Friday October 31st/ Springboro Panthers @ Lebanon Warriors / VanDeGrift Stadium - 7:00pm
The Springboro Panthers are once again looking to hoist a Greater Western Ohio Conference (GWOC) South title in 2014! Only thing standing in their way is Warren County rival, Lebanon Warriors (5-4) who are hanging on as the #18 seed by the slimmest of margins. A Panther win sends home the pesky Warriors and an outright South title. Warrior upset will give Lebanon a share of the South title and have to wait for help to see if they make the post season dance! Panthers are seeking to make it 3 straight victory's versus their rival and snuff out the Warriors playoff hopes.
Springboro offense is ranked #2 in the entire GWOC with a very balanced attack led by (Jr) QB-Elijah Cunningham who can pick a defense apart in the pocket or throw on the run. Devon Henry (7.9 ypc) is the work horse in the backfield while athlete D.L. Knock (11 TD's) will line up anywhere on the field averaging 21 yards per catch and 8.8 yards per run. The Warriors counter with the #3 defense in the entire GWOC led by backers (Jr) Jango Glackin, Ryan Perkins and Nick Bauer who are so active. Matchup to watch is Jango Glackin one of the top backers in the 2016 class versus Elijah Cunningham who is also a top prospect in the 2016 recruiting class.
Lebanon's offense is ranked #15 while the Panthers counter with the #2 defense in the GWOC which shouldn't even be a contest but in a rivalry game all the statistics are thrown out the window. Look for Boro to bring pressure with their Biggs up front and backers off the edge to wreck havoc. The Warriors have some weapons offensively but the key will be play calling by the Lebanon staff trying to expose match up's getting their players in space versus the Panthers who will look to shut down the run first and force the Lebanon QB to make plays.
Friday October 31st/ Huber Heights Wayne @ Centerville / Centerville Stadium - 7:00pm
Huber Heights Wayne (9-0) heads to Centerville Stadium Halloween night in a clash of Dayton public school titans! More than another Greater Western Ohio Conference (GWOC) Central title is on the line for the winner of this game, a #1 seed in the field of 16 teams for region II is the prize. What stands in the way of the high octane Warrior offense (#1 in GWOC 46.7 ppg) is longtime rival Centerville Elks (9-0) who have aspirations of their own to finish this season perfect in head caoch Rodney Roberts first season at the helm. Not bad for a couple of public schools from the Dayton area who were over looked by national publications until halfway through the 2014 season. HS football fans in SW Ohio know better though expecting these two powerhouse programs to be in the title hunt late in the regular season.
The Wayne Warriors have the #1 offense and defense in the Greater Western Ohio Conference (GWOC) making them the favorite even on the road. Centerville is seeking perfection, Coach Roberts has been here before with some very talented teams over his career heading into the playoff's! Keys to the Elks game plan, control the clock, every offensive drive ends with a kick, no turn over's, avoid the big play and harass Trice! Both teams will open the playoffs at home but winner will welcome the #16 seed (*Grove City Central Crossing) while the loser will face the #12 seed (*Hilliard Davidson) which looks to be a battle tested playoff opponent.
The Warriors are the most talented team south of Columbus in all three phases of the game, there is no denying that. With a win on Halloween night though Wayne can prove they are once again prepped for a run at a state title. Centerville must start fast and stay on the throttle for the entire contest holding the Warriors big plays in check, the Elks defensive front must make it presense known! This game doesn't get any bigger for SW Ohio in week 10, this should be an amazing game and one for the ages!
*SW Ohio Football Forecast
Thursday August 28th 2014 @ Lockland Stadium / Withrow vs. Fairfield
17 years and counting with the high school football season kicking off courtesy of Lori and Tom Gamble in the nation’s longest running HS football event right here in SW Ohio. The Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown’s opening game pitted the youthful Tigers of Withrow (Eastern Cincinnati Conference newest member) against the Fairfield Indians which under HC Jason Krause seems to be poised for a run at the Greater Miami Conference title in 2014!
