OHIO NATIONAL GUARD & JJH POWER POLL
DIVISION III PRESEASON RANKINGS
The Power Polls…are back. JJHuddle’s immensely popular state football rankings continue today with the release of the Division III 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. Toledo Central Catholic (14-1, D-II State Champions)
Outlook: The defending D-II state champions have dropped down a division, but they didn’t drop much talent from last year’s team. Senior QB DeShone Kizer (6-5, 216) has committed to Notre Dame and is one of the country’s top prospects. One of his protectors is senior OL Zach Harmon (6-4, 280) has committed to Duke. Senior WR/DB/KR Derich Weiland (5-10,180) is one of the state’s most versatile players and earned All-Three Rivers Athletic Conference honors last year on offense, defense and special teams. He holds an offer from Kent State. Another key cog is senior LB/RB Paul Moses (5-11, 220) who holds offers from Nebraska and several MAC schools. Junior LB Chris Green (6-1, 235), senior LB Marwan Marsenbeurg (6-0, 250) and senior DB TeJuan James (5-11, 175) add depth on D. Green holds offers from Toledo and Bowling Green. Junior Ramone Miles (6-5, 260) and senior Jonathan Mitchell (5-9, 245) return to the OL.
Up Next: 8/31 Warren (Mich.) DeLaSalle
2. Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (13-2, D-III State Champion)
Outlook: The Irish improved to 5-1 in state finals and won their first title since 1988 last season with a 42-21 win over Bellevue in the D-III championship. Defending that title is a realisitic goal. SVSM owns two Ohio State commits in senior RB Parris Campbell (5-11, 175) and senior LB Dante Booker (6-4, 215). Campbell ran for 1,353 yards and 28 TDs last season and added TDs via reception (one), kickoff return (one) and punt return (two). Booker had 81 tackles, nine sacks and two INTs. As a sophomore he had 157 tackles and 14 sacks. Other key senior returnees for the Irish are LB/RB Newman Williams (6-0, 240/117 tackles, four INTs, two fumble recoveries, Toledo & Florida Atlantic offers), DE/TE Travonte Junius (6-3, 190/67 tackles, 15 TFL, eight forced fumbles and two INTs, Toledo offer), DL/RB Aaron Adkins (5-11, 205), DL Tony Adkins (6-0, 225) and DB/WR Nathan Bischof (6-3, 190/55 tackles, five INTs). Junior RB/LB Vince Lockett (5-11, 195) will make an impact. “Players understand that this is a new year with new challenges,” Head Coach Dan Boarman (170-90 career record, entering eighth season at SVSM) said. “We must work even harder to accomplish our goals, as the bar has been set very high for (this team). We cannot look at the end result, but rather work daily to become the best football players and team that we can be.” The schedule, which also includes Walsh, Mooney and archrival Akron Archbishop Hoban, ends with three of four games on the road. Those trips? Massillon Washington, Youngstown Ursuline and Dayton Thurgood Marshall.
Up Next: 8/29 vs Akron Garfield
3. Trotwood-Madison (12-3, Division II State Runner-Up)
Outlook: The Rams have played in three straight state finals and have their sights set on four. It’s an attainable goal. Senior RB Ashton Jackson (5-11, 180) assumes the No. 1 role from Isreal Green and is ready to showcase the talents that have earned him offers from Purdue, Illinois and several MAC schools. Jackson is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and has rushed for 37 career TDs. Senior RB Mark Raye-Redmond (5-9, 170/263 yards, four TDs) owns offers from Davidson and Brown and senior WR Kendric Mallory (6-2, 175) holds an offer from Illinois. Sophomore QB Messiah DeWeaver (6-0, 175) is back after throwing for 831 yards and 13 TDs last season in nine starts (including all playoffs). The OL will be solid with seniors Ryan Reese (6-5, 295/Illinois and Kent State offers) and Clem Vinegar (6-0, 290/All-GWOC) and junior Brice Hinton (6-4, 286/All-GWOC). The defense will be formidable again and led by senior DL Verdontae Wilkinson (6-3, 235/80 tackles, three forced fumbles), a JJHuddle Top 100 prospect that holds offers from Kentucky, Illinois and several MAC schools. Senior DTs John Lewis (6-4, 313) and Reese also return. The secondary (and receiving corps) contains plenty of talent in seniors Demarcus Wilson (5-10, 160/All-GWOC) and Kieran Winn (6-2, 180/43 tackles, three INTs) and juniors Kei Beckham (6-0, 155/Indiana and Illinois offers) and Harrison Johnson (5-9, 170/Illinois offer).
