Early contenders...the top team from each state
Who does MaxPreps consider the Buckeye State's top squad entering the 2018 season?
2018 Ohio High School Football Preview: Division VI
Division VI Storylines
Marion Local (Maria Stein)
have combined for 13 state finals appearances the last seven seasons. Don’t be shocked to see the two meet in December in a rematch of last year’s championship. It would be the third finals meeting between the two in four years. And the rubber match. * Will Marion Local and Kirtland meet again?
The likelihood is high. The Flyers have played in seven straight state finals and won their sixth title during that run with a 34-11 win over the Hornets. The Flyers only loss in the last seven state finals came in 2015 to – Kirtland. The Hornets, who have played in six state finals in seven years, return an immense amount of talent including five All-Ohioans (four on offense). The Flyers will build around four returning first team All-Midwest Athletic Conference players (running back Nolan Habodasz, receiver Nick Tangeman, linebacker Sam Huelsman and defensive back Matt Rethman). * Who can challenge Kirtland in Region 21?
We like Columbia (Columbia Station)
. The Raiders return a strong nucleus on offense that includes three returning All-Ohioans in seniors Brandon Coleman
(running back), Logan Wos (offensive line) and Cole Schwartz (tight end). Senior All-Ohio linebacker Danny Snakovsky
anchors the defense. Traditional power Mogadore
(19 straight playoff appearances) will have a say come November as will Catholic Central (Steubenville)
. Lutheran East (Cleveland Heights)
, Garaway (Sugarcreek)
, Norwayne (Creston)
are teams to watch. * Who can challenge Marion Local in Region 24?
The obvious answer is Coldwater
. The Flyers and Cavs met in the regional final last year with Marion winning convincingly (33-0). That loss denied Coldwater a ninth straight state final (the Cavs and Flyers were previously in different divisions). Another squad to watch is Ohio Heritage Conference power Mechanicsburg
(five straight playoff berths). Other teams of note include Covington
, Fort Recovery
, Lima Central Catholic
, St. Henry
and West Liberty-Salem
. * Who survives Region 23?
An incredibly deep region with no clear-cut favorite, but plenty of teams who could take the title. Dawson-Bryant (Coal Grove)
reached the regional final last year but must replace four seniors on the offensive line. The good news is plenty of experience returns at the skill positions (led by senior All-Ohio quarterback Nate Harmon
). Fairbanks (Milford Center)
finished 5-5 last year and 12th in the region, but returns as talented a cast as anyone (four returning All-Ohioans). Nelsonville-York
, last year’s regional champion, will again ride senior All-Ohio running back Keegan Wilburn
. Did we mention Shadyside
? The Tigers return their own All-Ohio running back in senior Connor Banco
. They also return a pair of All-Ohioans in tight end/receivers Sam Merryman
(junior) and Wyatt Schrader
(senior). Shenandoah (Sarahsville)
will lean on a trio of All-Ohioans in quarterback Boone Jones
(senior), linebacker Chase Chicwak
(senior) and defensive back Kendal Sherman
(junior). Fort Frye (Beverly)
? The Cadets have returning senior All-Ohioans in quarterback Tate Engle and running back Evan Schob. Sprinkle in additional contenders in Elgin (Marion)
, Grandview Heights (Columbus)
and Mt. Gilead
and this is a gauntlet. * Who wins Region 22?Liberty-Benton (Findlay)
won the title last year and annually factors into the regional equation. Two teams on the cusp of a long run are Gibsonburg
and Seneca East (Attica)
. Both made the playoffs last season but exited in the first round. Gibsonburg returns a pair of offensive threats in senior running back Bradley Mendoza
and senior defensive back Brady Jaso
. East will ride senior defensive standouts Blaine Swartzmiller
(line) and Dylan Cornwell (linebacker). Wynford (Bucyrus)
, Hillsdale (Jeromesville)
again figure to affect November. Wayne Trace (Haviland)
is a regional newcomer.
Players to Watch
Remember these guys…you'll see some on Saturdays – soon.
Who we think makes the Elite Eight and few more programs that might make the trip instead.
Who wins Region 21?
Kirtland over Columbia Station Columbia
Who wins Region 22?
Gibsonburg over Seneca East
Who wins Region 23?
Coal Grove Dawson-Bryant over Shenandoah
Who wins Region 24?
Marion Local over Coldwater
Who Wins it All?
Keep An Eye On
Mechanicsburg, Fort Recovery, Lima Central Catholic, Mogadore, Steubenville Catholic Central, Shadyside, Nelsonville-York, Fairbanks, Liberty-Benton, Wynford, Fort Frye
* Kirtland at Columbia Station Columbia, Aug. 31
A regional final preview in Week 2? We will find out real fast where both teams stand. Kirtland won last year’s game 49-14. * Newark Catholic at Seneca East, Aug. 31
The Green Wave heads north to face the host Tigers in a key game that will affect the region 22 and 23 playoffs. * Shadyside at Shenandoah, Sept. 21
Two of Ohio’s top southeast squads square off in a game with Region 23 and Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Class AA implications. * Mechanicsburg at Fairbanks, Oct. 26
If both teams have the kind of season we think they will, this game should be a dandy. The Burg won last year’s Week 10 meeting 30-14. Expect a much closer contest this time. * Marion Local at Coldwater, Oct. 26
A Week 10 meeting with Region 24 and MAC title implications. Can it get better than that? Yes. The 50/50 annually provides the winner $13,000-plus. No joke.