It might be easier to name the teams that aren't in contention for the Region 15 title this year than those that are. This region is deep, extremely deep. Amanda-Clearcreek, Utica, Westfall, Marion Pleasant, Ironton, Columbus Hartley, Portsmouth...the list goes on. But who heads it? Right now are pick is Coshocton.
Coshocton (11-3) * Players To Watch – LB Zack Shaw (6-3, 215, Sr.); K Brody Philabaum (6-1, 175, Jr.); DL J.J. Tarman (6-1, 225, Sr.); LB Jacob Bresciani (6-0, 185, Jr.); DB J.J. McKay (5-9, 170, Sr.) * Outlook – The Redskins have won a combined 27 games the last three years and have made the playoffs each time. After losing in back-to-back postseasons to Youngstown Mooney and Steubenville, the Redskins fell to Kettering Alter in last year’s state semifinals. Defensively, Coshocton will have one of the best units in the state. Shaw is a Big Ten recruit (headed to Indiana) and arguably D-IV’s best defender. He’ll receive ample support from Tarman, Bresciani and McKay, who were all All-Eastern District last season. Longtime assistant and Coshocton alum, Jim Woodrum takes over head coaching duties for Marty Arganbright who compiled a record of 68-34 and six playoff appearances in nine years.
Johnstown-Monroe (5-5) * Players To Watch – PK Patrick Benton (5-11, 170, Sr.); OL/DL Ben Schmidt (6-0, 245, Sr.); TE/LB Taylor Atwood (6-4, 220, Sr.); OL Brandon Hollis (6-4, 235, Jr.) * Outlook – The Johnnies lost their grasp on the Mid-Buckeye Conference title last season. After a 2-5 start, Johnstown did finish with a three-game win streak. Atwood caught 19 passes for 231 yards and a TD last year. Benton is a solid threat with his leg. Utica (7-3) * Players To Watch – QB/S Jason Hoar (5-9, 160, Jr.); WR/S Scott Cline (6-0, 165, Jr.). * Outlook – The Redskins have had back-to-back 7-3 seasons and have been close but haven’t reached the playoffs. Hoar and Cline would like to take the next step in their final seasons. Both are returning All-Ohioans. Hoar has started every game since Day 1 his freshman year on both sides of the ball. Last year he threw for 1,878 yards and 16 TDs and rushed for 1,206 yards and 18 TDs. On defense he registered over 100 tackles and had three interceptions. Cline is Hoar’s favorite target. Head coach Randy Felumlee enters his 22nd season at Utica with high hopes and arguably the program’s best pass and catch tandem ever.
Marion Pleasant (6-4) * Players To Watch – OT/DT Tony Good (5-11, 255, Sr.); RB Brandon Slade (5-11, 200, Jr.); OL Brad Whiting (6-2, 285, Jr.); OL/DL Eli Bibler (5-11, 180, Sr.) * Outlook – The Spartans had strings of 17 straight Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference titles and nine playoff berths snapped last season. This year if they start new streaks it’ll be under new management. Former assistant Aaron Cook takes over for former head coach Chris Kubbs who led Pleasant to two state titles (and three finals) and was 206-40 in 21 years. Williamsport Westfall (7-3) * Players To Watch – QB Trent Williamson (5-11, 180, So.); TE Alek Stonerock (6-5, 210, So.) * Outlook – Despite the winning record, the Mustangs had their record 29-game Scioto Valley Conference win streak snapped last year and saw a stretch of six straight playoff berths come to an end. All that thanks to three losses by seven points or less. The good news is Westfall will be contenders again this year for both the SVC and playoffs. The Stangs will also be young. Head coach Scott Keller (28-7 in three years) has never had a QB that didn’t earn first team All-Ohio honors during his tenure (eight total years in the program, five as OC). Williamson is the next in line, taking over for his brother Vinnie. He could become the best of them all. Columbus Bishop Hartley (7-3) * Players To Watch – OL Joey Moore (5-10, 240, Sr.); RB Noah Key (5-10, 180, Sr.); DL Evan Jackson (6-0, 200, Sr.); K Brent Wahle (5-7, 150, Jr.); QB Austin Underwood (6-0, 180, Sr.); LB/RB JaWaun Woodley (5-10, 225, So.); LB/RB Jarrod Zang (5-10, 180, * Outlook – After going 6-3 and making the playoffs in 2008, the Hawks were left out of Week 11 last year. They should return this fall. Moore, Key and Jackson are all returning All-Ohioans. Key, who has an offer from Illinois State, rushed for 1,241 yards and 20 TDs last year. Underwood is a three-year starter at