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August 6, 2008The Miami Valley Conference often gets overlooked on the local high school football season, but there is plenty of talent in the league and some great football that's put on display. We take a sneak peek at the Scarlet Division of the MVC heading into 2008.
North College Hill
HEAD COACH: Bruce Baarendse (22 years @ North College Hill)
2007 RECORD: 8-2, 6-1
OVERVIEW: The Trojans dominated the MVC in 2007, but two bad losses to lower division squads (Madeira and Lockland) kept them out of the playoffs. NCH is 17-3 over the past two years with no post-season appearances to show for their efforts. Being the largest and only Division IV School in the MVC doesn't help the Trojans Harbin Rating at the end of the year. They may have to run the table in 2008 just to get into the playoffs. Coach Baarendse might have enough talent to do just that.
The MVC's two most dangerous offensive threats reside on the Trojans. Senior running back Everett Horne (5-foot-11, 170) is capable of scoring time he touches the ball. Horne, who verbally committed to the University of Cincinnati, had 1,321 RuYds and 13 RuTD while averaging a robust 9.93 yards per carry in '07. His partner in crime is the small, but mighty senior Robert Gray (5-foot-6, 165 lbs.). Gray had 353 RuYd, 7 RuTD to go along with 275 ReYds and 4 ReTDs in '07. The pair combined for 2,969 all-purpose yards and 32 touchdowns as juniors. Opening those massive holes up front will be seniors Darneal Hutson (6-foot-1, 185 lbs) and Brian Johnson (6 foot, 260 lbs) both were second team All-MVC selections a year ago.
Defense and special teams win championships, the Trojans are very well equipped in both aspects of the game. Led by Horne, Gray and Mike Ligon (5'10, 175) the NCH defense gave up a stingy 13.2 points per game in '07. The trio combined for 10 interceptions and six fumble recoveries. Ligon who had five picks will also split time at quarterback in '08.
The Trojans produced 10 defensive/special teams touchdowns in 2008. Horne had four on punt returns alone. Nathaniel Dikeman (5'5", 125) chipped 50 points with 44-50 XP's and 2 FG's as a junior last season. North College Hill is poised for a monster season.
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy
HEAD COACH: Erik Taylor (first year @ CHCA, 7-3 overall, 1 year)
2007 RECORD: 8-3, 6-1
OVERVIEW: Oh, what could have been in 2007? Sophomore quarterback Alec Swartz (6-foot, 195 lbs) breaks his collarbone in game nine against Summit Country Day and the offensive couldn't readjust in time to make a deep run into the playoffs. The Eagles bowed out in round one to Deer Park, 41-14. There are new beginnings in 2008 for CHCA. Gone is head coach Mike Gims, he will be replaced by former Finneytown headman, Eric Taylor.
A healthy Swartz will lead the offense. He was very efficient, of his 98 completions, 20 went for touchdowns and only three were picked off in '07. He also had 1,349 PaYd, 154 RuYd and 5 RuTD to round out his game. Senior wide receiver Kyle Jeffers and junior Ian Smith combined for 43 receptions, 537 ReYds and 6 ReTDs in 2007. Smith had just five catches in the Eagles' last five games. Perhaps the teams greatest weapon is first team All-Conference kicker, Joe Reifenberg (5-foot-11, 170 lbs) who nailed 39-40 XP's and 6 FG's for 57 points on his way to second team All-Southwest District honors as a sophomore.
On defense CHCA returns six players that were First-Team, Second-Team or Honorable Mention All-MVC selections. The line includes First-Team member Drake Browne (6-foot-2, 240 lbs), Second-Team member Paul Tepfenhart (5-foot-11, 210 lbs) and another Honorable Mention member in junior Jake Schomaker (5-foot-11, 195 lbs). The linebackers and secondary have experience players in the fold with seniors Connor Peterson (6-foot-1, 190), Elliott Moorehouse (5-foot-7, 185 lbs), Alec Urquhart (5-foot-11, 185 lbs) and junior Doyen Harris (6-foot-1, 195 lbs). The Eagles are stacked.
Summit Country Day
HEAD COACH: Ty Copeland
2007 RECORD: 5-5, 3-4
OVERVIEW: There is a lot to smile about on Grandin Lane this fall. The Silver Knights return a slew of talented skill players from a team that went 5-5 a year ago. Ty Copeland may have his best team yet at SCD.
The good news for the offense is that senior running back Shamar Hester (6 foot, 205 lbs) is healthy after season ending surgery in '07. Hester played in first six games and was a monster! He had 113 carries for 790 RuYd and 6 RuTD. Hester ran for 262 yards and 3 RuTD on eight carries vs. Ridgemont. He then followed that up with 176 at Portsmouth Notre Dame in '07. Senior Zak Stewart (6 foot, 189 lbs) returns at quarterback. He did not play QB until game four vs. NCH in 2007. He missed the CHCA game as well. In six games Stewart went 104-212 for 1,562 PaYd, 20 PaTD and 21 INT. Stewart had 65 carries for 286 RuYds and 6 RuTDs. Then there is all-purpose threat senior CJ Collins (5-foot-9, 169). Collins emerged as a receiving threat in few weeks into the 2007 campaign and became a running threat in game seven after Hester went down last year. Collins had 32 carries for 302 RuYd and1 RuTD. He also caught 25 balls for 376 ReYd and 3 ReTD.
Three linebackers return to lead what should be a very fast defense for Summit. Jakob Stewart (5-foot-10, 185 lbs), brother of Zak, had 12 sacks in 2007. Brandon Sharpe (5-foot-9, 184 lbs) was second on the team in tackles as a junior in '07. The wild card here is sophomore Ben McBride (5-foot-11, 165 lbs) who was called up to play varsity for the last two games and had 13 solo tackles. The kicking game is on stable ground with sophomore Logan Eyer, who connected on 13-14 XP's and 3 FG's for 22 points as a freshman a year ago.
Cincinnati Country Day
HEAD COACH: Tim Dunn (163-54 @ CCD, 163-54 overall, 19 years)
2007 RECORD: 6-4, 4-3
OVERVIEW: It is a great year for head coach Tim Dunn to be optimistic however it is a tough year to be in the MVC Scarlet division. The ship has been righted from two years ago, now it is time for the Indians to make a playoff run.
CCD welcomes back almost all their key pieces on offense. An offense that averaged 28.6 points per game and returns three first team All-MVC performers senior Quarterback Alex Dietz (6-foot-2, 180 lbs), senior wide receiver Dustin Armstrong (5-foot-10, 150 lbs) and junior running back Max Dietz (5-foot-9, 160 lbs). Alex Dietz threw for 1,719 PaYd, 18 PaTD and just 6 INT. Armstrong caught 40 of those balls for 624 ReYds and 8 ReTDs. Alex Dietz was also named first team All Southwest District punter in '07. Max Dietz is a do everything workhorse for CCD. He tallied 14 total touchdowns, 21 XP's and one FG for 108 total points last year. Max Dietz amassed 1,366 yards from scrimmage on 828 RuYd and 538 ReYd. He also gained 399 yards and a score on 15 kickoff returns.
Defensively CCD must fill some holes. Four times last season they gave up less than 17 points and only twice did they give up more than 33 points. Max Dietz, who is just a ball hawk, leads the Indians. He's joined by All-MVC member senior Jesse Deane (6 foot, 160 lbs) and the gutsy little Erwin Lawrence (5-foot-5, 130 lbs). Lawrence will also line up at receiver across from Armstrong. The special teams are in great hands and feet with those "Demon" Dietz boys.