Preseason football: Arcanum Trojans

Team: Arcanum Trojans

Division/Region: D-VI, Region 24; no change from last season.

Affiliation: Cross County Conference.

Location: Booster Stadium, Arcanum.

Head coach: Jason Schondelmyer, entering eighth overall years as the Trojans’ coach and second straight season. In his second stint as Arcanum’s coach, he also was the Trojans’ coach from 1999-2005. Combined 53-29 record at Arcanum and 77-66 overall. Since leaving Arcanum, he was the head coach at Versailles, Twin Valley South and Tri-Village and an assistant at the University of Dayton (2011-12) and Alter, including the D-IV state runner-up Knights in 2014.

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Last month Schondelmyer was approved as Arcanum’s athletic director, a position he also had during his first term. He succeeded Brian Sprada, who left Arcanum to become the AD at Brookville.

Assistant coaches: Jason Stephan, OC; Greg Hale, OL/DL; Eric Wolfe, LB/SE; Patrick Couch, OL/DL; Theo Whitaker, FB/DL, special teams coordinator; Justin Brandenburg, Trojan/TE; Thomas Kessler, volunteer; Jim Oberer, K/P.

2017 records: 4-4 CCC, 4-6 overall.

2017 highlights: Trojans successfully rebounded from a 1-5 start by finishing 3-1. Arcanum takes a two-game win streak into its opener against D-V non-league and visiting heavyweight Greeneview (10-1).

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Special teams were a boon, producing five punt returns for TDs. Graduated senior Daniel Coats etched his name in Trojans lore with 40 carries for 316 yards rushing in a 37-8 Week 10 defeat of Tri-Village. That surpassed the previous single-game Trojans record of 306 yards by Kyle Fledderjohn.

Developing a new go-to backfield will be a priority, because Coats accounted for 1,135 yards rushing.

Key returners:

Dane Craport, 6-1, 200, sr., DE/OT/P/HBLOS, 18 sacks, first team All-CCC.

Austin Fourman, 6-0, 190, sr., RB/DE.

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Jayden Heltsley, 6-5, 285, jr., OG/DT, second team All-CCC.

Devin Keckler, 5-9, 180, sr., LB/RB, leading tackler last season.

Cory Ross, 5-9, 190, jr., FB/LB, missed most of last season with injury.

About the Trojans: Schondelmyer’s return has recreated a buzz for Arcanum football at the Darke County village. Numbers are up and interest is high, two key ingredients to a successful program. But challenges remain.

Arcanum hasn’t fielded a winning team in a decade, since the 2008 Trojans were 6-4. Their last playoff season was in 2005 under Schondelmyer. To contend for a CCC title and advance to the postseason, Arcanum must break through high-end rivals Bethel (9-2) and Miami East (9-2) and even Covington (5-5) can’t be counted out, despite coming off a rare non-playoff season.

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Because of the CCC schedule rotation, Arcanum will not play Fort Loramie (8-3), which is in its second season in the conference.

The sizable Heltsley should separate himself as a dominant CCC lineman and is key to the run-heavy offense. He’s drawing recruiting interest. Craport was among the conference’s best disrupters at middle guard. The return of a healthy Ross is a bonus.

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No schedule change. Like most CCC teams, Arcanum will lean on two-way players. As always, staying healthy and developing depth is a priority.

Schedule: All at 7 p.m.

Week 1: Fri., Aug. 24 GREENEVIEW

Week 2: Fri., Aug. 31 at National Trail

Week 3: Fri., Sept. 7 ANSONIA

Week 4: Fri., Sept. 14 at Bradford

Week 5: Fri., Sept. 21 COVINGTON

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Week 6: Fri., Sept. 28 at Bethel

Week 7: Fri., Oct. 5 TRI-COUNTY NORTH

Week 8: Fri., Oct. 12 at Miami East

Week 9: Fri., Oct. 19 at Mississinawa Valley

Week 10: Fri., Oct. 26 TRI-VILLAGE

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