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The Miami Valley Conference is coming off a year in which four of its members made the playoffs. Getting to the post-season is one thing, doing some damage is another story. CHCA was the only one of those schools to win in Week 11. The league now looks to the next step and start advancing deep into November.
The 2011 season is going to be all about the “beef.” Many of the schools will boast some of the biggest lines in school history. Winning in the trenches appears to be theme for MVC squads this fall.
Cincinnati Christian is back after a two-year hiatus as an independent. It’s just the first move toward expansion, as the conference is planning to add even more schools over the next couple of years. A larger league means even more opportunities for teams to make noise in the playoffs or it could mean more mediocrity. Either way the MVC is going to embrace that challenge.
Here is a complete overview of the of the conference for the season ahead:
NORTH COLLEGE HILL TROJANS
Division IV, Region 16
Head Coach: Bruce Baarendse (144-111 @ North College Hill, 25 years; 144-111 overall record, 25 years)
2010 Record: 10-1, 6-0 MVC
Overview: There has been a ton of talent that has passed through the doors of North College Hill the past two campaigns. It is hard to imagine that this group of Trojans could be as good as the classes that went before them. Don’t bet against it. This squad comes into 2011 having not lost a regular season game in two years. Plus, they have motivation as they try to prove that they are a program that can advance in the post-season.
The Trojans have been an offensive juggernaut for several years and that shouldn’t change. Running back Tevin Brown will be the centerpiece of the offense after averaging 12.7 per carry while running for 598 yards and 11 touchdowns as a sophomore. If the season were to start tomorrow senior Aaron Wilson would be under center. Wilson, who is also a linebacker, was third on the team in tackles a year ago and has been a contributor on defense since he was a freshman. Tackle Glenn James is a rising star. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound senior has great footwork to go along with being the strongest man on the team. His partners in crime up front are Anthony Griffin, Brandon James and Savon McFarland. Griffin is coming off a Second-Team All-District performance as a junior. Classmate McFarland has been a starter since he was a freshman.
The North College Hill defense will unleash a fury on opposing backfields. With returning two-way starters Glen James, Brandon James, Griffin and McFarland collapsing foe’s lines, the ends and linebackers will be freed up to make big plays. Jabari Watkins burst onto the scene in a big way last season. Before breaking his hand in Week 9 he racked up 68 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Expect him to fill the receiver role on offense vacated by Vince Edwards. Over the past three seasons in league play the Trojans have outscored their opponents by a 41.3 to 11.1 margin.
Division IV, Region 16
Head Coach: Eric Taylor (26-8 @ CHCA, three years, 33-11 overall record, four years)
2010 Record: 8-4, 4-1
Overview: With so many unproven commodities at skills positions the game will be won up front for CHCA in 2011. The team will battle growing pains and the burden of moving up to Division IV. Head coach Eric Taylor has his work cut out for him, but what he does have in his favor is tradition. His Eagles players know and understand how to win.
CHCA returns five battle-tested offensive linemen that weigh 280 pounds or better. Twins Jacob and Josh Thiel will pave the way. Josh is coming off a junior senior that saw him garner First-Team All-District honors. The quarterback and running backs positions probably won’t play themselves out until late in pre-season camp. It is imperative for the big boys to carry the load not just early on, but throughout the year. Receiver Austin Jones is a Division I talent that had a breakout junior campaign with 63 receptions, 1,187 yards and 16 touchdowns. Taylor will look for as many ways as possible to get the ball into his hands.
The defense loses boatload of talent to graduation. One bright spot coming back is linebacker Zach James, who registered 6.5 sacks as a junior. Two-way lineman Tyler Kirbabas, Brandon Moore and Josh Thiel will be asked to generate even more push up front in 2011. Sam Baker showed he can cover some ground from the back seven with two sacks as a junior. It would not be surprising to see Jeff Horsting, Jason Finch and Trevor Kirbabas to have breakout seasons on this side of the ball.
SUMMIT COUNTRY DAY SILVER KNIGHTS
Division V, Region 20
Head Coach: Mike Brown (0-0, first year at SCD, 0-0 overall)
2010 Record: 7-4, 4-2
Overview: Mike Brown becomes the fourth different head coach for this group of Summit Country Day seniors, however he has been the Silver Knights’ defensive coordinator for the past six seasons. It should not only be a smooth transition for the team, but it looks like brighter days and bigger things are on the horizon for Brown and the program. There is no reason to believe that SCD can’t make back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time in school history.
On offense quarterback Gabe Scott threw for 1,458 yards, nine passing touchdowns, 267 yards rushing and two more scores on the ground as a junior. Classmate LaDon Laney has waited patiently for his time to shine and now is it. The two-way star ran for 556 yards as a junior and has 13 rushing touchdowns at the varsity level. On the line, veterans Nathan Goodhart, Patrick Dowling and William Temizer can match up with any foes they go against. They will be tested often so the development of underclassmen depth is eminent for this team to make a strong showing down the stretch.
Being able to come up with the big play was key to the Silver Knights’ success in 2010. They were plus 15 in turnover margin. Laney is a sure tackler and can bring the heat. Michael Barwick joins him to make a quality tandem at linebacker. Temizer had three sacks from his line position as a junior. Goodhart and Dowling provide great push. The beneficiary in the secondary of all this chaos up front is Max Williams, who picked off five passes a year ago. Summit Country Day can really build upon an identity that they started last season on this side of the ball when they held five foes to seven or fewer pints in 2010.
CLARK MONTESSORI COUGARS
Division V, Region 20
Head Coach: Steve Sheehan (12-18, three years @ Clark Montessori, 192 100 overall, 27 years)
2010 Record: 6-4, 2-4
Overview: Clark Montessori has made great strides in just three seasons under veteran head coach Steve Sheehan. Now the Cougars face multiple challenges in trying to make their first post-season appearance and the start of rival Gamble Montessori’s program. Some of the Cougars have come from Gamble and now their allegiance is for up in the air.
