The Power Polls…are back. JJHuddle’s immensely popular state football
rankings continue today with the release of the Division V 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 V PRESEASON RANKINGS
The Power Polls…are back. JJHuddle’s immensely popular state football
rankings continue today with the release of the Division V 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. Columbus Hartley (13-1, Region 14 Champions)
Outlook: The Hawks were derailed and shocked in the state semifinals last year by eventual D-IV state champion Clinton-Massie. This season Hartley drops to D-V. It’s talent doesn’t drop at all. Head coach Brad Burchfield (51-11 at Hartley/82-36 career) returns
seven starters on offense and five on defense. Included in that mix is
senior DB/WR Alonzo Saxton (5-11, 175) who verballed to Duke over offers
from Illinois, Purdue, Toledo, Wisconsin,
Northwestern, Cincinnati, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky. Another
key component is senior DL Kalil Morris (6-3, 275) who has an offer from
Ohio Dominican and 105 tackles and 14 sacks the last two seasons.
Offensively, the Hawks will lean on senior QB Jared Brandewie (6-5, 205)
who threw for 1,071 yards and 15 TDs last year. Senior RB/LB Sam
Mackowiak will get a good chunk of touches after running for 771 yards
and 10 TDs. Upfront seniors Austin Kirkbride (5-11, 190), Max Steele
(6-0, 250) and Nick Boeriu (6-3, 230) anchor the line. The schedule is brutal and includes
a new Week 2 game with Coldwater. Also on the slate are
Marion-Franklin, St. Charles, Watterson, Ironton, Ready and Bishop Luers
(Ind.). Hartley is going for a program-record fourth straight CCL
Up Next: 8/30 @ Amanda-Clearcreek
2. Creston Norwayne (13-1, Region 13 champions)
Outlook: The Bobcats are on quite a run under head coach Joe Harbour who is 41-10
in four years at the school and 27-2 the last two. Although Norwayne
failed to defend its D-IV state title last year, it did reach the state
semifinals. Impressive for a program that hadn’t even won a playoff game
until 2010. Expect Norwayne to compete for another trip to Stark
County. The Bobcats feature a formidable passing attack led by senior QB
Joe Dreher (6-2, 175) who completed
nearly 70-percent of his passes for 3,860 yards and 41 TDs last year.
Dreher is within reach of several league and county career records. Two of his favorite targets return in senior D-I prospects Trevahn Beery (6-2, 180) and Kaleb Harris (6-4, 215). Both Beery and Harris play WR/DB and have multiple MAC
offers. Beery caught 23 passes for 328 yards and four TDs last year and
registered 48 tackles and three INTs. Harris, despite missing eight
games, still managed 16 catches for 401 yards and five TDs and 26
tackles and two INTs. The OL will be led by senior Zach Weinman (6-3,
270) and juniors Chris Scruggs (6-0, 230) and Christian Steiner (6-1,
235). Senior RB Brock Maxwell (5-10, 195) slides into the feature back
roll vacated by record-setter Jon Zimmerly. Maxwell ran for 458 yards
and five TDs last season. Weinman (69 tackles, nine TFL, INT, FF, FR)
doubles as a standout DL. The schedule
has a new face in Week 3 as Ontario replaces Western Reserve. “We are
coming off a two year run of unprecedented success for our school with
the first-ever state title in 2011 and first-ever undefeated regular
season in 2012,” Harbour said. “We hope to continue to build
upon recent success and who knows, maybe even combine the two great
accomplishments of 2011’s state title and 2012’s undefeated regular
season into one season in 2013.”
Up Next: 8/30 vs Wellington
3. Wheelersburg (8-3, Region 19 quarterfinalist)
Outlook: The Pirates made the playoffs for the 24th time last season and this
year should make it 25. Impressive indeed. But the Burg hasn’t won a
regional title since 1998. This could be the season the drought ends.
