The heart of this region - which goes from Toledo to Dayton to Sandusky to Columbus - lies in Central Ohio where DeSales, Watterson and Eastmoor enter as the top teams to watch. Others will challenge for the regional title, but do they have a legitimate chance?
Columbus DeSales (11-4) * Players to watch – QB Nick Gentile (6-1, 200, Sr.), RB Warren Ball (6-1, 185, Jr.), OL Santino Cua (5-11, 205, Sr.), TE/WR Sam Borghese (6-3, 175, Sr.), OL/DL Tony Moore (5-9, 200, Sr.), DE Chris Rock (6-5, 245, Sr.), Corner Evan Kendrick (5-11, 185). * Outlook – Despite losing 25 seniors, DeSales will be the team to beat in Region 10. On the offensive side of the ball, the Stallions return their starting quarterback (Gentile) and they’ve got a powerful DI-prospect in Ball. On defense, DeSales is packing the rough-and-tumble wrester/DL Moore and DE Chris Rock, one of the most heavily recruited players in the state.
On top of that, the Stallions have five extra games under their belt after last year’s run to the state championships. The championship game against Mooney wasn’t a shining example of the team’s best play, though.
“When you look at that game, we would have had to have (played) a very good game (to win),” Wiggins said. “We had six turnovers. You can’t do that against a team of that caliber.”
DeSales is looking for its 17th playoff appearance in a row.
this school's Quarterspondent * Players to watch – QB Garrett Pickering (5-11, 175, Sr.), FB Preston Artis (6'2, 225, Sr.), OL Seth Mitchell (6'3, 310, Sr.), OL Paul Shough (6'2, 260, Sr.) * Outlook – Bellefontaine is under new leadership after the departure of head coach Jason Brown. Chris Schmidt, a Bellefontaine grad and assistant coach for the past five years, will take the reins where he’ll have command of a young team that lost a lot of seniors.
“If we can have some young guys step up, we feel like we can make another run at the playoffs,” Schmidt said.
The Chiefs have been to the playoffs two out of the past three seasons, so they’ll be eager to prove that they can do it again.
Bryan (8-3) * Players to watch – OT Alex Hey (6-8, 275, Sr.), RB/LB Jake Phillips (6-2, 215, Sr.), Guard/DE Miguel Rodriguez (6-1, 215, Sr.), QB/S Cody Robinson (6-0, 175, Sr.), RB/LB Jeremiah Dietrich (6-0, 220, Sr.), WR/CB Collin Bacon (6-1, 180, Soph.) * Outlook – A lot hinges on new faces at Bryan, where the Bears are lookng to build off the first playoff appearance in history. The team’s size should be formidable with returners like Hey.
“The NWOAL is going to be very balanced and competitive,” head coach Travis Cooper said. “The challenge for our team will be to stay hungry and not be satisfied with last year’s success.”
Columbus Watterson (9-4)Become
this school's Quarterspondent * Players to watch – LB/RB Matt Redfield (6-0, 220, Sr.), NG Hunter Maynard (6-1, 285, Sr.), WR Connor Geraghty (6-2, 172, Sr.), OL/RB Michael Szaraz (5-10, 175, Sr.), LB Ray Cook (6-1, 188, Sr.), OT T.J. Gilles (6-3, 269, Sr.), DE Justin McCarthy (6-1, 211, Sr.), CB/WR Brad McCurdy (5-11, 162, Sr.), QB Pat Rhomberg (6-1, 190, Sr.), OL/HB Dan Gelpi (6-0, 186, Sr.) * Outlook – Watterson lost a lot of leadership with last year’s outgoing class, but expectations never lessen for the Eagles.
“Depth up front is a concern,” head coach Dan Bjelac said. “Where we have more players coming back is probably in skill areas.”
At least two players on the team have D-I scholarship offers (Redfield and Maynard). They’ll be looked to for leadership along with Rhomberg.
“Our No. 1 goal is to win our league, get to the playoffs, and go from there,” Bjelac said. “It’s always an expectation for us to get to the playoffs.” Columbus Eastmoor Academy (8-3) * Players to watch – FS Ron Tanner (6-1, 190, Sr.), LB Shawn Jackson (5-11, 190, Sr.), DB/WR Kevin Tucker (5-9, 155, Sr.), OL/DL Jabari Howard (6-1, 280, Jr.), OL/LB Bryan Booker (6-1, 220, Jr.) * Outlook – Head coach Jim Miranda reached his 100th career win late last season, and he’s got a crop of outstanding players to try to add some more “X”s to the win column. The team’s led by Tanner, an Ohio State recruit and one of the state’s most versatile players.
