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Old 08-20-15, 08:00 PM
cphslFan cphslFan is offline
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2015 SOPL Football Preview

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/spor...-enq/32044251/

Shroder seeks unity to compete in revamped conference

John Snodgrass, jsnodgrass@enquirer.com 2:46 p.m. EDT August 20, 2015

The following is the Southwestern Ohio Public League preview for the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Gerald Warmack does not want to look back at 2014.

As wonderful as it was for the Shroder Jaguars, it is in the past. Last season marked the school's first appearance in the OHSAA playoffs, as well as a conference title. Both were accomplishments, but for Warmack and his team it was a stepping stone.

"We want to build on the future," Warmack said. "Make sure we can move ahead, keep it consistent and keep this thing rolling."

Warmack and the Jaguars will need to continue to lay that groundwork while navigating a new-look conference. The Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference will not field a football league this year, in its place will be a re-launched version of the Southwest Ohio Public League. Like the original SOPL, which existed from 2002 until 2007, the new league will be a mixture of Cincinnati and Dayton public schools.

The 14-team conference is broken into two divisions the American and National with Shroder occupying the American division along with Western Hills, Taft and Hughes. Dunbar, Meadowdale and Thurgood Marshall out of Dayton make up the final three spots in the division.

"This year, every week, it's going to be a physical team that we're going to have to get ourselves mentally and physically prepared to face," Warmack said of the new competition.

Shroder, 9-2 and 5-0 in the CMAC last season, will prepare for those matchups without several key figures from last year's squad. Gone is running back Tony Brown, a 1,500-yard rusher in 2014, as well as tight end Chalfonte Butler who is now at Kent State.

The Jags do return leading receiver Charles Gamble, 1,000-yard rusher Tre'son Martin and quarterback Taylor Holston. Warmack is also expecting contributions from a trio of seniors in Jayren Andrews, Nikia Smith and Brandon Showes.

"We're looking forward to facing adversity," Martin said. "We had a lot of people from last year that were a big impact on the team, but every year we have to step up. The (SOPL) is a difficult league, we play the Dayton teams and there will be close games. We broke many records last year but if we want to succeed, we have to win close games. We have to become one."

That sense of unity has served Shroder football well. It helped the football program reach the postseason. For those in Red and Gold it was only the beginning.

"The past was the past, it was a great year," Warmack said. "But these kids want to cement their own legacy and start something new."

Players to watch

Terrance Landers, Dunbar The reigning Dayton Public League offensive player of the year and all-district first-teamer currently has seven Division I offers including Iowa, Purdue and Pittsburgh, as well as several Mid-American Conference schools.

Nykwan Presswood, Taft A second-team all-district performer a season ago, Presswood led the Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference in rushing yards as a junior.

Tre'son Martin, Shroder Martin rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2014 and ranked third in the CMAC.

Samonte Griffin, Aiken The Falcon quarterback led the CMAC in passing a season ago and is poised to have a solid season under Aiken's new fast-paced offense.

Deshaun Anderson, Woodward Anderson's junior campaign may have started slow, but he is the CMAC's leading returning sack artist, and will be needed to fill the void left by Fanon Vines at defensive end.

Southwest Ohio Public League teams

American Division

Dunbar

Division: IV

Coach: Darran Powell (11-9)

2014 record: 6-4

Key Players: Sr. WR Terrance Landers; Jr. RB Jeffery Wagner; Jr. Ath. Keyshawn Jones; Sr. DB Jo'Quan Thomas; Sr. OL Jamir Thomas

Game to watch: Meadowdale, Oct. 2

Outlook: It is fitting that in the new-look SOPL the most heralded program has the most heralded recruit. Landers, a three-star target, holds seven Division I scholarship offers from such schools as Iowa, Purdue and Pittsburgh. The senior was the Dayton City League Offensive Player of the Year last season as well as being voted first-team all-district. The Wolverines' biggest weapon, however, is Jones. As a sophomore the all-purpose player starred in all three phases, making his mark as a receiver, defensive back and returner. Dunbar's mixture of speed and strength make them the favorite to win the American Division.