Fairfield set the tone offensively establishing a brutal running game behind Kesean Gamble who punished the defense with his physical style of running (62 yards) that included a touchdown. Quarterback Hunter Krause (Jr-2016) kept the Tigers off balance via the air with a stellar night (13-23) passing for 227 yards and 3 touchdowns hooking up with wide out's James Mitchell (95 yards & 2TD's) and senior Jordon Mitchell (41 yards & a TD). Give credit to the Biggs up front that opened the holes for Gamble and Co. while giving Krause had plenty of time to distribute the ball to seven different receivers. Defensively the Indians were held in check by Scott and Co., Elijah Scott (Sr) was busy making plays off the edge along with sophomore Josiah Scott (So) holding down between the hashes. Sophomore lineman Griffin Webster (6’4”-235#’s) and teammate Charles Adams (Sr) wreaked havoc most of the night giving the Tigers fits.
Withrow’s young squad (26 sophomores) traded blows until the Indians flexed midway through the 2nd quarter taking a 21-0 lead into the locker room at the half. Sophomore quarterback Travon Barnes is a talent so keep an eye on as he finds ultra-quick junior wide out Rashian O’Neil who transferred in from Dallas, TX this duo will be scary as they find their timing! Tiger’s defense starts up front with mammoth 6'3"-280# lineman Warren Houston (Jr) who is so strong he requires a double team in the middle. Withrow’s new head coach Ryan Drake a former assistant under Doc Gamble is excited about the future and witnessing his coaching style it is only a matter of time before these Tigers ROAR!
INDIANS 35 – 8 Tigers - FINAL
Friday August 29th 2014 @ Yager Stadium (Miami of Ohio) / Lakota West vs. Loveland
The Firebirds came out swinging for the fences after Loveland's sophomore running back Luke Waddell's (13 carries for 162 yards) 9 yard touchdown set the tone for an offensive blitz! Lakota West's signal caller Blake Darland (Sr) was our MVP hitting 16-27 for 356 yards and 5 touchdowns passing but sophomore Zelwyn Robinson took home the hardware with 9 catches for 232 yards and 4 touchdowns. Darland added a rushing touchdown in a game that fantasy football owners would love to see with both teams totaling 95 points and 935 total yards on the night. Defensively Donte Horton (Sr) was a force off the edge with C.J. Stalker making the critical stop as time expired on Loveland. If Lakota West wants the GMC title they will need to find a way to stop opponents on a regular basis, consistency when the game is on the line will be key in 2014 for the Firebirds!
Loveland simple ran out of time tasting defeat for the first time since October 19th 2012 after an amazing 15-0 run in 2013 throttling Glenville 41-23 in the championship game. This group on defense needs to find their identity after last season and the awesome group of seniors that graduated. Offensively this squad is scary good bottom line is "are they still hungry" because everyone is gunning for the champin 2014. The reigning DII champions need to find solace that on this night the Firebirds soared a little higher!
FIREBIRDS 49 – 46 Tigers - FINAL
Friday August 29th 2014 @ Yager Stadium (Miami of Ohio) / Colerain vs. LaSalle
Cincinnati Colerain has been the bench mark that so many public schools pattern their program after and for good reason, the Cardinals have won or shared the Greater Miami Conference title for the last 14 seasons running. Opening the season against a member of the nation's toughest high school conferences seems crazy to most programs but Colerain welcomes the daunting task as a step in the process of prepping for the post season! Having only 5 seniors returning from a playoff team is an uphill battle while starting 9 underclassman on defense they will take their lumps in 2014 that should pay dividends in the future.
In Friday night's late game LaSalle traded punches with Colerain during the 1st quarter before the Lancers started pounding the ball behind their massive O line with running back tandem of Larkin (288 yards) and Jarell (113 yards) amassing over 500 yards and 5 touchdowns on the night.
Lancers defense led by the 3 horseman of Kevin Ferguson, John Wilcox and Quintin Herbert shut out the Cards for two quarters which is all the LaSalle offense needed to put the game out of reach. One thing is for sure this Lancer program has everything in place now, coaches, depth, fans and talent but most of all belief that they can dominate!
