Greater Cleveland Conference (2023)

Who wins the Greater Cleveland Conference?

  • Brunswick

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Cleveland Heights

    Votes: 19 29.2%
  • Euclid

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Medina

    Votes: 18 27.7%
  • Mentor

    Votes: 25 38.5%
  • Shaker Heights

    Votes: 2 3.1%
  • Solon

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Strongsville

    Votes: 1 1.5%

  • Total voters
    65
Heights the type of team that just looks the part as soon as they hop off the bus they really might be able to physically impose their will on everybody else outside of Eds but well see. Will be very interesting to see who handles the contrasting styles better when they play Medina/Mentor
They have talent but I think they’ll get outcoached a lot.
 
I wouldn’t underestimate Coach Mac
Stephens in his ability to make adjustments. I don’t believe there are many coaches in the GCC like 40 yr St Ignatius veteran coach Chuck Kyle who seen it all. It’s all about matchups and that’s
Where other coaches will have there problems with Heights. I wouldn’t be surprised if some GCC coaches if not all will come scout Heights when they go against Paramus Catholic NJ high school which is a Sat 1pm kickoff on Aug 26th. At Cedar & Lee

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Matt Goul pre-season top 25


5. Medina


2022 finish: 11-2, Division I regional semifinalist
Coach: Larry Laird (seventh season).


Coach: Larry Laird (seventh season)



2023 forecast: Medina defended its Greater Cleveland Conference title and is again favored in that conference with quarterback Danny Stoddard back for his second year under center since replacing Drew Allar, who is now in line to start at Penn State. Stoddard led the country, among schools that reported their statistics to MaxPreps, with 5,035 yards last season. He threw for 58 TD passes to 13 interceptions and rushed for 692 yards with 12 TDs. Oh, and two of his top receivers are back in Jack Wojciak and Austin Knowles. All three made All-Ohio honors last season along with graduated standout receiver Brennen Schramm, the Bees’ biggest loss to graduation and now a walk on at Ohio State. The defense should again be stout up front, led by Nathan Nunn (14 TFL, eight sacks) up front with Tallen Hulvey (team-high 109 tackles, four interceptions) and Cooper Josefczyk (91 tackles) in the back end at safety. They open at Stow-Munroe Falls before home games against Lewis Center Olentangy and Wadsworth, then start GCC play at Mentor in Week 4. That also will be a regional semifinal rematch after they split their two games last year, with Mentor getting the better of the Bees in the postseason.

8. Cleveland Heights


2022 finish: 10-2, Division I regional quarterfinalist



Coach: Mac Stephens (ninth season)


2023 forecast: With two Power Five prospects in running back/safety Marquise Davis and defensive end Brandon Caesar, Cleveland Heights enters the Greater Cleveland Conference following four straight Lake Erie League championships. Quarterback Darreon Fair has graduated after 47 total TDs (35 rushing with 1,639 yards, 12 passing with 752 yards) and an All-Northeast Lakes District Player of the Year nod, so the focal point of the offense could turn to Davis at tailback. He rushed for 869 yards and 11 TDs, while earning All-Ohio first team at safety (50 tackles, seven TFL and three interceptions). The Tigers are moving him up to linebacker, though, and bring back Caesar after he missed most of last season because of injury. The big defensive end, who received a scholarship offer from Penn State as a freshman before the rest of the country caught on, returned in time for the playoffs with that 50-49 thrilleragainst St. Ignatius. It provided lessons and motivation for the Tigers, who took a 28-point lead into halftime of that playoff game. Junior Ammarr Lakes takes over at quarterback and has big targets in junior Emere Atkins and 6-4 sophomore Jeff Ward. Senior John Gordon Jr. could be an X-factor, coming out of the backfield as a running back or receiver. Their season begins with no breaks, opening at Berea-Midpark before a visit from New Jersey’s Paramus Catholic and Week 3 trip to Hudson



11. Mentor


2022 finish: 9-4, Division I regional finalist


Coach: Matt Gray (fourth season)



