Cleveland St. Ignatius won an unprecedented tenth state title last season in Division I
Cleveland St. Ignatius hoisted the Division I state title trophy last season for a record tenth time under veteran head coach Chuck Kyle. This season, it appears early on that the title could return to Cincinnati for the fifth time since 2002. Here is our
region-by-region look at the top teams in each corner of the state for Division. Note: Individual team previews will follow over the next six weeks.
After reaching the state semifinals with a 13-1 season in
2007, Coffman went 7-3 and finished 10th n the region to miss the playoffs. Mark
Crabtree, back for his ninth year at Coffman and 15th season as a varsity head
coach, has six starters back on offense and five on defense.
“I think our players were definitely disappointed about
missing the playoffs last year, but we had nobody to blame but ourselves,”
Crabtree said. “We started out 7-0, but we lost our last three games by a total
of 15 points. We weren’t probably athletic enough to make enough of the plays we
needed to defeat the teams we played at the end of the year. We lost to three
playoff teams there at the end.”
Cole Stoudt, whose brother Zack was the previous starter
and a Louisville signee last year, stepped in as the starter last year as a
sophomore. Stoudt, son of former NFL quarterback Cliff Stoudt, is now regarded
as one of the state’s top 20 prospects in the 2011 class and has an offer to
“The first thing we saw with Cole was he does have the
ability to play at this level,” Crabtree said. “As a sophomore in high school,
you never know. He came in and competed against kids two years older than him.
He did a good job being a leader and taking charge. He was not intimidated by
“It’s nice to know we have him for two more seasons. He is
mechanically sound and has the ability to make good decisions. His future is
Coffman opens with Powell Olentangy Liberty with a game at
Ohio Stadium as part of the Kirk Herbstreit Varsity Series. As always, the Ohio
Capital Conference Central Division – with the likes of Upper Arlington,
Hilliard Davidson and Worthington Kilbourne – looms large.
The Golden Bears downed Marysville 28-16 in
their playoff opener last year before falling to Pickerington Central 24-16 in a
regional semifinal. Coach Mike Golden returns five starters on offense and three
“There is a lot of enthusiasm around the
program,” Golden said. “The expectations are always high at Upper Arlington. Our
freshmen were undefeated and the JV team was 8-1 last year. There are a lot of
good kids in the program. I think we’re just excited for the year.
“I think we’re going to be very good up front.
We have a number of kids back who played on the line last year. We are excited
about that and we will build around our offensive and defensive lines.”
Kyle Cassady is the grandson of Howard
“Hopalong” Cassady, who won the Heisman Trophy for Ohio State in 1955.
“Kyle was going to be our starter last year,
but he broke his arm in the first scrimmage and was out for the whole year,”
Golden said. “He is an exciting player. He is a really good athlete. He plays on
our lacrosse team.”
It doesn’t get any tougher than UA’s opening
game assignment. The Golden Bears open in the Herbstreit Series at Ohio Stadium,
but they must play defending USA Today national champion Fort Lauderdale (Fla.)
St. Thomas Aquinas.
Hilliard Davidson (11-2)
Davidson won the 2006 Division I state
championship, but ended up 10th in the region in 2007 and missed the playoffs.
After a 9-1 regular season, the Wildcats took playoff wins over Grove City and
Worthington Kilbourne before falling to Pickerington Central 7-3 in the regional
Brian White returns for his 10th year at
Davidson and 12th season as a varsity head coach.
“If we can match the leadership and chemistry
we found last year, we should be able to compete for a spot in the playoffs for
the sixth time in the last seven years,” White said. “(The OCC Central) is a
tough league. We have several rivals with Upper Arlington, Coffman, Kilbourne
and crosstown rival Hilliard Darby.
“If all the pieces fall into place, I think we
have an opportunity to be there in the end. We are still waiting for a couple of
key players to buy into the philosophy we have at Davidson, and a couple others
to provide the leadership necessary to allow us to reach our potential. High
expectations have become the norm at Davidson. If this group can do as many
groups before them and reach or exceed their potential, it could be a good year
for the Wildcats.”
It has been a great three-year run for the
Tigers, who have posted a 37-4 record and two state final fours. Central was the
state runner-up in Division II in 2006 before moving to D-I in 2007. Last year,
the Tigers reeled off 13 wins to open the year, including playoff wins over
Delaware Hayes, Upper Arlington and Hilliard Davidson.
The run ended with a 24-10 loss to Cincinnati
Elder in the state semifinals. Central lost several major college signees off
that team, including DB Jamie Wood and LB Zach Boren to Ohio State and DB
Patrick White to Michigan State.
