COACH: Sean Williams, second year
2010 RECORD: 2-8, 2-3
Strengths: Two exceptionally talented defensive players in 6-foot-6, 240-pound end Myles Hilliard and 6-4, 185-pound defensive back Tyvis Powell.
Weaknesses: Overall inexperience and lack of depth.
Scouting Report: Bedford’s only wins a year ago came at the expense of Warrensville (1-9) and Lorain (2-8), so Williams has his hands full in the tough LEL.
Cleveland Heights Tigers
COACH: Jeff Rotsky, fifth year
2010 RECORD: 4-6, 2-3
Strengths: Overall size, speed and skill.
Weaknesses: Lack of depth.
Scouting Report: Rotsky is a proven winner but hasn’t been able to find the magic in his four years with the Tigers. Heights always has the athletes but lost its last three games last year after a decent start. It’ll be interesting to see how Heights starts off this season.
COACH: Tom Gibbons, fourth year
2010 RECORD: 4-6, 3-2
Strengths: Good skill personnel returning, along with three offensive linemen.
Weaknesses: Depth on the offensive line.
Scouting Report: Euclid plays about as tough a non-conference schedule as anyone in the state. If the Panthers stay healthy, they should be in the run for the league title.
COACH: Mark Solis, first year
2010 RECORD: 2-8, 1-4
Strengths: Solid offensive line and good skill personnel.
Weaknesses: Learning a new system basically for the third time in three years.
Scouting Report: Solis’ return to Lorain County should be interesting. He’s headstrong but a very good motivator. He should be able to turn Lorain’s program around, but how quickly remains to be seen.
Maple Heights Mustangs
COACH: Todd Filtz, third year
2010 RECORD: 15-0, 5-0
Strengths: Maple returns a number of players from its state title run a year ago.
Weaknesses: Finding a replacement for Cincinnati-bound quarterback Shaquille Washington, who accounted for seven touchdowns in the state title game — three passes and four runs.
Scouting Report: Maple Heights is out to defend its Division II state championship — the first in school history. The Mustangs scored more than 600 points last season, better than 42 a game.
Shaker Heights Raiders
COACH: Anthony Watkins, fourth year
2010 RECORD: 2-8, 0-5
Strengths: Good size.
Weaknesses: Lack of depth.
Scouting Report: It’s been awhile since Shaker was considered one of powerhouse football schools in Northeast Ohio. The Raiders haven’t had a winning season since 2005 and it may take a little longer.
COACH: Rodney Brown, fifth year
2010 RECORD: 7-3, 4-1
Strengths: Team speed, especially returning receiver William Woods.
Weaknesses: Inexperience along both lines.
Scouting Report: Brown has been very successful with the Cardinals. Shaw finished last year with a 54-0 win over Warrensville and a 66-0 win over Cincinnati College Prep, but didn’t qualify for the postseason. The only losses were to Warren Harding, Padua and Maple Heights. The Cardinals are certainly capable of beating anyone on their schedule.
Warren Harding Raiders
COACH: Rick Rios, first year
2010 RECORD: 8-3, 3-1
Strengths: Junior wide receiver Avery Qualls can flat out fly.
Weaknesses: Replacing a solid senior class that led the Raiders to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
Scouting Report: Many people were surprised when Harding didn’t renew the contract of coach D.J. Dota after a playoff run. Rios, formerly of Toledo Rogers, brings his spread offense, hoping to better utilize the athletes Warren Harding produces year in and year out.
Warrensville Heights Tigers
COACH: Eric Mitchell, fifth year
2010 RECORD: 1-9, 0-5
Strengths: Good athletes at the skill positions.
Weaknesses: Lack of overall depth.
Scouting Report: The only Division III school in the league, it’s tough for Warrensville to compete against the big boys. It hasn’t won more than five games since 2007.
THE TOP PLAYERS
Matt Cox, Lorain offensive and defensive lineman
Matt is the top student at Lorain and brings that work ethic and organization to the football field.
Colin Bryant, Lorain quarterback
In his second year calling the signals for the Titans.
Christian Nogueras, Lorain wide receiver
State track qualifier who has good hands. Will be a deep threat for the Titans.
THE TOP GAMES
Sept. 9, Lorain at Avon
Coach Mark Solis needs his team to get off to a good start against Midview and Parma. If that happens, the Titans’ trip to Avon could propel Lorain to a special year.
Sept. 30, Warren Harding at Lorain
One of the state’s premier programs makes its first visit to George Daniel Stadium for a matchup with the Titans.
Oct. 14, Maple Heights at Lorain
The defending Division II state champions travel to Lorain to see just how much the Titans have improved.
BY THE NUMBERS
Wins for Mark Solis at Twinsburg against 14 losses
Boys enrolled at Lorain, according to the OHSAA, making it the largest school in the LEL
Years since Admiral King made the city of Lorain’s only playoff appearance
Obviously, Maple Heights appears to be the team to beat coming off a 15-0 Division II state title run. And the Mustangs do not face Division I powers Euclid and Warren Harding.
Harding qualified for the playoffs last year, and Euclid and Cleveland Heights are expected to bounce back from 4-6 seasons.
Shaw must be considered in the mix.
Lorain could make some noise while Shaker Heights, Bedford and Warrensville appear destined to remain near the bottom of the pack.
Lorain 1-3 2-8
Bedford 2-2 2-8
Shaw 3-1 7-3
Warrensville Heights 0-4 1-9
Maple Heights 4-0 15-0
Cleveland Heights 1-3 4-6
Shaker Heights 0-4 2-8
Euclid 2-2 4-6
Warren Harding 3-1 8-2
Mentor 4-0 7-3
Division II, Region 6
Maple Heights 34, Toledo Central Catholic 14
Maple Heights 61, Sandusky 27
Maple Heights 48, Olmsted Falls 16
Maple Heights 27, Lake Catholic 17
Maple Heights 45, Trotwood Madison 33