|Queen City High Get Sports Info WCPO Twitter Facebook YouTube I-High|
|Home Teams Scoreboard Standings News 275 LOOP Player of Week Links Listen Live Awards Podcasts Photos Advertise Contact Us|
It has been two decades since the Northwest football program has this kind of buzz surrounding it. The Knights are coming off a season in which they grabbed a share of their first league title in 21 years. Their next goal to conquer is making the school’s second playoff appearance, the other one was back in 1990.
If the Competitive Balance Proposal gets approved by the OHSAA in May then Northwest will get bumped down to the Division III level. You would really have to like their chances of securing one of the eight post-season spots in Region 12 however once they get there reigning Division II champion Trotwood-Madison (who will also drop down a division), reigning Division III state runner up Shawnee and perennial playoff power Alter will be obstacles awaiting them.
This squad has the talent to take that step how they handle their success and being the hunted will determine if they will be playing in November. With 25 seniors and 16 returning starters put your money on this experienced bunch to answer the challenges and secure their place in the history of the program.
2011 RECORD: 7-3, 4-1 FAVC Scarlet Co-Champions
HOME TURF: Knight Stadium
COACHING: There is no doubt that Chad Murphy has embraced this program and molded it into his own in two short years. The Knights are 9-11 in his tenure. It is all about taking the next step as this program has progressed exactly as one would hope under Murphy’s watch. Winning on a consistent basis year in and year out remains to be seen, but there is no inclination that points to this team regressing any time soon under his tutelage. Murphy is an up-and-coming star as he continues to pull out max effort from his players producing the results that are pleasing to the athletic department and the fans.
OFFENSE: The best part about the Knights’ offense in 2012 will be the amount of options that coach Murphy has at his disposal. The versatile Ra’Mar Hairston can run, catch and throw the ball if need be. Don’t be surprised if he doubles his touchdown total of eight from a year ago. Keeshun Horton and Corey McGinnis will also get their shot at carrying the rock. Quarterback Cory Roberson is back after rushing for 435 yards and throwing for another 456 as a sophomore. What makes this team scary to prepare for is that Hairston and Roberson can get lost behind a big offensive line then explode past the front wall of defenders. Those holes will be opened by the mammoth 6-foot-4, 305 pound junior Sterling Clark, who started every contest in 2011. Clark will be joined up front by tight end Brandon Thompson, Ameer Daniels, Darius White and Michael Smith. Getting speedy receiver DeQuan Render more touches and some space in the open field is just going to make this team that much more dangerous to keep out of the end zone. Thompson is an asset both blocking and catching the ball in short yardage and goalline situations.
DEFENSE: It is a pretty simple formula for the Knights on defense – just pin back your ears and go after the ball. Causing havoc in backfield is this group’s specialty. On the line Lynneric Mathis, Maurice Chapman and White are rock solid. Mathis registered 5.0 sacks, Chapman had 7.0 and the team recorded 34.0 sacks overall a year ago. Daniels and Smith are part of the rotation that shows very good depth up front. Linebackers Rasheen Jones and Nolan Miller are arguably the league’s top two players at the position. Jones is the most highly recruited player in the conference. Injuries set him back last fall but expect him to return to form and be a driving force. Miller recorded 9.0 sacks as a junior. Opportunities will be plenty for the secondary with all the pressure the front seven will put on quarterbacks. Render and Horton lead a young cast that includes newcomers Jamiel Trimble, DeVohn Jackson and Cortez McGinnis. The defensive backfield will need to prove they can finish plays and close the deal to expand on the 25 takeaways they forced in 2011.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Sophomore Kyle Kostoff is back to handle placekicking duties. He knocked down 85 percent of his extra points as a freshman. Roberson will line up at punter which will more than keep the opposition honest on fourth down as a threat to convert with his arm or legs. Northwest converted 41 percent of their 24 fourth-down attempts a year ago expect those numbers to increase all the way around. Jackson will try to jump start a return game that averaged less than 16 yards per kickoff and 8.0 per return without a score last fall.
Aug 24 – FINNEYTOWN – 7:30 p.m.
Aug 31 – @ Amelia – 7:30 p.m.
Sep 7 – TECUMSEH – 7:30 p.m.
Sep 14 – ROSS – 7:30 p.m.
Sep 21 – WILMINGTON – 7:30 p.m.
Sep 28 – @Talawanda – 7:30 p.m.
Oct 5 – EDGEWOOD – 7:30 p.m.
Oct 12 – LITTLE MIAMI – 7:30 p.m.
Oct 19 – @Harrison – 7:30 p.m.
Oct 26 – @Mount Healthy – 7:30 p.m.
FINAL TAKE: Northwest is going to take everyone’s best shot. That is a position they haven’t been in before. Couple that with a non-conference game against a Tecumseh team that has a serious post-season pedigree and the battles that the Knights face will have them ready to make noise come Week 11. If this squad makes the playoffs it will be all about the draw they get if they want to make a run. Weathering these storms is something that this veteran ballclub is more of capable of handling.
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.