Last year the Burg set offensive team records for yards per game (378.4), passing yards
(2,251), total recpetions (178) and receiving TDs (24). The good news,
seven offensive starters return including seniors Eddie Miller (QB),
Tyler Claxon (WR) and Dylan Miller (WR). Eddie Miller (6-1, 170) is a
special talent. As a sophomore, Miller threw a TD pass, ran for a TD,
caught a TD pass, returned a kick for a TD and scored a defensive TD. As
a junior he set school single-season records for total offense (3,109
yards), passing yards (2,208) and TDs (24). He ran for 901 yards and 15 TDs. Claxon returns
after catching a school record 67 passes for 880 yards and 10 TDs.
Dylan Miller caught 59 passes for 751 yards and nine TDs last year.
Other key returners include: Sam Robinson, Christian Ellis, Michael
Staggs, Wade Martin, Chase Chambliss, Austin May and Mitchell Warner.
The defense – led by senior DE Cam Parsley (6-2, 205) – returns eight starters. Parsley had 73 tackles and 10 sacks a year ago. “For the past few years we have played a lot of underclassmen,” head coach Rod Woodward (43-14 in five years) said. “Those guys are now seniors and we are expecting big things from them in 2013.” The schedule is beyond solid.
Up Next: 8/30 @ Ironton
4. Youngstown Ursuline (8-5, Region 17 finalist)
Outlook: The Irish have played in five of the last six regional finals and have
won four. They should contend for that plateau again. Senior QB Chris
Durkin (6-4, 230) is a JJHuddle Top 100 prospect and has committed to Michigan State. Defensively senior DL Shahaun Williams (6-3, 24) anchors the front seven. Williams had 14 sacks, five TFL, two fumble recoveries, two blocked punts and a defensive TD as a junior. The schedule
is again one of Ohio’s hardest (includes Steubenville, Mooney, Akron
SVSM, Mentor Lake Catholic, Walsh Jesuit and Massillon Jackson).
Up Next: 8/30 vs Walsh Jesuit
5. St. Clairsville (14-1, D-IV state runner-up)
Outlook: The Red Devils made a historic run to the school’s first state final
last season and have been in the playoffs six of the last seven years.
Excellence is a standard now – and will be maintained. Despite the loss
of standouts Matt Kinnick (QB), Jerrid Marhefka (WR) and Dan Monteroso
(WR), talent remains. Senior RB Jaylon Brown (5-7, 165) will be featured
on offense, while senior LB Michael Ferns anchors the defense. Brown
has accounted for 38 TDs and seven INTs the last two years, while Ferns,
a four-year starter with over 350 career tackles, is a Michigan
commit. Also back is senior K Zach Musilli (5-8, 135).
Up Next: 8/30 @ Urichsville Claymont
6. Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (9-2, Region 16 quarterfinalist)
Outlook: The Eagles have made all eight of the program’s playoff appearances in
the last 11 years and have gone to the postseason three years in a row.
Expectations are high again. CHCA, which lost just four seniors to graduation, returns 16 starters – eight on each side of the ball. “We are looking forward to a great season,” head coach Eric Taylor (43-14 in five years at CHCA) said. “We lose three receivers and three DBs so we hope that our experience up front will protect the inexperience in some of our skill positions. The QB and running backs are all three-year starters.” Senior QB Conner Osborne (5-11, 175) threw for 2,380 yards and 28 TDs last season, while senior
RBs Nick Marsh (6-0, 190) and Tyler Renners (5-10, 170) ran for 540
yards and seven TDs and 574 yards and seven TDs, respectively. The OL returns all five starters and features senior
Ryan Prescott (6-3, 230) and junior Jacob Halter (6-5, 240). Taylor
calls junior WR/DB Cam Murray (5-11, 165) the team’s “biggest returning
playmaker.” On defense, Marsh (LB, 131 tackles, 11 sacks, 8.5 sacks,
four forced fumbles), Renners (DB, 55 tackles) and junior LB Jonah James
(6-0, 180/125 tackles) headline the unit. Junior P Josh Eckert (6-2,
215) averaged 35.5 yards per punt last season. This is just the 17th
year for the CHCA program, which is looking for its 14th straight winning season.
