High School Spotlight - Week 10 Part 2
This week the eleventh edition of our High School Spotlight series takes an in-depth look at some of the local football programs in the Blue and Stripes Division of the North Coast League.
North Coast League: Blue Division
Head Coach – Carter Welo (3rd season)
2017 Record – 6-5
Key Returners: QB Nick Demchuk, WR/LB Chris Gales, TE/DL Charles Rosser, DL Darius Oliver, LB/RB Jalen Edwards, LB Evan Tytko, LB/TE Terrance Hollon, K Ivan Shuran, P Billy Boehlke, DB Max Monachino
Key Losses: WR/DB Chris Jefferson, RB Patrick Fleming, WR/DB Devon Fox, LB Matt Chmielewski, LB/RB Jamir James, OL Marshall Philmon, DL Moses Townsend, DL Michael Ford, DB John Pomnean, WR Michael Lacey, OL Anthony LaPlaca, OL Scott Schoeffler
In 2017, the Benedictine Bengals finished with a 6-4 record in the regular season but fell to Barberton in the first of the OHSAA playoffs, 36-6.
This year, the Bengals lose a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, but third-year head coach Carter Welo gets quarterback Nick Demchuk back under center. With their veteran back under center and a group of hungry underclassmen stepping up, the Bengals are looking to make a deeper push into the playoffs in 2018.
Head Coach – Tim Tyrrell (6th season)
2017 Record – 14-1
Key Returners: QB Shane Hamm, RB/LB Tyris Dickerson, OL Nolan Rumler, OL Jacob Petit, OL Jaden Baxter, RB/LB DeaMonte Trayanum, WR Mason Tipton, TE Caden Clark, LB Luke Bauer, DB/WR Matt Salopek, LB Marcus Saahir, DB/RB Alvin Stallworth, LB Damon Ollison
Key Losses: WR Garrett Houser, DL Daeshon Martin, OL R.J. Kelly, LB Reed Allen, DB/WR Nate Bauer, Db Daulson Fitzpatrick, DB Kentrel Stoval, OL Cade THomas
It was a tough start to the 2017 season for the Hoban Knights as they lost their home opener to St. Ignatius, 17-3. All the Knights did after that was win 14 in a row and claim the Division 2 State Championship. After claiming the North Coast Conference’s Blue Division in dominating fashion, it was an even more impressive run in the playoffs for Hoban. The Knights pounded Mayfield into submission, 56-27, in the first round before defeating Brush 49-0 in round two. In the regional final, Hoban dispatched Barberton, 42-13, and then cruised past Avon, 30-6 in the state semi-finals. In the state title game, Cincinnati’s Winton Woods didn’t fare any better, as the Knights claimed the crown, 42-14, in convincing fashion.
In 2018, Hoban returns elite playmakers in Tyris Dickerson and DeaMonte Trayanum as well as the anchor to their offensive line, Michigan commit Nolan Rumler, giving the program a great shot at defending their state championship.
Mentor Lake Catholic Cougars
Head Coach – Scott O’Donnell (5th season)
2017 Record – 5-5
Key Returners: QB Matt Slowey, RB/DB Robert Morgan, OL/DL Nate Rieple
Key Losses: RB/DL Kevin Conley, RB/LB DJ Griffus, QB Jack Gibbons, WR/DB Nick Simcak, FB Christian Demitro, WR/DB Jake Hyduke, DB/WR Jack Globokar
It was an up and down season for head coach Scott O’Donnell and his Cougars team, finishing with a 5-5 mark. In 2018, the team loses both their quarterback Jack Gibbons and running back Kevin Conley but Matt Slowey and Robert Morgan will be eager to step into those roles and produce at a high level.
