The Power Polls…are back. JJHuddle’s immensely popular state football
rankings continue today with the release of the Division VI preseason poll. Also this year, JJHuddle is proud to announce that the Ohio National Guard is again the presenting sponsor of the rankings. Now…who is No. 1?
2013 Ohio HS Football Preview
OHIO NATIONAL GUARD & JJH POWER POLL
DIVISION VI PRESEASON RANKINGS
The Power Polls…are back. JJHuddle’s immensely popular state football
rankings continue today with the release of the Division VI preseason poll.
Also this year, JJHuddle is proud to announce that the Ohio National Guard is again the presenting sponsor of the rankings.
New polls will be unveiled on site every week during the regular season. Poll champions will be crwoned after Week 10.
1. Newark Catholic (12-3, D-VI state runner-up)
Outlook: The Green Wave own nine state titles and nearly had No. 10 last year (lost 28-21 to Marion Local). Don’t fret Green Wave fans. There’s enough talent returning to produce a return trip to the state final
(which would be the school’s 15th). Senior QB Chayce Crouch (6-4, 219)
has committed to Illinois. Crouch threw for 2,077 yards and 18 TDs last season and ran for 500 yards and 11 TDs. He also caught seven passes for 126 yards. Protecting Crouch will be a veteran line of seniors
Spencer Champman (6-5, 200), Joe Davis (6-1, 210), Evan Hartman (6-4,
26) and Brenden Jurden (6-3, 265). Senior WR Aaron Jurden (6-0, 170)
will be a key target. He caught 17 passes for 387 yards and three TDs last year. On defense, senior LBs Mike Lohr (5-9, 165) and Eric Lensink (6-1, 195/four INTs) return. The schedule gets a facelift with several new foes (Watkins, Johnstown-Monroe, Johnstown Northridge and Utica) and a new league (Licking County League).
Up Next: 8/30 @ No. 2 Columbus Ready
2. Columbus Ready (7-3, Region 14 quarterfinalist)
Outlook: The Silver Knights are poised for a big run. Where to start? Senior OL/DL Brady Taylor (6-5, 267) is one of the state’s top line prospects regardless of class and owns over 20 offers including Kentucky, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Indiana, Illinois, South Florida, Boston College,
Virginia Tech and West Virginia. The offense is led by senior QB Matt
Yoho (6-3, 190), who threw for 1,100 yards and accounted for 21 TDs last
season, and senior RB Akili Taylor (5-9,190), who ran for 1,125 yards
and 10 TDs. Senior DB Kelly Culbertson leads the defense. Ready opens
with Newark Catholic and closes with Columbus Hartley.
Up Next: 8/30 vs No. 1 Newark Catholic
3. Hamler Patrick Henry (10-3, Region 18 finalist)
Outlook: The Patriots put together another solid run last season, falling 22-21 to Liberty-Benton in Week 13. It was PH’s 11th straight playoff berth. OL play will be a strength this season with the return of senior Colt Pettit (6-4, 252) and junior Caleb Carrizles (6-3, 235). Both were first team NWOAL last year and Pettit (Virginia Tech commit) doubles as one of Ohio’s top small school
DL prospects (additonal offers from Bowling Green, Kent State, Indiana,
Akron, Toledo, Miami of Ohio, Purdue, Illinois, Ohio, Western Michigan
and Air Force). Also back for PH are seniors and All-NWOAL performers WR
Zach Nye (6-1, 170), DL Nathan Andonian (5-9, 175), LB Logan Ziegler
(5-11, 185), DB Josh Peterson (5-11, 180) and DB Derek Hoops (5-9, 167).
Defense should be a strength for the Pats. The wildcard is senior RB
Tobey Hernandez (5-9, 190) who ran for 1,285 yards and 21 TDs before
being ruled ineligible prior to the playoffs.