Up Next: 8/30 vs Springfield
4. Dayton Thurgood Marshall (12-2, Region 12 champions)
Outlook: The Cougars are 40-6 on the field the last four years and made the deepest run ever in the state playoffs by a Dayton City League team last season. A prolific double wing offense fueled by confusion and talent produced 767 points last year (54.5 per game) as Marshall surpassed 60 points in over half (seven) its games. The catalyst this year is senior RB/DB Vayante Copeland (6-0, 183) who is a JJHuddle 2014 Top 100 player. Copeland, a four-year starter who rushed for 2,028 yards and 25 TDs last year and has 17 career INTs, has committed to Michigan State. Also back is junior QB Jamahl Manley (6-1, 200) who was first team All-City League and senior RB Deangelo Worthy (over 1,000 yards rushing & 16 TDs). Replacing three first team all-league offensive lineman (and four starters) is key. On defense, the Cougars must replace five first team all-league players. Key returners to the unit are senior DL Jeff Manley Jr. (6-1, 245/56 tackles), senior DE Landon Brazile (6-6, 225/Ohio offer), senior DB Dangelo Martin (6-5, 207/92 tackles, two INTs), sophomore DB Daquan Edwards (five INTs) and junior DB Mike Mills (5-10, 162/49 tackles, two INTs). Also keep an eye out for the junior trio of LB Dante Pinson, WR Brian Carter and K Antonio Camberos. The schedule, despite being just nine games right now, includes tests in Northmont, Chaminade Julienne, Alter, Winton Woods and Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary.
Up Next: 8/30 vs Northmont
5. Hubbard (8-4, Region 9 semifinalist)
Outlook: The Eagles return one of Ohio’s top junior prospects in RB Larry Scott (6-0, 205) who owns offers from Tennessee, Michigan State, Kentucky, West Virginia and Cincinnati. Last year Scott ran for 1,614 yards and 23 TDs. In two years he’s accounted for 2,790 yards and 39 TDs. Also back is senior WR Darnell Tate (6-0, 170) and junior OL Matt Jones (6-4, 315). Tate, a three-year starter, has combined for 52 receptions, 1,004 yards and 17 TDs the last two years. Jones has offers from West Virginia, Kentucky and Toledo. The wildcard is senior QB transfer Brennan Wassil (6-5, 195) who threw for 1,518 yards and 11 TDs last season at Kennedy Catholic in Hermitage, Pa. Junior LB Isaiah Scott (6-3, 188) is another top prospect.
Up Next: 8/30 @ Cortland Lakeview
6. Athens (11-2, Region 12 finalist)
Outlook: The Bulldogs made history last year by making the program’s first regional final. This season – and next – could see them go farther. Junior QB Joe Burrow (6-4, 190) is back after accounting for 60 TDs and 4,075 total yards last season en route to Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division Offensive Player of the Year honors. Burrows threw for 3,239 yards and 47 TDs (and just eight INTs) and ran for 836 yards and 13 TDs. Two of Burrows’ top targets return in junior WRs Ryan Luehrman (6-4, 185/726 yards, 11 TDs) and Adam Luehrman (6-4, 185/348 yards, eight TDs). Also back? Junior RB Trae Williams (5-10, 180) who earned All-TVC honors last season after rushing for 1,436 yards and 21 TDs. On defense, the Bulldogs must replace their top seven tacklers. Williams is the top returning tackler (36 stops). Keep an eye on sophomore ATH Heath Wiseman (5-11, 170) who had five rushing TDs, two 2-point conversions and 35 PATs last year. Head coach Ryan Adams, the reigning TVC Ohio Coach of the Year, is 40-24 in seven seasons. Proctorville Fairland replaces Waverly on the schedule in Week 5. Week 1 at Gallia Academy is a big game.
Up Next: 8/30 @ Gallia Academy
7. Marion-Franklin (11-2, Region 7 finalist)
Outlook: The Red Devils have several holes to fill, but one isn’t at tackle where senior OL Martesse Patterson (6-5, 290) returns. He holds offers from Purdue, Kentucky, Cincinnati and several MAC schools. Senior OL Devante Collins (5-10, 300) is another anchor. LB Alijahwon Tarvin (6-0, 250) is one of Ohio’s top junior prospects. He had 80 tackles and six forced fumbles last year. Senior DB Jhulyis Monroe (6-0, 190/64 tackles) bolsters the secondary.
