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The GCL Central took its lumps to their peers in the North division last season. The Central was just 1-15 against their brethren in 2011.
This fall all signs point to a repeat of that dominance by the North. Don’t think it will be that easy there is some very good talent is going to make sure that the Central gives the North a run for their money.
The 2012 campaign will see much more balanced competition on Friday nights.
Here is a complete overview of the GCL Central for the upcoming season:
Division III, Region 12
Head Coach: Mike Orlando (2-8, one year @ McNicholas, 2-8 overall)
2011 Record: 2-8, 1-6
Overview: The seniors on the 2012 McNicholas football team have seen both ends of the spectrum during their careers. Two years ago they mopped up for a senior-laden squad who had a purpose and was dedicated to putting in the effort to grab the Region 12 championship. Last fall the hunter became the hunted and the Rockets weren’t ready for prime time. They didn’t have engines to fuel back-to-back playoff appearances. This group has many parallels with the 2010 McNick team.
There is much to like about the Rockets. Quarterback Austin Ernst and top runner Kevin McHale are back. They will need the offensive line to hold up. A year in the weight room will benefit Ernst, who was in the middle of way too many collapses of the pocket as a junior. They must get bigger, stronger and faster on the interior if they want to get back to the post-season. Keep an eye on receivers Michael Mink and Thomas Vogele. They are a tandem that will cause headaches for opposing defensive backs. Big numbers are ahead for the wideouts.
The defense has quality experience and decent depth. Up front Paul Wilson, Logan Stultz and Kevin Williams all return and should be very productive. McHale is even better at linebacker than he is as a tailback. In the secondary Daniel Sandmann had two interceptions including one for a touchdown as a sophomore. He will be joined by Vogele and Brad Rice. Pat DiSalvio is a huge weapon with his leg as he has connected on 11 career field goals and averaged 37.3 per punt as a junior. He makes the McNick special teams one of the best in the GCL.
Division IV, Region 16
Head Coach: Bill Tenore (19-14 @ Badin, three years)
2011 Record: 6-4, 4-3 GCL
Overview: Last fall was the first time in four years that Badin fell short of the post-season. The Rams have the talent to return to the playoffs. Their biggest challenge will be finishing off games versus quality opponents. Badin’s six victories were against teams that were a combined 15-45 (none had more than four wins) a year ago. The Rams’ four losses were to squads who were a combined 34-11.
A healthy Austin Rieman is an asset on both sides of the ball. As a junior, Rieman averaged 113 all-purpose yards in seven tilts. On defense he is joined by classmate Nick Browning, who had two interceptions last season. The line is paced by First Team All-GCL Central performer Houston Krause and John Fowler. Michael Davis went from being quarterback candidate to a Second Team All-GCL Central linebacker in 2011.
Five times in 2011 Badin scored 14 points or fewer. Expect a more potent performance this year behind linemen Greg Childs, Kevin Kugler and Matt Toerner. Drew Evers will split carries with Rieman. The duo combined to rush for 761 yards and six touchdowns as second and third options as juniors.
ROGER BACON SPARTANS
Division IV, Region 16
Head Coach: Kevin Huxel (18-24 @ Roger Bacon, four years)
2011 Record: 4-6, 2-5
Overview: It is going to be a season of growing pains for Roger Bacon. With only seven seniors and the graduation of 13 starters there are a many Spartans who lack Friday night experience. The first five weeks are going to be trying for head coach Kevin Huxel. His boys are going to have to grow up fast with three tough non-conference foes followed by Alter and Chaminade-Julienne to start GCL play.
The secondary will be a strength of the Spartans’ defense with Jake Westerfeld, Carlas Jackson, Eli Nixon, Kevin Anneken and Dahmere Epperson. All of these guys will see time as receivers in Huxel’s spread offense as well. Linebacker Noah Most had a promising sophomore campaign. Roger Bacon is also looking for big things out of Tyler Dean on the line.
Most of the linemen will see plenty of action on both sides of the trenches. Alex Ceddia and Max Bishop will be looked to for leadership from a young and athletic cast of newcomers that includes Sam Brown, Ryan Barnes and Paul Tepe. They will be blocking for first-year quarterback Ruggiero DeLuca. The junior signal caller has the size and if he finds the intangibles to go with the physical attributes the Spartans are going to be in good hands for the next two years.
PURCELL MARIAN CAVALIERS
Division V, Region 20
Head Coach: Brian Miller (9-51, six years @ Purcell Marian, 9-51 overall)
2011 Record: 2-8, 0-7
Overview: The last time Purcell Marian won a GCL game was over five years ago. The Cavaliers are currently sitting on a 39-game losing streak inside the conference. The league’s smallest school has struggled to find the depth of their peers. Head coach Brian Miller will keep trucking on as his alma mater has another dogfight awaiting them in 2012.
The path to success is very simple in all phases of the game for Purcell Marian – eliminate the big play. The defense allowed seven rushing touchdowns of more than 28 yards and eight passing scores of more than 20 yards. Special teams allowed three kickoff returns for touchdowns. The offense saw five of their turnovers three fumbles and two interceptions be returned to the house by their foes.
One of the league’s most underrated players Brian Moore gets his shot at being the Cavs go-to guy. His classmates Pat Hinkle, Shadeed Thompson, and Kalub Jones join him as two-way starters. Sophomore linebacker McKell Jones is going to turn heads with his play this fall. Junior Jaylan Winters joins Hinkle, Moore and Thompson in the secondary. Up front, Zach Ward registered 1.5 sacks in his varsity debut. Hunter Kohls will get every shot to win the starting quarterback job. Josh Baker averaged 35.0 on 11 punts.
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.