Football kicking off this weekend


By Braden Moles - bmoles@aimmediamidwest.com



Preble Shawnee hosted Eaton for a scrimmage on Aug. 21.

Preble Shawnee hosted Eaton for a scrimmage on Aug. 21.


Preble Shawnee hosted Eaton for a scrimmage on Aug. 21.


Preble Shawnee hosted Eaton for a scrimmage on Aug. 21.


PREBLE COUNTY — 2019 was not a forgiving year for football in Preble County with no team eclipsing a .500 record, but with new coaches at Twin Valley South and Tri-County North and experienced rosters for Eaton, Trail and Shawnee, there is hope that the county teams will be able to make some noise in 2020.

Eaton returns 14 varsity letter winners

Coach Brad Davis returns for his sixth season at the helm of the Eagles, and his expectations for Eaton are simple.

“The expectation of our team is to compete and win every game,” he said.

It was a challenging 2019 campaign for the Eagles in which they finished 3-7 overall (2-4 in SWBL play), but with those challenges came experience for the students on the field, and that should pay dividends this year.

Eaton will return 14 varsity lettermen including four who received All-League honors last season: senior defensive/offensive lineman Carson Shafer, 2nd Team All-League (DL), 2nd Team All-League (OL); junior defensive back/running back Ashton Geoit, 2nd Team All-League (DB); senior DB/wide receiver Tyler Gregory, Honorable Mention All-League (DB); junior DB/WR Josh Martin, Honorable Mention All-League (WR).

Davis said that other key returning players include senior quarterback Dawson Blaylock, senior linebacker Ethan Howard, senior LB/OL Cameron Lewis, senior DB/WR Trevor Long and senior DB Gabe Mirovsky.

“Throughout our summer strength sessions and camp, we have been extremely impressed with the work ethic and toughness of our underclassmen,” he said.

He added that they expect several sophomores to compete for varsity reps, and would not be surprised if some freshmen earned varsity letters at the conclusion of the season.

“Ultimately however, the success of this season, as with all seasons, will be determined by the leadership and production of our seniors and upperclassmen,” Davis said.

Trail working with experienced seniors

Coach Mark Hoffman said that the Blazers will return nine starters from last year’s 5-5 team, but with a mostly young team, they will look towards their veterans.

This begins with senior QB Dallas Smith, who Hoffman will be taking most of the varsity snaps with sophomore Burgan Hoffman backing him up.

“Smith brings back experience and leadership to the QB position,” he said.

Hoffman said seniors Kole Glander and Zack Horn will anchor both the the offensive and defensive line along with “Man Child” Aiden Byrd, who stands at 6’4, 425 lbs and plays at offensive and defensive tackle.

OT/DE Ethan Wilson and sophomores Sean Roberts and Brodie Strawser will round out the offensive line.

“Running backs will be led by returning letter winner Jacob Ray with seniors Jonah Hurd and Kaleb Zaphe filling in at the other running back spots,” Hoffman said.

Trail also looks forward to the contributions of sophomores Cayden Clark and Yiorgo Maroulianakis as well as freshman Chase Ruebush.

“We have some talented receivers returning led by senior Tyler Weathington and junior Garrett Jones,” Hoffman said. “Sophomore Gaje Lesh looks like he will start at tight end.

As previously mentioned, the defensive line will be anchored by Glander, who sits at 310 lbs and Byrd, along with Wilson and Horn starting at defensive end.

Phoenix Lewis will back up both end positions for the Blazers.

“Senior Clay Stiner will be calling the defensive signals from his middle linebacker position with sophomore Jordan Heck backing him up,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman said that some young guys to watch for include Drew Dewitt and Logan Smith along with the previously mentioned Clark, Heck, Lesh, Lewis, Smith and Burgan Hoffman.

“We are a young team with talented freshmen and sophomores challenging for starting positions all over the field,” Hoffman said.

Shawnee looking to make a splash

After a 5-5 finish in 2019, coach David Maddox says this year’s Preble Shawnee team could turn some heads.

“We are excited for this season,” Maddox said. “We have quite a few really good seniors returning, led by James Gibson, Travis Howard, and Bryce Singleton.”

The five senior starters returning for the Arrows including RB/LB James Gibson, QB/LB Travis Howard, WR/DB Jake Woodard, WR/LB Bryce Singleton and OL/LB Tristan Sizemore.

Additionally, sophomore DL Brayden Doran and junior OL Cole George will return as starters.

Other key players the Arrows will look toward include junior LB Mason O’laughlin, junior OL/DL Xavier Adams, sophomore DB Grady Hutchinson, sophomore RB Cooper Roell, sophomore DB Sayge Stephenson, sophomore OL Beau Nemeth and sophomore OL Evan Riley.