Up Next: 8/30 @ Upper Arlington
8. New Philadelphia (8-3, Region 5 quarterfinalist)
Outlook: The Quakers made the playoffs for the second time in a row and sixth time in school history last year but failed to win the program’s first postseason game. New Philly is 0-6 in Week 11. That should change this season. The Quakers return a potent offense that incudes two of the state’s best seniors in RB Jamal Johnson (5-6, 165) and QB Caleb Beans (6-4, 205). Johnson has rushed for 4,925 yards and 51 TDs in three years, while Beans has thrown for 2,569 yards and 22 TDs the last two years. Senior Sam Shook (6-3, 240/All-ECOL) anchors the OL.
Up Next: 8/30 @ Canton Central Catholic
9. Tippecanoe (8-3, Region 8 quarterfinalist)
Outlook: The Red Devils own nine playoff berths in program history – including the stretch of eight straight their riding now. Tipp is stacked and has been building to this season. Senior RBs Jacob Hall (6-2, 215) and Cameron Johnson (6-0, 180) form a potent 1-2 punch. In two years as starters, Hall has rushed for 3,087 yards and 40 TDs, while Johnson has gone for 1,716 yards and 18 TDs. At QB, three-year senior starter Ben Hughes (6-0, 160) is also back. In two years he’s thrown for 1,553 yards and 18 TDs. The defense returns seven of its top nine tacklers, including junior LB Austin Clack (5-11, 200/108 tackles), senior DB Sean Ford (5-10, 165/four INTs, 91 tackles), senior DB Jarett Wasson (5-10, 155/89 tackles) and junior LB Austin Robbins (5-10, 180/76 tackles). Other key returners are senior DL Alex Demers (6-3, 240/77 tackles), junior DE Logan Dawes (6-0, 165/56 tackles) and DL Christian Carlson (6-0, 250/57 tackles).
Up Next: 8/30 vs Graham
10. Aurora (12-2, Region 5 Champion)
Outlook: The Greenmen drop back down to D-III where they won a state title in 2008. Aurora’s brief D-II stint (four years) was a successful one that’s resulted in back-to-back regional titles. All told the Greenmen have been in the postseason eight straight times and are 84-18 over that span. Expect the excellence to continue. Head Coach Bob Mihalik won his 100th game last year and is 102-40 in 12 seasons. “We expect to compete for a (Chagrin Valley Conference) title and a playoff berth once again,” Mihalik said. “We lost a talented senior class, but our JV team was undefeated and we return a good nucleus, which should allow us to be competitive in 2013.” Among the key returners is senior QB George Bollas (6-4, 215) who threw for 1,355 yards and 14 TDs and ran for 1,071 yards and 16 TDs last year. He’s committed to Kent State. Expect the senior trio of OL/DL Justin Wazbinski (6-3.275/91% grade as OL, 46 tackles, eight sacks, 5.5 FL), DB/WR/RB Kirk janoch (6-0, 175) and DL/LB/RB Romell Pollard (6-2, 200). Key juniors are LB/SS Alex Smierciak (5-10, 160) and OL/DL Brandon Zamary (6-2, 245). The schedule includes six home games including the opening back-to-back gauntlet of Twinsburg and Ravenna.
Up Next: 8/30 vs Twinsburg
Under Consideration (Alphabetical Order)
Chardon (10-3, Region 5 finalist)
Outlook: The Hilltoppers have a solid returning senior cast that includes DB Anthony Cantanzariti (5-8, 145), QB Matt Bolden (6-1, 195), TE Andrew Gray (6-4, 215/Maryland), DL Joey Fodor (6-6, 200) and DB Joe Connick (5-7, 160).
Opener: 8/30 @ West Geauga
Outlook: Led by veteran head coach Ron Hinton (multiple state titles at Amanda-Clearcreek), the Cavaliers are looking for a resurgence. This could be the year. Chillicothe returns four first team All-Southeast Ohio Athletic League performers in seniors OL/LB Cayleb Holt (6-0, 168), OL/LB Tyler Kelley (6-0 200), RB/DB Julius Lee (6-0, 186) and QB/DB Ryan Mathis (6-1, 169). Keep an eye on juniors Tyler Howard (6-0, 279) and Ryan Milliken (5-11, 183).
Opener: 8/30 @ Johnstown-Monroe
Columbus DeSales (5-5)
Outlook: The Stallions had the state’s then-best state playoff streak snapped at 18 years with a ninth place finish in the Region 10 rankings. Senior LB Griff Saunders (6-2, 215/Bowling Green) and senior DB Sayyid Kanu (5-10, 180/five INTs) lead the defense.
Opener: 8/30 @ Westerville Central
Dover (11-3, Region 11 Champion)
Outlook: The Tornadoes advanced to their fifth straight regional final and finally broke through for their first regional title last year. Dover has been to the playoffs 13 of the last 15 years. Junior WR Cory Contini (6-0, 160) returns after catching 69 passes for 995 yards and eight TDs.
