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2022 Preseason Blitz 5 Top 25

The argument can be made by a handful of teams that they are the top-ranked team in the 2022 Preseason Blitz 5 Top 25 presented by TriStateFootball.com. That honor, by the smallest of margins, goes to Lakota West. After heartbreaking losses in the Division I, Region 4 Regional Championship the past two years, the Firebirds are hungry and motivated to take things to the next level.

Lakota West will be tested right out of the gate hosting No. 5 St. Xavier. This will be the fourth time that the Firebirds have faced the Bombers in their last 15 games.

There are six games pitting Top 21 teams to kick off the 2022 campaign. In addition to Lakota West at St. Xavier, the Week 1 slate features one other contest between Top 10 teams as No. 10 La Salle welcomes  No. 8 Colerain.

Also on the slate, fourth-ranked Princeton is at No. 16 Anderson in our Blitz 5 Game of the Week, No. 9 Elder heads south of the border to square off against No. 17 Covington Catholic, No. 11 Kings hosts No. 18 Sycamore and No. 20 Edgewood welcomes in No. 21 Milford.

Here’s the complete 2022 Preseason Blitz 5 Top 25:

  1. Lakota West (11-2) – The Firebirds are an even more delectable dish than they have been the past two campaigns. Lakota West is a veteran and experienced group which includes six defensive backs with Division I FBS college offers, 10 players overall with DI offers, a four-year starter at quarterback in the GMC and the motivation of having fallen in the last two regional championships. NEXT UP: 8/19 – #5 ST. XAVIER (10-3).
  2. Moeller (11-4) – An improbable run to a regional championship in 2021 has the Crusaders aiming for even loftier achievements this fall. Moeller is loaded on offense and deep on defense. A challenging schedule will toughen up Big Moe come playoff time. The combined 2021 record of the Crusaders’ opponents was 93-40 (.699 winning percentage). They will face five teams that won at least 10 games a year ago. NEXT UP: 8/19 – at Massillon Washington (11-3 in 2021).
  3. Winton Woods (13-3) – The reigning Division II state champions are going to be even better than they were during last year’s run to the title. The Warriors head into the season on a nine-game winning streak and the last six victories were by 10 points or more, all in the playoffs. NEXT UP: 8/19 – TROTWOOD-MADISON (4-6).
  4. Princeton (11-2) – Even though Vikings lost a ton from a team that won 11 games last season, the 2022 squad is bigger, stronger, faster and deeper than the team that preceded them. That is a scary thought for Princeton’s Greater Miami Conference rivals. NEXT UP: 8/19 – at #16 Anderson (9-3).
  5. St. Xavier (10-3) – The Bombers must replace nine starters from an offense that averaged 37.8 points per game and topped the 40-point mark eight times a year ago. St. Xavier has won 10 games or more in a season 10 times in 18 years under head coach Steve Specht. NEXT UP: 8/19 – at #1 Lakota West (11-2).
  6. Fairfield (6-5) – No excuses for the tribe. The Indians have gone from being a young squad the past two campaigns to now being a very polished and veteran bunch. Fairfield has high expectations and rightly so. They are a talented team that is seeking validation in the win column and playoffs. NEXT UP: 8/18 – WAYNE (8-3).
  7. Lakota East (7-4) – With just three returning starters on defense a daunting task lies ahead for a group of youngsters who are eager to shine for the first time under Friday night lights. The first three teams on the Thunderhawks’ schedule went a combined 30-8 and each averaged 30-plus points per game in 2021. NEXT UP: 8/19 – CENTERVILLE (8-4).
  8. La Salle (7-5) – The road to the Division II state title may run through the reigning champion, Winton Woods, but expect the Lancers to leave their mark on the 2022 Region 8 outcome. La Salle has won five regional crowns all in the last eight years. NEXT UP: 8/19 – at #10 Colerain (5-6).
  9. Elder (6-6) – A new era begins with plenty of unknown factors, including where will the offensive firepower come from? The Panthers must do a better job running the football if they are to take things up a level. Elder averaged just 2.5 yards per carry and gained just 811 yards on the ground last fall. It was the first time the team has run for less than 1,000 yards in several years. NEXT UP: 8/19 – at #17 Covington Catholic (9-4).
  10. Colerain (5-6) – Last fall, the Cardinals suffered their first losing season in 30 years. Don’t expect that to continue. With a hungry cast of veteran players, the 2022 squad is eager to start a new winning streak that will last for another three decades. NEXT UP: 8/19 – #8 LA SALLE (7-5).
