The 2016 regular season in Ohio high school football is over, meaning the playoffs begin on Friday. Teams in all seven divisions will begin their quest to make it to Columbus and compete for the State championship trophy. We will see some upsets and exciting action throughout the playoffs.
The playoffs bring out the best in teams and individuals, producing some of the most exciting moments of the high school sports schedule. Division I, II, IV and VI will play on Fridays at 7:30 p.m., while Division III, V and VII will play on Saturdays at 7 p.m. Let the games begin!
So with the playoffs here, WFNY will give their predictions on who will win each division and who will win the Ohio Mr. Football award this season. Give me your predictions in the comments below.
Division I is one of the most wide open divisions in the state, but my prediction to win the Division I State Championship is Colerain. Colerain went undefeated during the regular season at 10-0, earning the No. 1 seed in Region 4. The Cardinals beat some tough teams this season, including Cincinnati St. Xavier and Cincinnati La Salle. They are led by their stout defense, which has not allowed more than 28 points in a game and has held six of their ten opponents to single digit points.
Colerain, however, will have to get through some tough competition. St. Ignatius, Olentangy Liberty and Huber Heights Wayne are, in my opinion, the top contenders to take the trophy.
Cincinnati La Salle
In Division II, Cincinnati La Salle will take home the State Championship trophy. La Salle is the clear favorite in the division. They have taken the Division II State Championship the past two years. The Lancers went 8-2 during the regular season, giving them the No. 3 seed in Region 8.
La Salle plays an extremely tough schedule, playing quite a few Division I teams throughout the year. Some of their big wins this season came against Cincinnati Elder and Cincinnati St. Xavier. La Salle is led by quarterback Griffin Merritt, who threw for 1,556 yards and 16 touchdowns. Warren G. Harding and Cincinnati Turpin could pull the upset over the Lancers.
Archbishop Hoban will win the Division III State Championship, after taking the trophy home last season. Hoban went 9-1 on the year, earning them the No. 2 seed in Region 9. The Knights have big wins this season against Canton McKinley, St. Vincent-St. Mary and Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin. Archbishop Hoban finished the regular season as my No. 1 team in my Northeast Ohio football rankings. They are led by the outstanding backfield of quarterback Danny Clark and Todd Sibley. Their defense has not allowed more than 21 points this season.
The main contenders to take down Hoban and win Division III are Columbus St. Francis DeSales and Toledo Central Catholic.
In Division IV, there are quite a few top contenders that could win the State Championship, but we are going with Clarksville Clinton-Massie. Clinton-Massie went 9-1 on the season, giving them the No. 2 seed in Region 16. Their only loss of the season came against Division II power Cincinnati Turpin.
The Falcons are a balanced team, shutting out four opponents this season and scoring more than 30 points in six games. Clinton-Massie will have some really stiff competition in Division IV. Youngstown Cardinal Mooney, Columbus Bishop Hartley and Kettering Alter are the three biggest threats for the Falcons.
Just like Division IV, Division V will be a heated battle amongst the top contenders, but Wheelersburg will win the State Championship. The Pirates went 10-0 this season, earning them the No. 1 seed in Region 19. Wheelersburg beat Division III Jackson and Division IV Waverly. The Pirates are led by a tough defense, who not allowed more than 19 points this season and has held five of ten opponents to single digit points. The other top contenders in Division V are Coldwater, Norwayne and Canton Central Catholic.
Cuyahoga Heights will win the Division VI State Championship, but they will get some tough competition. Cuyahoga Heights went 10-0 in the regular season, giving them the No. 1 seed in Region 21. The Redskins finished as the No. 9 team in my Northeast Ohio football rankings. Their biggest win of the season came in the impressive shutout victory over powerhouse Kirtland. Cuyahoga Heights is led by quarterback Brett Lowther, who threw for 1,074 yards, 13 touchdowns and two interceptions, while also rushing for 565 yards and nine touchdowns. The Pirates will get stiff competition from Kirtland, Marion Stein Marion Local and Mechanicsburg.
In Division VII, we are going with Mogadore to win the State Championship. Mogadore went 8-2 on the season, earning them the No. 2 seed in Region 25. The Wildcats have wins over Division III Granville and Division V Garrettsville Garfield. The Wildcats are led on offense and defense by Austin Williams, who was named last season’s co-defensive player of the year in the state. The Mogadore defense has not allowed more than 24 points and has allowed an average of just 12.8 points a game. Mogadore will receive its biggest threat from Norwalk St. Paul and McComb.
Mr. Football Prediction
RB Michael Warren, Toledo Central Catholic
After predicting running back Raveion Hargrove of Trotwood-Madison before the season, we are changing our prediction for Mr. Football to running back Michael Warren of Toledo Central Catholic. Hargrove had a good season, rushing for 857 yards and 12 touchdowns, but he did not repeat his sophomore numbers of over 3,000 yards. Warren had an extraordinary season, rushing for 2,040 yards and 35 touchdowns.
All stats have come from Cleveland.com