Notre-Dame Cathedral Latin Lions
Head Coach – Andrew Mooney (4th season)
2017 Record – 9-3
Key Returners: WR Alec Roberts, OL Aidan McDonald, TE Anthony Rabil, LB Zach Urda, RB Kyle Medves, QB Nick Gatozzi
Key Losses: QB Charles Forbes, TE Brian Carney, OL Danny Zucker, WR Matt Tuohey, TE Zach Zienka, DL Chase Brown, DB Josh Peroni, LB Matt Arko, DB Trent Szmania, DL Manni Malone, K/P Gabe Brkic
It was a successful season on the field for Notre-Dame Cathedral Latin, finishing 8-2 in the regular season before defeating Alliance, 38-14, in the first round of the playoffs. Despite a second-round exit to Canfield, the Lions’ confidence is sky-high in 2018 with the return of quarterback Nick Gatozzi and running back Kyle Medves on offense and the return of linebacker Zach Urda on defense.
Head coach Andrew Mooney and his NDCL program will look to make a little more noise in 2018 once the playoffs roll around in November.
Padua Franciscan Bruins
Head Coach – Michael Polevacik (3rd season)
2017 Record – 9-3
Key Returners: DL Colt Jennings, LB/RB Crishawn Long, OL Jimi McAdams, QB Zach Szafarski, WR/DB Jordan Walker, TE/LB Nick Frostino, OL Zach Zgrabik, LB John Harris, LB Alex Balla, QB Andrew Butler
Key Losses: QB Kevin Peterson, RB/LB Trent Cramer, LB/RB Zach Barther, WR/DB Colin Pavlus, TE Cameron Drum, WR Jim Schoffstall
Padua Franciscan also celebrated a very successful season the field in 2017, with the Bruins finishing 8-2 in the regular season and posting a playoff win over University School, 48-41, in the first round before ultimately falling to Bay, 21-7, in the regional semi-finals.
This season, the Bruins need to replace quarterback Kevin Peterson and running back Trent Cramer but the return of Purdue commit Crishawn Long as well as defensive end Colt Jennings gives this program that leadership it needs to make a deeper run into the playoffs in 2018.
Walsh Jesuit Warriors
Head Coach – Scott Beigie (4th season)
2017 Record – 2-8
Key Returners: QB Cameron Mayes, WR Tommy Cummings, WR Nick Vaccaro, RB Adam Salek, DL/OL Colin Norton
Key Losses: QB Zack Weitman, RB Dominic Frisone, LB Lincoln Chiller, WR/RB Jake Rico, WR Curtis Cook, DB/WR Rafe Lewis, LB David Blanchard, LB Michael Walko, LB Will Schmidt, DL Stephen Schafer, DL Dominic DiPietro
The Walsh Jesuit Warriors are excited more than most teams to get on the field in 2018, as they look to put the 2-8 finish in 2017 in the past.
Quarterback Cameron Mayes returns under center for the Warriors along with a host of key contributors on both sides of the ball. Head coach Scott Beigie is counting on the experience that his kids gained from last season gives his football team the motivation it needs to win plenty of more games in 2018.
North Coast League: Stripes Division
Cleveland Central Catholic Ironmen
Head Coach – John Lundy (15th season)
2017 Record –6-4
Key Returners: WR Kody Bell
Key Losses: RB David Lee, RB Marvin Minger, WR/DL Keije Brown
The Ironmen of Cleveland Central Catholic were thrilled to get back to their winning ways in 2017, finishing with a 6-4 record.
In 2018, the Ironmen are hoping their persistence pays off with a Stripes Division crown and a return to the OHSAA playoffs. The loss of running backs David Lee and Marvin Minger won’t make it easy but head coach John Lundy is excited to see who will step up to fill any voids that were created by the graduations of last year’s seniors.
Gilmour Academy Lancers
Head Coach – Chris Kosiorek (4th season)
2017 Record – 6-4
Key Returners: WR/DB C.J. Charleston, QB/DB Jack Krebs, OL Armand DiPuccio, OL Michael Holleran, DL Michael Cerer, DL Ryan Gondek, LB Jack Kosar, DB Aidan Muchnicki
Key Losses: OL/DL Tyler Leroux, RB/LB Mario Grk, RB/DB Stephen Sommer, WR Andrew Sieminski, OL Adam Burlingham, OL Tim McCormick, LB Jake Robida, DB Drew Casa
The Lancers finished with a 6-4 mark and clinched a spot in the OHSAA playoffs in 2017, before falling to Black River.
