A look at some players, teams, programs and news of note for the region…
2013 Ohio HS Football Preview
Region 2 Preview
Keep An Eye On
*Central Crossing (2-8): Senior QB Luke Duncan (6-2, 175/1,783 yards passing. 12 TDs, 407 yards rushing, 6 TDs) returns to lead the Comets. Also back are senior OL Dwight Diggs (6-2, 235) and senior DB Gino Siravo (5-10, 150/57 tackles, three INTs).
*Dublin Coffman (9-2, Region 3 quarterfinalist): The Rocks feature one of Ohio’s best juniors in DL Sam McCollum.
*Fairfield (2-8): The Indians will build around two standout offensive lineman in seniors Danny Burns (6-7, 310) and Robert Behanan (6-4, 265). Burns has committed to Lousiville, while Behanan is headed to Middle Tennessee State. Senior DL Tony Stephens (6-4, 24) and junior DL Richard Rhodes (6-4, 322) are ones to watch. Senior Ryan Nuss (5-10, 175) returns at QB after splitting time last year (threw for 459 yards and five TDs). Senior WR Herman Brunis (6-0, 175) led the team in receptions (27), receiving yards (493) and receiving TDs (four) last year.
*Fairmont (2-8): The Firebirds return eight three-year starters and four All-GWOC performers in junior DB Alec Fontaine, senior OL/DL Jean Nsanzimana, senior RB/LB Chris Rhoades (107 tackles) and senior WR Aron Sutton (42 receptions, 665 yards receiving, two TDs). Fairmont’s OL will be a strength.
*Gahanna Lincoln (7-3): The Lions return a talented senior trio in WR Valquez “Tank” Davis (5-9, 150/35 rec., 468 yards, six total TDs), WR Kevin Randolph (5-11, 187/38 rec., 374 yards, three TDs) and DB Emile Camm (5-10, 160/37 tackles, seven INTs).
*Galloway Westland (1-9): The Cougars are trying to get the ship turned around under third year head coach Steve White. Westland hasn’t enjoyed a winning season since finishing (7-3) in 2006 when it made the Division 1, Region 3 playoffs. Since 2006, Westland is (4-46) never winning more than a single game in any season. The Cougars were without football in 2009. “The Westland Cougars in 2013 have worked hard in the off-season to get ready for our schedule,” White said. “We need to be more competitive and turn the corner and get some wins. Our team speed will be one of our strengths for this upcoming season.” The Cougars welcome back quarterback Myles Fowler (6’1/185/Sr.). Fowler also doubles at defensive back and special teams return man. Fowler is a potential Division 1 prospect. “Myles Fowler at quarterback gives us a chance to have big plays on offense and special teams,” White believes. Senior RB/LB Nick Green (6’0/205), classmate RB/LB Alex Pridemore (6’0/200), WR/DB Reggie Gilliam (6’0/180/Jr.), and RB/LB Rafael Garcia (6’2/190/So.) return as the skill positions. Junior Tevon Drake (6’2/250) is back on the offensive line. White believes Gilliam and Garcia have a chance to play Division 1. Westland has added Columbus Eastmoor to week one and Columbus East to week 3, which replaces games with the Columbus Crusaders and Hilliard Bradley. Columbus Mifflin remains at week two and the always-difficult Ohio Capital Conference-Central lurks in week’s four through ten. “The OCC-Central division is always a highly competitive conference every Friday night,” White stated.
