Despite losing three Division-I players off of their defense to graduation, the Winton Woods Warriors are confident that they can make another postseason run in 2009.
Their state championship hopes were dashed in the third round last year when the eventual state runner-up Anderson avenged an early season loss to the Warriors.
Since then, Anderson has moved up to Ohio Division-I and two more of Winton Wood's players have become division-I college prospects leaving many to think that this could be Winton Wood's year in Division II.
Let's preview what to expect out of the 2009 Warriors.
2008 RECORD: 11-2, 5-0 (FAVC Buckeye)
COACHING: Winton Wood's returns 2008's FAVC coach of the year in Troy Everhart. Everhart has led the Warriors to four consecutive playoff appearances and has them in position to continue that streak.
Everhart has been the coach at Winton Woods for the past ten seasons and has only suffered one losing season during his tenure (2001). Between Everhart and defensive coordinator Andre Parker, the Warriors seem to always have a strong defense which will be key for them to rebuild the defense quickly with all the talent they lost.
The coaching staff will have to mold some of the young personalities on the team into team players, but expect coach Everhart and his staff to have no problems doing that.
The Warriors implement a spread option offense which works well with all the talent and speed they have returning at the skill positions. On defense they operate out of a 3-4 base.
OFFENSE: Offense should not be a problem for the Warriors this season as they return two 1,000 yard rushers in the same backfield with halfback Jeremiah Goins and quarterback Dominique Brown.
Goins has rushed for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons now and is on pace to break the school's rushing record. Goins' powerful legs have made him a force in the redzone. Last year he put up 32 touchdowns on the ground. However don't let that fool you, as Goins can still break loose in the open field. He averaged 6.4 yards per carry last season and 6.3 per carry as a sophomore. Goins has been hearing from Louisville, Cincinnati and Ohio State.
Brown is the other part of the 1,000 yard dual-headed monster. He already committed to the University of Cincinnati joining last year's teammates Maalik Bomar and Chris Williams on the Bearcat roster.
Don't expect Brown to throw the ball a lot as last year he only attempted 56 passes and netted 351 yards. His four touchdowns and four interceptions through the air is definitely a stat he'll be trying to improve this season. However, the rushing game is where Brown really torches opposing defenses.
The 6-foot-3 athlete rushed for 1,655 yards and 16 touchdowns including a 95-yard scamper. Expect more of the same this year from the returning FAVC offensive player of the year.
DEFENSE: The defense is expected to be down this year by everyone except for coach Everhart, who is extremely optimistic about this year's Warriors defense considering they lost three division-I football players off of it.
The Warriors will look to senior safety Avery Cunningham and senior linebacker David Hampton as the next two standout players on the Winton Wood's defense. Between those two leading the way and some overall depth and speed, Coach Everhart is confident that his defense will once again be tops in the conference.
2009 SCHEDULE 08/29 Moeller (Nippert Stadium Skyline Crosstown Showdown) 09/04 Withrow 09/11 at Fairfield 09/18 at Bishop Watterson 09/25 Kings 10/02 at Anderson 10/09 at Harrison 10/16 Milford 10/23 Loveland 10/30 Glen Este
FINAL TAKE: Despite a disappointing end to the 2008 season and the Warriors losing a lot of talent, they looked poised to make a fifth consecutive playoff appearance. Once in the playoffs, anything can happen and with the depth on the Warriors roster this year they should be fresher than a lot of teams especially on defense.