First start with a two-time defending state champion (Alter). Then sprinkle in a record-setting QB (Kenton), a team that averages 275 on the OL (Clinton-Massie), a recent state runner-up (Jonathan Alder) and a three-time state champ (Valley View). What you get is Region 16...
Kettering Alter (15-0) * Players To Watch – QB Zane Pitzer (5-11, 180, Sr.); LB Teddy Link (6-1, 205, Sr.); RB/LB Justin Winters (6-1, 216, Sr.); OL Joe Thuney (6-5, 235, Sr.); DB T.J. Dorrow (5-11, 194, Sr.) * Outlook – The Knights have won back-to-back D-IV state titles and were a D-III state finalist in 2006. Their only losses on the field the last four years are a 34-33 setback to Steubenville in the ’06 D-III state final and a 59-52 three-OT loss to Coldwater in the ’07 D-IV regional semifinals. Alter has been to the postseason nine straight times and barring an unbelievable breakdown will make it 10.
Offensively the Knights rushing attack, which averaged over 300 yards a game last year, will be potent again with the return of Pitzer and Winters. Pitzer rushed for 934 yards and 21 TDs last year, while Winters accounted for 862 yards and 11 TDs. Thuney has an offer from Youngstown State.
Defensively the Knights have some holes to fill from last year’s team that allowed just 6.7 points per game, but don’t expect there to be much drop off. Link made 61 stops and had two interceptions last year, while Dorrow added 41 tackles and two interceptions.
Clarksville Clinton-Massie (12-1) * Players To Watch – RT Mike Stenger (6-3, 305, Sr.); RB/LB Jordie Scanlon (5-10, 205, Sr.); RB/LB Gunner Calhoun (6-2, 220, Sr.); QB Jake Richardson (5-8, 170, Sr.); DE Charles Harpen (6-4, 235, Sr.): DE/OL Justin Straight (6-4, 230, Sr.); LB/TE Logan Evans (6-0, 215, Sr.); FB Scott Wilkie (5-10, 210, Sr.); OL/DL Jimmy Singleton (6-3, 280, Jr.); OL/DL Jared Salisbury (6-5, 325, Jr.) * Outlook – After a strange offseason in which longtime coach Dan McSurley was non-renewed due to a paperwork fiasco and then hired back in late-June, the Falcons can finally focus on football. And that’s good, because this team has a chance to be the school’s best ever.
Calhoun is a dominating force on defense and Scanlon could go over 6,000 career rushing yards this season. Size is not an issue for C-M which will average 275 along the offensive front. Stenger is a special player.
The Facons are looking for their ninth straight playoff berth and a lengthy postseason run. Kenton (10-2) * Players To Watch – QB Maty Mauk (6-1, 185, Jr.); WR Max Morrison (6-0, 170, Sr.); WR Dustin Howell (6-0, 180, Sr.); WR Andrew Tillman (5-10, 160, Sr.); WR Bobby Handell (6-1, 225, Sr.); OL Matthew McKinley (6-4, 215, Sr.); OL Garrett Miller (6-1, 240, Sr.); OL Gabe King (6-1, 190, Jr.); DL Charlie Hinkle (6-2, 250, Sr.); DL Isaac Jeffers (6-4, 210, Jr.); DB Brice Fackler (6-3, 195, Jr.); LB Scot Gammon (5-10, 175, Sr.) * Outlook – Coach Mike Mauk enters his 29th season at Kenton with another solid team ready to defend its Western Buckeye League title and return to the playoffs. His son, QB Maty Mauk will also continue to terrorize opposing defenses in the Wildcats pass-happy attack. Mauk enters his junior campaign with 7,849 career passing yards (ranks 11th all-time in Ohio…already). He’s also thrown for 82 TDs in just two years. Morrison led the state in receptions (98), yards (1,538) and TDs (20) last season, while Howell’s production the last two years is 116 catches, 1,700 yards and 17 TDs. In all, eight starters return on offense. Defensively the Wildcats return just four starters. Cincinnati North College Hill (10-1)Become