Jay Sharrett, back for his seventh year as the
Central head coach, has just two starters back on offense and three on defense.
“I think we’ve got some good guys who can fill
some of those holes,” Sharrett said. “When you send guys on to play ball on
scholarship, you know it may take two or three guys to do some of the things
those guys did. You still have to put it together. I think we have some guys who
“You just have to wind it up and give it a
shot. We may not be picked to be very good, but that can sometimes give you some
Grant Hammond is the leading candidate to step
in at quarterback. DB Eilar Hardy is considered among Ohio’s top 20 prospects in
the 2011 class. Malcolm Parnell could be a difference maker at corner.
“Malcolm is our best cover corner,” Sharrett
said. “He’s fast. He has 4.4 speed. He is a top track kid, too.”
Central will face Orange (Calif.) Lutheran in
the Herbstreit Series at Ohio Stadium.
Kilbourne downed Columbus Brookhaven 14-6 in
its playoff opener before falling to OCC Central rival Hilliard Davidson 21-7 in
a regional semifinal. Coach Vince Trombetti, back for his fourth season as the
Wolves’ head coach, has four starters back on offense and two returning on
“We don’t have a lot of guys back, but I think
we have them back at the right positions at least to start with,” Trombetti
said. “We had 30 seniors on the team last year and we have 20 coming back this
year. We know we need some juniors to step up and fill some of those gaps.
“Only one time in school history has Kilbourne
gone to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons and that was 2004-05. We can do
that with this team, but we need to see some more consistency to do that.”
Nathan Sparks was a starter on defense and
will slide into the quarterback spot.
“Nathan will be more of a quarterback this
year,” Trombetti said. “He will still play some at strong safety, though. He has
played quarterback in our system in middle school and with the JV team. It may
be hard to step in as an option quarterback.”
Coach Rocky Pentello has three starters back
on offense and nine returning on defense. The Wildcats have a tough early
schedule with games against Hilliard Davidson at Ohio Stadium in the Herbstreit
Series as well as against Columbus Watterson and Clayton Northmont.
“We better get off to a good start,” Pentello
said. “I think we’ve got some potential coming back. But it’s what the kids do
with that potential.”
John Jennings has limited experience at
“He only played quarterback for two games
after our starter broke his leg,” Pentello said. “But we think he runs well. If
we want to run the quarterback on the option, we think he can do that. He can
also throw it pretty good.”
Also Keep An Eye On
Gahanna Lincoln (4-6)
John Snoad is looking for better success in
his second year at the helm with Gahanna. RB/WR Earl Cunningham, a two-year
letter-winner, is among the top returnees.
Westerville North (2-8)
Mike Owens takes over as the new coach at
North. Key returnees include TE/DE Andrew Ziegler (6-2, 225, Sr.), ILB/FB Drew
Hall (5-10, 215, Sr.) and WR/OLB Kenny Macauley (6-0, 175, Sr.).
The Golden Gales will look to get back into
the playoff hunt behind DB Nathan Carpenter (5-10, 181, Sr.), son of coach Rob
Former North coach and Kettering Fairmont
athletic director Rick Robertson took over as the head coach in the first year
at the consolidated Springfield High. The Wildcats could take a step toward
contention in 2009 behind DL Desmond McCown (6-3, 230, Sr.) and LB Trey DePriest
(6-2, 210, Jr.). DePriest is considered among Ohio’s top five prospects in the
Liberty makes the leap up to Division I from D-II, where the Patriots advanced
to the regional semifinals last year before falling to Medina Highland 35-0.
Other Teams In The Region
Lima Senior (2-8), Hilliard Darby
(6-4), Westerville Central (0-10), Groveport-Madison (4-6), Pickerington North
(5-5), Marysville (7-3), Newark (1-9), Delaware Hayes (7-3), Thomas Worthington
(2-8), Reynoldsburg (2-8), Grove City Central Crossing (1-9), Grove City (6-4),
Marion Harding (1-9), Mount Vernon (1-9), Galloway Westland (1-9), Columbus
Franklin Heights (5-5), Columbus Northland (4-6), Columbus West (1-8), Troy
(6-4), Hilliard Bradley (new school).
Note: Four schools in this
region (Grove City, Grove City Central Crossing, Columbus Franklin Heights and
Galloway Westland) needed to have a ballot issue pass in August in order to
support football teams and athletics for the coming school year. If that issue
fails, many teams in this region will be scrambling at the last minute to fill
scheduling vacancies. Also, Hilliard Bradley is a new school. Bradley’s exact
divisional assignment will be made once its enrollment total is certified.