High School Spotlight - Week 6
This week the sixth edition of our High School Spotlight series takes an in-depth look at the football programs of the Cleveland Senate Conference.
Cleveland Senate Conference
Head Coach – Greg Wheeler (7th season)
2017 Record – 3-7
Key Returners: RB/DB Kayshon Bester, QB/WR Ja’Shaun Stepp, RB/LB Jeffrey Lee, QB/DB My’Quan Barnes, RB/LB Da’vonte Lyle, OL/DL Rocky Marett, ATH LaMondre Robinson, TE/LB Avundre Fussell, DB/RB Marcus Cole, TE/LB Rashaud Martin, LB Teeyon Smith
Key Losses: RB/DB Vashonne Hemingway, WR/DL Donte Brantley, FB/DL Raymond Anderson, WR/DB Lamar Hill, WR/DB Tre’Juan Bester, TE/LB Jaylin Dickson, OL/DL Anthony Scott
The Railroaders are coming off a 3-7 record in 2017, but Head Coach Greg Wheeler returns numerous lettermen who contributed heavily on both sides of the ball. Versatile playmaker Vashonne Hemingway is a big loss but the return of Kayshon Bester, Ja’Shaun Stepp, and Jeffrey Lee will give both the offense and defense a big boost heading into 2018.
East Tech Scarabs
Head Coach – Daryl Forrest (5th season)
2017 Record – 5-5
Key Returners: QB/LB Dontrell Stewart
Key Losses: QB/DB Eric Beddell, RB/LB Dylon Cullum, WR/DB Davion McKenzie, WR/DL Ervin Mosley, TE/DL Reginald Lockett, RB Jhyree Thompson,
East Tech heads into the 2018 season with quite a few losses from last year’s team. Despite the graduation of several players, Head Coach Daryl Forrest is looking to improve on the 5-5 year that the Scarabs had in 2017. Dontrell Stewart returns under center and will be a veteran presence in the secondary.
Head Coach – Ted Ginn (22nd season)
2017 Record – 7-4
Key Returners: QB William Anglen, RB/LB Torrance Davis, RB/LB Brandon McCann, DL Courdale Williams, LB/DL Tyon Posey
Key Losses: RB/DB B.J. West, RB/DB Tre’Ron Fullerton, QB Xander Spikes, WR/DB Jamel Hamm, RB/DB Damion Bailey, WR/DB Carlton Swopes, WR Tariq Moore, DL Daymon Williams, OL Robert Higgins, DL Anthony Canady, LB Quintin Powell, DB/WR Tyreke Morris
The juggernaut of the Cleveland Senate League, legendary Head Coach Ted Ginn and the Tarblooders haven’t lost a conference game since the 1997 season. Every year the Glenville program sends multiple athletes to FBS football programs all over the country and 2018 won’t be any different. Coach Ginn returns skilled players like Torrance Davis and Brandon McCann in 2018 and quarterback William Anglen will look to step in for the departed Xander Spikes.
Glenville finished with a 7-3 record in the regular season in 2017 before falling in the first round of the playoffs to Toledo Central Catholic. This season, the Tarblooders will look to get back to making deep runs in the OHSAA playoffs once again.
John Adams Rebels
Head Coach – Gary Jackson (12th season)
2017 Record – 2-8
Key Returners: QB Robert Ramsey, RB Nathaniel Hughley, RB Reshaun Brown, LB Resean Chambers
Key Losses: OL/LB Eric Johnson
Head Coach Gary Jackson returns for his 12th season at the helm with the Rebels. John Adams finished with a 2-8 clip in 2017, but the return of quarterback Robert Ramsey under center, as well as Nathaniel Hughley, Reshaun Brown, and Resean Chambers gives the Rebels reason to believe that the program can make a push towards the top of the Senate League standings in 2018.
Head Coach – Robert Andrews (2nd season)
2017 Record – 7-4
Key Returners: LB Kyle Szczyt, WR Dimitri Miles, Marco Owensby, DL Shaquan Rose,
Key Losses: RB Jayvon Benton, QB Richard Monday, RB/DB Jordan Bost-Floyd, Derrin Brown, Derrick Brown, DB Jevonte Crowsby
Head Coach Robert Andrews and the Rhodes Rams finished with a 7-4 record in 2017, narrowly missing out on a spot in the OHSAA playoffs before falling to John hay 20-16 in the City League Championship.
Now, heading into his second season as Head Coach, Andrews is excited about what lies ahead for the Rams despite losing star running back Jayvon Benton and other key contributors from last year’s squad.
“We have a great group of guys that have been working,” said Andrews. “We have great expectations for this group of kids… we’ve lost weight, we’re stronger, and when you watch these guys perform you’ll see them play at a higher level.”
Coach Andrews is very confident in his team’s abilities and how they will perform on the field in 2018.
