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 III
Division III Storylines
Few programs have enjoyed the historical run Trotwood-Madison
is on since 2010. The Rams have won eight straight regional titles and captured their second state title last year. Trotwood must replace a lot of firepower, including standout running back Raveion Hargrove (over 6,000 career yards and 100 touchdowns) and quarterback Markell Stephens-Peppers (62 career touchdown passes). The Rams, though, have shown a penchant for producing winners and this year should be no different. Who else will be around at the end? * Can Trotwood-Madison repeat?
Recent history says the Rams be a major player in November – and December. Trotwood returns six All-Greater Western Ohio Conference players, including the reigning South Division Player of the Year (Kennedy Coates). Offensively there will be some new names getting the ball. Winton Woods (Cincinnati)
, Simeon (Chicago, Ill.)
and Pickerington Central
is a tough starting trio. A showdown with Wayne (Huber Heights)
awaits in Week 10. * Will Archbishop Alter (Kettering) win Region 12?
If anyone in Region 12 can stop Trotwood’s run, Alter appears the likely favorite. The Knights have made 17 straight playoff trips and will ride 14 returning All-Greater Catholic League players including the highly-touted senior backfield of quarterback Connor Bazelak
(Missouri commit) and running back John Bivens
. Bivens, coming back from a season-ending knee injury late last year, holds 10 offers, including USC, Nebraska, West Virginia, Purdue, Indiana, Louisville and Kentucky. A newly scheduled Week 3 game with neighboring D-I power Centerville
highlights the schedule. * Is Padua Franciscan (Parma) ready to make another final?
The Bruins reached the postseason for the first time since 2010 last year and won their regional quarterfinal. Enough talent returns (see below) for them to reach the program’s first state final since 1979 (the first year the school reached the playoffs). Look for Bay (Bay Village)
, University School (Hunting Valley)
and Mansfield Senior
to also make nice runs in Region 10 where defending champ Central Catholic (Toledo)
has been elevated to D-II thanks to Competitive Balance. * How good can Granville be?
The Blue Aces reached the postseason for the seventh time in school history last year, but failed to win the program’s first postseason game falling 55-28 at Bellefontaine
. Many expect this to be the season Granville gets it done. The Blue Aces return a stable of talent (see below) that should produce some prolific offense. They also have a new head coach in veteran Justin Buttermore who led Tri-Valley (Dresden)
to the D-III state final last year. Bishop Hartley (Columbus)
(three state titles last eight years), St. Francis de Sales (Columbus)
and Marion-Franklin (Columbus)
figure to impact the Region 11 playoffs heavily as well. A sleeper? How about regional newcomer Bellbrook
, which is 7-3 each of the last two years and enters the season the favorite in the Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division. * Who wins Region 9?Kenston (Chagrin Falls)
, looking for its first playoff berth since a string of three straight ended in 2014, returns a tremendous offensive nucleus of All-Ohio players in junior running back Jack Porter, senior receiver Bransen Stanley
and senior offensive lineman Alex Robarge
. Will that be enough to topple a deep field? Aurora
(13 straight playoff trips), St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron)
(nine), Buckeye (Medina)
(five) and Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (Chardon)
(four) will all have a say as to who survives November. The region welcomes New Philadelphia
(seven straight playoff appearances), West Holmes (Millersburg)
and Lake Catholic (Mentor)
Players to Watch
Remember these guys…you'll see some on Saturdays – soon. * Quarterbacks
* Running Backs
* Tight Ends
* Offensive Line
* Defensive Line
* Defensive Backs
Who we think makes the Elite Eight and few more programs that might make the trip instead.
Who wins Region 9?
Kenston over St. Vincent-St. Mary
Who wins Region 10?
Padua Franciscan over Mansfield Senior
Who wins Region 11?
Hartley over Granville
Who wins Region 12?
Trotwood-Madison over Alter
Who Wins it All?
Keep An Eye On
New Philadelphia, Celina
, Jackson, Notre Dame-Cathedral Lation, Columbus DeSales, Marion-Franklin, Eastmoor Academy (Columbus)
, Tippecanoe (Tipp City)
* Hartley at Toledo Central Catholic, Aug. 24
Two Ohio parochial powers square off in what has become their annual opener. The two have combined for seven state finals and five state titles since 2010. * DeSales at Lancaster, Aug. 31
The Stallions travel southeast to tangle with the D-I Golden Gales at Fulton Field, which will be hosting its first game on newly installed synthetic turf. Big computer points on the line early. Atmosphere should be electric.* Granville at Northland (Columbus), Sept. 7
Solid early season road game for the Blue Aces. The defenses will be tested. * Alter at Centerville, Sept. 7
Thanks to cancellations by two Canadian teams these two south suburban Dayton teams square off in a rare meeting. The teams have played just five times with the last coming before a Centerville Stadium capacity crowd (8,000-plus) in 2010. * Pickerington Central at Trotwood-Madison, Sept 7
The defending D-III state champs host the defending D-I state champs.