Opener: 8/29 vs Lorne Park (Ontario)
Franklin (10-2, Region 8 semifinalist)
Outlook: The Wildcats have one of the most talented Athletes sin the state at QB in junior Luke Kennard (6-5, 182). Kennard, the SWBL QB of the Year last season after throwing for 1,744 yards and 23 TDs, is also a star point guard that holds hoops offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Indiana, Dayton, and Notre Dame. Senior OL Chase Henderson (6-3, 265) and senior LB Kyle Creech (6-0, 190) also return.
Opener: 8/31 vs Carlisle
Hamilton Ross (6-4)
Outlook: The Rams will feature a dynamic running game led by seniors Andrew Dunn (5-9, 172/847 yards, six TDs) and Drew Chase (5-10, 185/315 yards, six TDs) and juniors Dalton Jones (5-9, 180/372 yards, seven TDs) and John Kinkaid (5-10, 200/276 yards, two TDs). Senior QBs Blake Ballard (5-11, 165) and Joe Warman (5-11, 156) return after throwing for 518 yards and three TDs and 235 yards and two TDs, respectively, last year. Junior OL Simon Stepaniak (6-4, 276) is one of Ohio’s top 2015 prospects. He holds offers from Indiana and several MAC schools.
Opener: 8/30 @ Goshen
Mentor Lake Catholic (6-4)
Outlook: The Cougars missed the playoffs for just the second time in 14 years last season. Senior QB Dylan Bell (6-1, 180) returns after throwing for 273 yards and two TDs in five appearances under center last year. Bell also ran for a TD and caught a TD pass. Senior Brett Zimmerman (5-9, 165/580 yards rushing, three TDs) is the team’s leading returning rusher. Lake Catholic does return its top two WRs in seniors Anthony Christopher (5-10, 185/12 receptions, 123 yards) and Pat Fitzgerald (6-3, 160/six receptions, 137 yards, two TDs). On defense, Christopher (four INTs, four fumble recoveries) doubles as an outstanding DB.
Opener: 8/30 @ Strongsville
Poland 8-4, Region 11 semifinalist)
Outlook: The Bulldogs, who have made the playoffs six years in a row, have their sights set high. “We return the most skill players since I’ve been at Poland,” head coach Mark Brungard (58-38 in eight years) said. “We have to replace holes on the O and D line and replace Conner McFadden, a 3-year starter at kicker who signed with Youngstown State, but the coaching staff is all coming back and it’s a blessing to have a returning quarterback. The kids are hungry for a regional championship.” That returning QB is senior Jacob Wolfe (6-3, 200) who threw for 1,020 yards passing and 10 TDs last year. Also back is the senior trio of RB Ross Gould (5-8, 180/1,100 yards rushing, 12 TDs), ATH Tyler Evan (6-2, 200) and TE John Markota (6-2,225). Key returners on the OL are senior Nick Rizzo (5-10, 280) and Liborio Ricottilli (6-3, 280). The defense will be anchored by senior DL Zach Bader (6-0, 250), junior LB Adam Wollett (6-0, 200) and junior DB Austin Wilson (6-1, 200).
Opener: 8/29 vs Marlington
Tiffin Columbian (11-1, Region 6 semifinalist))
Outlook: The Tornadoes have been to the playoffs 10 of the last 13 years. Expect them to make it 11 in 14. “We return a great nucleus from a 10-0 team,” Head Coach Brian Colatruglio (32-6 in three years at TC/116-34 overall) said. “We are very big and athletic on the offensive and defensive lines and have good depth at running back and defensive back. The concern will be with the passing game (new QB and all new WRs).” Upfront, senior OL Isiah Moore (6-5, 305) owns offers from Toledo, Kent State and Bowling Green. He anchors a unit that will open holes for senior RB Ryan Lynch (5-11, 190). Look for senior WR Donovan Walker (5-9, 147) to contribute heavily. On defense, senior DL Codey Chance (5-10, 270) returns. New games with Maumee and Anthony Wayne loom.
Opener: 8/30 vs Clyde
West Holmes (11-2, Region 11 finalist)
Outlook: The Knights will ride senior workhorse RB/LB Layne Perone (6-1, 210) whose coming off a record-setting 2012 season. A year ago, Perone set WH records for TDs (35) and rushing yards (2,090) in a season. He also had 71 tackles, four fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles and an INT. Senior DB Brady Arnold (5-10, 160) leads the defense.
Opener: 8/30 vs Wooster Triway
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