Benjamin Logan, Indian Lake and Northwestern to try to knock off Urbana.
This season will be Urbana’s last in the Central Buckeye Conference Mad River Division. The Hillclimbers will move to the Kenton Trail next year to even the conference’s divisions at five teams each. Current CBC Kenton Trail teams Stebbins and Tippecanoe will leave for the GWOC next season.
Urbana hasn’t lost a Mad River Division game since 2010 and will try to keep its streak alive in its final season in the division. But the Hillclimbers lose many key players from last season, especially on offense.
Gone is multiple-year staring quarterback Nathan Mays. Mays threw for 9,282 yards and 113 touchdowns in his career. Levi Boettcher will take over at quarterback for Urbana. He’ll be one of six new starters on defense for the Hillclimbers. Urbana loses every skill position starter from last season, but returns much of its offensive line and defense.
Meanwhile, Indian Lake and Northwestern return most of their starters from last season. They, along with Benjamin Logan, will try to use their experience and beat the Hillclimbers this season.
Northwestern returns every starter on offense and eight starters on defense. The Warriors will try make a run the Mad River title after losing their first three conference games last year. Trevor Gebby (1,508 passing yards and 17 touchdowns) is back at quarterback, as are his top three receivers.
Indian Lake and Benjamin Logan also have many returning players, including their quarterbacks. The Lakers’ Alex Jacobs threw for 1,265 yards and eight touchdowns last season and rushed for 663 yards and five scores last season. Benjamin Logan’s Trey Wilson threw for 1,901 yards and 22 touchdowns a year ago.
Read more about every CBC Mad River Division team in the below capsules.
2014 Results: 4-6 (3-2 Mad River).
Division: IV, Region 12.
Head Coach: Jeff Fay, 2nd season.
Key Losses: Mack Horton (WR), Brady Bechtel (RB/LB), Kyle Ackley (LB), Davis Bowers (WR/DB), Saul Boysel, (OL/DL).
Key Returnees: Trey Wilson, Jr. (QB/DB); Nick Brown, Jr. (DB/RB); Jarret Matthews, Sr. (WR/DB); Spencer Bycynski, Sr. (WR/DB); Cole Craig, Sr. (OL/DL); Mason Roberts, Jr. (OL/DL); Andy Griffith, Jr. (LB); Joel Dixon, Jr. (DB/WR); Ryan Sheeley, Sr. (LB); Austin VanBuskirk, Jr. (LB, OL).
Need to Know: The Raiders put up big numbers in 2014 after increasing their emphasis on passing. They improved to a 4-6 record after winning only one game the year before. They’ll try to keep the momentum up and make a run at the conference title with several returning starters this season. Junior quarterback Trey Wilson returns after throwing for 1,901 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. His favorite targets (Mack Horton and Davis Bowers) have graduated, but the team returns a key receiver in Jarret Matthews. Matthews led the team with 685 receiving yards on 34 catches and had eight receiving touchdowns. Though the Raiders lose their top two tacklers from last season on defense, Nick Brown (61 tackles, six sacks) and Austin VanBuskirk (58 tackles) are back with experience. Five other starters return on defense.
Key Games: Sept. 4 home against West Liberty-Salem, Sept. 25 at Bellefontaine, Oct. 9 home against Urbana, Oct. 30 home against Indian Lake.
2014 Results: 2-8 (1-4 Mad River).
Division: IV, Region 12.
Head Coach: A.J. Woods, 1st season.
Key Losses: Cole Theodor (RB/LB); Josh Couchman (RB/LB); Conner Burr (RB/DB); Sterling Maurice (OL/DL); Cody Reed (WR/DB); Anthony Hess (DB/K).
Key Returnees: Gage Baun, So. (QB/DB); Victor McGowen, Sr. (QB/DB); Trace Smail, Sr. (RB/DB); Stephen Dunham, So. (RB/DL); Dillon Driskoll, Jr. (OL/DL); Allen St. Myers, Sr. (OL/DL); Dalton Hanlin, Sr. (DB/RB); Dylan Nave, Sr. (OL/DL); Nick Newport, Sr. (RB/LB).
Need to Know: A.J Woods takes over as head coach for John Tullis, who resigned after one year. He’ll try to revive a Falcons program that has won an average of two games per season the last five years. Graham will have to replace some of its best players from their recent seasons. Gone is Cole Theodor, who was the team’s leading rusher and tackler last season. Sophomore Gage Braun (239 passing yards, 0 touchdowns) is back at quarterback. Trace Smail (268 yards, two touchdowns) is the team’s leading returning rusher. The team’s leading receivers return in Dalton Hanlin (102 receiving yards) and Tyler Powell (91). Some experience returns on defense. Dillon Driskill (67 tackles, 3.5 sacks) and Stephen Dunham (46 tackles, 3 sacks) are the team’s leading returning tacklers.
