Region 26 Preview: Team To Beat, Teams To Watch, Top Players, Top Storylines




1372354487Team To Beat
*Marion Local (15-0, State Champions): The Flyers have won three straight state titles (two in D-VI and one in D-VII). Can they make it four? Yep. The Flyers return six starters on offense and eight on defense. “We are excited about our season and our potential,” head coach Tim Goodwin (169-40 in 15 years) said. “We do have a lot of kids back but we did lose our QB (Pitt freshman Adam Bertke), top lineman and leading receiver so we do have some big shoes to fill as well. This senior class has been a big part of the last two state title teams, but now they have to step up and be the leaders. How they will do in that role will be the key to our season.” Key seniors include QB/DB Dustin Rethman (6’0, 180; 462 yards passing, six TDs, 48 tackles, four INTs), RB Jacy Goettemoeller (5’10, 190; 852 yards rushing, 22 total TDs), LB Jacob Kunkler (6’0, 185; 138 tackles, six sacks), DL Peyton Kremer (6’2, 220; 82 tackles, seven sacks), DL Chris Lochtefeld (6’4, 200; 65 tackles, three FR, two INTs), DB Evan Fleck (6-0, 170; 60 tackles) and OL Nathan Heckman (6’2, 220). Junior WR Hunter Wilker (6’0, 190; 49 rec., 820 yards receiving) scored 13 TDs last season via run, return and reception. The Flyers have seven state titles (all since 2000) and are 53-9 all-time in the playoffs. Sick.

Teams To Watch
*Cedarville (8-3, Region 26 quarterfinalist): The Indians were one of the state’s biggest surprises last season. After going 1-8-1 in 2012, Cedarville recorded its first winning season and earned its first playoff berth since 2001. Expectations exist with the return of standout senior RB Caleb Coe (6-0, 195) who rushed for 1,572 yards and 14 TDs last season.
*Covington (11-1, Region 26 semifinalist): The Buccs had another season to remember in 2013. Covington won its 28th league title and earned its 18th playoff berth. The Buccs only loss was to Marion Local (35-28) in the regional semifinals. In the last two years Covington has gone 23-2. It’s only other loss was to eventual state champion Coldwater in the D-V region final in 2012. Gone from that standout run is a slew of seniors and talent, including one of the state’s top scorers ever (RB A.J. Ouellette who is now at Ohio University). Only one All-CCC player returns in senior OL/DL Logan Perkins (5-11, 200).  Head coach Dave Miller is  72-12 in six years.
*Fort Loramie (8-3, Region 26 quarterfinalist): The Redskins have made the playoffs five years in a row. In order to make it six will have to have several new faces step forward. “We graduated 97-percent of our rushing yards, 96-percent of our receiving yards and our top three tacklers from a defense that set many records last year,” head coach Matt Burgbacher (44-14 in five years) said. “The cupboard is not empty, we have talent coming back but we need some of those young guys to step up in a few major roles this year.” The schedule is brutal to begin with as well. Loramie opens with Minster, New Bremen, Tinora and Ada. Defensively the Redskins return nine players who logged at least 25 tackles last season, including sophomore OL/LB Nathan Pleiman (6-0, 185; 63 tackles, three sacks), senior RB/DB Cole Cordonnier (5-10, 161; 60 tackles), junior RB/DB Brad Pleiman (5-10, 156; 58 tackles, two INTs) and junior TE/DE Logan Brackman (6-0, 180; 51 tackles). Senior QB/DB Andy grewe (5-9, 171) is back after throwing for 622 yards and eight TDs. Senior OL/K Tristan Stripling (5-11, 220) hit 55-of-61 PATs last season. Newcomers Dylan Eilerman (6-4, 230, jr.) and Tyler Siegel (6-5, 190, fr.) add size to the lines.
*North Lewisburg Triad (12-1, Region 26 finalist): The Cardinals had a historic season last year as they produced the school’s first 10-0 regular season, first regional finals appearance and the most single-season wins in school history. “Coming off a record setting season, many will feel our cupboards are bare,” head coach Payton Printz (75-62 in 14 years) said. “The cupboards lost a few ‘key’ ingredients, but there are plenty of items left to put a four course meal together and win a few games in 2014. Our goals will remain the same: Win the OHC, Go 10-0, Qualify for the OHSAA Playoffs, Win the Region, Win the State.” Junior QB Tre McIntyre (6-0, 190) is a big reason Printz has high hopes. McIntyre threw for 2,300 yards and 231 TDs and ran for 670 yards and 11 TDs last season. Senior RB/LB Chaz Adams (6-1, 185; 790 rushing yards, 96 tackles) impacts both sides of the ball. Other key players are seniors Colton Coil (DL/OL, 6’3″, 330; 45 tackles), John Printz (OL/LB, 6’3″, 200), Scottie Instine (OL/DL, 5’10”, 170), Harrison LeVan (OT/LB, 6’2″, 195), John Mason O’Neal (DE/SE, 6’4″, 200), Gavin Head (DT/OT, 6’1″, 240) and Corey Fenton (DT/OG, 5’10”, 235). Juniors Ryan Boyd (DB/WR, 5’9″, 165) and Timmy Marsalis (DB/WR, 6’0″, 170) will contribute.



