2024 Snapshot: Little Miami

Little Miami LB Rhys Jones (photo by: Alex Smith/Alex Smith Photography)

Changing the culture of football at Little Miami will be challenging, to say the least, for new Head Coach Arryn Chenault. The Panthers haven’t had a winning season since 2019 (their last in the SWOC). Last season they didn’t pick up a victory until Week 10 besting Walnut Hills (0-10) in the “Winless War.” To compound the task at hand for Chenault, the program now gets to play with the big boys as Little Miami moves up to Division I for the 2024 campaign.

Chenault inherits a roster that has some promise with girth and experience up front on both sides of the line. The offense was anemic the first seven game in 2023 averaging just 9.2 points per contest while being shutout three times. The final three games saw the Panthers average 23.0 points per game. For this squad to be successful more of the skills positions players need to up their production.

Defensively, Little Miami suffered many injuries to key players in 2023. That depleted the team’s depth. There are so many players out to prove themselves it’s motivation that Chenault can build upon for this unit.

If there is any consolation to this reconstruction for Chenault and his staff, it is that the chances of making the playoffs in Division I are far better than they are in Division II. 64 of the 70 Division I teams in Ohio will earn postseason berths (16 of 18 teams in Region 4 get in). Division II, Region 8 where Little Miami was previously will only have 16 of its 25 schools (just the region) qualify for the playoffs.

Get into the postseason and the Panthers biggest asset comes into play. The Little Miami juniors and seniors have been “giant killers.” They went on the road as a #15 seed in the 2022 playoffs and knocked #2 seed and previously unbeaten Xenia.

Division I, Region 4
2023 RECORD: 1-9, 1-8 ECC
COACH: Arryn Chenault (0-0 at Little Miami, first year, 0-0 overall)

Rhys Jones, Sr, LB – Had a breakout junior campaign emerging as one of the Panthers leaders on defense. Jones tallied 101 total tackles, had four sacks and 11.0 tackles for losses to earn OPSWA Division II Second Team All-Southwest District honors.

Mitchell Lyons, Sr, WR/DB – One of the top receiving threats in the ECC. Lyons was named Second Team All-ECC after snaring 40 receptions for 751 yards receiving and three touchdowns as a junior.

Cody Neltner, Sr, DE/OLB – One of the best players you’ve never heard about. Neltner recorded 108 total tackles, had five-and-a-half sacks, 15.0 tackles for losses, two forced fumbles and four pass breakups on his way to Second Team All-ECC accolades, last season.

Case Miller, Sr, QB – No stranger to having to adapt after moving from receiver as a sophomore to quarterback as a junior. Miller will have to do it once again, learning a new offensive system and getting competition under center from newcomer Jayshan Sandhar. Miller threw for 776 yards, ran for 228 yards and had a pair of touchdowns rushing and passing, a year ago.

Little Miami QB Case Miller (photo by: Alex Smith/Alex Smith Photography)

Eli Schoellman, Sr, LB – He has been a tackling machine in his three years as a letterman. In 20 career games, Schoellman has racked up 169 total tackles (96 solo), with four sacks and 12.0 tackles for losses.

Ethan Dowden, Sr, DL – Will play a huge role in the trenches for the Panthers. Dowden, a three-year letterman has 67 total tackles, two-and-a-half sacks, eight tackles for losses and an interception, at the varsity level.

Kameron Everett, Sr, DB – Stepped up and became a secondary stud as a junior. Everett put up all-conference worthy numbers with 45 total tackles, two tackles for losses, an interception and 11 pass breakups.

Little Miami DB Kameron Everett (photo by: Alex Smith/Alex Smith Photography)

Trevor Miller, Sr, WR/LB – A hungry player who is looking to have a big senior campaign after playing in just three games last fall. Miller will be a welcomed addition to the defense.

Gunnar Hoffman, Jr, K – A valued commodity on special teams who didn’t get as many opportunities to show off his big leg in 2023 as he did as a freshman. Hoffman heads into his junior year with 65 kicking points having connected on 35/39 extra point attempts and 10/16 field goal tries.

Seniors LB Jackson Shepherd, QB Jayshan Sandhar, juniors OL/DL Nathan Wilson, OL/DL Dustin Cook, LB Landyn McCray and sophomore WR/DB Parker Spitzmiller will add depth and challenge for starting positions. Sandhar is a transfer from Lakota East where he served as the backup quarterback for the past two seasons where he went 31/68 for 265 yards. McCray showed glimpses of his bright future with 10 total tackles, two tackles for losses and an interception in last year’s finale versus Walnut Hills.

(six appearances, 4-6) – 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 1992

Fri – 08/23/24 – at Springboro (2-9 in 2023) – 7:00 PM
Fri – 08/30/24 – at Turpin (3-8) – 7:00 PM
Fri – 09/06/24 – at Anderson (13-2) – 7:00 PM
Fri – 09/13/24 – WALNUT HILLS (0-10) – 7:00 PM
Fri – 09/20/24 – at Lebanon (7-4) – 7:00 PM
Fri – 09/27/24 – WINTON WOODS (8-4) – 7:00 PM
Fri – 10/04/24 – at Kings (6-6) – 7:00 PM
Fri – 10/11/24 – LOVELAND (5-6) – 7:00 PM
Fri – 10/18/24 – at Milford (11-1) – 7:00 PM
Fri – 10/25/24 – WEST CLERMONT (4-7) – 7:00 PM

In 2009, TriState Football announced its very first Postseason All-TriState Football Teams. Little Miami receiver Lance Fanthorp was a First Team selection. Panthers new Head Coach Arryn Chenault (Fairfield) was a Second Team All-TSF member as a defensive back. Fanthorp is the only player from Little Miami to ever be named First Team All-TSF (15 years).





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