COLUMBUS, Ohio --After a 2020 season that was shortened, confusing, and in some ways disappointing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the upcoming 2021 season hopes to return high school teams and fans to normalcy this August.
Central Ohio is filled with countless teams with different levels of hopes and dreams come the regular season.
Some teams may search for all-time glory in a state championship, some are searching for their place in Ohio high school football, and others are more concerned with how the sport brings communities together every Friday night.
Whatever the goal is, high school football is back and the staff at 270 Gridiron is looking forward to all the coverage we will provide for our fans this year.
This series of preseason guides are the first of many articles we plan to write this year.
The guide features all of the teams 270 Gridiron covers in the Central Ohio area, and features information garnered from research, coach interviews, and social media.
Without further adieu, I present this year’s 270 Gridiron Regular Season preview starting with the Central Catholic League.
2020 Record: 10-2 (4-1)
Offense: 30.3 PPG (17th in the area)
Defense: 16.9 PPG Allowed (27th in area)
Key Players: Jonathan Thompson, OLB; Jalen Carpenter, T; Ayan Comedy, CB; Michael Bogue, DE
Game to Watch: Week 4 vs. Clinton-Massie
The Stallions of St. Francis DeSales enjoyed yet another year of success in the Central Catholic League going 10-2 and winning the league title all while averaging about 30 points per game.
This year Coach Ryan Wiggins and his team will be playing many difficult non-conference games against teams from all over the state like Berea and Steubenville.
Possibly the Stallions’ biggest test will be in Week 4 against Clinton-Massie.
Clinton Massie won their own Southern Buckeye-American conference last year going 8-1 and making it to the fourth round of the Division IV playoffs.
A St. Francis DeSales win in this game would be a great confidence booster while also showing that the Stallions can compete with teams out of both their conference and division.
2020 Record: 6-4 (3-2)
Offense: 28.7 PPG (28th in area)
Defense: 20.9 PPG Allowed (46th in area)
Key Players: Trey Saunders & Richard Kenny, WR/DB; Nyal Johnson, RB/DB; Anthony Murphy WR/LB; DeAunte Hubbard & Joey Wooten, RB/LB; Daniel Tooson, Donovan Davis. Isaac Assiedu, Andrew Mcfeeters, & Avion Murphy, OL/DL
Game to Watch: Week 6 vs. St. Francis Desales
The Hawks of Bishop Hartley came in second place in the Central Catholic League last year winning two games above even and making it to the Division III playoffs.
Coach Brad Burchfield said that he has focused his team on reinforcing their skills with some installation of new techniques.
Burchfield said that his offense will be dependent on his veteran team’s ability to hone in on their strengths.
“We have a lot of experience,” Burchfield said. “We want to expand our offensive and defensive packages to better use our skills.”
This experience will be on display in the Hawks’ Week 6 matchup against St. Francis Desales.
Bishop Hartley lost to the Stallions in the regular season last year and then again in the first round of the playoff.
So the Hawks will be hungry for revenge and also prove that they can reach the top spot in the Central Catholic League.
2020 Record: 5-4 (3-3)
Offense: 28.0 PPG (32nd in area)
Defense: 21.7 PPG Allowed (48th in area)
Key Players: Ryan Rudzinski, QB; Dominic Purcell, OLB; Jack Henry, SS; Braxton Rundio, RB
Game to Watch: Week 4 @ Licking Valley
Bishop Watterson’s Eagles began the 2020 season slowly with a 1-2 start, but put things together toward the end of the year finishing with a winning record.
Coach Brian Kennedy’s team also won a crucial game against St. Francis DeSales last year, being the only team in the conference to beat the Stallions.
The Eagles’ schedule this year is filled with many non-conference opponents such as Bellafontaine and Whitehall-Yearling while also featuring yet another important game against the conference champion Stallions.
An important game for Bishop Watterson will be in Week 4 as it takes on Licking Valley.
Licking Valley won their own Licking Valley-Buckeye Conference last season making them a formidable non-conference opponent.
A win in this game would prove to fans that Bishop Watterson is capable of winning against teams outside of their conference and on the road against a conference-winning team.
2020 Record: 2-6 (0-4)
Offense: 12.9 PPG (98th in area)
Defense: 30.0 PPG Allowed (90th in area)
Key Players: Ryan Carretta, OL; Frederick Nimely, RB; JD Epler, OL; Ryan Greenhalge, MLB; Solomon Lisath, DE
Game to Watch: Week 6 vs. Bishop Watterson
For St. Charles’ Cardinals, the 2020 season was filled with some optimism yet the in-conference schedule left much to be desired as the team failed to win a game in the Central Catholic League.
Coach Deke Hocker and his team will hope to change that narrative by improving on both offense and defense as they ranked below 90th in the area in both categories.
One way to prove the Cardinals’ offseason growth would be to win against their formidable in-conference rival Bishop Waterson as the Eagles defeated St. Charles twice last year.
Prevailing over Bishop Waterson would give the Cardinals a midseason confidence boost and show that they are able to compete with their fellow Central Catholic League members.