the defensive line after making 68 stops as a junior. Junior linebacker (6’3/205) is another name to watch along with Sawicki, who was 2nd Team all-district. A big weapon Scioto will have in its arsenal will be junior kicker Sam Crosa (5’7/130). Crosa was 2nd Team all-league and Special Mention all-district as a sophomore. He converted 46-of-47 PATs and 11-of-13 field goals. Canal Winchester enters Scioto’s division of the OCC and moves from week 1 to 10 and Worthington Kilbourne will be leaving its division and move from week 10 to 1. “We play a very schedule, including what I think is the toughest division of the OCC from top to bottom,” said Johnson.
*Franklin Heights (2-8): The Falcons started last year winning their first two games before losing eight-straight. However FH has shown steady improvement since going winless in 2010 despite its last winning season coming in 2002. “We have daily goals of making a commitment, being disciplined, developing work ethic, understanding team unity, developing mental toughness, and striving for perfection,” Owens said. “We expect and demand our players and coaches to give effort and have a great attitude in our program.” Head coach Mike Owens welcomes back RB/S Matt German (5’10/180/Sr.), QB/LB Ray Spangler (6’2/210/Jr.), WR/RB/FS Mitch Kittinger (5’9/165/Jr.), WR/S Day Summerall (6’0/185/Jr.), WR/DB Seth Dawkins (6’2/180/So.), and TE/LB Alonzo Longshore (5’11/200/Jr.). OL/DE Justin Harris (6’2/250/Jr.), OL/DL Baylee Kibbey (6’0/230/Sr.), OL/DL Joe Nunnery (6’2/250/Jr.), and OL/DE Davon Moore (6’3/215/So.) also return. The Falcons will have a couple changes in the schedule as Columbus Centennial and Columbus West replaced Columbus Briggs and Central Crossing in week’s two and three. Franklin Heights opens up with Westerville North. “We are focusing all of our attention on the first game with Westerville North,” Owens mentioned. “We will not look beyond week one. Overall, we are in a very good league where we must understand how to compete at a very high level week in and week out.”
*Hilliard Bradley (4-6): The Jaguars changed divisions within the Ohio Capital Conference from 2011 to 2012, and this year will be relocating once again. However, this time, it will be state divisions. Bradley bumps down to Division II with the new realignments. The Jaguars return starting quarterback Tommy Horn (6’0/180/Sr.) along with WR/FS Ryan Reffitt (6’5/210/Sr.) and WR/LB Zack Popovec (6’3/190/Sr.). Reffitt and Popovec are two kids Bradley boss Mike LoParo believes have Division I potential. The offensive line will be anchored by C/NT Skylar Hartley (6’2/315/Sr.), who has committed to Buffalo. G/DT Ryan Beveridge (6’0/260/Sr.), G/DT Austin Miller (6’2/255/Sr.), G/DT Josias Cruceta (6’2/275/Sr.), and T/DE Zac Davis (6’4/250/Sr.) are also back in the mix up front. Bradley will also welcome back LB/TE Cam Hart (6’0/195/Sr.), RB/DE TJ Martin (6’2/215/Sr.), RB/OLB Walker Hamilton (5’9/180/Sr.), TE/DE Jake Stratton (6’3/195/Sr.), RB/SS Jacob Pugh (5’10/175/Sr.), RB/DB Daniel Tepe (5’11/180/Sr.), TE/DE Tyler Harris (6’3/220/Sr.), and WR/K Andrew Bradley (5’9/170/Sr.). LoParo believe Tyler Harris is another potential DI kid along with Trey Anderson. The schedule will change a little bit with Teays Valley and Westland being replaced by Reynoldsburg and Olentangy Orange in week’s two and three. Another replacement will be Canal Winchesterin week seven for Worthington Kilbourne. “The OCC-Cardinal division is very challenging,” LoParo said. “Westerville South, Dublin Scioto, and Hilliard Darby are returning playoff experience with Westerville Central just missing the cut. The division adds Canal Winchester, which has had a very strong program. Our non-league schedule of Marysville, Reynoldsburg, and Orange will also prove to be a tough road.” Bradley won its first three games a season ago before dropping six of its next seven games. Two losses came by a combine three points.
*Lewis Center Olentangy (10-2, Region 3 semifinalist): The Braves are coming off a playoff appearance where they made the regional semifinals following an opening round win over Dublin Scioto before being knocked out by two-time state champion, Hilliard Davidson. With the new seven-division insertion, Olentangy will be heading to Division II. Not only that, but the Braves will have a new head coach in Mark Solis, the former boss at Twinsburg. The backbone for this season’s team could be the return of four starting offensive linemen. Andy Simms (6’3/265), Case Troyer (6’3/265), Curtis Conrad, and Quinton Gallion make up the quartet. Simms, who anchors the offense at center, has offers from Akron, Buffalo, Toledo, and Yale. Another strong position will be at wide receiver where the Braves return three pass catchers from last year’s team in Anthony Allocco, Victor Elmurr, and JT Grega. Tailbacks Hayden Hunter and Maleke Mitchell should be a nice combination in the backfield. Quarterback Noah Durst sat behind Air Force signee Andrew Horstman a year ago but is primed for a breakout season. On defense, Olentangy doesn’t return as much, but senior linebacker Kevin Sherry is a good place to start. Classmates Tim Feasel (OLB) and Jonah Gutentag along with sophomore Chris Crumb (DL) will join him. Canal Winchester will replace Watkins Memorial on the schedule. Big games include rivalry contests with Olentangy Liberty, Olentangy Orange, and Big Walnut along with good Worthington Kilbourne and New Albany teams.
