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 VII
Division VII Storylines
This classification has held five championships since its inception and the Midwest Athletic Conference has four titles and finished runner-up the year it didn’t win. Domination. New year, same story? * Which MAC team will make the final? Minster
, St. John's (Delphos)
or New Bremen
? Only one can make it since all three reside in Region 28. Minster is the defending state champions and has played in three state finals (two titles) in four years. Graduation hit the roster hard like it will in small schools, but the Wildcats have built a program that’s shown a penchant for reloading rather than rebuilding. Seniors Jack Heitbrink
(linebacker), August Boehnlein (linebacker) and Cody Frericks
(receiver) return. All three were All-MAC. Delphos St. John’s, last year’s regional runner-up (lost 20-0 to Minster in final), returns two All-MAC players in seniors Jared Wurst
(defensive end) and Hunter Bonifas
(lineman). New Bremen, which owns two playoff berths in school history (2004 and 1988), returns a pair of All-MAC players in seniors Andrew Bowers (lineman) and Brandon Heitkamp (defensive end).* Can someone else win Region 28?
Certainly. Lehman Catholic (Sidney)
, which has been on the payoffs five straight years, returns a strong nucleus – quarterback Elliott Gilardi
(senior), linebacker Drew Barhorst
(junior) and kicker Michael Denning (senior) – from last year’s team that fell 14-7 to DSJ in the regional semifinals. A revamped offensive line will have a lot to say in how far Lehman goes. Crestview (Convoy)
, which lost 35-32 to Minster in the regional semifinals last year, returns standout seniors Drew Kline
(quarterback) and receiver/defensive back Wade Sheets
. Fort Loramie
is looking for its ninth playoff appearance in 10 years. * Can Cuyahoga Heights (Cleveland) make it three in a row?
The Redskins are coming off back-to-back state runner-up finishes (one each in D-VI and VII) and out to defend their Region 25 title. Making it to a third straight state final isn’t out of the cards, but CH must replace seven first team All-Northeast Lakes District players including the offensive and defensive players of the year. Toronto
, John F. Kennedy Catholic (Warren)
, East Canton
figure to factor heavily into November too. * Who wins Region 27?
The preseason favorite looks to be Trimble (Glouster)
. The Tomcats, who have been to the playoffs eight years in a row and were state runners-up in 2013, return five All-Ohioans including quarterback Cameron Kittle (junior), running back Conner Wright (senior) and all-purpose back Max Hooper (senior). Last year’s regional champion – Danville
– returns four senior All-Ohioans in Corbin Hazen (receiver), Dylan Wilson (lineman), Reese Dorsey (kicker) and Christopher Greenawalt
(lineman). Others expected to make playoff runs are Bishop Rosecrans (Zanesville)
, Harvest Prep (Canal Winchester)
and River (Hannibal)
. * Who can stop St. Paul (Norwalk)?
The Flyers won last year’s Region 26 title with three wins by the combined score of 146-27. Pencil them in as the favorite this season too. Senior linebacker Noah Good
returns to lead the defense. Pandora-Gilboa
, last year’s Region 26 runner-up, could make the Elite Eight again. Senior quarterback Jared Breece
is the reigning Northwest District offensive player of the year. McComb
will have one of the division’s best defenses with an All-Ohio senior at every level of the unit - Andrew Smith
(line), Brice Markel (linebacker) and Tanner Schroeder
(defensive back). Calvert (Tiffin)
returns a notable nucleus in senior All-Ohioans Austin Jones
(running back) and Nic Somodi
(defensive back) and All-Northwest District performers Luke Brickner
(line) and Josh Recker
(linebacker). Mohawk (Sycamore, Ohio)
returns a solid trio in seniors Keith Jenkins
(quarterback), Zach Hayman
(receiver) and Chris Klopp
returns five All-Northwest District players including the reigning lineman of the year (senior Eli Branham
). Junior running back Hunter Prince
was All-Ohio last year. Traditional power Patrick Henry (Hamler)
drops down from D-VI.
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 25?
Cuyahoga Heights over Windham
Who wins Region 26?
McComb over St. Paul
Who wins Region 27?
Trimble over Danville
Who wins Region 28?
Lehman Catholic over Minster
Who Wins it All?
Keep An Eye On
Pandora-Gilboa, Calvert, Mohawk, Edgerton, Delphos St. John’s, Convoy Crestview, Rosecrans, Toronto, East Canton, Fort Loramie
* Fort Recovery at Lehman Catholic, Aug. 24
The Cavaliers entertain their lone MAC foe of the season – until the playoffs. * Minster at Fort Loramie, Aug. 24
The Redskins and Wildcats renew their annual Shelby-Auglaize county Week 1 rivalry. The two have met five times in three years, including the postseason.* Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy at Trimble, Sept. 22
The Tomcats host D-V playoff regular CHCA in a game that crosses regional boundaries. Stiff test for Trimble. * Cuyahoga Heights at Kirtland, Sept. 28
Annual clash that decides Chagrin Valley Conference title. CH has played in two straight state finals and Kirtland has appeared in six in seven years. * McComb at Pandora-Gilboa, Oct. 5
The Panthers and Rockets face-off in a key Blanchard Valley Conference and Region 26 contest. McComb won the regular season meeting (49-27) last year, while P-G got revenge in the regional semifinal rematch (won 28-9).