The 2009 season for the Winton Woods Warriors was like something out of Hollywood. It had superstars in leading roles, plenty of antagonists, an unbelievable climax, and the happy ending that so many people love.
The team's season was threatened midway through as a school levy nearly killed the program. The Warriors also missed out on laying claim to back-to-back conference titles with a tough loss to their arch rivals, Anderson.
In the end, a magical and dominant playoff run resulted in the school earning its first-ever state championship in any sport and laid the foundation of what Winton Woods football is all about.
2009 RECORD: 13-2, 4-1 FAVC Buckeye (Ohio Division II State Champs)
COACHING: Troy Everhart has spent 12 seasons at Winton Woods and 11 years as the team's head coach. During his time he's built a program from scratch and turned them into a perennial powerhouse. While he runs the team, Everhart turns to his coordinators to execute the game plan. Tony Boyd serves as the Warriors' offensive coordinator and runs a spread offense. On defense, Andre Parker calls the shots and implements a 34 scheme.
OFFENSE: Saying that Winton Woods lost some players on offense is a huge understatement. Gone are three-year starters, quarterback Dominique Brown and running back Jeremiah Goins, along with some key cogs up front. The team averaged 411 yards of total offense, including 345 yards on the ground, per game in 2009 and will be hard pressed to come anywhere near those numbers this season.
Athlete Thomas Owens accounted for 607 total yards and eight touchdowns as a junior and will be prominently featured by the Warriors in 2010. Running back Aaron Kemper is poised for a breakout campaign after averaging 6.5 yards per carry and scoring five touchdowns in limited action as a sophomore.
Junior-to-be Gary Underwood is the only player on the roster with a varsity pass under his belt and appears to be the front-runner to start at quarterback.
The team must get solid production up front as their offensive line is a bit undersized and inexperienced. It will certainly be a major x-factor in determining how far this year's squad can go.
DEFENSE: The strength of Winton Woods in 2010 no doubt lies in the team's defense where several major contributors from last year's championship team return. The unit struggled with consistency early in the season, but only allowed 13.6 points per game during their five-game playoff run.
Linebacker Antonio Poole is a big-time Division I prospect with over 20 offers in hand. He is the leader of the unit and one of the best playmakers on this side of the ball in the entire city. Classmate Keeno Hollins, who had 4.5 sacks as a junior, joins him in the middle.
The secondary is loaded as well with seniors Chuck Wynn and Corey Webber leading the way. Wynn picked off four passes as a junior while Webber accounted for three interceptions.
Defensive end Walter Richardson presents match-up problems for opposing defenses up front and anchors an athletic defensive line.
SPECIAL TEAMS: The Warriors must fine new options at both kicker and punter this off-season. However, the return game shouldn't be a problem. Wynn, who return a kick for a touchdown in 2009, is one of several players capable of producing in that role on the team.
2010 SCHEDULE: Aug. 27 - vs. Elder (Nippert Stadium) - 8:30 p.m. Sep. 3 - at Withrow - 7:30 p.m. Sep. 10 - FAIRFIELD - 7:30 p.m. - FOX19 Friday Prep Rally Sep. 17 - BISHOP WATTERSON - 7:30 p.m. Sep. 24 - at Walnut Hills - 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1 - HARRISON - 7:30 p.m. Oct. 8 - LOVELAND - 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15 - at Milford - 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21 - ANDERSON - 7:05 p.m. Oct. 29 - at Glen Este - 7:30 p.m.
FINAL TAKE: The schedule is tough right out of the gate for the Warriors. With so many question marks on the offensive side of the ball, the team will need so young players to step up quickly. If they fare well in non-conference play and hold their own inside the Buckeye Conference expect Winton Woods to return to post-season play with something to prove. A repeat as Division II state champions may a bit of a reach, but another stellar season is within the Warriors' grasp.