*Grove City (5-5): The Greyhounds last winning season was 2008, and last year they finished .500. The campaign definitely ended on a high note, though. GC’s 13-10 win over state-ranked and eventual state semifinalist Pickerington North could propel the Greyhounds into a successful year. “We are excited about this group of upper classmen,” Grove City’s head coach Matt Jordan explained. “This group finished on a strong note last year winning the last two games. We had a very memorable week ten victory over Pickerington North, which helped catapult us into the off-season. I am very enthused about the amount of experience coming back on this team.” The Greyhounds have nine starters back on defense and seven returning on offense. Senior Cameron Meece (5’11/195) is back at quarterback after rushing for 1,102 yards and 16 TDs as a junior. Classmate Corey Williams (5’10/205) toted the rock for over 500 infantry stripes and junior Peyton Bowyer (6’1/190) should get plenty of carries as well. Senior Matt Brown (6’4/285) returns to the offensive line along with junior Brandon Skeen (6’5/290) and senior Joe Johnson (5’11/285). Defensively, Grove City welcomes back linebackers Vennie Sapp (5’10/210/Jr.) and Jake Norbut (6’0/210/Sr.). The defensive line has Ryan Serafini (5’11/245/Sr.) and Will Zentz (6’3/230/Sr.) returning and the secondary will be in good hands with seniors Tyler Cowles (6’0/185) and Ben Meyers (5’10/165). “I believe we have learned to ignore the doubters and the negative people around us and focus on the positives and believe in our teammates and coaches,” Jordan believes. “We need to just play with great effort and enthusiasm with a sincere degree of nasty toughness and good things can happen. It’s time to make the people in Grove City proud. No more excuses!” Jordan believes Skeen, Brown, junior line backer/defensive end Ryan Grooms (6’2/230) and sophomore tight end/defensive end Brandon Chapman (6’5/235) all have Division 1 potential. Another added bonus for GC is the fact that this senior class had freshman football. In 2009, the Southwest City Schools didn’t have fall sports. “We have gone through a full cycle since not having football in 2009,” Jordan stressed. The Greyhounds certainly aren’t dodging anyone as far as the schedule goes. GC opens up with state-power Hilliard Davidson before facing recently added Findlay and Westerville South followed by the brutal OCC Ohio action. “We have a very difficult schedule,” Jordan stated. “Opening game versus Hilliard Davidson always gets your attention. We picked up Findlay in week two and still have Westerville South for week three before we get into conference play.”
*Hamilton (3-7): Big Blue fans have reason to be optimistic. Hamilton returns its leading passer, top two receivers and second best rusher. Junior QB Zach Keene (6-1, 170) is back after throwing for 698 yards and five TDs. His top two targets – senior WRs Tyler Denton (6-0, 180) and Preston McIntosh (6-3, 180) – return as well. Denton (first team All-GMC) caught 35 passes for 634 yards and four TDs, while McIntosh caught 10 passes for 141 yards and two TDs. Senior RB Quintin Bailey (5-10, 170) led the team in carries (95) last year en route to 497 yards and a TD.
*Hilliard Darby (11-1, Region 3 semifinalist): The Panthers return six All-OCC Cardinal Division seniors, including LB Trevor Parker (6-1, 190/76 tackles), OL/DL Josh Humbert (6-3, 240), OL/DL Tony Hajjar (6-3, 265), OL/DL David Still (5-8, 270), LB/P Nate Green 6-3, 205/49 tackles, 36.7 punt average) and DB Jacob Stacy (5-10, 180/34 tackles).
*Lancaster (3-7): The Golden Gales are coming off a rare losing season and looking for their first playoff berth since 2009. Lancaster owns one of the state’s top offensive line prospects in Ohio State commit and JJHuddle 2014 Top 100 player Kyle Trout (6-6, 290). New to the schedule is Canal Winchester in Week 3.
*Lebanon (6-4): The Warriors must replace nine All-GWOC players. Senior RB Alex McCarty is the team’s top returning rusher (31 carries, 289 yards, one TD) and receiver (15 receptions, 275 yards, two TDs). Junior LB Ryan Perkins led the team in tackles (with 83) last year.
*Mason (6-4): The Comets must replace 13 All-GMC players. The lone returning all-league performer is senior DL Matt Algor (6-2, 221). Senior LB Matt Stewart (6-1, 220) is a JJHuddle Top 100 prospect that’s committed to Navy. Senior OL Andrew Lucke (6-4, 285) anchors the line. Keep an eye on the QB position where senior Jenson Harris (6-4, 235) and junior Rodney Hutchinson (6-4, 225) return. Both started five games last year. Senior TE Joey Thomas (6-1, 190) caught 19 passes for 345 yards and two TDs last year.
*Miamisburg (7-3): Under veteran head coach Steve Channell, the Vikings were one of Ohio’s best stories last season. The Burg, which had won just four games from 2011-2008, finished ninth in Region 4 computer points and was 4-1 in the GWOC South. The Vikings last GWOC win prior was in 2007. Entering Year 2 under Channell, the longtime Trenton Edgewood coach, Burg has its sites set on another winning campaign. Senior QB Lance Brockman returns after throwing for 777 yards and four TDs. One of his targets will be senior TE Connor Brown who has committed to Ohio. Also back is junior WR Adam Giles who led the team in receptions (24), receiving yards (286) and receiving TDs (two). Senior RB Chris Yerkins is the top returning rusher (369 yards, TD). On the OL All-GWOC seniors Logan Bliss and Zac Whittamore return. On defense, the Burg returns a pair of standout DBs in senior Robert Young (56 tackles) and Yerkins (41 tackles).
