Lakota East (2007 Record: 4-6)
Centerville (2007 Record: 9-3)
While the Elks lost some firepower on the offensive side of the ball after last season. They look to build around two of their bigger players. Adam Replogle is a 6-foot-2.5, 250-pound defensive lineman who’ll look to shut down East’s offense.
Replogle, who has already given his verbal pledge to play for Indiana next season, is a force to be reckoned with and one of the Dayton areas top players.
He’s joined by Illinois verbal commitment Jake Feldmeyer, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound blocking machine that helps get the Elks ground game in gear with their Triple-option offense.
The biggest questions to be answered by the Elks are at quarterback and running back. Gone are last years stars James Cravens and David Fleming. It is here where the Elks could find an early struggle if they have any this season.
East is a team looking to make a statement in 2008. On paper this is a major mismatch but East is known for playing Dayton teams hard in season openers.
Jared Riley is a player to watch on special teams as a return specialist but also could provide a spark as a wide receiver.
Senior signal caller Evin Dusold has some experience but will find pressure early in this game.
While a lot of starters return for East, the question remains how much have they improved and what team will show up.
Will the team that beat Princeton take the Welcome Stadium turf? Or will the team that started last season 1-4 show its head again early?
Lakota West (2007 Record: 5-5)
Huber Heights Wayne (2007 Record: 8-2)
All eyes will be on Wayne super-soph quarterback Braxton Miller and they should be. Miller is a special talent who exploded onto the scene last year as a freshman and continued into the winter where University of Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly saw enough to issue a verbal scholarship offer.
Miller is the one fans will have their eyes on, but don’t be fooled. The Wayne Warriors are not a one-man show in 2008 and Erique Geiger looks forward to his chance at running back after backing up seniors the past two seasons.
Geiger is a force of his own using great speed on a compact frame hitting holes hard. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield and is a major weapon for the Warriors on special teams as a return man.
On defense the Warriors have underrated safety/cornerback Javon Marshall who brings speed and the willingness to hit people to the field. He’s joined by Anthony Pyle at defensive end.
The Warriors also have a few younger players to keep an eye on in brothers Terrence and Terry Talbott.
Terrence is a cornerback with major feet and hips who will get his first fulltime taste at the varsity level after missing last season to an injury.
Terry is a defensive end/tackler with a very good motor and nice big-man skills at such a young age.
But don’t be fooled into thinking Larry Cox is coming to Dayton without his own firepower.
West has two of the top prospects in the Class of 2010 in linebacker Jordan Hicks and tight end Alex Smith.
Hicks is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound force with great field vision and lateral movement to go sideline to sideline. He’s capable of covering backs out of the backfield while also having the skills to pick up a receiver. You may also see Hicks lineup in the backfield running the ball.
Smith is a player who is only going to get better as the year goes along. Built with great physical size, Smith shows great hands and the body to lineup and block if needed. While not a typical big tight end, Smith is one of the new style ends who can flex out if needed.
Another big-time player for West is senior linebacker Ryan Turner. A throwback style of player willing to give up his body for the betterment of the team, Turner knows where to be and how to get there. Those who cross his path better be on the lookout because he’ll make sure they remember their time spent in his area.
West has some questions on offense as a quarterback needs to be named and new players need to pick it up fast.
This should be a great match-up as both teams prepare for Week 2 and games in the Herbstreit Classis.