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 IV
Division IV Storylines
Do the state’s two best teams reside in the same region? Could we see a rematch in the state final? Is one region the state’s deepest? Is another it’s most wide-open? Division IV promises to be a wild ride.
* Who survives Region 16?Clinton-Massie (Clarksville)
and Wyoming (Cincinnati)
might be the top two teams in Ohio in D-IV and appear to be on a regional final collision course – again. Last year Massie beat Wyoming 28-7 for the regional title. Both programs have immense amounts of talent and big-time players (see below). Massie – state runner-up last season – has been to the playoffs 16 straight times and 17 overall. The Falcons own two state titles (2013 and 2012). Wyoming, which owns 23 playoff appearances, is looking for the program’s third state final and first since 1977 (won Class AA championship). The Cowboys own Ohio’s highest program winning percentage as well going 688-200-48 overall (.761-percent) since fielding its first team in 1931. London
, Shawnee (Springfield)
and Aiken (Cincinnati)
will have a say in November. Valley View (Germantown)
must replace 13 All-Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division players. Jonathan Alder (Plain City)
must replace 10 All-Central Buckeye Conference players. * What’s next for Steubenville?
After back-to-back state final losses to Bishop Hartley (Columbus)
, Big Red broke through last year for the program’s fourth state title and first since back-to-back championships in 2005-06. Steubenville has won five straight regional titles. Six All-East District players graduated, but Big Red has shown a penchant for following the next man up mantra. Head coach Reno Saccocia enters with 371 career wins, which is third all-time in Ohio history. As usual, Steubenville’s schedule is home-heavy with nine games at Harding Stadium (aka Death Valley). The lone road trip? Oct. 5 at New Philadelphia
. Big Red plays seven out-of-state opponents.* Who will survive Region 13?
With Steubenville having won five straight regional crowns, Big Red earns the preseason nod in an extremely brutal Region 13. Girard
, Cardinal Mooney (Youngstown)
, Ursuline (Youngstown)
, Poland Seminary
all return talent and have aspirations of making the state semifinals. Regional newcomers Woodridge (Peninsula)
(six straight playoff trips) and Buchtel (Akron)
drop down from D-III. There will be some really solid football teams that don’t even make the playoffs in this loaded region. * Who is the favorite in Region 15? Indian Valley (Gnadenhutten)
went undefeated last season and reached the playoffs for the fifth time in seven years. The returning talent (five OPSWA All-Ohio players) has Braves fans – and others – thinking regional title. Licking Valley (Newark)
returns a cast capable of playing late into November as does St. Clairsville
and Bloom-Carroll (Carroll)
. Don’t forget last year’s finalists Philo (Duncan Falls)
and John Glenn (New Concord)
either. * Is Region 14 the most wide-open in the state?
Arguably. With defending regional champion Shelby
hit hard by graduation, the Whippets appear unlikely to defend their crown. Who then takes it? There’s a lot to like about Memorial (St. Marys)
, Clearview (Lorain)
, Highland (Marengo)
. All return several talented units and players (see below) who are capable of making the difference in getting to and winning big games. Edison (Milan)
(three straight playoff trips) bumps up from D-V. Keep any eye on Kenton
. The Wildcats closed with four wins in their final five games. The lone loss was a 51-50 shootout at Elida
(D-III playoff team).
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 13?
Steubenville over Girard
Who wins Region 14?
St. Marys over Clearview
Who wins Region 15?
Indian Valley over Licking Valley
Who wins Region 16?
Wyoming over Clinton-Massie
Who Wins it All?
Keep An Eye On
Bellevue, London, Shawnee (Springfield), Urbana, Cardinal Mooney (Youngstown), Perry, St. Clairsville, Bloom-Carroll (Carroll), Highland (Marengo), Woodridge (Penninsula), Conneaut
* Marengo Highland at Bloom-Carroll, Aug. 24
Fantastic opener between two playoff teams with postseason aspirations again. B-C won last year’s meeting 35-34 in overtime. * Hartley at Clinton-Massie, Sept. 21
Two traditional powers square off in a match-up of run-oriented offenses. The clubs – who own postseason history – have each won two state titles and reached three state finals since 2012. * Steubenville at New Philadelphia, Oct. 5
Big Red hits the road for its lone regular season road game. New Philadelphia is a playoff regular (seven straight trips) and you can bet the fans at Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium will be ready for this one. * Celina at St. Marys, Oct. 12
Archrivals – located on opposite sides of Grand Lake St. Marys – square off in a match-up that – like last year – will have Western Buckeye League title and playoff implications.* Granville at Licking Valley, Oct. 19
The Panthers host the Blue Aces in a game that could decide the Licking County League title. Both teams have high postseason aspirations (an expectations).