2023 forecast: With last season’s run to the Region 1 finals, Mentor gained some momentum entering the offseason after upsetting Greater Cleveland Conference champion Medina in the semifinals. The school also finished a new weight room at Jerome T. Osborne Stadium as the Cardinals look to bulk up with returning quarterback Scotty Fox (3,134 yards, 30 TDs), who’s entering his third year as a starter. He was thrown into the fire as a sophomore, forced to start early in his freshman season after an injury to quarterback Jacob Snow and has since added about 25 pounds to his frame. He made the All-Ohio third team last year and has three sophomore teammates who have already picked up Division I college scholarship offers from Miami (Ohio) in Justen Hodge at receiver with bookend offensive tackles in JoJo LoDuca and Landry Brede. Interior linemen Jack O’Neill and Jared Hines are back, but junior running back Mason Coughlin suffered an injury that will likely keep him out this season while Mentor establishes its running game. The defense is mostly new with senior safety Caden Markowski the elder statesman from last year’s playoff run. Junior kicker Dylan Tackett received All-Ohio honorable mention last year and should give the Cardinals an edge on special teams.
 
Matt Goul pre-season top 25


5. Medina


2022 finish: 11-2, Division I regional semifinalist
Coach: Larry Laird (seventh season).


Coach: Larry Laird (seventh season)



2023 forecast: Medina defended its Greater Cleveland Conference title and is again favored in that conference with quarterback Danny Stoddard back for his second year under center since replacing Drew Allar, who is now in line to start at Penn State. Stoddard led the country, among schools that reported their statistics to MaxPreps, with 5,035 yards last season. He threw for 58 TD passes to 13 interceptions and rushed for 692 yards with 12 TDs. Oh, and two of his top receivers are back in Jack Wojciak and Austin Knowles. All three made All-Ohio honors last season along with graduated standout receiver Brennen Schramm, the Bees’ biggest loss to graduation and now a walk on at Ohio State. The defense should again be stout up front, led by Nathan Nunn (14 TFL, eight sacks) up front with Tallen Hulvey (team-high 109 tackles, four interceptions) and Cooper Josefczyk (91 tackles) in the back end at safety. They open at Stow-Munroe Falls before home games against Lewis Center Olentangy and Wadsworth, then start GCC play at Mentor in Week 4. That also will be a regional semifinal rematch after they split their two games last year, with Mentor getting the better of the Bees in the postseason.

8. Cleveland Heights


2022 finish: 10-2, Division I regional quarterfinalist



Coach: Mac Stephens (ninth season)


2023 forecast: With two Power Five prospects in running back/safety Marquise Davis and defensive end Brandon Caesar, Cleveland Heights enters the Greater Cleveland Conference following four straight Lake Erie League championships. Quarterback Darreon Fair has graduated after 47 total TDs (35 rushing with 1,639 yards, 12 passing with 752 yards) and an All-Northeast Lakes District Player of the Year nod, so the focal point of the offense could turn to Davis at tailback. He rushed for 869 yards and 11 TDs, while earning All-Ohio first team at safety (50 tackles, seven TFL and three interceptions). The Tigers are moving him up to linebacker, though, and bring back Caesar after he missed most of last season because of injury. The big defensive end, who received a scholarship offer from Penn State as a freshman before the rest of the country caught on, returned in time for the playoffs with that 50-49 thrilleragainst St. Ignatius. It provided lessons and motivation for the Tigers, who took a 28-point lead into halftime of that playoff game. Junior Ammarr Lakes takes over at quarterback and has big targets in junior Emere Atkins and 6-4 sophomore Jeff Ward. Senior John Gordon Jr. could be an X-factor, coming out of the backfield as a running back or receiver. Their season begins with no breaks, opening at Berea-Midpark before a visit from New Jersey’s Paramus Catholic and Week 3 trip to Hudson



11. Mentor


2022 finish: 9-4, Division I regional finalist


Coach: Matt Gray (fourth season)



