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Talk about having to run a gauntlet to win your division, that’s what the FAVC Buckeye champion will have to do to win a title. The league is stacked and competitive from head to toe. The coaching fraternity is second to none and the talent takes a back seat to no one. One thing is for sure you will earn you victories against these squads.
Here is a closer look at the FAVC Buckeye:
Division I, Region 4
HEAD COACH: Jeff Giesting (25-5 @ Anderson, 2 years, 25-5 overall)
2008 RECORD: 12-3, 4-1 – Division II State Runner-up
OVERVIEW: The Redskins are coming off their best two seasons in school history, going 25-5 with a state championship and runner-up trophy to their credit. The odds are already starting to stack up against them for the 2009 campaign. The team moves from Division II to Division I and they graduated a very successful and talented class of seniors.
The schedule is manageable and despite the move up the Redskins still have a great chance of playing in Week 11. Keep in mind this group of seniors already has 30 varsity games under their belt.
Ohio State recruit Andrew Norwell sets the tone for the Redskins’ offense. The mammoth lineman has led the way for two different 2,000-yard rushers over the past two seasons.
One of those running backs is Kyle Slater, who returns for his senior season. He had 2,220 rushing yards, 33 total touchdowns and 2,751 all-purpose yards on his way to earning First-Team Division II All-State recognition as a junior.
Senior Brian Bornhauser gets his time to shine at quarterback. He has waited in the wings for two seasons behind Daniel Rod, yet he has produced 884 yards of total offense (270 PaYds, 444 RuYds and 170 ReYds) as an underclassman.
Head coach Jeff Giesting is real excited about juniors on defense. Linebacker Tony Martini has a chance to be special. Cornerbacks Chris Singleton and Thomas Krutka are poised for breakout years. Singleton could fill the special teams void left by Luis Perez.
Seniors Caleb Correll and Kevin Cripe will need to lead by example on this young defense.
Another special teams’ void that needs to be filled is in the kicking game where Anderson looks to Tommy Chapman. The junior went 12-13 on extra-points as a backup in ’08.
WINTON WOODS WARRIORS
Division II, Region 8
HEAD COACH: Troy Everhart (67-39 @ Winton Woods, 10 years, 67-39 overall)
2008 RECORD: 11-2, 5-0
OVERVIEW: What’s not to like about the Winton Woods Warriors. They have top quality talent in all their skill position players on offense and team speed will be a huge asset.
What is coach Troy Everhart really excited about?
“Depth, finally after nine years we have viable back-ups” the Warriors’ front man said.
On offense, Winton Woods is led by quarterback Dominique Brown and running Jeremiah Goins. Both were Second-Team All-State selections as juniors.
Brown was the FAVC Buckeye Athlete of the Year after rushing for 1,655 yards and 16 scores.
Goins chipped in with 1,438 yards and 32 touchdowns on the ground. The duo is on pace to finish as the school’s first and second all-time leading rusher’s.
The Warriors leadership on defense will come from safety Avery Cunningham and linebacker David Hampton. They will be asked to fill the huge shoes that four Division I college players left behind.
Hampton finished last year with two sacks and an interception. Cunningham missed almost all of last season due to injuries after a stellar sophomore campaign in ’07. Junior Corey Webber joins him to form a secondary that will demand respect.
With Anderson moving up to Division I, it paves the way for the Warriors to win the regional title. It won’t be easy though.
“We have to develop large egos into team’s philosophy for us to be a success,” Everhart claimed.
Keeping his players in line has never been a problem for the coach and 2009 shouldn’t be any different. Look for another big season from Winton Woods.
GLEN ESTE TROJANS
Division I, Region 4
HEAD COACH: Zach Taylor (39-17 @ Glen Este, since 2004)
2008 RECORD: 5-5, 3-2
OVERVIEW: The Trojans ended the 2008 season by going 5-2 over their last seven contests. The young squad’s two conference losses were by 12 points total to Winton Woods and Anderson, who were a combined 23-5.
Glen Este is positioned to make some noise in ’09 and are a team to keep an eye on.
Shane Seckman emerged as the team’s quarterback last season. The 6-foot-5 junior has a huge upside. He came of age last season in Week 10 against Winton Woods when he threw for a career-high 143 yards and two touchdowns.
Classmate Austin Duncanson equaled Seckman’s performance down the stretch. His 709 yards rushing and nine scores in the Trojans’ last seven games showed why he s Glen Este’s go to guy this season.
There is no doubt where the strength of the program lies under head coach Zak Taylor. The Trojans run the ball effectively on offense and stop the run on defense.
The team gave up just 117 yards per contest a year ago while gaining 218 yards per game on the ground on offense.
