This isn’t a secret, but it sure was confirmed last year: The Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Division rules and the road to a CBC Mad River title runs through Urbana.
Three Kenton high school football teams won eight games in 2012 and all advanced to the postseason. Shawnee (8-4) had the deepest playoff run yet had its two-year steak of Kenton titles snapped. Tecumseh (8-3) earned its first Kenton title since 2009. Tippecanoe (8-3), the third high-end member, also played a Week 11 game.
Meanwhile, Mad River champ Urbana (9-2) was its only division postseason rep.
Expect more of the same this season.
Veteran Tipp coach Charlie Burgbacher, in his 25th season with the program, summed up all four of those programs goals: “Expectations are high for the season,” he said.
Tipp, Shawnee and Tecumseh have earned or shared the last six CBC Kenton Division titles. Urbana has won or shared five of the last six CBC Mad River titles, with only Graham breaking that streak in 2009.
Why all the optimism at Tipp? The Arrows are loaded with four three-year starters on offense and return eight defensive starters, five of which are three-year regulars.
- The Nick Marino era begins at Urbana. He inherited the head coaching position when Geron Stokes left to take over at Minster.
- Toby Smith left an ultra successful program at West Liberty-Salem after 14 seasons with a goal of resurrecting Bellefontaine football. The Chieftains slipped to 1-8 last season and Chris Schmidt wasn’t retained after three seasons.
3 key players
Christian Evans, Tecumseh, sr., RB/DB: Kenton Division player of the year; gained 1,352 yards on 184 carries (7.3) and scored 21 TDs.
Hunter Houseman, Northwestern, sr., QB: Mad River co-offensive POY; 152 of 312 passing for 1,832 yards, 21 TDs and 16 INTs. Also rushed for 947 yards on 202 carries (4.7) and scored 12 TDs.
Nathan Mays, Urbana, jr., QB: Mad River co-offensive POY; 126 of 216 passing for 2,103 yards, 31 TDs and just five INTs.
3 key games
Sept. 13, Tippecanoe at Milton-Union: A great matchup of the CBC’s best vs. the SWBL’s perennial playoff contender.
Sept. 20, Tecumseh at Urbana: The best CBC crossover test that awaits the Hillclimbers.
Nov. 1, Shawnee at Tippecanoe: No telling what this game could mean. Don’t rule out a Kenton Division title and playoff positioning or berth.