St. Xavier could be full of surprises

With off-season hard work and high hopes springing eternal for the true believers 2015 should have plenty of exciting story lines. Who will be the LaSalle or Dixie Heights of next fall? Who is the next great player to rise from obscurity? We take a look at some of the possible answers to these questions and more as TSF weighs in on some of the biggest surprises for the upcoming season.

Bombs away: This could be one of the most explosive teams that St. Xavier has ever put on the field. The Bombers have depth and in the backfield and tall targets for their rising star at quarterback, Shawn Clifford to throw to. Clifford, TE Noah Davis, OT Matt Bockhorst and WR Andrew Homer all have multiple college offers.

St. Xavier scored at least 23 points in 11 of its 13 contests a year ago. The only two times they failed to hit that mark was against Moeller who outscored them by a combined 34-7 in a pair of matchups.


X marks the spot: A talented and deep defensive core will be the heart and soul of Xenia this fall. The Buccaneers will look to make the playoffs for the first time in school history. The path to the post-season won’t be easy with games against Kings, Moeller, Springboro and Miamisburg who went a combined 38-10 in 2014. The Bucs will control their own destiny with that schedule. The good news is all those tilts are at home. They have very little margin for error so they must pay with a sense of urgency every Friday night.

The Tomahawk chop: Head coach Tony Arcuri managed to get his young and inexperienced Indian Hill squad to go 6-4 a year ago. Learning how to win should benefit the Braves in 2015. A tough early schedule will test Indian Hill with three of its first four games on the road at New Richmond, Waynesville and Wyoming. If the Braves can weather that storm they could find themselves back in the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

Wildcats ready to roar: When Maurice Douglass took the job at Springfield he knew the program was at rock bottom. Mo threw the cubs to the wolves a year ago and now those youngsters have grown up. The Wildcats might still be a season away from being playoff material but rest assured this team will put up a much better fight every Friday night this fall.

Making Hisch-tory: Even though quarterback Luke Sulken ran for more than 1,000 yards the past two seasons, McNicholas hasn’t had a running back top the 1,000 yard mark rushing in more than a decade. Senior Adam Hisch will look to change all that. A healthy Hisch who only played in six of the Rockets 12 games as a junior ran for 313 yards in the Rockets final three wins a year ago.

In the masters Chambers: DJ Chambers might not be the featured back for Carlisle is going to make his presence felt for the Indians. As a freshman last season the electrifying Chambers had kickoff returns of 80, 85 and 88 yards for touchdowns. In the season finale versus Dixie, Chambers had season highs of 12 carries and 108 yards rushing.

Lloyd looks to fill void: With some real talent at the skill positions in Justin Durham, Charles Gaines and LaShaun Townsend, Lloyd has the key pieces to improve on last season’s 8-3 mark. The Juggernauts still need to show they can play with the big boys. In their two losses to NewCath and one to Newport, Lloyd was outscored by a 27.3 margin.

All Ryle’d up: There is plenty to be excited about if you’re a Ryle Raider fan. A strong finish to last season, a stud running back in Colin England and a highly touted transfer coming in to play quarterback could see the black and orange lighting up the scoreboard. Even though the Raiders won four of their final six contests in 2014 they still had a losing record for a third straight year. Expect their fortunes to reverse starting in August.

Lakers swimming toward success: Indian Lake heads into 2015 with all kinds of momentum and confidence on its side. The Lakers won four of their final five tilts a year ago. They will be shooting for the first playoff appearance in school history. Their quest will be aided by the return of four First Team All-CBC Mad River performers (Cole Merritt, Alex Jacobs, Steven Majors) which includes the divisions defensive player of the year – Joey Davidson.

Strength in numbers: The merger between the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference and Dayton City league will be a good thing for the schools in those cities. Look for Dunbar, Thurgood Marshall, Taft, Shroder, Belmont to be formidable foes and make playoff pushes in their respected divisions. Ponitz, Western Hills, Hughes, Woodward and Meadowdale will see a much better product on the field than they had showed a year ago.

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