*Middletown (4-6): The Middies feature senior TE Chance Sorrell (6-6, 225) who committed to Vanderbilt over offers from Bowling Green, Indiana, West Virginia and Louisville.
*Oak Hills (5-5): The Highlanders will rely heavily on senior RB Demarco Ruffin (5-8, 180) who ran for 1,476 yards and 12 TDs last year.
*Reynoldsburg (7-3): The Raiders are showing steady improvement in the Buddy White era going (6-4) in 2011 followed by a (7-3) a season ago narrowly missing the playoffs. Reynoldsburg lost to two playoff teams and a team that finished (8-2) and finished 9th in its region. The Raiders have a nice collection of talent returning on offense in OL Jake Grant (6’4/285/Sr.), OL Anthony Hines (6’0/250/Sr.), TE Elijah Camara (6’4/235/Sr.), RB Zack Mehan (5’11/195/Sr.), and FB Tyreke Pugh (5’10/190/Sr.). Grant currently holds an offer from Akron. On defense, LB Solomon Grace (6’1/240/Sr.) will lead the way. LB Montreal Green (5’11/225/Sr.) and DE Corey Beal (6’1/210/Sr.) along with Hines, Camara, and Pugh will be top support. Grace, Grant, Camara, and Beal are all drawing Division 1 interest. “This could be the deepest team that we have had in the past three years,” White mentioned. “These players saw what held us back last year and are determined not to let things hold them back this season. Last year, we were led by talented athletes. This year, we will be led by talented football players.” The only change to the schedule will have Hilliard Bradley replacing a week 2 contest with Findlay. The Raiders open up with perennial playoff contender, New Albany.
*Springfield (1-9): Head coach Eric Gillespie enters Year 2 by welcoming back five All-GWOC players and two JJHuddle Top 100 prospects in seniors Thaddeus Snodgrass (WR) and Davonte James (LB). Snodgrass (6-1, 170) has committed to Kentucky, while James (6-2, 220) has offers from Purdue, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech and Illinois. Senior Dorian Hunter (All-GWOC) and junior Guy Victoria (All-GWOC) give the Wildcats one of the region’s best LB corps. “We feel we have a lot of room and potential for improvement in 2013,” Gillespie said. “All of which will be the bi-product of our belief and consistent execution of the intangibles, details and little things that do not take talent.”
*Westerville North (0-10): The Warriors are riding a 45-game losing streak. WN’s last win was a 21-17 victory over Westerville Central on Sept. 9, 2008. Second-year head coach Roger Elander believes this season will be different. “After more than four years of consecutive losses, WN is rebuilding with several skilled seniors, a wealth of excellent juniors and many sophomores who have demonstrated a commitment to renewed strength, speed and specialty training,” Elander said. “This year will be newsworthy.” Key contributors will be seniors Andy Struttman (LB/RB, 6’2″, 225) and John Taylor (RB/OLB 6’1, 210) and juniors Jake Downs (QB/DB/ATH, 6’2″, 195), Jake Hinz (RB/LB, 5’10, 170) and Brandon Fenton (DB/WR, 6’0″, 180). Struttmann was the team’s leading scorer last year (five TDs) and ran for 401 yards on 130 carries en route to second-team All-OCC honors. Taylor (445 yards and three TDs on 125 carries) and Hinz were All-OCC as well. WN averaged just 10.5 points last year and didn’t score more than 15 points in a game. The Warriors, however, were only shutout once. The schedule, which included three playoff teams last year (and five with seven wins or more), has new faces in Newark (Week 2) and Canal Winchester (Week 9). The opener is again with Franklin Heights.
Region 2: Team To Beat
Our favorite to win the Region is….CLICK HERE
Region 2: Teams To Watch
Our favorites to challenge for the Regional title are…..CLICK HERE
Region 2: Also In This Region
Who rounds out the region?….CLICK HERE
D-I Preseason All-Ohio Team
Playoff Teams: Our Predictions
10 Players To Watch