Miranda is trying to lead the Warriors to the playoffs for the third year in a row.
The season opener against rival Columbus Northland will set the tone. Napoleon (9-3) * Players to watch – C/DL Ben Flogaus (5-8, 189, Sr.), LT Arthur Warren (6-3, 197, Sr.), FB/LB Devon Sonnenberg (5-9, 171, Sr.), K/WR/LB Tyler Miller (5-10, 160, Jr.), RB Skyler Anderson (5-7, 161, Jr.) * Outlook – “I’m very optimistic that we can surprise some people to be quite honest with you,” Napoleon head coach Tory Strock said. The Wildcats will lack some experience after graduating 15 seniors, but they return some heavy-hitting contributors. After beating Eastmoor 28-14 in Round 1 of the playoffs, Napoleon fell to Watterson.
“Division III was just brutal last year,” Strock said. “Columbus Watterson, they beat us 6-3, man for man. They just had studs all over the place. We fought and clawed and scraped. We feel like we’re battle tested.” Sandusky Perkins (9-2) * Players to watch – RB/LB Richard Hohler (5-8, 190, Sr.), QB/S Evan Laser (5-11, 180, Sr.), RB/S Xavier Turner (6-1, 195, Jr.), TE/DE Michael Ebert (6-6, 220, Jr.), DL/OL Jemar Walk (6-3, 255, Sr.), LB/FB Tyson Moore (5-8, 190, Sr.) * Outlook – Perkins lost nine all-league players including the Conference Player of the Year to graduation, so the team will rely on new faces – including a new coach. After Gary Quisno stepped down, Jason Ziegler was tapped to take over.
A handful of seniors will be looked to for leadership, including Moore (93 tackles) and Hohler (814 yards rushing on 142 attempts). Tipp City Tippecanoe (9-3) * Players to watch – QB/DB Jake Watkins (5-10, 168, Sr.), RB/LB Jake Polanski (5-10, 176, Sr.), OL/DL Austin Hunter (5-9, 239, Sr.), TE/DL Alex Baker (5-11, 185, Jr.), RB/DB Dylan Bourelle (5-9, 150, Sr.), DE/K Kyle Pignatiello (5-9, 185, Sr.) * Outlook – The 2010 season at Tippecanoe marks the 90th consecutive year the school will field a football team, and the Red Devils are looking to return to the playoffs after a run to the regional semifinals last fall. One area where Tipp is most solid is the kicking game. Head coach Charlie Burgbacher believes Pignatiello could kick at the D-I level in college.
KEEP AN EYE ON
* Delaware Buckeye Valley (7-3) – Still vying for their first playoff appearance, the Barons have been churning out winning seasons. One small spark could push them past them the 7-3 mark where they’d have a shot at the playoffs. * St. Paris Graham Local (8-2) – Just five one-hundredths of a point away from clinching a playoff spot last year, Graham stumbled against two of the stronger teams on its schedule: Versailles (6-4) and Tecumseh (9-1). The Falcons lost to Versailles 21-28 in a battle that likely knocked them out of the playoffs. Senior DB Nick VanHoose (6-1, 185) has committed to Indiana. * Tiffin Columbian (7-3) – Three losses early in the season extinguished Columbian’s chances for a playoff run. The team played brilliantly in the final five games of the season outscoring their opponents 181-33. Can they continue that momentum?Become
this school's Quarterspondent * Lima Shawnee (7-3) – Much like Columbian, Shawnee got off to a rocky start. The Braves dropped their first three games before meshing into a formidable team. In five of their last seven games they shut out their opponents entirely, and they did it while scoring an average of 40 points. If they can keep that level of play up, the Braves will definitely clinch a playoff spot in the fall. The team returns standout DB Jamiil Williams (5-10, 166, Sr.).Become
this school's Quarterspondent * Columbus Bexley (3-7) – The Lions had a tough year last fall. This year, experience should help. The team returns seven starters on offense, nine on defense, its kicker and its punter.
“That should put us in a position to compete for a league title and the playoffs,” head coach John Smith said. “There needs to be a drastic improvement on the offensive side of the ball though in all aspects: running, catching, throwing, blocking.”Become
this school's Quarterspondent