Key Games: Oct. 4 home against Catholic Central, Oct. 9 home at Greenon, Oct. 30 home against Urbana.
2014 Results: 0-10 (0-5 Mad River).
Division: V, Region 18.
Head Coach: Kevin Ferguson, 2nd season.
Key Losses: Tyler Restau (RB/DB/K), Aaron Leciejewski (OL/DL), Jacob Whetsel (OL/DL), Cole Lewis (RB/LB); Levi Kravos (RB/LB); Corey Williams (RB/DB); Austin Webster (WR/DB); B.J. Miller (OL/DL);
Key Returnees: Nick Aldrich, Sr. (OL/DL); Derek Brown, So. (RB/DB); Frankie Gmuca, Jr. (DB/RB); Tyler Johnson, Sr. (OL/DL); Jonathan Thorne, Jr. (RB/DB).
Key Newcomers: Cole Cleveland, Sr. (WR/LB); Matt Dawes, Jr. (WR/DB); Nick Preston, So. (OL/DL).
Need to Know: Greenon struggled throughout last season. The Knights’ closest game was a 13-point loss to London in week two. Greenon hopes to get back on the winning track and even surprise people this year. The Knights will have to do it with many new players. All key offensive skill players from last season have graduated or have not returned to the team. Greenon loses its top eight tacklers on defense. Derek Brown (19 yards on six carries) is the team’s leading returning rusher. Frankie Gmuca (12 tackles) is the team’s leading returning tackler.
Key Games: Aug. 28 at Catholic Central, Sept. 11 home against Middletown Christian, Oct. 9 home against Graham, Oct. 30 home against Northwestern.
2014 Results: 5-5 (4-1 Mad River); second place Mad River Division.
Division: IV, Region 12.
Head Coach: Dave Coburn.
Key Losses: Cody Winegardner (OL/DL); Hunter Vance (RB/DB), Ivan Reichert (WR/DL), Don Paul Thompson (WR/DB); Josh Smith (RB/DB).
Key Returnees: Alex Jacobs, Jr. (QB/DB), Nate Kaffenbarger, Jr. (RB/DB); Andrew Hulbert, Jr. (RB/DB); Tyler Reprogle, Jr. (WR/DB); Branden Henderson, Jr. (RB/LB); Zayne Hakes, Jr. (RB/LB); Steven Polley, Jr. (OL/DL); Cole Merritt, Sr. (RB/DB), Parker Grothaus, Jr. (K); Joey Davidson, Sr. (OL/LB); Steven Major, Sr. (OL/DL).
Need to Know: Indian Lake struggled in nonconference play, losing three games by 20 or more points. But the Lakers rebounded in conference play with a 4-1 record and won three conference games by five or more touchdowns. The Lakers were tied with league champion Urbana before the Hillclimbers scored a late touchdown to earn a one-touchdown win. Led by a strong junior class, Indian Lake is looking take last season’s momentum, win the Mad River and make the school’s first playoff berth. There are plenty of returning starters to make both goals realistic. Quarterback Alex Jacobs returns to lead the Lakers’ offense. Jacobs threw for 1,265 yards and eight touchdowns rushed for 663 yards and five scores last season. Running back Cole Merritt (500 rushing yards, 9 touchdowns in 2014) and receiver Tyler Reprogle (265 receiving yards) also return. Tight end Joey Davidson (299 rushing yards, 240 receiving yards) is another key returnee on offense. Davidson, also a linebacker, was the Mad River’s 2014 defensive player of the year and led the Lakers with 107 tackles. Steven Major (63 tackles, 4.5 sacks), Branden Henderson (52, 2.5) and Zayne Hakes (38, 1) are also among the team’s returning defensive starters. Parker Grothaus returns to handle kicking duties. Indian Lake’s experience will be needed early. The schedule stays the same as last season, with key nonconference games against Triad and three CBC Kenton Trail teams that made the playoffs in Div. III last year.
Key Games: Aug. 28 home against Triad, Sept. 4 at Kenton Ridge, Sept. 18 at Bellefontaine, Sept. 25 home against Tippecanoe, Oct. 23 home against Urbana, Oct. 30 at Benjamin Logan.
2014 Results: 4-6 (2-3 Mad River).
Division: V, Region 18.
Head Coach: Seth Whiting, fourth season (16-14 record at school).
Key Losses: Andrew Franzen (DB), Jacob Dooley (RB/DB), Matt Shaw (QB/DB), Kelly Sullivan (K).
Key Returnees: Cole Baldwin, Sr. (RB/DB); Cole Brewer, Sr. (WR/DB); Trevor Gebby, Sr. (QB/DB); Logan Voorhees, Sr. (WR/LB); Jamie Mullen, Sr. (OL/DL), Landen Rohrer, Sr. (OL/LB); Shane Salley, Sr. (WR/DB); Austin Keplinger, Sr. (WR/DB); Justin Rayburn, Sr. (OL/DL); Jake Riedinger, Sr. (OL/DL); Cory Angell, Sr. (OL/DL); Tanner White, Jr. (WR/DB); .
