Between my beloved Reds falling out of every playoff race imaginable at an early point in the season and all of the rain I’ve trudged through in July, it’s safe to say I’m ready for the upcoming fall sports season.
With fall comes a slate of busy evenings for me and I’m perfectly okay with that. Between cross country, golf, soccer, volleyball and football, I know I’ll be preoccupied and won’t have to focus on — dare I say it — another disappointing year for my Bengals.
I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
This week’s ‘10 to Comprehend’ provides a teaser of what area high school sports fans have to look forward to, come August.
•Anyone else ready for football season to begin? I’ll join you in raising my hand as well. For the past three years, local fans have been blessed with the opportunity to witness greatness in Bainbridge through Anthony and Teagan McFadden. Anthony, Paint Valley’s quarterback and Teagan, the Bearcats’ running back, have led Pete Hollon’s squad to an overall record of 22-10-1 record in the past three years — including two trips to the state playoffs (2012, 2013). Now as seniors, the McFaddens will have one more ride left in them. Get your popcorn ready. Paint Valley is the favorite in the SVC.
•For the third straight season, Adena’s volleyball team failed to win the SVC in 2014. However, in the postseason, the Warriors advanced farther than any other area schoool before falling in the Division III state quarterfinals to Huron. The state appearance marked the eighth in school history. This season, they’ve said goodbye to six seniors from last year’s club. Carly Carroll, Devon Putnam and Carissa Poehler will all be called upon to pick up the slack and lead a plethora of youngsters back to the promise land. Never bet against head coach Laura Smith.
•Chillicothe’s boys soccer team will be playing in Division II this coming season. The Cavaliers, led by longtime coach Mike McCorkle, will be coming off a second straight SCOL championship and a two year span in which they’ve went 30-4 overall and 24-0 in conference play. The drop from Division I should pay huge dividends for the Cavs as they’re used to playing the likes of Worthington Kilbourne, Dublin Scioto, Westerville North, etc. Keep an eye out for the blue and white in the postseason. And oh yeah, on the girls’ side, there’s also Payton Davis. You already know about her. But I’ll say this: if she can continue playing like she has been, she’ll be the most prolific scorer in Ross County history in terms of girls’ soccer.
•Back on the links this fall will be Zane Trace’s Caleb Arnold, who advanced to the state tournament last year, as a junior. Arnold also won an individual SVC championship last year with a 37.28 average. In Columbus, Arnold struggled by shooting an 83 on the first day and a 92 on the second. However, the experience he gained is priceless. If Arnold can focus, he’ll make a second consecutive trip to the biggest stage in high school golf.
•If there’s a favorite to win a regional cross country championship this season, it’s Unioto’s David Magda. The senior will be hunting for his second consecutive regional title after winning the event in 2014 with a mark of 16:20.53. In the state meet, Magda came in 16th overall with a time of 16:20.91. If you get a chance to attend a cross country meet this season, be prepared to hear Magda’s name. He’ll most likely be leading the pack.
•Back on the gridiron, Waverly will most likely be ‘passing’ the quarterback torch from graduated senior R.J. Perkins to incoming junior Logan Kottenbrook. The two battled it out in a mini quarterback controversy during last off-season before Perkins won the position. The talented Kottenbrook will bring a combination of important skills to the Tiger’s backfield in 2015 and could possibly make Waverly a dark horse contender.
•One other thing to watch for in Pike County is Piketon’s Payton Reuter on the volleyball court. Reuter, who’s story of two torn ACLs has been well documented, will attempt to make a second return. When on the court, the senior setter drops dimes like the crowd needs spare change. If she can play at a high level, the Redstreaks could play an imperative role inside the SVC race
•Staying on the volleyball courts, Huntington has a potential SVC Player of the Year candidate in junior Rikki Magill. Last year, Magill came up with 54 aces, 254 digs and 282 assists. Needless to say, she’s an extremely valuable asset for the Huntsmen. With libero Alayna Lytle graduated, Magill’s role will increase that much more.
•Southeastern’s football team failed to win a single game last year. But there is a ‘but’. The Panthers lost only six seniors to graduation last season in Dylan Miles, Cole Johnson, Cody Hendershot, Brandon Curtis, Ben Keaton and Corbitt Cartee. With most of those now open positions being on the offensive side of the ball, there’s an opportunity for many players who didn’t see the field last year to step up and fill a role. I’m by no means saying that Southeastern is the favorite to win the SVC. But what I am eluding to is coach Evan Gallaugher and company could surprise some people in 2015.
•In Williamsport, there’s one player that most likely has a larger bearing than anyone else in this season’s volleyball Player of the Year race — Hannah Phillips. In fact, if there were money on the line, Phillips would be my pick to win the honor and the Westfall Mustangs would be my pick to win the SVC title. In 2014, along with Amanda Curry, Phillips was a nightmare for opposing defenses and led the Mustangs to a Division III regional final appearance before losing to Adena. Phillips, now a senior, will have to follow a year in which she finished with 289 assists and 66 aces. She’ll match those numbers and then some while embracing the limelight after seeing seven seniors graduate.