QB. Woodley was the team’s leading tackler as a freshman. In all 14 starters return, including the entire offensive backfield, four of five OL and the entire DL. The Hawks are five wins away from reaching 300 as a program and will earn it this year against a stout schedule that includes Amanda-Clearcreek, Ironton, Elyria Catholic and of course, Ready. Albany Alexander (8-3) * Players To Watch – RB Cody Lawson (5-10, 175, Sr.); QB Mike Chapman (6-1, 185, Sr.); K/P Josiah Yazdani (5-10, 180, Sr.); LB Sean Worley (6-0, 220, Sr.); LB Derek Cravens (5-11, 190, Sr.); OT/DT Mike Douglas (6-2, 290, Jr.); OT/DT Tyler Davis (6-4, 275, Jr.) * Outlook – The Spartans followed up a 4-6 season in 2008 by earning the school’s first ever playoff berth last year. Lawson is a machine, just ask Nelsonville-York whom he torched for three TDs last year in the Spartans first ever win over the Buckeyes. The two-time All-Ohioan enters this season with over 2,500 career rushing yards. West Portsmouth Portsmouth West (6-4) * Players to Watch – LB/RB Trevon Pendleton (6-1, 225, Sr.) * Outlook – The Senators were 5-1 before losing three of their last four. Finishing the season stronger is key. Pendleton is a two-time All-Ohioan who has an offer from Ball State. He rushed for 1,471 yards and 20 TDs last year in addition to making 96 tackles, including 25 for loss. Portsmouth (7-3) * Players To Watch – QB Josh Myers (6-0, 180, Sr.); DL/OL Casey Sanders (6-5, 260, Sr.) * Outlook – After a dismal 1-9 season in 2008, the Trojans showed major improvement last year and nearly made the playoffs (finished ninth in the region). Myers is a three-year starter at QB, while Sanders is a beast on both sides of the ball. Both were All-Ohio last year. Head coach Curt Clifford is 128-92 in 21 years at the school. Amanda Clearcreek (11-1) * Players To Watch – DL Jordan Doone (6-2, 210, Sr.); DB Max Corcoran (6-1, 150, Sr.) * Outlook – The Aces’ sideline is going to look a lot different this year with longtime head coach Ron Hinton now at Chillicothe. Hinton, who spent 29 years at A-C, led the Aces to five state finals and two state titles in D-V (1999 and 2000). Assistant Dale Olney takes over the head coaching duties after spending 12 years on staff and last year as the defensive coordinator. Doone and Corcoran were All-Ohio last year. Ironton (10-3) * Players To Watch – OL Robbie Webb (6-4, 260, Sr.); RB Tres Wilkes (5-7, 160, Sr.) * Outlook – The Fighting Tigers have been to the postseason 27 times and should make it 28 this season. Longtime head coach Bob Lutz became the state’s all-time winningest coach in Week 9 last year and carries a 364-85-4 tally into his 38th year at Ironton. Zane Trace (8-3)Become
this school's Quarterspondent * Players To Watch – FB/LB Chris Finley (5-9, 215, Sr.); SS/WR/K Nick Ganus (6-1, 170, Sr.); OL/DL Trey Moats (6-2, 285, Sr.); DL Jerrod Collins (6-4, 235, Jr.) * Outlook – After falling to 1-2 with losses to Amanda-Clearcreek and Logan Elm, the Pioneers ripped off seven straight wins and won the Scioto Valley Conference, ending Westfall’s 29-game SVC win streak in the process. ZT again opens with a gauntlet of Ironton Rock Hill, A-C and Logan Elm before opening SVC play against Adena and Piketon. Survival is key throughout the first five games. KEEP AN EYE ON
* Heath (9-3) – The Bulldogs had a solid run last year advancing to the regional semifinals. They’ll have to find a replacement for graduated RB Charles Gresham, but sophomore Donyelle Simpson (5-10, 165) might be the answer. Simpson ran for 326 yards and five TDs as a freshman.
* Ironton Rock Hill (3-7) – The Redmen won three of their last four games and hope the momentum carries over. Junior QB Will McCollister (6-4, 215) turned heads at the Ohio State Advanced Camp in June.Become
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* Zanesville West Muskingum (9-2) – The Tornados made a five-game improvement last year after a 4-6 finish in 2008 and made the playoffs. Senior DL Dom Click (6-4, 225) is a force.Become
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* Wellston (3-7) – The Rockets lost four games by eight points or less last year and should be better in close games this season. Junior LB Jaylen Prater (6-2, 218) has an offer from Toledo.Become
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