The Three Rivers conference will kick off another exciting season Friday night.
Here is a look at the Miami County teams.
The Bees are coming off a 1-9 season.
Sophomore Remi Brannan (6-1, 200) who rushed for 277 yards on 62 carries will move from running back to quarterback.
Senior Jason Bowen (6-2, 180) caught 14 passes for 113 yards.
Brannan and Bowen were also two of the leading tacklers on defeans a year ago.
Bowen had 83 tackles, eight sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Brannan had 53 tackles, half a sack, a forced fumble and an interception.
Austin Morgan returns for his seconds season as coach.
The Buccs enter the 2022 season with a youthful roster once again, as ten players return who were on the roster a year ago. Still, coach Morgan is extremely excited to see the growth and development of his young team over the course of the season.
“Yes, we will be a very young team this year and it will be a lot of learning and growing,” said Morgan. “The goal for the Buccs in 2022 is to maximize the ability of everyone in our program as people and players.”
Covington returns one two-way starter from a year ago in sophomore Izaiah Sherman, plus three additional lettermen in senior Brian Morrison, junior Grayson Wells and sophomore Garrett Leistner.
Morrison has emerged as the team leader.
Leistner and sophomore Jack Blumenstock have made huge strides throughout the offseason and hope to have a huge impact in 2022.
“The Garrett Leistner’s and Jack Blumenstock’s, those type of kids look so much stronger because they never miss – they show up all the time,” Morgan explained. “They not only look stronger, but looking at the numbers, they are stronger.”
Another key player returning is junior Derrick Meyer, who is slated to play at wideout and outside linebacker. Meyer suffered a major injury a year ago, but his hard work and determination led to a quick recovery.
“Derrick Meyer, he hurt his knee last year,” Morgan said. “It stunk for us and him because it happened in day one of practice last year, I think in June. But he’s had one of the fastest recoveries I’ve seen. I think the main reason why was because of his urgency. He couldn’t stand not playing.”
Sophomores Zeb Woodward-Roeth, Ashtin Gardner, Kian French and Kayden Thompson also return after contributing greatly to the scout team last season as freshmen.
Senior DeAnthony Bennett, who played as a sophomore, also returns to give the Buccaneers a dangerous weapon in the backfield and in the secondary. Senior Tyler Basye, who last played as a freshman in 2019, is back in uniform as well.
The remainder of the roster is filled with youthful and inexperienced players, but kids who are chomping at the bit to earn playing time. This has made the competition on the practice field fierce.
Chris Kash takes over as Lehman Catholic football coach.
The Cavaliers finished 1-9 a year ago.
Junior quarterback Donovan O’Leary returns.
O’Leary completed 104 of 217 passes for 1,454 yards, with 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
He also ran for 471 yards on 118 carries.
Senior Hayden Sever had 16 catches for 174 yards on offense and 72 tackles and one sack on defense.
Junior Seth Knapke caught 13 passes for 181 yards.
Junior Ethan Stiver had 74 tackles and two sacks for the defense, while senior A.J. Newson had 56 tackles and senior Dylan Geise had two interceptions.
Max Current returns as coach.
The Vikings were 4-6 a year ago.
Returning letterwinners include seniors Layton Burke (6-0, 181), Connor Dalton (5-10, 191), Brock Ritchea (5-10, 155), Jayden Skeebie (5-10, 336) and Dylan Williams (6-0, 215); juniors Michael Hohenstein (6-0, 163) and Kyle Vernon (6-0, 244) and sophomores Luke Bowsher (5-9, 173) and Aaron Mills (5-9, 151).
The quarterback will be Ritchea, who completed 12 of 27 passes for 116 yards and one touchdown a year ago.
Backing up at quarterback is sophomore Kamden Wolfe (6-1, 153).
Dalton, Mills, Bowsher and jumior Brian Laughman (5-7, 153).
Mills had 132 yards rushing on 32 carries a year ago.
Hohenstein is back at receiver.
He had five catches for 109 yards a year ago.
Also at recivers will be Wolfe and sophomore Caleb Staley (5-7, 130).
Sophomore Vincent Crane (6-2, 228) leads the tight ends and will be joined by Burke and sophomore Chris Smith (5-10, 181).
Williams will move from tight end to guard, along with Hans Olson (5-11, 210).
Senior Noah Swartz (6-0, 316) will be the center and the tackles will be Skeebey and Vernon.