Schedule:

Aug. 28 - at Withrow

Sep. 4 - at Ponitz Career Tech

Sep. 11 - Princeton

Sep. 19 - Hughes (at Stargel Stadium), Saturday, 7 p.m.

Sep. 25 - at Shroder (at Stargel Stadium)

Oct. 2 - Meadowdale, 8:30 p.m.

Oct. 9 - at Western Hills

Oct. 16 - Thurgood Marshall

Oct. 23 - at Taft

Oct. 31 - Belmont, Saturday, 8:30 p.m.

*All home games and Dayton SOPL games at Welcome Stadium unless otherwise noted

Hughes

Division: III

Coach: Matt Thompson (14-26)

2014 record: 4-6

Twitter: @BIGREDATHLETICS

Key Players: Sr. QB David Sprawl; Sr. WR/DB DuashonGooden; Sr. Kalik Lewis RB/LB; Jr. Jawann Blair DE; Sr. Rob Jackson WR/FS

Game to watch: Woodward, Sept. 10

Outlook: Last season saw three different backs eat up large amounts of yardage for Hughes, but in 2015 only one of those running backs returns. Lewis will be the new focus of the offense for the Big Red, looking to top the seven touchdowns from his junior campaign. Sprawl split time at quarterback a season ago, but he will have full control of the team in his senior season. Look for him to target Gooden and Jackson this season. Jackson will also be a force in the defensive backfield while Blair Jawann Blair is the top returner on the defensive line. Thompson says that this is the most cohesive and hardest working group he has had in his five years at Hughes.

Schedule:

Aug. 28 - at Jefferson Township

Sep. 5 - Madeira, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Sep. 10 - Woodward, Thursday, 7 p.m.

Sep. 19 at Dunbar, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Sep. 24 Meadowdale, Thursday, 7 p.m.

Oct. 2 at Shroder

Oct. 10 Thurgood Marshall, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Oct. 17 at Western Hills, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Oct. 22 Aiken, Thursday, 7 p.m.

*All home and Cincinnati SOPL games at Stargel Stadium unless otherwise noted

Meadowdale

Division: IV

Coach: John Worthman IV

2014 record: 4-6

Game to watch: at Dunbar, Oct. 2

Schedule:

Aug. 27 Carroll Thursday at 7 p.m.

Sep. 3 Belmont Thursday at 7 p.m.

Sep. 10 Chaminade-Julienne Thursday at 7 p.m.

Sep. 19 at Shroder (at Stargel Stadium) Saturday at 4 p.m.

Sep. 24 at Hughes (at Stargel Stadium) Thursday at 7 p.m.

Oct. 2 at Dunbar 8:30 p.m.

Oct. 9 at Ponitz Career Tech

Oct. 17 Taft Saturday at 4 p.m.

Oct. 23 Thurgood Marshall

Oct. 31 Western Hills Saturday at 6 p.m.

*All home games and Dayton SOPL games at Welcome Stadium unless otherwise noted

Taft

Division: IV

Coach: Greg Conwell (17-13)

2014 record: 6-4

Twitter: @TaftNation

Key Players: SR. RB NykwanPresswood; Sr. OLB Adam Croft; Sr. QB Nijah Jackson; Sr. DB Rico Stanford; So. OG/DE Derrian Anderson

Game to watch: Shroder, Oct.<TH>9

Outlook: Presswood rushed for more than 1,600 yards in 2014 to lead the CMAC. The now-senior running back will need a similar output in 2015 in order for Taft to rise to the top of the American Division. Luckily, for him and the Senators, he is not the only offensive weapon returning. Jackson, who threw for nearly 1,200 yards last year is looking to improve upon a season that helped him earn all-conference praise. Led by Presswood and Jackson Taft has a strong returning core that should challenge for the division title.

Schedule:

Aug. 28 at Badin

Sep. 4 at Wyoming

Sep. 11 at Holy Cross (Ky.)

Sep. 18 Riverview East

Sep. 26 at Western Hills (at Western Hills) Saturday at 1 p.m.