One of those players that Clark Montessori could lose is quarterback Paul Woodson, who is the leading returning passer in the MVC. Sheehan likes his offensive line that averages 245 pounds across it. Running back JaBryel Reed will be a major benefactor of the holes that they open up. Junior Aaron Toney will also cause headaches for opponents out of the backfield.
On defense Berheen McCollum, Derek Vaughn, Malik Pompey and Chevez Floyd provide depth and experience in the front seven. Toney is leads the secondary. The Cougars will play in a ton of close games so it is imperative for them to win a few of those in order to make it to Week 11.
Division VI, Region 24
Head Coach: Ben Hubbard
2010 Record: 6-5, 2-4
Overview: Lockland is looking for their fifth straight playoff appearance and another shot at making an elusive November run. Getting to Week 11 is one thing yet being able to win once you get there has been a hurdle that the Panthers have not been able to leap. Head coach Ben Hubbard will have to do it with a raw but talented group of youngsters.
Junior quarterback Dylan Wedlock should be even better after a full season under center. Mike Beasley will get his opportunity to be a major factor at running back. Receiver Avery Barnes is a big target at 6-foot-4 and 185 pounds so look for Wedlock to find him downfield often in 2011. Don’t be shocked if sophomore Tyrell Gilbert and/or sophomore Se’von Jackson has a breakout offensive season.
Defense is definitely a concern for Lockland. On the line they must worry about depth and being pushed around up front as the season goes on. The secondary and linebackers should be fine with the athletes that Hubbard has to work with. The Panthers schedule will challenge them but you can bet they will be in every game. Winning a few of those meaningful tilts will get them back into the Region 24 playoffs.
CINCINNATI COUNTRY DAY INDIANS
Division VI, Region 24
Head Coach: Tim Dunn (179-68 @ CCD, 22 years, 179-68 overall)
2010 Record: 4-6, 2-4
Overview: In a 19 year stretch from 1986 through 2004 Cincinnati Country Day made 10 post-season appearances. It has been eight years since they last played in Week 11. With strong and tested senior leadership this could be the year the Indians get back to a forgotten land. Being a small fish the climb is all uphill, but the challenge is attainable.
Quarterback Jake Dietz returns for his third year as a starter. He has played second fiddle to great running backs now it will be his turn to be the focal point of the offense. Dietz has thrown for 1,114 yards and 13 touchdowns in his career. Receiver Reed Davis will see his role expand to utilize his speed on the wings. Jordan Patterson hopes to become the team’s feature back after racking up 247 yards in a backup role as a junior.
Evan Finch, Arjun Miunhas and Davis are reliable seniors on defense. Finch has over 100 career tackles and five interceptions. Davis picked off five balls in 2010. Minhas had four sacks and 40 tackles a year ago. If CCD wants to make it to the post-season they will have to improve against teams in the league with winning records. They are 2-11 over the last three campaigns versus MVC teams that have finished .500 or better.
NEW MIAMI VIKINGS
Division VI, Region 24
Head Coach: TBA
2010 Record: 2-8, 0-6
Overview: It has been a tough off-season for New Miami. Former head coach Peter Parker stepped down after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The senior class is thin so that means, a team that has won a grand total of three tilts the past two seasons will have to rely heavily on their underclassmen. With a new coach yet to be determined it is going to be an uphill battle for New Miami in 2011.
The Vikings’ offense can only get better after ending the 2010 scoring eight points or fewer six times in the final seven weeks. Cody Wallen burst onto the varsity scene last season running for 208 yards in the season opener against Paint Valley then to take a backseat to Jamar Kotey. Wallen will get his shot at being the featured back. Seniors Greg Goins and Mike Vail will play vital roles opening holes on offense and plugging them up on defense.
It will be the defense that carries this team early On. Joining Goins and Vale up front will be Nick Hayes and Nick Melott. The team could use the sophomore class to step up and add depth here. In the secondary, CJ Kellum, Cody Brown and Wallen should make more big plays and fewer tackles if the line can raise some havoc in opposing backfields.
CINCINNATI CHRISTIAN COUGARS
Division VI, Region 24
Head Coach: Nate Johnson
2010 Record: 1-9 as Independent
Overview: Cincinnati Christian is back in the league after a two-year quest to improve its program as an independent. The Cougars took their lumps last season with a young squad, especially at the skills positions. The Cougars scored seven points or less seven times and were shutout four times on offense. They were outscored by an average of 35.7 points per game.
Running back David Jefferies has tremendous upside after leading the team with 363 yards rushing, 10 receptions and four total touchdowns as a freshman in ’10. Also carrying the ball will be Luke Hill, Cory Seay and Adam Spies, who combined for 672 yards last season. Quarterback Mitchell Moon threw five touchdown passes as a sophomore. Receiver Mitchell Wilhelm should see his role as a pass catcher expand. Tucker Fox, Josh Jarvis and Tony Vitale will anchor both sides of the line.
On defense another freshman made a huge impact for the Cougars as Cody Leach led the squad with 7.5 sacks, 42 tackles and an interception. Jefferies, Spies and Vitale combined for 7.5 sacks as well. Cody Bookman and Hill will head up a secondary that looks to capitalize more often with interceptions from the pressure their teammates are applying in front of them.
Greg is a co-founder of TSF and is now entering his ninth season as a Featured Analyst for the website. The Xavier University grad also serves as the Content Manager for the website and is widely considered one of the top high school football experts in the region. If you are interested in covering your team, please CONTACT US.