Keep An Eye On
*Bradford (0-10): After reaching the playoffs for the first time in 30 years (1982) in 2012, the Railroaders went winless. Head coach Curtis Enis (5th year) will continue to lead a resurgence of the program.
*Cincinnati Christian (2-8): The Cougars could surprise. The offense returns senior QB Spencer Fox (6-2, 160; 1,209 yards, 14 TDs), senior RB Kameron Antwine (5-8, 150; 505 yards, three TDs), senior WR/K/P Logan Katsetos (5-10, 150; 23 rec., 390 yards, six TDs; three FGs) and senior DE/TE Joey Carroll (6-2, 215; 29 rec., 510 yards, four TDs; 3.5 sacks).
*Cincinnati College Prep Academy (3-6): The Lions have a good one in senior WR Jonnell Morgan (5-8, 160).
*Dayton Jefferson Township (4-6): The Broncos have never been to the playoffs, but could make a push this season. Defense will be a strength with the return of senior DL Lamont Ragland (6-1, 255), senior Shelby Woddall (6-3, 215) and senior LB Jeff Gaddy (6-0, 208).
*DeGraff Riverside (5-5): The Pirates turned it around last year after going 0-9 in 2012. Junior RB Connor Cotterman (5-10, 170) returns.
*Dola Hardin Northern (DNP): The Polar Bears, who won the D-VI state title in 2004 and own 12 playoff berths as a program, did not play varsity football last season. This year they return under the direction of head coach Mike Dennis. HN will play an independent schedule this season and will leave the BVC for the Northwest Central Conference in 2015. “We will have a lot of young players with no seniors on the team,” Dennis said. “We want to get better every week and be competitive every week. Our ultimate goal is to put Hardin Northern back on the map like it was in the late 90’s and the early 2000’s.”
*Fort Recovery (3-7): The Indians return two All-MAC players in junior WR/DB Kyle Schroer (5-10, 160; 22 rec., 306 yards, four TDs) and senior OL/LB Seth Riegle (5-10, 180; 112 tackles).
*Lehman Catholic (10-2, Region 26 semifinalist): The Cavaliers will lean on senior QB Nick Rourke (5-11, 160) and senior DB Greg Spearman (6-0, 175) as they look for their 13th playoff berth and seventh in nine years.
*Manchester (6-4): The Greyhounds notched the program’s first winning season since 1939 last year. You read that right. 1939. The program took a hiatus for a couple decades, but facts are facts. Manchester is looking to make more history this season by earning the program’s first playoff berth. The Greyhounds return nine offensive starters and eight on defense. Junior QB/DB Jordan Freeman (6-0, 170) returns after rushing for a school-record 1,015 yards and passing for 860 more last season. His 25 total TDs was also a school record.  Freeman added 65 tackles and four INTs on defense. Senior K/OL/DL Jordan Franklin (6-2, 240) converted 29-of 31 PATs last year and had 22 tackles and four sacks. Other key contributors are senior DL/OL Nick Hoskins (65 tackles, 21 TFL, school record 13 sacks) and junior DL/OL Derrick Mingee (30 tackles, seven TFL). .
*Waynesfield-Goshen (2-8): The Tigers are looking to earn their second playoff berth in three years and return seven All-Northwest Central Conference players including junior DL Drew Lament, senior LB junior Lucas Gray, senior DB Daniel Fridley and senior P Lake Turner. Seniors Brandon Turner, Brandon Bly and Dylan Hopkins were HM All-NWCC.
*Springfield Catholic Central (0-10): SCC has been in the playoffs eight of the last 11 years but is just 2-18 the last two seasons.
*South Charleston Southeastern (1-9): The Trojans will lean on LB Kyle Rowe (6-3, 220) who was the team’s leading tackler last year despite only playing in five games. Other key players will be QB/DB Ben Miller (6-2, 185) and WR/DB Gabe Xayathone (6-0, 175). Head coach Greg Bonifay is 25-37 in six years.

Also In This Region
Ansonia (2-8), Lockland (2-8), Cincinnati Gamble Montessori (3-7), Upper Scioto Valley (4-6), Ridgeway Ridgemont (2-7), Aiken (0-10); Cincinnati Hillcrest Academy (0-0, new OHSAA program), Cincinnati Miami Valley Christian Academy (0-0, new OHSAA program), Mississinawa Valley (2-8), New Miami (1-9), Troy Christian (0-0, fielding varsity team again after hiatus)


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