Oct. 2 at Thurgood Marshall (at Welcome) 6 p.m.

Oct. 9 Shroder

Oct. 17 at Meadowdale (at Welcome Stadium) Saturday at 4 p.m.

Oct. 23 Dunbar

Oct. 30 Hughes

*All home and Cincinnati SOPL games at Stargel Stadium unless otherwise noted

Thurgood Marshall

Division: III

Coach: Robert Brown

2014 record: 6-4

Game to watch: at Trotwood Madison, Sept. 4

Schedule:

Aug. 28 at Miamisburg

Sept. 4 at Trotwood Madison

Sept. 11 at Alter

Sept. 18 Western Hills

Sept. 26 at Gamble Montessori (at Stargel Stadium) Saturday at 4 p.m.

Oct. 2 Taft

Oct. 10 at Hughes (at Stargel Stadium) Saturday at 7 p.m.

Oct. 16 at Dunbar

Oct. 23 at Meadowdale

Oct. 30 Shroder

*All home games and Dayton SOPL games at Welcome Stadium unless otherwise noted

Western Hills

Division: I

Coach: Jason Sparks

2014 record: 3-6

Twitter: @westhighsports

Key Players: Sr. RB Anton Kirby; Sr. WR JuwaunTye; Sr. DB Mitchell Hill; Sr. T Stephen Mack; Sr. C/DT YannisDailey

Game to watch: Cincinnati College Prep, Oct.<TH>2

Outlook: After a 3-6 season that saw assistants running the show at West High, new hire Jason Sparks takes the helm for the Mustangs. Returning four lineman from a season ago Mack, Marrico Ford, Dailey and James Roper Western Hills is looking to improve on a 2014 campaign that saw head coach Paul Renne step down just before the season opener in order to fight a personal bout with cancer. The big four will be the rock for the Mustangs offense as Kirby and Tye step in to playmaker rolls roles. As the lone Division I school in the SOPL, Western Hills will have a target on its back all season as a victory against the Mustangs could determine the playoff fate of several league rivals.

Schedule:

Aug. 28 Northwest

Sep. 4 at Turpin

Sep. 11 Roger Bacon

Sep. 18 at Thurgood Marshall (at Welcome Stadium)

Sep. 26 Taft Saturday at 1 p.m.

Oct. 2 Cincinnati College Prep

Oct. 9 Dunbar

Oct. 17 Hughes Saturday at 1 p.m.

Oct. 24 at Shroder (at Stargel Stadium) Saturday at 7 p.m.

Oct. 30 at Meadowdale (at Welcome Stadium) Saturday at 6 p.m.

National Division

Aiken

Division: V

Coach: Jeremy Pflug

2014 record: 1-9

Twitter: @AikenFalcons

Key Players: Sr. QB Samonte Griffin; Jr. LB/FB Monte Reece; Jr. RB/LB Nadarrien Duncan; Jr. WR/S Josh Smith; Jr. S/WR Eriquan Price

Game to watch: at Woodward, Oct. 2

Outlook: First-year Aiken coach Jeremy Pflug is bringing a new mentality to the Falcon program along with a new playbook. Pflug is promising an up-tempo offense and defense to go along with a more hardcore conditioning regiment. So far he has seen success as the program's numbers have almost tripled from a year ago. That could be a problem for the Falcons' SOPL rivals. With Griffin returning under center Aiken boasts one of the most dangerous athletes in the league the now-senior finished with 13 passing touchdowns a season ago as well as more than 1,700 passing yards. Pflug wants to play fast and get a play off every 12-15 seconds. That could mean a lot of fireworks.

Schedule:

Aug. 28 Bishop Brossart (Ky.)

Sep. 3 Jefferson Township Thursday at 7 p.m.

Sep. 11 at Lockland

Sep. 17 at Belmont (at Welcome Stadium) Thursday at 7 p.m.

Sep. 26 Pontiz Career Tech Saturday at 1 p.m.

Oct. 2 at Woodward

Oct. 10 Gamble Montessori Saturday at 4 p.m.