“As long as we stay healthy, we have the ability to be at the top of the league,” Maddox said.

He said that a lot of guys will be stepping up into new roles and that Shawnee will be playing a lot of good sophomore, and that they are excited to see what they can accomplish and to watch them get better each week.

“I think this team has the ability to surprise a lot of people and turn a lot of heads,” he said.

Hall leading North in first season

Following a 1-9 season for North last year, first-year coach Adam Hall will take the reins and look to turn around Panther football behind a strong group of returning veterans.

“We’ve got quite a few people who played last year that are going to be playing for us this year,” Hall said.

Returning starters for the Panthers include QB/safety Dylan Stinson at QB, senior RB/inside linebacker Braeden Rike, senior TE/DE Cooper Cole, OL/DL Peyton Giolitto, OL/DL Isaac Johnson, TE/C Wyatt Royer, TE/C Ethan Rike, RB/ILB Luke Eby, RB/OLB Brett Woodyard and OL/DE Jon Shirley.

“All those guys are, except for John, are either juniors or seniors and we’re expecting them to be good leaders for our team,” Hall said.

Beyond the starters, North will look young in 2020.

“We have 13 freshmen this year,” Hall said. “They’ve all worked hard during two days, and I expect that a few will contribute on Friday nights.”

It’s been a challenging transition to head coach with COVID-19 throwing a monumental wrench into offseason plans and the lack of serious practice until just a few weeks ago, but things have gone well since North has taken the field.

“Practice has been good,” Hall said. “It’s obviously been a strange year because we went so long without knowing for sure if we were going to get to play or not, but we prepared like we were going to get to play and now we know that we are and our guys are excited about that.”

It won’t be a quick turnaround for North, but Hall is looking to focus on the small things this year that will help the team improve moving forward.

“Basically, just because it’s the first year with a new offense, we’re really focusing on learning our assignments and being in the right spot and doing the little things that will make us successful,” he said. “We’ve got to really work on those every day to make sure that we’re doing what we’re supposed to to give us a chance to win.”

Above all else, Hall is happy that North will be able to play this year.

“The guys have worked hard,” he said. “I know they’re glad that we’re finally getting to go ahead here and get to play football. You know, they put in a lot of hard work and they deserve a chance to play. “

In first year, Fogle coaching young, hungry South squad

Many coaches may set dramatic goals in their first season, and while first-year coach Fogle has high expectations for his team, he’s also keeping things in perspective given the precipice that the season hung on just weeks ago.

“Win and losses will not define the 2020 season, the fact that we are playing the game we love is a miracle,” he said.

While wins and losses may not define the season for South, the Panthers have a good shot at improving their win total from last year’s 2-8 record.

Senior RB/LB Michael Crews was South’s leading rusher last year with 800 yards, and they’ll also return senior WR/LB Levi Gearhart, who led the team in receiving yards.

Returning starters also looking to make an impact include senior RB/DE John Hamilton, senior OL/DL Christian Loveless, junior OL/DL Riley Maggard, junior OL/DL Wes Robinson, junior OL/LB Brendan Webb and junior TE Matthew Cornett.

Fogle added that some other contributors will include junior WR/DB Mac Harper, senior WR/DB Tyler Wright, junior QB/DB Logan Collins and senior OL/DL Patrick Mills.

“I expect a break out senior year for Michael Crews at running back. We have a very mobile junior QB, Logan Collins, and with Gearhart, Wright and Harper as targets, he should have an outstanding year,” Fogle said. “Our defense is young and hungry. It will be led by defensive tackle Riley Maggard and defensive end John Hamilton.”

He also looks forward to what sophomore RB/LB Caiden Kinglsey and sophomore WR/DB Wyatt Lakes will bring to the team.

“We have a young team this year,” Fogle said. “They have been eager to learn and are dealing with all the uncertainties like champions. I am sure we will have growing pains but we expect to compete in every game. I know we can battle with everyone and make the league competitive. “

Preble Shawnee hosted Eaton for a scrimmage on Aug. 21.
https://www.registerherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/41/2020/08/web1_Eaton_PS_Jamboree_1.jpgPreble Shawnee hosted Eaton for a scrimmage on Aug. 21.

Preble Shawnee hosted Eaton for a scrimmage on Aug. 21.
https://www.registerherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/41/2020/08/web1_Eaton_PS_Jamboree_2.jpgPreble Shawnee hosted Eaton for a scrimmage on Aug. 21.

Preble Shawnee hosted Eaton for a scrimmage on Aug. 21.
https://www.registerherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/41/2020/08/web1_Eaton_PS_Jamboree_3.jpgPreble Shawnee hosted Eaton for a scrimmage on Aug. 21.

By Braden Moles

bmoles@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles

Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles