For the last few decades, the Greater Western Ohio Conference (GWOC) has run this region of football, slowly accumulating teams from around the area. Last year they decided to keep only half the teams as they split the league in half. Coincidentally, I think they kept most of the consistently competitive teams.
The teams that left were: Butler, Fairborn, Greenville, Piqua, Sidney, Stebbins, Tippecanoe, Troy, West Carrollton and Xenia, all coming together to reform one of the conferences that merged together to make GWOC, the Miami Valley League.
These are a selection of the teams that remain and how I think they will do. For the full list, check out the Clarion website on Sept. 19.
Centerville: Last year’s record: 2-8
The Elks were one of the biggest shockers of the GWOC season last year, coming up way short of expectations and switching to their highly touted freshman backup a game and a half into the season.
Chase Harrison, the younger brother of former Chaminade Julienne and Centerville quarterback and Navy commit Jake Harrison, got exponentially better as the season continued, his season peak was too late as they only won the last two games.
In their first game, Harrison was solid but his impact was limited against D-I prospect powerhouse, Fairfield as the Elks stumbled. Harrison got a lot of recognition this offseason, but Centerville has to get Bryce Mcmahon going in order to open up the offense for his young playmaker behind the center.
Brent Ullery’s offense was ranked 19th in rushing yards out of 20 last year. I think with the improvement of the running game, the emergence of 6-foot-5-inch receiver Will Linkhart and the return of major impact players like Jonathan Bruder and Connor Walls will propel the Elks to at least an even record.
Projected 2019 record: 5-5
MVP: Chase Harrison
Wayne: Last year’s record: 7-4
The Wayne Warriors always have lofty expectations after running the GWOC for a good part of the 2000s. But after a couple of years off of the top of their game, many people wonder if they’ll ever reach the level they were at once again.
I’m not sure if this is the year. They have the reputation and the coaches but their talent will be tested to the fullest this year against the best GWOC has to offer after already coming up short their first game against an annual playoff team, Colerain.
Cam Flancher looked impressive in his first start after taking the reins from one of GWOC’s most explosive talents, Rashad McKee. They retain All-Conference back Devin Nelson as well and they almost always have an extremely impressive receiving core filled with athleticism.
The defense will be the make or break element for the Warriors. Jerrod Couch, Jaden Hurd and sack leader of the team last year, Alijah Fleming will be the X-factors for Wayne’s D.
Projected 2019 record: 7-3
MVP: Devin Nelson
Northmont: Last year’s record: 10-2
The Bolts lost perhaps the most out of any team when it comes to graduating seniors. Two highly touted division one prospects in Jestin Jacobs and Gabe Newburg went to Big Ten schools, coming off an incredible senior season that saw Northmont get a huge playoff win.
The best quarterback in the GWOC last year, Miles Johnson, also graduated along with very valuable role players. But Keaton Kesting looks to be a promising replacement with returning weapons like two of the best receivers in the entire conference, Jazz Keys and Justin Golson, as well as all-division running back Michael Franklin.
Stellar returning defenders like Shaun Myers and Jaiden Cameron look to carry on the success from a playoff-caliber year coming off a strong performance against perennial powerhouse, Dublin-Coffman. However, I think they won’t quite reflect last year’s playoff team.
Projected 2019 record: 7-3
MVP: Jazz Keys