The defense is relatively young and senior linebacker Dan Shepherd will be looked upon to fill a huge leadership role on that side of the ball.
The All-FAVC performer had 3.5 sacks and a fumble recovery as a junior.
The team will be young and expectations will be large for the Glen Este underclassmen. If the team is going to get to Week 11 they can’t get dominated up front on defense.
Despite giving up so few yards per game rushing last season, Anderson and Winton Woods combined for 591 yards on the ground. The Trojans must figure out a way to reverse that trend.
Division I, Region A
HEAD COACH: Andrew Marlatt (10-10, two years @ Loveland, 10-10 overall)
2008 RECORD: 6-4, 2-3
OVERVIEW: The Tigers have a huge challenge ahead of them this season. For starters, their schedule is brutally tough with Kings, Lebanon, Turpin and Wilmington on their non-conference schedule to go along with their FAVC Buckeye rivals.
The odds are stacked against head coach Andrew Marlatt and his boys.
“It’s no mystery, work hard, work consistently” Marlatt said when asked about his philosophy on winning and being successful as a program.
The good news is that Loveland returns all of its linemen on each side of the ball.
“They are all bigger and stronger,” Marlatt stated. “It’s a team strength and we will play nasty defense.”
That group of veterans includes Dustin Brown, Nick Chaney, Andrew Newbold, Brandon Burks, Mason Scheeler and Randy Mullins
The defense allowed 16 or fewer points six times in 2008. They will have to do a better job of stopping the teams between the 20’s this year though. Opponents racked up and average of 297 yards per game on the Tigers.
The offense starts with senior quarterback Adam Engel. The gifted athlete had threw for 719 yards and touchdowns while adding 506 yards and seven scores on the ground in eight games a year ago, his first year as the signal-caller.
Marlatt is really excited about a pair of younger quarterbacks in Evan Beck and Andrew Lay. If he can get one of them can step up and prove they can handle the varsity level of play it will allow the Tiger to move Engel around and create mismatches for opposing defenses.
Isaac Spence moves from wide receiver to handle running back duties. The senior will have all the pieces in place around him that will make it possible for him to make huge plays on offense and in the defensive secondary. Newcomer Kylee Knabe will back him up at tailback.
Division II, Region 8
HEAD COACH: Neal Kasner (17-16, three years @ Harrison, 73-38 overall)
2008 RECORD: 5-5, 1-4
OVERVIEW: The good news is that Harrison moves from Division I down to Division II where they will be more competitive.
The bad news is that they are starting with a new cast of unproven players at the varsity level. One thing is certain head coach Neal Kasner will put the best players on the field. Whether it is a senior or freshman, the tops will be on the field on Friday nights.
The line is young on both sides of the ball, but has the potential to be solid. The play in the trenches could prove to be a strength of the team by year’s end. There were plenty of underclassmen that received valuable minutes in ‘08 they just need to form their own identity.
Tyler Elrod looks to step in at quarterback. He is also a solid defender in the secondary having picked off two passes a year ago.
Running back Bandon Fisher will be the team’s featured ball carrier. Fisher showed signs of greatness last season when ran for 305 yards during a three game stretch in mid-season. The senior also amassed 900 all-purpose yards in ’08.
Junior Zach Lonneman will also get his share of touches.
Sophomoe Kyle Nowlin takes over kicking and punting duties. His ability to put points on the boards and pin teams deep in their own territory will loom large in the success of the Wildcats’ season.
Division I, Region 4
HEAD COACH: Pat Fagan (7-13, two years @ Milford, 7-13 overall)
2008 RECORD: 4-6, 0-5
OVERVIEW: The Eagles record is not indicative of the great strides they have made under head coach Pat Fagan. The fans and players should be very excited about the future of Milford football.
This year, the team has six winnable games before closing out the season with Glen, Este, Winton Woods and Anderson. A strong start out of the gate could go along way for this squad’s confidence.
Shawn Taylor moves from being the team’s leading receiver to quarterback. The junior passed for 194 yards and put up 222 receiving yards last year. He is also a standout in the secondary where he picked off four passes, returning two of them for scores. Taylor will continue to play on the defensive side of the ball.
Running backs Reggie Carson and Nathan Termuhlen combined for 1,372 all-purpose yards and 10 total touchdowns. Toss in Kenny Shields and the Eagles have a potent and dangerous backfield.
The defense will have to be more efficient than last season. They gave up 314 yards per game while allowing opponents to convert 40 percent of their third-down attempts.
The team returns some beef up front, but the Eagles lose lots of veteran leadership.
Expect Milford to put pressure on opposing offenses trying to create turnovers. They have the playmakers that will make other coaches very uncomfortable playing. The Eagles will be able to score from anywhere on the field, at any time on either side of the ball.
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.