Up Next: 8/29 vs Middletown Madison
7. Columbia Station Columbia (10-2, Region 18 semifinalist)
Last Week: 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
Up Next: 8/30 vs Independence
8. Coldwater (15-0, D-IV State Champions)
Outlook: 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.”
Up Next: 8/30 @ Kenton
9. Baltimore Liberty Union (11-3, Region 19 champions)
Outlook: The Lions surprised some people last year with a legit run to the D-V
state semifinals. This year the focus will be on returning. And the odds
are good. Senior RB Jacob Basso (5-11, 180) spearheads the offense
after running for 1,683 yards and 17 TDs last year. He also threw a TD
and caught 24 passes (for 310 yards). Also back are senior QB Auston
Vannatta, who threw for over 1,000 yards and six TDs last year and
junior RB Adam Snyder (who ran for eight TDs last season). Defensively,
senior LB Justin Barber (5-10, 170) returns
after making 177 tackles (and 12 TFL) as a junior. Other key returners
are junior DB Tyler Makuch (5-6, 130/83 tackles, six INTs), senior DB
Tyler Magley (5-11, 145/67 tackles, five INTs), senior LB Logan
Piccirillo (5-6, 135/67 tackles, three INTs), junior LB Braden Powers
(6-1, 180/92 tackles), senior LB Dustin Short (5-11, 220/72 tackles) and
Snyder (42 tackles, four INTs). The big change for the Lions is moving
to the Mid-State League Buckeye Division (replacing Canal Winchester)
where they will be the smallest team. “The 2013 team is in a new league
with great coaches and program traditions,” said head coach Dan Johnson (195-168-1 in 28 years). “The focus of Liberty Union Football
will continue to be to work to be ‘Good Men’ and improve daily. Winning
championships and qualifying for the playoffs just became much harder.
But anything is possible for ‘Good Men’ who improve daily and play together as a team. Each week will be a challenge.”
Up Next: 8/30 @ Berne Union
10. North Union (11-1, Region 14 semifinalist)
Outlook: The Wildcats made the playoffs for the fourth straight season last year and won the program’s first playoff game.
Can they extend the streak to five? Yep. Senior DL Nate Curts (6-6,
205/42 tackles, 14 TFL, eight sacks) anchors the defense, while senior
RB Thane Hoffman returns after rushing for 939 yards and accounting for
23 TDs. He also had 349 yards receiving. Junior FB Jacob Blevins (6-0,
185) added 782 yards rushing and three TDs.
Up Next: 8/30 @ Cardington-Lincoln
Under Consideration (Alphabetical Order)
Akron Manchester (8-4, Region 13 semifinalist)
Outlook: After an 0-2 start last season,
the Panthers rallied to win their 19th PAC title and make the postseason
for the fourth year in a row and 20th time overall. Expectations are
high again. Head coach Jim France enters his 42nd season at the school
with a mark of 349-91-3. His latest squad will be led by senior OL Jake Hanzel (6-2, 265) who was first team All-Pac 7 and is one of Ohio’s best small school lineman. Senior TE Chandler Stahl (6-1, 210) returns (23 catches, 199 yards) too. Defensively, Manchester is led by the senior
tandem of LB John Beavers (5-11, 195) and FS Dakota Craig (5-11, 175).
Beavers had 99 tackles last year, while Craig had 94. Other key
contributers are C David Gresham (sr., 6-5, 315), RB/LB Austin Klein
(sr., 6-2,185), LB Logan Harvey (jr., 6-2, 180), ST Bob Bowen (sr.,
5-8, 150), DB/WR Anthony Miltner (jr., 5-8, 160) and LB Sterling
Jackson (jr., 5-10, 190).
Opener: 8/30 @ Jeromesville Hillsdale
Archbold (8-3, Region 18 quarterfinalist)
Outlook: 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.