“Rhodes although in the past was a Division one school, but performed at a Division five and Division six level. I think this year we’ve got Division one guys and they’ll play at a Division one level.”
John F. Kennedy Fighting Eagles
Head Coach – Christopher Hubbard (9th season)
2017 Record – 3-7
Key Returners: QB/DB Willie Johnson, WR Jeremie Nevels, FB Ishmael Haamid, OL/DL Matthew Gedson, OL/DL Maurice Stribling
Key Losses: RB/LB Keishawn Goodson, QB/DL Davion Harris, WR/DB Dantrel Tanner, WR/DB Norman Hagwood, WR Jalontae Jones, DL/WR Yasin Sayles
The Fighting Eagles head into 2018 without running back Keishawn Goodson and quarterback Davion Harris, but the return of quarterback Willie Johnson as well as wide receiver Jeremie Nevels and fullback Ishmael Haamid should give the JFK football program all the confidence in the world that they can improve upon the 3-7 finish from the 2017 season.
John Hay Hornets
Head Coach – Rodney Decipeda (11th season)
2017 Record – 5-5
Key Returners: RB Jalyn Sweeney, WR/RB Raequan Davis-Hereford, RB Delonte Turner, DB/RB Brandon Kelley, WR Damaris Makupson, WR/DB Ray’Quan Davis, OL Thomas Aston, OL/DL Shawn McAllister, OL/DL Jakada Lanier
Key Losses: RB/DB Jalen Boyd, QB/DB Tyrese Benson, WR/DB Javaughn Williams, RB/LB Damar Jackson, LB Malik Hagler, OL/DL Rickey Smith, OL/DL Bobby Pillar, DB Demarje Hogan
The John Hay Hornets finished with a 5-5 record in 2017 but avenged a regular-season loss to Rhodes in Week 11, when they defeated the Rams 20-16 to claim their third straight Cleveland City Championship, which is an annual match-up between the two best teams in the Senate league that don’t make the OHSAA state playoffs.
Head Coach Rodney Decipeda knows the loss of a lot of his key players from last season like Javaughn Williams, Jalen Boyd, and Tyrese Benson, is going to be a tough pill to swallow.
“Last year we had a really talented senior class and a lot of hardship when our quarterback was shot and killed in the summer, some key injuries, and just a lot of obstacles, but our senior class came in strong, we finished well in winning the Senate League City (Championship) game. We had eight guys on signing day playing college ball, so I’m really happy for them and we’re going to miss a lot of those guys.”
But this season, the Hornets return a lot of key weapons on both sides of the ball, including wide receiver/linebacker Damaris Makupson.
“A key leader, as far as athletically, as well as our emotional leader is Damaris Makupson on both sides of the ball, as an outside backer and as a wide receiver and backup quarterback,” said Decipeda. “He really sets the tone, he’s got an edge to him, he’s strong, and he’s a 3.6 (GPA) student. He’s a good kid but he’s a pretty nasty football player.”
Coach Decipeda made it clear, however, that the biggest key to their team is up front. Where a trio of veteran linemen return.
“That’s really the strength of our team,” added Decipeda. “Thomas Aston at center, Jakada Lanier, and Shawn McAllister, all of those guys are close to 300 pounds, but they got feet and they can move, so up front that is where our strength is.”
John Marshall Lawyers
Head Coach – Terrance Cleggett (3rd season)
2017 Record – 3-7
Key Returners: QB Rasheed Roundtree, RB/LB Taevyn Coles, DB John Jackson, DB/WR Doug Clements, WR/DB John Rhein, FB/LB Marcellus Blade, WR/LB Carl Polk, LB Cervante White
Key Losses: LB/TE Devyn Ellis, RB Willie Branch, WR/LB Abedalla Awadallah, FB/DL Allen Dixon, WR Edwin Settles, OL/LB Dwayne Stowers
Head Coach Terrance Cleggett now enters his third season in leading the John Marshall Lawyers. After a 3-7 finish in their 2017 campaign, the Lawyers bring back a host of skilled athletes on both sides of the ball, including their quarterback Rasheed Roundtree and running back Taevyn Coles.
This could be the season that John Marshall pushes towards the front of the Senate League standings with the return so many lettermen and losing close match-ups last season to John hay, East Tech, and Rhodes.
Lincoln West Wolverines
Head Coach – Ron Schroth (2nd season)
2017 Record – 0-10
Key Returners: RB Chase McMichael
Key Losses: RB Nick Dottore, QB Cortez Robinson, RB Jah’Rod Wilson, DL Jeff Mays, DL Terrance Dunlap
The Wolverines are looking to take a significant jump forward in 2018 after unfortunately finishing 0-10 in 2017.
Head Coach Ron Schroth loses a few key pieces on the offensive and defensive side of the ball but returns running back Chase McMichael in addition to plenty of other underclassmen who gained valuable experience last season.