This season, head coach Chris Kosiorek gets quarterback Jack Krebs as well as wide receiver C.J. Charleston back in the fold. Giving Gilmour Academy a great shot at making a return to the postseason in 2018.
John F. Kennedy Eagles
Head Coach – Jeff Bayuk (5th season)
2017 Record – 4-7
Key Returners: FB/DL Isaac Hadley, RB/DB Jordan Edmondson, WR Jesse Likens
Key Losses: QB Greg Valent, LB/DB Alec Burzynski, RB Dominic Scott, TE/DL Andrew Grimmett, WR/DB Hyland Burton, DB Thomas Yanovich, OL Chris Urchek
Despite the 4-6 regular season finish the JFK Eagles snuck into the playoffs as a seven seed in 2017, dropping a first-round contest to Cuyahoga Heights.
For head coach Jeff Bayuk and his Eagles, clinching a playoff spot isn’t enough. Kennedy has made a tradition out of making deep runs in the OHSAA playoffs and the expectation is that the program will get back to that this season despite the loss of quarterback Greg Valent. The return of dynamic running back Jordan Edmondson means that JFK will be sure to pile up the points in 2018.
St. Thomas Aquinas Knights
Head Coach – Michael Cook (1st season)
2017 Record – 1-9
Key Returners: WR/DB Evan Appleby, OL/DL Anthony Campbell, QB/DB Alex Hawkins, OL/DL Max Kaczynski, TE/DL Luke May, TE/LB Robby Mitchell, WR/DB Colin Nance, OL/LB Scott Webb, OL/DL Andrew Willet
Key Losses: OL/DL Ryan Appleby, OL/DL Anthony Bostrom, WR/DB Taylor Finley, RB/LB Christian Harwood, OL/LB Sam Harwood, OL/DL Alex Hawkins, OL/DL Scott Nance, QB/DB Jarryd Palek, WR/DB Trevor Tesch, TE/DL Nick Thomas
After a 1-9 finish in 2017 the St. Thomas Aquinas Knights welcome a new head coach to the helm, as Michael Cook enters his first season on the sidelines.
The Knights return plenty of lettermen on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, and coach Cook is looking to make sure his team limits the mistakes that cost them last season.
Head Coach – Jeff McSweeney (8th season)
2017 Record – 1-9
Key Returners: RB Bryon Thompson, QB Zion Owens
Key Losses: QB/OLB Kevin McSweeney, RB/LB Andrew Kenaga, WR/DB Eric Filakosky, RB/LB Clay Anderson, DB/WR Michael Rodgers, LB/FB John Oleksik, TE/DL Jacob Visha, DL/OL John Juhasz, DL/OL Ryan Sigmund
The Garfield Heights Trinity Trojans finished with a 1-9 record in 2017 and head coach Jeff McSweeney loses his son Kevin at the quarterback position in addition to star running back Andrew Kenaga.
Running back Bryon Thompson is looking to step up and lead by example, while freshman quarterback Zion Owens has every intention of taking the reins under center in 2018.
Villa-Angela St. Joseph Vikings
Head Coach – Bill Sowers (2nd season)
2017 Record – 4-6
Key Returners: RB/DB Devland Culliver, OL Trevon Bell, OL DOntrell Nowling, OL Kiras Kijauskas, DL Kobe Parker, DB Camron Williams
Key Losses: QB Delanoe Harris, WR/DB Nathan Dean, WR/DB Chris Boykin, WR/LB Isaiah Gary, TE Devon Conyer, OL/LB Re’ Williams, OL/DL Brandon Burke, DL Patrick Sheridan, LB Devonate Glover, LB Chase Hardin
The VASJ Vikings finished the 2017 season with a 4-6 record, missing out on the playoffs in Bill Sowers first year as head coach.
In 2018, coach Sowers returns running back Devland Culliver and plenty of experience on the offensive and defensive lines, giving the program a lot of confidence that the Vikings will make a return to the top of the Stripes division, while also competing for a playoff spot come November.