Several talented players from area schools have graced the cover of the Akron Beacon Journal High School Football Preview over the years.
There have been football players from Archbishop Hoban, Buchtel, Canton McKinley, Garfield, Hudson, Kent Roosevelt, Massillon, St. Vincent-St. Mary, Wadsworth and a host of other schools recently on the front cover of the section.
The 2014 version will have Nordonia football players on the front cover, and be available to the public in the traditional newspaper form on Friday and online at ohio.com.
Nordonia hopes to improve upon 8-3, 5-2 with Division I college recruits Denzel Ward (Ohio State), Justice Alexander (Michigan State) and Cameron Bell (Toledo) playing key roles.
“I think we will have an aggressive, fun to watch defense,” Nordonia coach Jeff Fox said. “Our defensive line is a hard-nosed group that I think will pressure quarterbacks and get up field and be aggressive in the run game. Our secondary returns some really special players in [seniors] Alex Alders, Dylan Mabin, Denzel Ward and Tyler Soltis. [Senior] Chase Ryba has stepped over and played some defense now.
“Offensively, we return the core of our passing game with [senior] David Murray at quarterback, Alex Alders, Denzel Ward and some other guys returning on the outside [as receivers]. We are experienced there and we will be able to build off the success we have had in the passing game. I think our offensive line has the potential to be much better. We are young there and a little bit inexperienced, but I think that can be a great unit. We have four young running backs that are capable of doing very well too.”
One player Nordonia will not have is senior Nyck Grayson, a talented two-way player who is out due to a knee injury. He has similar skills to Ward, Alders and Mabin.
"I feel very bad for Nyck," Fox said. "He is a really nice kid and you never want to see a kid lose his senior year of football. I am confident he will bounce back and be able to play in college."
Here is a preview capsule for the 2014 season:
League: Suburban League. 2013 record: 8-3, 5-2.
Coach: Jeff Fox, third season. Coach’s record: 15-7.
Players to watch: Denzel Ward, Sr., WR-DB; Alex Alders, Sr., WR-DB; Cameron Bell, Sr., OL; Justice Alexander, Sr., OL-DL; David Murray, Sr., QB; Dylan Mabin, Sr., WR-DB; Tyler Soltis, Sr., WR-DB; Chase Ryba, Sr., WR; Alex Chrustic, Jr., OL; Isaiah Anderson, Jr., OL; Connor Olczak, Sr., MLB; Tyler Zingale, Sr., DT; Noah Pennypacker, Sr., LB; Vinny Hudson, Sr., DE.
“We are excited to have this one last crack with these guys,” Fox said. "Hopefully we can accomplish our goals and finish the job.
“I think we have the pieces and parts, but there is still a lot of work to be done to make everything gel.”