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 I
Division I Storylines
Ohio's largest division never disappoints. Loaded with legend, talent and tremendous programs, the Buckeye State's big school classification ranks among the country's most revered and competitive football haunts. Here are a few of the glaring narratives heading into the latest gauntlet.* Are Ohio's Best Two Teams in Pickerington?
The case can be made. Pickerington Central
captured the city's first football state title last year with a 56-28 win over Mentor in the D-I state final. After dismantling Dayton powers Wayne (Huber Heights)
, Pickerington North
lost to the Tigers in the regional final. Both teams return an immense amount of talent led by a pair of dynamic quarterbacks in junior Demeatric Crenshaw (Central) and senior Mike Lowery (North). * Who survives Region 1? Mentor
must replace some significant offensive production from last year's state finalist, but the Cardinals own two of the country's top linemen in Ohio State commits Noah Potter (DL) and Ryan Jacoby (OL). St. Edward (Lakewood)
and St. Ignatius (Cleveland)
will continue to have a say in the state finals with their usual onslaught of talent. Euclid
returns several key players from last year's regional semifinal squad. Want a dark horse? How about Berea-Midpark
led by senior quarterback Trevor Bycznski who recently verballed to Rice. * Will Whitmer (Toledo) win it all?
Riley Keller is reason enough to believe. The quarterback is considered the 10th best junior prospect in Ohio (and the 24th top pro-style quarterback recruit nationally) by the 247sports.com composite rankings. Currently holding six offers (including Mississippi and West Virginia), Keller spent his June camping at Ohio State, Alabama, Michigan State, North Carolina and WV. Other favorites in Region 2? Don't forget about Lorain
. The Titans return a ton of talent. Dublin Coffman
, Lincoln (Gahanna)
, Upper Arlington (Columbus)
, Olentangy (Lewis Center)
, Olentangy Orange (Lewis Center)
and Olentangy Liberty (Powell)
all figure to affect how November plays out.* Who is the Big Dog in Dayton?
Two years removed from back-to-back D-I state championship games, Wayne would be the early season lean in the Gem City. Three-year starting senior quarterback Rashad Mckee returns to lead the Warriors potent offense. Northmont (Clayton)
will not go lightly. The T-Bolts will lean on an experienced quarterback of their own in senior Miles Johnson. The defense will be anchored by Michigan defensive line recruit Gabe Newburg. Centerville? Never count the Elks out. Freshman quarterback Chase Harrison could get the nod in Week 1. He holds an offer from Louisville. * Who wins the GCL South (and Region 4)?
Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati)
went 0-3 in the GCL South last year, won four games and still qualified for the playoffs. Expect better results even though the Crusaders' schedule is again brutal. Moeller returns five first team All-Greater Catholic League South players. St. Xavier (Cincinnati)
must replace 14 All-GCL players, while Elder (Cincinnati)
returns six. Colerain (Cincinnati)
, last year's regional champion, returns 11 All-Greater Miami Conference players (including seven first-teamers). Uh-oh.
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 1?
Mentor over St. Ignatius
Who wins Region 2?
Whitmer over Lorain
Who wins Region 3?
Pickerington Central over Pickerington North
Who wins Region 4?
Colerain over St. Xavier
Who Wins it All?
Keep An Eye On
St. Edward, Moeller, Wayne, Northmont, Elder, Euclid, Berea-Midpark, Olentangy Orange
Key Games* Phillips (Chicago, Ill.) at Pickerington Central, Aug. 26
The Tigers – Ohio's defending D-I state champions – tangle with Illinois' reigning 5A champs. Phillips captured its second state title in three years last season and the first ever for a Chicago Public League team in 2015. * St. Xavier at Colerain, Aug. 31
Apart from the city's Greater Catholic League rivalries, this is the big one in the Queen City. Colerain fell 20-17 in overtime to St. X last year in Week 2 before extracting revenge with a 21-14 win over the Bombers in the Region 1 final. Four of the teams last six games have gone to OT. * Pickerington Central at Trotwood-Madison, Sept. 7
A pair of defending state champions square off as the Tigers (D-I) head west to take on the Rams (D-III). * Pickerington North at Pickerington Central, Oct. 12
A hometown rivalry rematch of last year's Region 3 final. Hopefully you already have a ticket. * St. Ignatius at St. Edward, Oct. 26
The Wildcats and legendary coach Chuck Kyle (11 state titles at St. Ignatius) carry a 30-24-1 advantage into the 56th rendition of the Holy War.