Northwood picked to continue gridiron dominance
Northwood, which has won nine of the last 12 Toledo Area Athletic Conference football titles, has been picked to defend last year’s championship.
But the vote by the eight TAAC coaches was close.
Northwood had five first place votes in garnering 15 points, while Gibsonburg had two first place votes in getting 16 points.
Northwood Coach Ken James' Rangers
Following, in order, is Edon (24 points, one first place vote), Toledo Christian (30), Ottawa Hills (40), Cardinal Stritch Catholic (52), Hilltop (55), and Danbury (58).
Northwood will also be seeking its ninth playoff berth in school history, but the Rangers have only one postseason victory against eight losses.
However, veteran coach Ken James says he will only have three starters back on offense and four on defense after 19 seniors graduated.
Last year’s seniors were part of the football program’s best four-year run in school history — 33-11 overall, four playoff appearances and three TAAC titles.
And 2012 was the best season of them all.
The team went 10-1, won its second straight TAAC title and won eight of its games by at least 30 points. The Rangers averaged over 47 points per game and finished with 4,085 yards of total offense, including 2,971 yards rushing. On top of that, 13 players earned first-team all-league status.
This year, James expects to have six seniors returning, including five with considerable varsity experience. There are 13 juniors on the team, including eight with considerable playing time, and he expects 45 to 50 players to show up for practice Monday.
“We are a work in progress,” James said. “We have some kids who have the ability but don’t know what’s going on. We’re not going to throw a lot. Our quarterback candidates are at about 5-foo-8, 5-9, so we don’t have someone who can drop back and throw over pass defenders.”
James said he will continue implementation of the standard wishbone offense. Teams they will participate in scrimmages with are Lima Central Catholic, Sidney, Minster, Elmwood, Fremont St. Joseph Central Catholic, Otsego, and Leipsic.
The Rangers open the season at Ayersville, then host neighborhood rival Lake, and then play Woodward at Waite’s Mollenkopf Stadium.
Fourth-year Gibsonburg coach Steve Reser says he will have eight starters returning on each side of the ball. He expects to have six seniors, including five who played considerably on varsity last year, along with 13 juniors, 13 sophomores, and 6 to 12 freshman.
The Golden Bears will return quarterback Matt Tille and the speedy Isaih Arriaga returns at receiver and defensive back. Reser will employ a spread offense and 4-2-5 defense.
“Our strength is at our skilled positions, but it’s going to be a challenge putting a line together,” Reser said.
Gibsonburg, which hosted the coaches’ meeting Tuesday morning, opens at Elmwood, then hosts Lakota, and finishes non-league play by traveling to Fremont St. Joseph on a Saturday night. The Golden Bears scrimmage Hopewell-Loudon and Woodmore.
Cardinal Stritch is lead by first-year head coach Brian Wical, who leaves the coaching staff at Lima Central Catholic.
Wical says Stritch will have 18 returning letter winners, including two juniors who will battle for the starting quarterback nod, but the coach says there is a lot of work to do.
“We have a lot of kids who simply have not had a whole of fundamental instruction,” Wical said.
The Cardinals will employ a winged-T offense with a shotgun formation used at times, passing about 40 percent of the time. They will use a 3-5-3 on defense.
Wical is expecting four seniors, 10 juniors, 15 sophomores, and 4-5 freshman to join the team this year. He says about every junior will get varsity experience and so will eight sophomores.
All of Stritch’s home games this season are scheduled for Friday nights on Ted Federici Field at Clay’s Memorial Stadium. Their first three opponents are Woodward, Woodmore, and Lakota.
The Cardinals have scrimmages set up with Elmwood, Holgate, Arcadia, and Delta.
Fall sports practices were slated to begin August 1 for member schools of the Ohio High School Athletic Association in the sports of girls’ tennis, golf, cross country, field hockey, soccer and volleyball. In addition, schools that begin classes Aug. 16 or earlier may begin football practice Aug. 1 while all other all schools may begin football practice Aug. 5.
Of the OHSAA’s 821 member schools, 714 sponsor football teams, with a goal of being among the 224 playoff qualifiers when the final computer ratings are announced Sunday morning, Nov. 3. The OHSAA’s football postseason field expands to seven divisions this fall after having six divisions from 1994-2012. Eight qualifiers in each region (four regions per division) will earn playoff berths, except in Division I, where there are only two regions and thus there will be 16 regional qualifiers. See the link below for the regional maps.
During the 2013 playoffs, divisions II, III, IV and VI will play on Friday nights, while divisions I, V and VII will play on Saturday nights. One of the divisions playing on Friday night will play its state championship game on Thursday, Dec. 5. The other Friday divisions will play their state championship games on Friday, Dec. 6, while the Saturday divisions will play their state championships on Saturday, Dec. 7.
Game times will be announced after the state semifinals. The state championship games will be at Canton Fawcett Stadium and Massillon Paul Brown Tiger Stadium before moving to Ohio Stadium in Columbus for 2014 and 2015.
Owens all-sports champs
Owens Community College has been named the 2012-13 Ohio Community College Athletic Conference All-Sports Award champion.
The Express captured a share of or outright championships in four sports (men's soccer, women's volleyball, women's basketball and men's golf), while they finished second in two other sports (men's basketball and softball). The Express baseball team finished fourth.
The Express women's soccer team went 2-0 against OCCAC foe Cincinnati State, but there are only two schools in the OCCAC that compete in women's soccer. Therefore, the sport is not eligible for OCCAC awards or championships. The Express women's soccer team did, however, capture first place in the Region XII regular season standings.
Cincinnati State finished second in the All-Sports Award standings, while Columbus State finished third. The 2013-14 Express athletics year kicked off last Friday with the beginning of fall practice.
The East Toledo Family Center is beginning soccer registrations for the fall season beginning on August 5. Leagues will be forming for Grades K-1, 2-3, and 4-6. Register at the East Toledo Family Center or call 419-691-1429 for info