Oct. 16 at Cincinnati College Prep (at Western Hills)

Oct. 22 at Hughes

Oct. 31 at Riverview East Saturday at 7 p.m.

*All home and Cincinnati SOPL games at Stargel Stadium unless otherwise noted

Belmont

Division: III

Coach: Earl White

2014 Record: 6-4

Game to watch: at Dunbar, Oct. 31

Schedule:

Aug. 28 at Hamilton Township

Sep. 3 at Meadowdale Thursday at 7 p.m.

Sep. 11 at Liberty Union

Sep. 17 Aiken Thursday at 7 p.m.

Sep. 25 at Woodward

Oct. 1 Ponitz Career Tech Thursday at 7 p.m.

Oct. 10 at Cincinnati College Prep (at Western Hills) Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Oct. 15 Gamble Montessori Thursday at 7 p.m.

Oct. 24 at Riverview East (at Stargel Stadium) Saturday at 4 p.m.

Oct. 31 at Dunbar Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

*All home games and Dayton SOPL games at Welcome Stadium

Cincinnati College Prep

Division: VII

Coach: David Pool

2014 Record: 5-5

Game to watch: at Gamble Montessori, Sept. 19

Schedule:

Aug. 28 at Cincinnati Christian

Sept. 4 at Summit Country Day

Sept. 12 Manchester Saturday at 1 p.m.

Sept. 19 at Gamble Montessori (at Stargel Stadium) Saturday at 1 p.m.

Sept. 25 Riverview East

Oct. 2 at Western Hills

Oct. 10 Belmont Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Oct. 16 Aiken

Oct. 23 at Woodward

Oct. 29 at Ponitz Career Tech (at Welcome Stadium) Thursday at 7 p.m.

*All home games at Western Hills High School

Gamble Montessori

Division: VII

Coach: Stan West

2014 record: 5-5

Twitter: @gamblemont

Key Players: Jr. RB/LB James Andrews; Jr. QB/S Anfernee Lipscomb; Fr. FB/DL Kalos Farrier; Jr. WR/C Charles Mason; JR. OL/DL Nathan Peters

Game to watch: Cincinnati College Prep, Sept. 19

Outlook: The 2015 Gamble Gators are young. With only one senior on the roster, coach West will be looking to a talented junior class as well as some young talent to lead the way. This will be Gamble's fifth season of football and the Gators' first outside the Ohio Valley Athletic League. West states that the program has a two-year plan for the SOPL. As one of two Div. VII schools in the new league Gamble will be playing up in nearly all of their games, it also means they'll most likely have fewer players than every other squad they play. The Gators pride themselves on their speed they are very quick but with a 25-man roster, fatigue will be something that West will monitor throughout the season. They increased conditioning this offseason to help prepare for the SOPL.

Schedule:

Aug. 29 New Miami Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Sept. 3 at Lockland Thursday at 7 p.m.

Sept. 11 Clark Montessori

Sept. 19 Cincinnati College Prep Saturday at 1 p.m.

Sept. 26 Thurgood Marshall Saturday at 4 p.m.

Oct. 3 Riverview East Saturday at 7 p.m.

Oct. 10 at Aiken Saturday at 4 p.m.

Oct. 15 at Belmont (at Welcome Stadium) Thursday at 7 p.m.

Oct. 24 Ponitz Career Tech Saturday at 1 p.m.

Oct. 29 Woodward Thursday at 7 p.m.

*All home and Cincinnati SOPL games at Stargel Stadium

Ponitz Career Tech

Division: III

Coach: Jim Place (245-167-2, first year at Ponitz)

2014 record: 2-8

Key Players: Sr. C Tyrone Davenport; Sr. RB BranleyFemuels; SR. DB Mason McDonald; Sr. OT Tony Hale; SR. WR Aaron Chattman

Game to watch: Meadowdale, Oct. 9

Outlook: Jim Place is back. The Ohio High School Football Coaches Hall of Famer is taking over his eighth program as he steps in at Ponitz. Place, who won a state title at Chaminade-Julienne, has faith in the Golden Panthers' future. Led by seniors Davenport and Hale on the line, Femuels in the backfield and wide receivers like Chattman, sophomore Seth Richardson and basketball player-turned receiver, senior Geno Gillis, Ponitz hopes to boost an offense that scored less than nine points four times last season. Also new this year, is quarterback, senior Greg Brooks, and tight end, sophomore Cameron Beavers. With that influx of talent including 30 freshmen, most notable 6-foot-4, 205-pound quarterback Demontre Bailey there is a bright future for Place and Ponitz.