  11. Kings (11-1) – With 16 starters returning from a team that finished the regular season undefeated in 2021, the Knights will be a force to be reckoned with. There is still some unfinished business, however. The Knights would like to avenge last year’s second-round playoff loss to eventual state champion Winton Woods (a team they beat in the regular season) and bring home the school’s first ever regional title. NEXT UP: 8/19 – #18 SYCAMORE (6-6).
  12. Mason (4-7) – Five of the Comets’ seven losses in 2021 were by seven points or less while three of their four wins were by seven points or fewer. Despite the losing record Mason still made the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season. NEXT UP: 8/19 – at Gahanna Lincoln (7-3).
  13. Ryle (9-4) – The seven non-conference foes on the Raiders’ schedule which includes defending KHSAA Class 6A state champion, Class 6A Elite 8 finalist Daviess County and Class 5A Elite 8 finalist Covington Catholic were a combined 62-25 (.713 winning percentage). NEXT UP: 8/19 – at Lexington Catholic (9-3).
  14. Hamilton (2-7) – How ironic? The Big Blue opens against former head coach, Nate Mahon. New Hamilton front man Arvie Crouch is just five victories from 100 in his career (95-47 in 13 years at Mount Healthy). NEXT UP: 8/19 – at West Clermont (2-9).
  15. East Central (10-3) – In three years under head coach Jake Meiners the Trojans’ defense has allowed 11.7 points per contest while holding 20 of the 36 opponents to eight points or less. NEXT UP: 8/19 – LAWRENCEBURG (11-2).
  16. Anderson (9-3) – In 68 games under head coach Evan Dreyer, the Raptors have scored 40 points or more 36 times. Anderson is averaging 38.4 points per game with Dreyer at the helm. NEXT UP: 8/19 – #4 PRINCETON (11-2).
  17. Covington Catholic (9-4) – The youth movement is on at CovCath. Colonels’ fans will need to study their rosters quite frequently the first couple of weeks of the season. Covington Catholic has not lost a battle to a Class 5A, District 5 rival since 2015. NEXT UP: 8/19 – #9 ELDER (6-6).
  18. Sycamore (6-6) – The Aviators soar into 2022 with momentum and confidence on their wings. Sycamore closed out last season with three wins in their last four games before it all came to an end with a two-point loss to league rival Princeton in round two of the playoffs. NEXT UP: 8/19 – at #11 Kings (11-1).
  19. Badin (14-1) – The 2021 Ohio Division III state runner-up Rams begin a new chapter, and you can bet defense will be in the title. Over the past two seasons Badin is a combined 22-2. In that span, the Rams have allowed just 8.75 points per game and 19 times opponents have scored 14 points or fewer while 11 have been held to seven points or less, including five shutouts. NEXT UP: 8/26 – COLUMBUS DE SALES (7-5).
  20. Edgewood (9-3) – The Cougars come into the season winners of nine of their last 10 games. They averaged 43.0 points per with an average margin of victory of 31.1 points during that span.  NEXT UP: 8/19 – at #21 Milford (7-5).
  21. Milford (7-5) – Filling four voids along the offensive line will play a large role in the Eagles success. Milford went 2-4 against teams that had winning records a year ago. NEXT UP: 8/19 – #20 EDGEWOOD (9-3).
  22. Taft (9-3) – The Senators return eight players that hold Power 5 college offers. Winning the school’s first regional title won’t be easy with the move up to a very tough Division IV, Region 16. NEXT UP: 8/18 – at Roger Bacon (9-3).
  23. Western Brown (11-3) – Led by Ohio Mr. Football finalist and Division III Offensive Player of the Year, quarterback Drew Novak, the Broncos return players that accounted for 78 percent of their production in 2021. That squad became just the 12th team in Ohio history to score 700 points in a season. NEXT UP: 8/19 – HILLSBORO (4-6).
  24. Wyoming (12-1) – The Cowboys have won 57 consecutive regular season games, the top streak in Ohio amongst all divisions. The Wyoming seniors are a combined 35-3 at the varsity level. NEXT UP: 8/19 – HARRISON (4-6).
  25. Beechwood (15-0) – The Tigers head into 2022 on a 23-game winning streak, with back-to-back Class 2A state championships, five state titles in the last six years and 16 crowns overall for the school, including the last seven under current head coach Noel Rash. NEXT UP: 8/20 – at Fairdale (7-6).

KNOCKING ON THE DOOR:

Clinton-Massie, Conner, Cooper, Harrison, Highlands, Lawrenceburg, McNicholas, Mount Healthy, Middletown, Ross, Simon Kenton, Turpin and Withrow.

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