So it seems I created a bit of a stir today when I posted my early preseason football rankings on Twitter, especially with my pick of Mayfield ahead of DeSales in Class 2-A.
I can promise the selection had nothing to do with disrespect or bias or whatever nonsense you might have read on Twitter. Really, it’s all about the numbers.
First, a little background:
DeSales has been THE program in Class 2-A over the past two seasons, winning a pair of state championships and compiling a 28-2 record along the way. The Colts’ only two losses came against district rival Christian Academy, and they avenged both during the playoffs.
Mayfield had been THE program in Class A over the past six seasons, reaching the state final every year and winning four championships (2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014). The Cardinals are 84-6 over the past six seasons and have been moved up to Class 2-A this season.
Mayfield and DeSales will enter the 2015 season as the favorites to take the state title, although I believe Christian Academy, Newport Central Catholic and others will be in the mix.
Mayfield must replace its entire offensive line but returns three special players in the skill positions with junior quarterback Landon Arnett, junior running back Trajon Bright and senior wide receiver Lane Kennemore.
Arnett passed for 2,094 yards and 24 TDs last season, and Bright rushed for 1,941 yards and 32 TDs. Kennemore had 36 receptions for 978 yards and 11 TDs.
The Cardinals also return eight starters on defense, led by senior linebacker Johnny Hernandez and junior free safety Jaime Tapia.
DeSales has just three starters back on offense – senior quarterback Austin Johnson and senior linemen Michael Travis and Cody Wells. The Colts lost four of their top six rushers from last season and their top eight receivers. Johnson, who has committed to the University of Louisville as a kicker/punter, and junior Austin Tharp give DeSales a pair of solid weapons on offense, but a lot of new faces will have to step in.
That’s the main reason I picked Mayfield ahead of DeSales.
DeSales will rely heavily on seven returning starters from a very strong defense that allowed just 13 total points over five playoff games last season. All-State end Bryant Pirtle is gone, but Alec Brothers, Ryan Smith, Dylan Mumford and several other key players return.
What does all of this mean? Nothing really.
I’m sure DeSales will find plenty of talent to step in on offense, which is why I still have the Colts No. 2 in the state. I simply believe Mayfield has fewer question marks entering the season.
For those interested, DeSales and Mayfield couldn’t meet until the semifinals of the Class 2-A playoffs. The game would be at Mayfield. If it takes place, it will be one of the most anticipated games of the season.