*Logan (2-8): The Chieftains have a new head coach in Billy Burke who previously spent four seasons (2008-2011) as the head coach at Medina Buckeye.
*Marion Harding (2-7): The Presidents will lean heavily on senior RB L.J. Scott (5-10, 210) who is ranked the No. 2 fullback prospect in the country by 247sports.com. Scott ran for 1,478 yards and 18 TDs last season and also had a school-record 357 yards in one game. As a returner, Scott added 586 yards and a TD. Defensively he made 97 tackles, including 13 FL. Scott committed to Louisville over Michigan State, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Indiana in July.
*Mt. Vernon (5-5): The Yellow Jackets return a good one in junior RB J.D. Orr ((5-9, 190) who rushed for 1,244 yards and 12 TDs as a sophomore. Senior LB Matt Lyberger (5-10, 200/95 tackles_ leads the defense.
*Olentangy Orange (6-4): The Pioneers have made the playoffs the last two odd numbered seasons (2011 and 2009) under head coach Brian Cross so they should make Week 11 this year right? Experience is in short supply. “We will be a very young team that has a chance to be competitive if we learn fast and play physical,” Cross said. “We believe we have had a good off season and that it will pay big dividends.” Key contributors will be senior OL/DE Cole Cunningham (6-0, 220), senior RB,/LB Justin Gels (6-0, 210), OL/DE Lens Kamba (6-1, 210), senior TE/LB Jacob Lewis (6-3, 225/82 tackles as a junior, 109 tackles as a sophomore) and QB/DB C.J. Stablein (5-10, 170). Gels and Lewis were All-OCC Capital Division. Three of the first four games are on the road (at Olentangy Liberty, New Philadelphia and New Albany).
*Pataskala Licking Heights (10-1, region 7 quarterfinalist): The Hornets made the playoffs for the first time in five years last season. LH owns one of Ohio’s most versatile players in senior ATH Ronald Carruthers-Kimball (5-11, 182).
*Thomas Worthington (2-8): The Cardinals will lean on senior RB Tony Harvard (5-10, 180) who returns after rushing for 1,172 yards and 11 TDs.
*Watkins Memorial (2-8): The Warriors are coming off a two-win season, but several things will change in 2013. Watkins will join the newly formed Licking County League ending its run in the Ohio Capital Conference- Capital Division. Licking Heights will remain on the schedule, but will move from week 1 to week 9 and Athens and Columbus Mifflin will be out-of-conference foes once again. Columbus Briggs is a new addition to the schedule and will be an out-of-conference contest. The league games will feature Utica, Newark Catholic, Granville, Licking Valley, Heath, Lakewood, and the aforementioned Licking Heights. “Our second game is at Athens who were in the playoffs last year,” sixth year boss Jeff Severino mentioned. “We will rekindle the rivalries between Newark Catholic, Licking Valley, and Granville from the old LCL back in the 1980s. We will play against three Division 1 quarterback prospects (Newark Catholic, Granville, and Athens). Severino knows the size of the schools will be a step down, but the competitive nature may be a step up. “The schedule will be competitive, even though schools are smaller, great football traditions, great head coaches, kids know each other from living in the same county, and our middle schools will now play from the 7th grade up which will develop even rivals within the county.” Watkins Memorial, who last finished with a winning record in 2010 and faced four playoff teams a year ago, returns a nice group of kids from last year’s squad. Kyle Hickin (6’6/290/Sr.), a returning offensive lineman, and senior WR/DB Hunter Holton are Division 1 prospects. “Hunter Holton is looking to add to yardage as top receiver,” Severino stated. “He broke the record last year for receptions and yards for Watkins Memorial High School.” Other top returnees include FB/LB Corbin Evans (5’10/225/Sr.), WR/DL Preston Jenkins (6’4/190/Sr.), OL/DL Josh Lyday (6’2/215/Sr.), FB/LB Isaac O’Brien (6’2/215/Sr.), QB Ben Shroyer (6’0/170/Sr.), OL/DL Clay Sammons (5’11/225/Sr.), RB/DB Mike Ford (5’10/170/Jr.), OL/DL Nathan Miller (6’0/250/Jr.), WR/DB Rex Miles (6’2/170/So.), WR/DL Alex Miles (6’2/170/So.), and LB Corey Hare (5’8/So.). Another added weapon will be senior kicker Jarrod Lyon (6’0/170). Severino says he has a very strong leg. “We have a nice team coming back,” the Watkins coach believes. “Our kids have been working hard in the off-season and are looking forward to the new league. We will field one of the bigger teams we have had in a while, not only size-wise, but also in numbers. We will need to replace are whole backfield from last year except for quarterback, but we have kids that are ready to step up and accept the challenge.”
*Wooster (3-7): The Generals will ride top prospect and junior QB Cameron Daugherty (6-5, 200) who threw for 2,241 yards and 23 TDs last year.
*Worthington Kilbourne (3-7): The Wolves lost to four playoff teams and lost four games by seven points or less last year. Senior DL Gavin Elifritz (6-1, 220/63 tackles, 7.5 sacks) returns after earning first team All-OCC honors. Also back are senior DB Set Hill (5-9, 170/47 tackles, two INTs, four TDs), senior DE D.J. Freer (6-3, 210/49 tackles, five TFL) and senior LB/P Taylor Wilson (6-0, 202/87 tackles, 39.2 punting average).
Region 5: Team To Beat
Our favorite to win the Region is….CLICK HERE
Region 5: Teams To Watch
Our favorites to challenge for the Regional title are…..CLICK HERE
Region 5: Also In This Region
Who rounds out the region?….CLICK HERE
D-II Preseason All-Ohio Team
Playoff Teams: Our Predictions
10 Players To Watch