Week one high school football preview


By Drew Terhall


DARKE COUNTY — Week one has finally arrived. After months of practices and weeks of scrimmages, football teams around the county will get to start their 2023 season.

Six of the seven local teams will start the season at home. Some teams will be looking to see how their experienced squads look this year while some will be seeing what their younger team is made of right from the jump.

Here is a quick preview for each team and who they are matching up against.

Ansonia vs Riverside:

While the Tigers will be without their record setting running in Exzaviar Moody, they do have a lot of talent returning. Keegen Weiss was the number two running back last year and will be joined by a group of guys to get the running game going. Weiss had 905 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns along with being the team’s leading receiver with 12 catches and 164 yards.

On defense, Ethan Reichert returns after leading the team with six sacks and 19 tackles for loss.

The team will have to replace most of the offensive line guys this year. Head coach Adam Hall said he feels confident in what those guys have shown so far that they can step in and be fine.

Last season, Ansonia defeated Riverside 36-14. The Pirates will have to replace their leading rusher, Warren Shockey, who had 1,663 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns. They also lost their leading receiver in Simon Godwin who had 777 yards and eight touchdowns. They do return their quarterback, Myles Platfoot, along with their sack leader, Nate Copas, who had six sacks last season. Riverside will also have a more experienced offensive and defensive line.

Arcanum vs Covington:

The Trojans are in a good position to start the season. They return all of their offensive linemen and have added some talented freshmen to that group. They also get back their original starting quarterback, Landon Wagner, after he went down with injury early into last season.

Head coach Matt Macy said the line on both sides of the ball figures to be the strength of this team early on. They changed some schemes around on defense to get more of their talented linemen on the field. They will be a bit young at the skill positions on both sides of the ball. Arcanum also has to make up for the loss of the school’s leading tackler in Jacob Rayburn. He had 126 total tackles last season.

Covington will be a bit young this season. They will rely on some younger guys this season as they do have some experience returning.

Bradford at Middletown Christian:

The Railroaders make their return to the varsity gridiron after not having the numbers to compete at the varsity level last year. They did play some lower level football, but are going into this year with very few kids having varsity experience.

Head coach Nick Bandstra said him and the staff are focused on just improving each day during the season. The record will be what it is at the end of the season, they just want to see steady improvement throughout the year.

They will take on Middletown Christian at Carlisle on Aug. 19.

Eaton vs Greenville:

The Green Wave will be a young team this year. They lost a lot of seniors from last year. Guys like record setting running back Brock Short, starting offensive lineman AJ Shaffer and their defensive leader Ryan Crampton are all gone.

Head coach Bart Schmitz said the team is going to be young, especially up front. The offensive line is going to be a whole new group essentially. On both sides of the ball, they will need a few games to get used to the varsity level.

Greenville will benefit from having their senior quarterback, Evan Manix, back to run the offense. Schmitz said he has seen Manix improve during the seven on sevens and during practices. Manix threw for 495 yards last year on 85 attempts with four touchdowns. He also had 186 yards rushing and three touchdowns as he can make plays with his legs.

Last season, Eaton won 44-13 over Greenville to open the season. The Eagles will be coming in having to replace their quarterback and leading rusher along with some offensive lineman. They do bring back their top three receivers and most of their defense outside of the defensive line.

Mississinawa Valley vs Waynesfield Goshen:

The Blackhawks will be relying on their offensive line this year. They return all but one of their linemen while they have to replace some key guys at the skill positions. Head coach Steven Trobridge said the offensive line will be a big part of their offense.

Stepping in to play quarterback will be sophomore Kyle Wehrkamp. His senior brother, Dylan, is the lone receiver coming back after he had 486 yards and eight touchdowns. They will need to replace the rest of receiving core along with finding more guys to run the ball as their top two rushers last year are gone.

The team also changed up their defense to keep up with the offenses they will face in the WOAC. So far, the team has been getting the hang of the new scheme.

Waynesfield-Goshen was 11-1 last season and a third seed in the postseason. They return their quarterback, Drew Breitigam, who was their conference offensive player of the year. They also return a lot of talent from last year’s team.

Tri-Village vs Troy Christian:

The Patriots have a lot of talent returning at the skill positions, but will have to replace a lot on the line. Southwest District Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-WOAC quarterback Braden Keating is back. Leading rusher senior Reed Wehr and leading receiver senior Tanner Printz are back for one last go. All three have been starters for three plus years. Wehr had 1,449 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns. Printz had 933 yards and 13 touchdowns. They also return Noah Finkbine, who filled in nicely when Printz was out for the first two playoff games.

Head coach Matt Hopkins said while no one is bigger than the team, his long time starters at the skill positions will have to help out the younger players, especially those on the line, to win games this season early on. They lost their whole offensive line after most of them received All-WOAC and Southwest District honors. It will be a process, but they do have a lot of experience at other positions to carry the load offensively and defensively.

Troy Christian will come in with a new quarterback this season. Last season, Lee Burkett was the team’s signal caller and led the team with 697 yards rushing and four touchdowns. They do return two players who had double-digit tackles for loss. Paul McDonald had 14.5 and Vaughn King had 12 tackles for loss.

Versailles vs Celina:

There are some changes to the Tigers this season. Right now, it seems like Michael Osborne will be the team’s new quarterback this season as he was playing receiver last season. He got the first team reps during their last scrimmage against Greenville and scored on every drive he played. He will command the offense as the team is replacing a lot of players on the offensive and defensive line.

Head coach Ryan Jones said after the scrimmage they will have a better idea of what their starting lineup is at the start of the week’s practice preparing for Celina. After going through practice and scrimmages, Jones said guys have done enough to win their position battles.

The team will have to bring the same energy from the scrimmage to their game against Celina. The Bulldogs are returning a lot of players from last year’s 6-5 team. In last year’s game, the Tigers took the win 31-6 at Celina.

Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]

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