2023 forecast: With last season’s run to the Region 1 finals, Mentor gained some momentum entering the offseason after upsetting Greater Cleveland Conference champion Medina in the semifinals. The school also finished a new weight room at Jerome T. Osborne Stadium as the Cardinals look to bulk up with returning quarterback Scotty Fox (3,134 yards, 30 TDs), who’s entering his third year as a starter. He was thrown into the fire as a sophomore, forced to start early in his freshman season after an injury to quarterback Jacob Snow and has since added about 25 pounds to his frame. He made the All-Ohio third team last year and has three sophomore teammates who have already picked up Division I college scholarship offers from Miami (Ohio) in Justen Hodge at receiver with bookend offensive tackles in JoJo LoDuca and Landry Brede. Interior linemen Jack O’Neill and Jared Hines are back, but junior running back Mason Coughlin suffered an injury that will likely keep him out this season while Mentor establishes its running game. The defense is mostly new with senior safety Caden Markowski the elder statesman from last year’s playoff run. Junior kicker Dylan Tackett received All-Ohio honorable mention last year and should give the Cardinals an edge on special teams.
I think these rankings are fair. For as good as the GCC has always been at the top, it really has never had 4/5 schools worthy of top 25. It's mostly been a clear top 3 and a jumble after.

Hopefully at least one of the rest can buck that trend this year and give the league some parity that it has mostly lacked.
 
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They brought back something crazy like 17 of 22 starters. SWC is a meat grinder
North Ridgeville opened my eyes last year when they nearly beat a 9-1 Anthony Wayne team in the first round as a 13/14 seed.

Sounds like Ridgeville and Strongsville are similar with returning basically their entire starting lineups from last year.

And you are right that it also appears that the SWC will be a meat grinder. Avon's Avon but looks like there are 4-5 other schools that may push them. Hopefully we get something like that in the GCC.
 
Time to get this
Season started there are some new kids on the block anxious to compete and prove there worth in the Greater
Cleveland Conference. No push overs in this league.

Tigernation#

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Davis for Heights is out of this world. It literally takes the whole team to tackle him and they got athletes everywhere on Defense. Very fast and not afraid to hit. Need some more balance on offense but I was still very impressed. Sounds like Medina looked good them and Heights might be game of the year. Also I take what I said earlier back lol....its definitely time for us (Solon) to pack our bags and go to the Suburban. 35-0 and ppl who were there said it was even worst than that 😞
 
Juniors don't typically win Mr. Football, but one established himself as a contender in WeekIs Marquis Davis a contender for
Mr Football? Well he show enough look like one according to Matt Goul. But I think it’s much too soon for that

 
The league finished 4-4 in Week 1, which was better than the 3-5 start I predicted thanks for Shaker knocking off Willoughby South. Strongsville nearly made it a 5-3 week but fell in the final minutes to Avon Lake.

Here's how I have the teams aftere the first week:
1. Medina
2. Cleveland Heights
3. Mentor
4. Strongsville
5. Shaker Heights
6. Brunswick
7. Solon
8. Euclid

As for Week 2, here is my predictions:
1. St. Ignatius at Mentor: As usual, this can go either way, but I'll take Mentor in a game that may very well come down to the final possession again. Mostly because the game is at Mentor.

2. Olentangy at Medina: Olentangy has a Penn State recruit at QB and is coming off a win against a usually solid Toledo Whitmer team where they scored 46 points. This one should be a shootout, but shootouts are something Medina is used to so I'll take the Bees in a 45-35 type game.

3. Paramus Catholic at Cleveland Heights: I know nothing about Paramus outside that they play in the tough northern NJ Catholic league. Since this is their opener and they have to make the long bus ride to Cleveland, I'll take Heights.

4. Solon at Strongsville: Solon won last year's game 10-0, but is replacing a bulk of that team and got blasted by Olmsted Falls last week. Strongsville returns just about everyone and hung with Avon Lake. Strongsville should win this one comfortably.

5. Brunswick at Olmsted Falls: In Week 1, Brunswick was destroyed by a top SWC team; Olmsted Falls, another top SWC team, destroyed a mid-to-lower GCC team. Going off that, Brunswick should be in for a long night. But I think the Blue Devils will bounce back and hang with Olmsted Falls. Bulldogs by a TD in a close game.

6. Brush at Shaker Heights: Shaker should roll in this one. This is putting the cart in front of the horse but if Shaker goes to 2-0 they could get on a roll with the upcoming schedule: vs. Solon, @Euclid, vs. Maple Heights, @Brunswick. Long way to go but they could start 6-0 before facing what appears to be the top 4 GCC teams to close out the regular season.

7. Erie (Pa.) at Euclid: Euclid clobbered them last year for their only win of the season, so I have to think the Panthers will do it again this year.
 
Mentor, Medina, and Cleveland Heights have some interesting challenges. It should be some good games. I don’t predict Mentor will win, but who knows.
Mentor-Ignatius is about as much a coin flip game as you can find.

You probably know the exact numbers, but I'd guess the two have played 20 times over the past 20 years with it being about 10-10. And most of those games have come down to the final seconds.
 
Shaker with another win, though this one wasn't surprising over Brush.

If Heights can win tomorrow, who would have thought the only unbeaten teams left would be the LEL schools???

FWIW, I'll dog the Strongsville offense, but the defense looked good again. But they need to establish some sort of offense to make a jump toward being a contender.

Strongsville's defense has played lights out for about 90 of 96 total minutes ... like 100 total yards given up in those minutes. The other other 6 (and a pick 6) is why they have struggled just to get to 1-1.

I still think they can make some noise, but they have to figure an identity on offense. Seems like the same for Mentor.

Medina looks like the opposite in needing to figure out how to stop people (from the highlights it looked like Stow moved the ball but shot themselves in the foot a couple times last week).

Overall, pretty disappointing start to the season for 3 of who I thought were the top 4.
 
Shaker with another win, though this one wasn't surprising over Brush.

If Heights can win tomorrow, who would have thought the only unbeaten teams left would be the LEL schools???

FWIW, I'll dog the Strongsville offense, but the defense looked good again. But they need to establish some sort of offense to make a jump toward being a contender.

Strongsville's defense has played lights out for about 90 of 96 total minutes ... like 100 total yards given up in those minutes. The other other 6 (and a pick 6) is why they have struggled just to get to 1-1.

I still think they can make some noise, but they have to figure an identity on offense. Seems like the same for Mentor.

Medina looks like the opposite in needing to figure out how to stop people (from the highlights it looked like Stow moved the ball but shot themselves in the foot a couple times last week).

Overall, pretty disappointing start to the season for 3 of who I thought were the top 4.
The mustangs need some O to go with that D,
 
The mustangs need some O to go with that D,
Yep. They've given up 5 TDs on the year.

1 was a pick 6
2 were after interceptions that put the defense in a bad spot (both against Avon Lake)
1 was on a 4th and goal from the 25, smh (tonight ... Solon's only drive of the game late)

Avon Lake did gash them for 70 yards on 5 plays for what was the winning score in that game (one Strongsville's defense dominated otherwise)
 
I'm not ready to say I overrated the top half of the league, but that may be only a week away because it looks like the teams at the top have some serious issues.

For Mentor and Strongsville, it's how to put points on the board.

For Medina and Cleveland Heights, it's how to stop people from putting points on the board.

My post week 2 power rankings:
1. Cleveland Heights
2. Mentor
3. Medina
4. Strongsville
5. Shaker Heights
6. Brunswick
7. Solon
8. Euclid

As for this week, can't say I'm picking many wins with confidence.

1. Cleveland Heights at Hudson – Heights is getting closer, but they still haven't proven they can close out games against top-notch teams. Hudson looks like they are on a mission and they certainly qualify as a top-notch team. Can Heights win? absolutely. Can I pick them? They have to prove it.

2. Mentor at Riverside – Call this one a hunch, but I think this could be a game that gets Mentor going. The questions coming into the year were mostly on the defensive side, but they have played well there. I don't think the offense will light up the scoreboard against a tough Riverside defense, but think they put enough points on the board to pull out the win (no way this game is 7-6 again, right??)

3. Wadsworth at Medina – Hard to pick Medina when they just gave up 50-plus points (granted against what looks like is a very good offensive team). Wadsworth's offense is looks to be solid so they will probably run up the scoreboard and force Medina into a typical shootout. In that case, I have more confidence in Wadsworth stepping up and making the 1-2 big defensive plays that may be the difference.

4. Strongsville at Berea-Midpark – I'm going to lean a little on recent history for why I like Strongsville. The teams have played four times since the B-M merger and Strongsville has won all four (last game was back in 2018 though). Plus, I think Strongsville's defense can slow down Berea-Midpark enough to squeeze out another low scoring win.

5. Highland at Brunswick - Another week and another top D2 school for the Blue Devils. Brunswick (as I thought they would) played much better against Olmsted Falls. While Highland isn't as good as Avon, I'd put them between Avon and Olmsted Falls. Considering both Avon and Olmsted Falls beat Brunswick, have to go Highland here.

6. Solon at Shaker Heights - Who would have guessed Shaker being the last undefeated team left in the GCC? This should be their toughest test of the year. Solon is down but both losses were to good teams. With that, I'm not going against Shaker this week and predicting they eke out a win to go to 3-0.

7. Euclid at Massillon Perry - Euclid may be slowly turning things back around but would be stunned if they won this, especially after Perry nearly knocked off what looms to be a solid SVSM team last week.

Add it all up and I have a 2-4 record in non-league games, which would continue what has been a meh start to the season.
 
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A interesting stat from Matt Goul but I believe not so surprising.

This is kind of wild. Mentor and Medina have won every Greater Cleveland Conference football championship since 2017. The last team other than them to do it is Solon in 2016, and this is Solon's last year in the GCC for football.
 
A interesting stat from Matt Goul but I believe not so surprising.

This is kind of wild. Mentor and Medina have won every Greater Cleveland Conference football championship since 2017. The last team other than them to do it is Solon in 2016, and this is Solon's last year in the GCC for football.
I saw that too. I think his reaction is a bit of an exaggeration.

If you remove 2020 due to it not having a season with real conference winners, we are talking about two teams being the only winners over a five season stretch. Is it really that big of a deal? I bet the same could be said for a lot of leagues in a five year stretch.

Avon has won or shared every SWC title since 2017 (or further). McKinley won all but one Fed titles since 2017.
 
I saw that too. I think his reaction is a bit of an exaggeration.

If you remove 2020 due to it not having a season with real conference winners, we are talking about two teams being the only winners over a five season stretch. Is it really that big of a deal? I bet the same could be said for a lot of leagues in a five year stretch.

Avon has won or shared every SWC title since 2017 (or further). McKinley won all but one Fed titles since 2017.
The more notable number is probably league winning streak. Medina is at 11 in a row (regular season).

If I looked correctly only Mentor has had a longer league winning streak (twice at 15 straight) since the GCC formed in the current alignment. ... the one loss in that span was by a point to Solon in OT that would have put Mentor at 31 straight if they had won that.
 
The more notable number is probably league winning streak. Medina is at 11 in a row (regular season).

If I looked correctly only Mentor has had a longer league winning streak (twice at 15 straight) since the GCC formed in the current alignment. ... the one loss in that span was by a point to Solon in OT that would have put Mentor at 31 straight if they had won that.
Winning 30 of 31 was pretty impressive. That lone blemish came on a night where All-Ohio QB Ian Kupp was hurt. Top receiver Luke Floriea took over the position, meaning essentially two of their top three players were unavailable. Mentor didn’t even dominate the NOC or LEL quite like that. Then Triv left and Medina came along.

While technically Medina has 11 straight GCC wins, Mentor will gladly take the playoff win.
 
Cleveland Heights 35 Brunswick 14
Strongsville 21 Benedictine 20
Shaker 49 Euclid 7
Nordonia 42 Solon 3
Medina 38 Mentor 28
I think Strongsville may be able to hold Benedictine to 20, but I'm not sure if they can score 21 so that's the only one I would go the other way on.
 
The more notable number is probably league winning streak. Medina is at 11 in a row (regular season).

If I looked correctly only Mentor has had a longer league winning streak (twice at 15 straight) since the GCC formed in the current alignment. ... the one loss in that span was by a point to Solon in OT that would have put Mentor at 31 straight if they had won that.
The 11 straight GCC wins was pretty hollow when you consider Mentor smoked Medina in the playoffs last year

But it's officially gone now
 
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