Up Next: 8/30 vs Pemberville Eastwood
4. Cincinnati Summit Country Day (11-1, Region 20 semifinalist)
Outlook: The Silver Knights have been one of Ohio’s biggest success stories the
last few years. SCD is attempting to make the playoffs for the fourth
straight time, but there have been plenty of lumps. In 2010, SCD lost
43-6 to West Jefferson in the regional quarterfinals. In 2011, the
Sliver Knights got thumped 79-7 to Marion Pleasant in the regional
quarterfinals. Last year, however, after an undefeated regular
season, SCD beat Triad 35-27 in the regional quarterfinals for the
program’s first postseason win. This year could be even bigger. SCD returns arguably the best 1-2 small school punch in Ohio in senior QB Antonio Woods and senior DL Michael Barwick. Both are JJHuddle Top 100 prospects.
Woods (6-1, 180) holds offers from Kent State, Bowling Green,
Northwestern, Indiana, Miami of Ohio, Toledo, Cincinnati, Illinois and
West Virginia. Last year he was second in the Miami Valley Conference in
both rushing and passing after throwing for 1,276 yards and 21 TDs and
running for 876 yards and 10 TDs. Woods also caught a TD pass.
Barwick (6-2, 297) has offers from Indiana, Bowling Green, Kent State,
Toledo, Ball State, Akron, Western Michigan, Buffalo and Central
Michigan. All he did last year was rack up 87 tackles, 16 TFL, six
sacks, five fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. Senior WR Daniel
Bruns (6-5, 195) also returns after leading the team in receiving yards (287), catches (18) and TDs (eight) last year. He only played
nine games and has gained 20 pounds since last year. Other key
contributors will include senior RB/LB Gage Goodwin (5’11”, 180) and
senior QB/WR/DB Matt Brinkman (6’2″, 175). Watch out for juniors CJ Suggs (5-11, 160, WR/DB) and Brooks Taylor (5-10, 170, RB/LB). “The senior class
in 2014 is a special one in that they know what it takes to make the
playoffs,” head coach Mike Brown (18-5 in two years) said. “Although we
only lost 6 seniors last year, they were high contribution guys. All started at least one way and half of them started both ways. That type of football
player and leadership is tough to replace. “Luckily, we have two team
captains back from last year’s 11-1 history making team in Michael
Barwick and Antonio Woods. Weightroom numbers have been the highest they
have ever been and the commitment to the program is encouraging.” The
schedule will include a pair of new Miami Valley Conference teams in
Dayton Christian and St. Bernard-Elmwood Place. The opener with Benjamin
Logan is new too. “In the past, Summit Football has had a moving and debatable identity,” Brown said. “In the last couple years the identity of Summit Football
has been solidified, which is to play great defense, control the ball
by running it, make big plays on special teams and play as one Family.”
Up Next: 8/30 @ Benjamin Logan
5. Kirtland (14-1, D-V state runner-up)
Last Week: The Hornets made a second straight appearance in the state finals but failed to defend their title – barely – falling 10-9 to Coldwater. With standout RB Damon Washington now at Miami (Ohio), expect defense to be Kirtland’s calling card. Senior DL Cannon Schroeder (6-1, 210) returns
after being named the AP D-V Co-Defensive Player of the Year last
season thanks in part to 19 sacks. Also back is junior TE/LB Matthew
Finkler (6-3, 230) who registered 124 tackles in 2012. Expect four-year
starter Ryan Loncar (5-11, 190) to make a difference at DB. On offense, a
new regime will take command in senior RB Sam Kukura (5-11, 190/950
yards) and junior RB Adam Hess (5-11, 205/950 yards). Expect big
contributions from senior OL/DL Mike Cymal (6-2, 230), senior OL/DL Brad
Blankenship ( 5-8, 190) and senior LB/RB Eric Guhde (5-11, 205). New to
the schedule? Division I Eastlake North in Week 1. Giddy-up. Head coach Tiger LaVerde is 76-12 in seven years.
Up Next: 8/30 @ Eastlake North
6. Cuyahoga Heights (10-2, Region 17 semifinalist)
Outlook: The Redskins have made the playoffs 15 of the last 16 years and don’t intend to stop now. Senior QB/DB Jordan Martin (6-1, 180) returns after throwing for 22 TDs and running for six more last year. CH also returns a pair of talented senior WR/DBs in Jack Alpert (6-1, 170) and Tyler Gallo (5-8, 160). Alpert, who caught 20 passes for 404 yards and seven TDs, had 28 tackles, three INTs and scored two defensive TDs. Gallo caught 41 passes
for 521 yards and eight TDs. He also made 59 tackles. Another weapon is
senior DB/WR Trent Gallo (5-8 150) who made 89 tackles and caught 18 passes for 252 yards and three TDs last season.