Opener: 8/30 @ Hicksville
Columbianna Crestview (11-1, Region 17 regional semifinalist)
Outlook: The Rebels scored over 50 points nine times last year and had 628 points
on the season. Wow is right. Crestview has made the playoffs eight of
the last nine years but is still waiting for its first regional title. This could be the year. The Rebels must replace 2,000-yard rusher Nick Blower, but they do return senior
QB Collin Gilbert (5-11, 175) who ran for 1,096 yards and 18 TDs and
threw for 1,006 yards and 13 TDs a year ago. Anchoring the line will be senior OL Josh McDade (6-3, 245), a four-year starter and state wrestling qualifier. Senior K Caleb McGath is back after converting 73 Pats and three FGs. Senior DL Robert Logan (60 tackles, four sacks and three forced fumbles) leads the defense.
Opener: 8/30 vs Lisbon Beaver
Elyria Catholic (6-4)
Outlook: 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.”
Opener: 8/30 vs Huron
Findlay Liberty-Benton (12-2, D-V state semifinalist)
Outlook: 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.
Opener: 8/30 vs Bucyrus Wynford
Hanoverton United (6-4)
Outlook: The Eagles and 12-year head coach Mike Ward (74-47) have their sights set on the program’s second playoff berth ever. United returns
10 starters on both offense and defense. Said Ward: “We believe we can
be a contender for the (ITC) league title and a playoff spot.” The
headliner is senior QB Garrett Beech (5-10, 175) who threw for 1,017
yards and ran for 1,427 yards and 22 TDs. He’s joined in the backfield
by fellow seniors and first team all-league selections Mike Martin
(RB/DB, 5-8, 155) and Zach Maze (FB/LB, 5-9, 210). The OL features three
juniors who earned All-ITC honors last year in Lucas Cooper (6-3, 210),
Charlie Smith (6-0, 265) and Eric Blosser (6-2, 220).
Opener: 8/30 vs Malvern
Ironton (7-4, Region 15 semifinalist)
Outlook: The Tigers have been to the playoffs 30 times and five years in a row. Second-year head coach Mark Vass must replace 21 seniors. The schedule
is again daunting with Columbus Hartley, Amanda-Clearcreek,
Wheelersburg and Columbus St. Charles. Standout senior OL Adam Webb
(6-6, 330) returns.
Opener: 8/30 vs No. 3 Wheelersburg
Liberty Center (8-3, Region 18 quarterfinalist)
Outlook: 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.
Opener: 8/30 @ Definace Tinora
Loudonville (8-3, Region 19 quarterfinalist)
Outlook: 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).
Opener: 8/30 vs Smithville
West Jefferson (7-3)
Outlook: The Roughriders had played in
five of six regional finals before missing the playoffs all together
last season. They finished ninth in Region 20. West Jeff’s three losses?
To D-VI state champion Marion Local, D-V state semifinalist Liberty
Union and D-II playoff team Licking Heights. This season the Roughriders
face a new challenge with a new league (switching divisions in the
Mid-State League). Five of the 10 teams on 2012’s schedule have been
replaced. New games loom with Jackson (non-league), Madison Plains,
Bexley, Columbus Academy and Whitehall-Yearling. There’s also a trip to
Marion Local in Week 2. “We will be a senior laden football team with big game experience,” head coach
Shawn Buescher (86-40 in 12 years) said. “We feel that our out of
conference schedule will prepare us for the new challenges we will face
once we start league play. We are extremely excited about starting in our new conference.” West Jeff should be. It returns
a ton of talent. Senior RB/LB Jake Hatfield (5-10, 195) is back after
rushing for a team-high 678 yards and 11 TDs last year. He also ranked
second on the team in tackles (60). Look for senior Logan Stepp
(6-0, 170), the team’s second leading receiver last year (36 catches,
600 yards, five TDs), to step in at QB for the departed Seth Castro.
Other key contributors will be senior OL/DL DJ McAninch (6’2″, 215/49
tackles/eight sacks), senior WR/LB Nick Mendenhall (6’5″, 185/45
tackles, three INTs), Senior OL/DL Brandon Doran (6’3″, 300), senior
WR/DB Ross Brennenman (6’0″, 160), senior RB/DB Hayden Fulton (5’9″,
155) and senior OL/DL Carter Harris (6’0″, 215/33 tackles).
Opener: 8/30 @ Mechanicsburg
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