LANCERS 40 – 21 Cardinals - FINAL
Saturday August 30th 2014 @ St. Xavier HS-Tom Ballaban Field / St. Xavier vs. East St. Louis
Cincinnati St Xavier took to the national stage when East St. Louis (IL) came to Cincinnati as the #2 team in the state of Illinois loaded with athletes. Coming into this game were so many question marks for the Bombers from who would start at quarterback to line play on offense. Defensively X has always reloaded, senior Justin Hilliard (Ohio State pledge) the #1 linebacker in the Buckeye along with Simeon Lane in the middle that Coach Specht's 3-3-5 defense would be solid. Special teams is always well coached and fundamentally sound and the 2104 version is no different as they can flip field position very quickly.
Bomber offensive proved to be very creative using various formations and personnel in the ground game, Hilliard was used as lead back in the red zone while two contrasting running styles of powerful Ben Glines (Boston College pledge) and quick Sean Prophit (Jr) kept the Flyers off balance. Starting sophomore signal caller Sean Clifford went down late in the game and was very effective replaced by fellow classmate Daniel Keyes who closed out the game. Noah Davis is an athletic tight end who complemented the line play which was solid all game long, keep an eye on . Keep an eye on this group, as they gain confidence the Bombers could be the team to try and knock Mighty Moe off when St Xavier host their GCL South rival in the 26th of September!
BOMBERS 35 – 20 Flyers - FINAL
The Moeller Crusaders start their Division I title defense on the road at Columbus Crew Stadium vs. Pickerington North in one of the marque games of the Skyline Crosstown Showdown, Crusaders beat North 26-21 two years ago in final four action. Big Moe looks even more impressive after covering them during a scrimmage as the back to back DI champs quest for a 15 week season in 2014! Biggest challenge for Coach Rodenberg as we talked is making sure the players do not rest on the success of the past players, this is a new season with an even bigger target. Well Coach here at SW Ohio Football we see a very talented group that is scary good in all three phases of the game, until someone knocks the Big Dog off the porch we cannot deny Moe is the team to beat in region 2!
Moellers offense is lead by two stud TE's in a group that is four deep on the depth chart. Leading this group is senior Doug Bates a UC Bearcat pledge teamed with blue chipper Jake Hausmann giving senior QB Matt Crable some weapons and security on the edge. Up front the Crusaders have the beef to run the ball controlling the clock or pick a team apart with weapons like wide-out Chase Pankey (Sr.) a Boston College pledge. Plenty of depth and competition in the backfield makes for some hungry backs to carry the rock this season.
Crusaders defense returns a few DI studs starting up front with Notre Dame pledge Elijah Taylor who is a force while two year starting backer Ryan Stofko flows in the middle. Biggest question mark will be the secondary with no Sam Hubbard roaming centerfield since his graduation and playing at Ohio State. Depth has never been a problem with Moe during this run and success breeds players who answer the bell at Moeller.
Best of the Midwest Lives Up to it's Billing!
Now a days to many events for high school talent is overrated and over hyped, Coach Greg Brookey's event is nothing of the sort with players proving they are simple the best. Coach Brookey's event is one of the best run combines in the Midwest if not the nation that can even lead to a DI offer part way through the combine. Players came from all over the US, Kansas, Minnesota, North Carolina and even Canada were in attendance to make a name.
High lights for SW Ohio Football was seeing stud "D" lineman Davon Hamilton (2015) of Pickerington Central (Ohio) exposing the "O line with his 6'4"-285# frame while the best RB prospect in the Midwest Damien Harris at 5'11"-198# (2015) of Madison Southern (Kentucky) showcased his total skill set!
Underclassman who burst onto the scene were Lebanon (Ohio) Jango Glackin (6'2"-204#/2016) who proved to be one of the top backers on the defensive side of the ball while Woodford County's Drake Jackson (6'3"-284#/2016) of Kentucky stuck out as one of the best "O" line prospects.
Brookey's event is a can't miss combine for talented players who are looking to showcase they belong on the DI radar so pencil in Presidents Day 2015 if you think you have what it takes to play at the next level!
The University of Cincinnati has a great vision going forward for Nippert Stadium.