Up Next: 8/30 @ Berlin Center Western Reserve
7. Lima Central Catholic (11-1, Region 18 semifinalist)
Outlook: The Thunderbirds must replace seven first team All-Northwest Conference
performers, but horses remain. Especially on offense. Senior DB/WR
Darius West (6-0, 195) is a JJHuddle Top 100 prospect who has committed to Kentucky. Senior QB Colin Stolly and senior RB Mykale Rogers (6-1, 185) also return.
Senior LB Kalito Lasenby (6-0, 195/79 tackles, three forced fumbles)
leads the front seven on defense. Senior DB Lee Stewart (6-0, 188) will
Up Next: 8/31 @ Lima Bath
8. Haviland Wayne Trace (9-1)
Outlook: Who was the best team not to make the playoffs in 2012? The small school
answer could very well be Wayne Trace. The Raiders averaged 50.4 points
per game and finished with nine wins but where left out of the
playoffs. WT finished 11th in Region 18. Ouch. The good news? Senior QB
Colby Speice (6-3, 190) and his rocket arm return. Last year, Speice
threw for 3,156 yards and 48 TDs and ran for 364 yards and six TDs en
route to earning Green Meadows Conference Offensive Player of the Year
honors. Speice earned second team All-GMC honors as a LB. The great
news? Four All-GMC offensive linemen return as well in seniors Devin Wenzlick, Brock Worden, Aaron Stoller and T.J. Blackmore. WT also returns
an all-conference RB in senior Jared Sherry. Defensively, Wenzlick and
Worden double as bookend DEs. Could be a big year for a program that has
just one playoff berth in history (2005, went 1-1).
Up Next: 8/30 @ Paulding
9. McDonald (6-4)
Outlook: After making five straight postseasons, the Blue Devils have now missed out two years in a row. That string should end this season. McDonald returns a very talented cast
led by junior RB/LB Cameron Ifft (6-2, 190/two-time All-ITC), senior
OL/DL Carson Williams (6-2, 290/two-time All-ITC), senior WR Tom Rebraca
(6-1, 205/first team All-ITC), junior OL/DL Albert Yates (6-2,
275/All-ITC), junior OL/DL Caleb Dimery (6-0, 200/All-ITC) and senior WR
Matt Morrell (6-0, 170/All-ITC).
Up Next: 8/30 vs East Palestine
10. Bellaire (8-3, Region 17 quarterfinalist)
Outlook: The Big Reds snapped a five-year absence from the playoffs last year and beat rival Martins Ferry for the first time in six years. This season
look for them to contend for a Week 11 win and more. Sound familiar?
Bellaire will rally around a standout QB-WR duo in seniors Spencer Badia
(5-9, 175) and Nick Patrone (5-9, 160). Badia threw for 3,001 yards and 24 TDs last year, while Patrone caught 66 passes for 1,009 yards and seven TDs. Patrone
also had 58 tackles, six INTs, three fumble recoveries and two forced
fumbles on defense as a DB. Junior WR Hunter Westlake (6-2, 175) will
catch plenty of balls as well. Senior DB Kenny Hess leads the defense.
Up Next: 8/31 vs Steubenville Catholic Central
Under Consideration (Alphabetical Order)
Ada (10-2, Region 22 semifinalist)
Outlook: The Bulldogs made the playoffs for the seventh straight season
last year before losing to St. Henry (40-35). This fall they’ll be
under new leadership as former head coach Micah Fell has relocated to
Lima Senior. Welcome Bob Olwin. Olwin – a 30-year coaching veteran with
stints at Versailles and Sherwood Fairview – brings with him a
pass-happy offensive attack that’s produced 10 league titles and seven
playoff berths. Ada must replace its leading passer, rusher and top two
receivers (all were first team All-Northwest Conference). Cushioning the
blow is the return of senior WR Matt Wilcox (6-2, 180) who may see time at QB. Wilcox caught 42 passes for 830 yards and seven TDs last season.