Key Newcomers: Liam Burns, So. (WR/DB); Xavier Voorhees, Jr. (WR/DB).
Need to Know: After posting a 7-3 record (including a forfeit by Shawnee) in 2013, the Warriors took a bit of a step back last year. Northwestern suffered a hard five-game losing streak in the middle of the season, with all but one of those losses coming by 35 or more points. The Warriors finished the season with double-digit wins over Graham and Greenon and look to carry that momentum in 2015 and get back on the winning track. Northwestern has every starter back on offense and eight returning starters on defense. Trevor Gebby returns to lead the team at quarterback. Gebby threw for 1,508 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. His favorite target returns in Cole Brewer (688 receiving yards, eight touchdowns). Logan Voorhees (225, 2), Shane Salley (224, 3) and Austin Keplinger (157, 1) are also key returning receiving targets. Voorhees also rushed for 379 yards and two scores. Running back Cole Baldwin (380 rushing yards, two touchdowns) is another key weapon on offense. The Warriors’ lose their top tackler from last season but return most of the rest of their defense. Voorhees, also a linebacker, is the top returning tackler. He has 63 tackles and one interception last year. Justin Rayburn (41 tackles, 2.5 sacks) and Jamie Mullen (21, 1) are key returnees on the defensive line, and Baldwin is a key returnee at defensive back. With so much returning experience and a drop to Division V, the Warriors hope to make a run at their first playoff berth and Mad River Division title. Their schedule is tough again. The Warriors have a nonconference game against Mechanicsburg and crossover games against Kenton Ridge and Shawnee before starting Mad River play.
Key Games: Aug. 29 home against Southeastern, Sept. 11 at Mechanicsburg, Sept. 25 at Kenton Ridge, Oct. 9 at Indian Lake, Oct. 16 at Urbana, Oct. 30 at Greenon.
2014 Results: 7-3 (5-0 Mad River), first place Mad River Division.
Division: IV, Region 12.
Head Coach: Jon Daniels, 1st season.
Key Losses: Nathan Mays (QB), Cody Grim (WR/DB), Ethan Edwards (WR/DB); Aaron Lawson (OL/LB); Jaymen Neff-Strickland (WR/DB), Andrew Burkhart (OL/DB), Tyree Andrews, Sr. (RB/LB).
Key Returnees: Sam Niswonger, Sr. (WR/DB); Jacob Angles, Sr. (OL/LB); Kaleb Bowdle, So. (WR/DB); Cooper Johnson, So. (K); Keith Gale, Sr. (OL/DL); Zach Vernon, Jr. (OL/LB); Zach Michael, Sr. (OL/DL); Dillon Hasford, Jr. (OL/DL); Mitchell Moyer, Jr. (RB/LB); Nick Johnson, Jr. (RB/LB); Adam Gaver, So. (RB/LB).
Key Newcomers: Levi Boettcher, So. (QB); Alex Lohnes, So. (WR/DB); Devin Trent, So. (WR/DB).
Need to Know: The Hillclimbers had another banner regular season last year, with a 7-3 record and Mad River Division title. The Hillclimbers haven’t lost a conference game since week six of 2010. But the bulk of last year’s offense has graduated, as has some of the team’s best defensive players. To keep up its conference winning streak and post another winning record, Urbana’s new starters will have to get accustomed to varsity fast. Urbana’s most notable loss from last season is Nathan Mays, who was the program’s starting quarterback for four seasons. Levi Boettcher will take over at quarterback after a year on junior varsity. Boettcher will be one of the largest quarterbacks in the conference at 6-5, 195 pounds. The top three receivers from last year’s team have graduated, and the top five rushers will not return. Sam Niswonger (127 receiving yards) is the team’s leading returning receiver. Alex Lohnes, Devin Trent and Zach Michael will also be targets for Boettcher. Mitchell Moyer and Adam Gaver will be the team’s go-to running backs. Most of the Hillclimbers’ offensive line from last season returns. On defense, its top tackler returns in linebacker Zach Vernon (75 tackles, two interceptions). But the team’s second and third leading tacklers are gone. Jacob Angles (57, 1) also returns at linebacker. Zach Michael (55, three sacks) looks to anchor the defensive line. Niswonger (50 tackles) is the top returning defensive back. Wittenberg graduate and former Springboro assistant Jon Daniels takes over as head coach for Nic Marino, who resigned last January to take the head coaching job at Anna. Daniels is Urbana’s third head coach in the last three years. The Hillclimbers have a strong nonconference game at Piqua and rivalry game against Bellefontaine looming in the first three weeks of the season.
Key Games: Sept. 4 at Piqua, Sept. 11 home against Bellefontaine, Oct. 16 home against Northwestern, Oct. 23 at Indian Lake, Oct. 30 at Graham.