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The Plain Dealer's preseason top-25 prep football teams for N.E. Ohio


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The Plain Dealer's preseason top-25 prep football teams for Northeast Ohio

Plain Dealer staff, August 18, 2009 8:03 p.m.


1. St. Ignatius, 14-1 in 2008: Defending Division I state champs graduated keyplayers, including a pair of prime-time receivers, but the Wildcats remain the area's top squad until someone beats them.


2. Glenville, 11-1: The Tarblooders are talented, quick and athletic - as always - so isn't it about time they advance to the Division I state championship game?


3. Solon, 6-4: Comets will be able to pass the ball but need to sustain an effective running game in order to compete in the loaded Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division.


4. Mentor, 9-3: Cardinals' two-back spread formation, headed by Mike Korecz and Rick Hanzlik, will be too much for most opponents to handle.


5. Brunswick, 10-2: Receiver Jared Kaderbek and two-way tackle Ryan Conway will help give the Blue Devils another season to remember.


6. Strongsville, 11-2: Mustangs will prevail in their share of games because of dominating line play, but can they overcome the loss of 12 starters?


7. Twinsburg, 9-3: Tigers have the depth to go deep into the postseason while making a smooth transition in their move up to the NOC's River Division.


8. Avon Lake, 8-3: Led by Christian Pace and Dan Schneider, the Shoremen have the horses up front to again be the class of the Southwestern Conference and Division II.


9. Mayfield, 10-2: Wildcats have a tough order to fill. They have to adjust to playing in Division I and in the always-tough NOC Valley Division with a new defensive coordinator.


10. Lake Catholic, 4-6: Cougars will return to prominence if their defense matures and they can avoid a second consecutive injury-plagued season.


11. St. Vincent-St. Mary, 7-3: Fighting Irish are experienced and have good size but need to develop a quarterback in order to be successful.


12. Wadsworth, 5-5: Grizzlies return 12 starters, most of whom have taken their lumps the past three seasons. Paybacks and a postseason appearance are the order of their season.


13. Archbishop Hoban, 9-5: The Knights have dropped into talent-laden Division III and that's not good considering they graduated a ton of skill-position players.


14. Euclid, 7-4: Panthers graduated 20 starters. However, athletes such as WR/DB Devante Jones will help them overcome a major overhaul.


15. Walsh Jesuit, 9-3: Rookie QB Connor Cook and veteran RB Cameron Ontko will need some help considering the Warriors graduated 16 starters.


16. Shaw, 9-1: If blue chip WR Tyrone Williams has a healthy campaign, the Cardinals will light up the scoreboard, as well as anyone who gets in their way.


17. Maple Heights, 6-4: Tackles Dominic Flewellyn and Terrace Tisdel are tough to block, meaning Mustangs could earn postseason berth.


18. Akron Garfield, 8-2: The Gulley brothers - Tyson and Toneo - a sufficient offensive line and moving down to Division II should make for a Ram-tough season.


19. Padua, 8-3: The Bruins' move into immensely talented Division III could prove to be a culture shock if they qualify for a third straight postseason berth.


20. St. Edward, 6-5: Loss of QB Alex Lavisky (will focus on baseball) and another formidable schedule will be huge challenges for Eagles and their new head coach.


21. Green, 4-6: Bulldogs have depth at the skill positions, plus they should reap the benefits of a strong off-season weight program.


22. Willoughby South, 8-3: Gary Harmon and Dominique Darling make for nice 1-2 rushing punch but finding a QB is a major concern for the Rebels.


23. Madison, 8-4: Blue Streaks won a playoff game last season for the first time in the program's history, but 2009 presents an even bigger challenge.


24. Elyria Catholic, 6-4: Fifteen returning starters, including WR/DE Josh Russ and OT/DT Jared Schuster, will make the Panthers a force in the North Coast League as well as in Division IV.


25. Chagrin Falls, 8-4: The return of QB Chris Trinetti and RB Chris Gorman and dropping to Division IV will boost the Tigers.


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