Defensively, he had 39 tackles, three INTs and three TFL. Several new
faces will have to make immediate impacts. Fort Loramie replaces Upper
Scioto Valley in Week 4.
Outlook: The Rockets return 14 starters and have 80 players on the high school roster. “Last season was the first non-winning season since the inception of the
program,” head coach Bryan Rioch (103-41 career record) said. “We have had our best off-season ever, which indicates our
desire to not let that happen again. On paper, we’re as good as anyone
our schedule (with the exception of Marion Local). Last year we lost to
two state champions by a combined 13 points. We feel like we have the experience and
depth tp be very competitive.” Anna 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 (102 tackles). Senior QB Josh Robinson (6-3, 190/1,200 yards passing) and junior OL Shaun Wenrick (6-3, 300) bolster the O.
Opener: 8/30 vs Lehman Catholic
Beverly Fort Frye (10-1, Region 17 quarterfinalist)
Outlook: The Cadets earned the school’s first playoff berth since 2000 and second ever last season
before falling to Kirtland in the regional quarters. Expect another run
– and maybe a longer one. In addition to returning four of five OL
starters, the Cadets bring back senior QB Chandler Lang (5-11, 175). A
two-time All-PVC and All-OVAC selection, Lang threw for 1,304 yards and
16 TDs and ran for 824 yards and 15 TDs last year. He also kicked 30
PATs and had 111 tackles. The defense – led by junior DL Luke Yates
(6-1, 180) – will be very experienced too.
Opener: 8/30 vs Hannibal River
Bucyrus Wynford (9-3, Region 19 semifinalist)
Outlook: The Royals had their 63-game win streak snapped last year with a
26-7 loss to Ontario in Week 6. One streak they kept intact, though, was
their playoff streak, which reached eight years in a row. Wynford
welcomes back standout senior RB Cory Brown (6-1, 210).
Opener: 8/30 @ Liberty Benton
Colonel Crawford (8-3, Region 23 quarterfinalist)
Outlook: The Eagles are coming off the school’s first playoff berth ever and have plans for a return trip. Senior QB Nate Klingenberger (6-4, 195) returns for his fourth season as a starter after throwing for 2,210 yards and 25 TDs last season. He also ran for six scores. Klingenberger has accounted for 45 career TDs and 3,613 passing yards. He missed five games in each his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Opener: 8/30 vs Mount Gilead
Lucasville Valley (12-1, Region 19 finalist)
Outlook: The Indians will lean heavily on senior RB Nate Arnett (6-0, 200) who ran for 1,214 yards and 10 TDs last season. Also back are senior DL Hayden Dunn (6-4, 240) and senior DB Zach Shope (5-10, 170).
Opener: 8/30 @ Meadowbrook
Miami East (7-4, Region 20 quarterfinalist)
Outlook: 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.
Opener: 8/30 vs Milton-Union
Milford Center Fairbanks (5-5)
Outlook: 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.”
Opener: 8/30 vs Galion
Mogadore (13-1, Region 21 Champions)
Outlook: The Wildcats have made the postseason every year since the playoffs expanded to eight teams (1999). Last season Mogadore won its 17th regional title and 39th league title. Senior standout LB Bryce Huth (5-11, 180) returns to lead the defense.
Opener: 8/30 vs Norton
Northwood (10-1, Region 18 quarterfinalist)
Outlook: The Rangers are looking to make the playoffs for the fifth year in a
row. If they do, expect junior RB/DB Dominik Bermejo (5-10, 155) to play
a large part. The two-way standout (named first team All-TAAC on both
sides of the ball) scored 18 TDs and had eight INTs last season. Also
returning is the senior trio of DL Kyle Corbitt (6-1, 210) and OL Travis
Whitmore (6-0, 255).
Opener: 8/30 @ Ayersville
Tri-County North (7-4, Region 24 quarterfinalist)
Outlook: 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.
Opener: 8/30 @ Brookville
Outlook: 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).
Opener: 8/30 vs Celina
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