this school's Quarterspondent * Players To Watch – QB Dakota Dartis (6-2, 195, Sr.); DL Mac Acus (n/a, Sr.); WR/DE Vincent Edwards (n/a, Sr.) * Outlook – The Trojans have been to the playoffs three of the last four years and have a great shot at making it four out of five. Dartis, an All-Ohioan who threw for 1,788 yards and 21 TDs and ran for 692 yards and five more scores last year, is back to lead an offense that averaged 35.8 points per game. Also back are all five OL starters. Head coach Bruce Baarendse in back for his 28th season at NCH where he’s posted a 134-110 record. Edwards and Acus combined for 32 tackles-for-loss last season. Plain City Jonathan Alder (7-4) * Players To Watch – DL Brandon Purdum (6-4, 240, Sr.); QB Graham Johnston (6-0, 175, Sr.) * Outlook – For the third straight time, the Pioneers made the postseason and lost in the first round. To be fair, two of the losses have come against the eventual state champion (Coldwater in 2007 and Alter in 2009). Purdum is a returning All-Ohioan. Johnston threw for 939 yards and six TDs last year and ran for 726 yards and 11 TDs. Germantown Valley View (7-4) * Players To Watch – QB Kyle Pohl (6-3, 205, Sr.); WR/SS Brandon Fox (5-11, 190, Sr.); OL Ben Copher (6-6, 328, Sr.); DB Chris Lykins (6-1, 170, Jr.) * Outlook – Head coach Jay Niswonger (235-66-1 at Valley View) and the Spartans already own a lengthy resume that includes three state titles (1994, 1996-97), seven regional championships and 16 playoff appearances since 1992. They could add to at least one of those tallies this fall. Pohl is back after throwing for 1,749 yards and 18 TDs in nine games last season. Offensively the Spartans return nine starters. They bring back five on defense. Waynesville (8-3) * Players to Watch – DL/OL Isaac Hammonds (6-0, 255, Jr.); K Caleb Keeton (5-10, 165, Jr.); OL/LB Josh Powell (5-11, 220, Sr.); WR/DB Chase Gianattasio (6-1, 170, Sr.); TE/DE Ryan Potter (6-4, 195, Sr.) * Outlook – The Spartans have made three straight postseason appearances and hope to make it four in head coach Brandon Philpot’s debut season. Philpot, a Waynesville grad, takes over after spending 12 years as an assistant. The Spartans have to replace 80-percent of their offense, which graduated with standouts Seth Millar (school’s all-time leading rusher), Corey Young (three-year starter at QB) and Devon Burton. The OL and DL will be strengths. Keeton was All-Ohio last year. Brookville (5-5)Become
this school's Quarterspondent * Players To Watch – LB/OL Austin Alber (6-3, 220, Sr.); DL/OL Cameron Dunn (6-2, 200, Sr.); QB Jake Harrison (n/a, Sr.); RB/LB Chad Webster (5-8, 140, Sr.); OL Eric Wolfe (6-2, 230, Sr.); OL/DL Connor Domsitz (6-3, 215, Jr.); DL Logan Shell (6-3, 235, Jr.) * Outlook – After an undefeated regular season in 2008, the Blue Devils finished .500 last year. Some inexperience at RB and WR is a concern, but the return of several OL starters is good news. So too is the return of the heart of the DL (Domsitz, Shell and Dunn). Alber is a solid LB (70 tackles). KEEP AN EYE ON
* Carlisle (9-3) – The Indians made the playoffs last year and should challenge for the postseason again. Seniors Jordan Jacobs (WR/DB, 5-8, 150), Seth Everhart (DL, 6-5, 290) and Nick McGill (RB, 5-10, 205) return after earning all-district honors last year.
* Finneytown (1-9) – The Wildcats beat North Bend Taylor in Week 10 last year to snap a 12-game losing skid.
Senior DL/OL Donavon Clark (6-5, 300) is one of the state’s most sought after linemen with offers from USC, Tennessee, West Virginia, Minnesota, Michigan State and others. * Cincinnati Taft (6-4) – The Senators responded to a disappointing 0-4 start last year by winning the last six games.
Junior DE Adolphus Washington (6-5, 245) is already a popular prospect and will be among state’s top recruits next year. He has offers from Illinois, Colorado, Kentucky and Cincinnati after making 101 tackles (and 14 sacks) as a sophomore.Become
this school's Quarterspondent * West Milton Milton-Union (6-4) – The Bulldogs rebounded from a 3-7 record in 2008 to come within a tough 17-14 Week 10 loss to Bellbrook of making the playoffs. M-U finished ninth in the region in computer points. Senior RB Adam Martin (6-0, 210) returns after rushing for over 900 yards last year. Speed at the skill positions on offense and eight starters returning on defense are strengths. * Dayton Thurgood Marshall (7-3) – The Cougars went from 2-8 in 2008 to 10-0 in 2009. Clerical errors, though, forced Thurgood Marshall to forfeit its first three wins and the Cougars finished 10th in computer points. Thurgood Marshall – running a variation of the double-wing – averaged 553 yards a game on the ground last year.