Leading the way up front on defense will be Williams and junior Lonnie McDaniel (6-0, 183) at defensive end and Skeebey and Vernon at defensive tackle.
Williams had 73 tackles a year ago, with two for loss and 4.5 sacks.
The outside linebackers will be Dalton and Crane and the inside linebackers will be sophomore Luke Bowsher (5-9, 173) and Camden Comer.
The cornerbacks will include Hohenstein and Staley, while the safeties will be Mills and Ritchea.
McDaniel will handle the punting and kicking duties.
Staley will handle the extra points and field goals.
“Our expectations are the same every year, to compete for a league title and playoff berth,” Current said. “Milton-Union who returns the majority of their 2021 TRC Championship team are the favorites. But our conference is very competitive and you will have to come to play every week.”
Bret Pearce returns as coach.
The Bulldogs were 10-2 overall last year and 9-1 in the regular season, going 7-0 in the TRC.
Milton returns 19 lettermen from that team.
Senior Nathan Morter (6-0, 195) is back at quarterback, while back at running back are senior Michael Elam (5-10, 180) and junior Jordan Foose (6-0, 175).
Morter completed 76 of 150 passes a year ago for 1,253 yards, with 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Elam had 749 yards and nine touchdowns on 104 carries a year ago and Foose ran for 290 yards on 46 carries.
Seniors Blake Brumbaugh (6-1, 180) and Cooper Brown (6-4, 186) are back at receiver.
Brumbaugh had 36 catches for 714 yards and seven touchdowns a year ago and rushed for 535 yards and eight touchdowns on 55 carries.
The tight end will senior Connor Yates (6-5, 210).
Yates caught five passes for 109 yards last year, with three going for touchdowns.
Leading the offensive line will be seniors Ethan Lane (6-3, 278), Jesse Kurtz (6-1, 280), Jake Brown (5-10, 240) and Trevor Brazina (6-0, 230).
The defensive line will include Jake Brown, senior Colton Hultgren (6-2, 210) and Lane.
Brown had 49 tackles, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two recovered fumbles a year ago.
Hultgren had 51 tackles and two sacks and Lane had 41 tackles and two sacks.
The linebackers will include senior Ozzie Gregg (5-11, 176), junior Carter Berner (5-9, 190) and Yates.
Yates had 38 tackles, 6.5 sacks and a forced fumble a year ago and Berner had 27 tackles and one sack.
The secondary will include Brumbaugh, Cooper Brown and senior Connor Gibson (6-0, 170).
Brumbaugh had 62 tackles, five interceptions, a forced fumble and a recovered fumble a year ao.
Brown had 45 tackles and eight interceptions and Gibson had 42 tackles.
Senior Mason Grudich (5-8, 165) will handle the kicking duties.
Grudich was six-for-seven on field goal attempts a year ago and made 50 of 57 PAT attempts.
Brumbaugh is a threat in the return game, averaging 39.2 on kickoff returns a year ago and 15.2 yards on punt returns.
“We return nine starters on offense and seven on defense from the team that won the inagural TRC championship,” Pearce said. “ We expect to be in the running for the league title again this year, and hope that some regular season wins can prepare us for a deep playoff run.”
Pearce expects tough competition in the TRC.
“With only one year in, we don’t really have too much familiarity with many of the league schools and communities,” he said. “There was some great competition last year and our only expectation is that we will be challenged every week by a tough opponent.”
Troy Christian is coming off a 6-4 season a year ago.
Chase Hayden takes over as coach.
Key returners for the Eagles will be senior quarterback Lee Burkett, senior offensive lineman and defensive lineman Jaden Thomson and Spencer Inman, senior running back and outside linebacker Paul McDonald and senior tight end and middle linebacker Vaughn King.
Burkett completed 39 of 65 passes for 495 yards and two touchdowns a year ago and had 460 yards rushing and six touchdowns on 91 carries.
McDonald had 61 tackles a year ago, while Burkett had 51 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions.
Thomson had 27 tackles a year ago and King had 20.
Inman had 14 tackles.
The Eagles goals are to make the playoffs and compete in the TRC.
“This team will compete and is not afraid to stand toe-to-toe with anyone,” Hayden said. “They are hard working and ready to prove themselves.”
You can reach Sports Editor Rob Kiser at [email protected]