Schedule:

Aug. 29 at Clark Montessori (at Withrow) Saturday at 7 p.m.

Sept. 4 Dunbar

Sept. 11 - at Cincinnati Country Day

Sept. 17 - at Woodward Thursday at 7 p.m.

Sept. 26 - at Aiken (at Stargel Stadium) Saturday at 1 p.m.

Oct. 1 - at Belmont Thursday at 7 p.m.

Oct. 9 - Meadowdale

Oct. 17 - Riverview East Saturday at 1 p.m.

Oct. 24 - at Gamble Montessori (at Stargel Stadium) Saturday at 1 p.m.

Oct. 29 - Cincinnati College Prep Thursday at 7 p.m.

*All home games and SOPL Dayton games at Welcome Stadium unless otherwise noted

Riverview East

Division: V

Coach: Britt Smith (32-28)

2014 record: 4-6

Key Players: Sr. OL/DL Kerry Miller; So. TE/OL Bryce Hunt; Jr. WR/CB Maysico Tribble; Jr. OL/LB Kymahn Spencer; Fr. ATH Todd Hankerson

Game to watch: St. Bernard-Elmwood Place, Aug. 28

Outlook: For Riverview East the biggest obstacle this season will be their new conference. The Hawks feature a solid returning cast from a season ago but the step-up in competition will be the biggest test of the team's success. Smith is optimistic, however, stating that his team is very coachable and is on a mission to prove that it belongs with rest of the SOPL.

Schedule:

Aug. 28 St. Bernard-Elmwood Place

Sept. 12 Hillcrest Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Sept. 18 at Taft

Sept. 25 at Cincinnati College Prep (at Western Hills)

Oct. 3 at Gamble Montessori Saturday at 7 p.m.

Oct. 8 Woodward Thursday at 7 p.m.

Oct. 17 at Ponitz Career Tech (at Welcome Stadium) Saturday at 1 p.m.

Oct. 24 Belmont Saturday at 4 p.m.

Oct. 31 Aiken Saturday at 7 p.m.

*All home and SOPL games at Stargel Stadium unless otherwise noted

Woodward

Division: III

Coach: Derrick Davidson (4-6)

2014 record: 4-6

Key Players: Jr. OLB Demarco Baker; Sr. RB Maurice Mills; Jr. RB Will Coker; Sr. QB Landon Bryant; Sr. DE Deshaun Anderson

Game to watch: Aiken, Oct. 2

Outlook: Coker rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2014 and Mills added 9.3 yards per touch giving Woodward an impressive 1-2 punch. Maturation is expected out of Bryant this fall as he'll look to improve upon a junior campaign. On the defensive side of the ball, Woodward returns its second-leading tackler in Baker and second-leading sack man in Anderson. Both will look to help fill the large void left by standout Fanon Vines. In all, Davidson has 13 returning starters that should help the second-year coach improve upon a promising first season and compete for the first-ever SOPL National Division title.

Schedule:

Aug. 28 at Walnut Hills

Sept. 4 North Adams Club

Sept. 10 at Hughes (at Stargel Stadium) Thursday at 7 p.m.

Sept. 17 Ponitz Career Tech Thursday at 7 p.m.

Sept. 25 Belmont

Oct. 2 Aiken

Oct. 8 at Riverview East (at Stargel) Thursday at 7 p.m.

Oct. 16 Shroder

Oct. 23 Cincinnati College Prep

Oct. 29 at Gamble Montessori (at Stargel Stadium) Thursday at 7 p.m.

All games Friday at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted
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