The Beacon Journal's ‘‘Power Poll’’ ranks teams based on expectations for the 2008 season within their OHSAA division relative to other area teams. It is not a predictor of head-to-head strength. Here are the first rankings with division and 2007 record.
1. Walsh Jesuit (III, 9-2)
Quarterback Kyle Snyder and running backs Cameron Ontko and Armand Dehaney give the Warriors plenty of offensive firepower. Big Ten recruits Pat McShane (Indiana) and Brian Smith (Northwestern) will anchor the lines. If the Warriors' defense holds up, this could be a big season on Wyoga Lake Road.
2. Louisville (II, 12-3)
Quarterback Neal Seaman and receiver-defensive back Brandon Mathie are back for a Leopards team that was the 2007 Division II state runner-up.
3. Northwest (III, 12-1)
The Division III poll champion has some holes to fill, but lineman Nate Klatt (Michigan State) and running back Danny Beers head an impressive list of returnees.
4. St. Vincent-St. Mary (IV, 9-3)
Coach Dan Boarman's second Irish team, which will be led by receiver Todd Culver and linebacker Harvie Tuck IV, is primed for another season to remember for the Green Street faithful.
5. Massillon (I, 4-6)
Jason Hall is seeking to make an impressive debut as the Tigers' head coach, just as he did in 2007 with an inexperienced Nordonia team. Running back J.T. Turner and linebacker Matt Rose are the leaders
6. Highland (III, 6-4)
The Hornets' fans have been waiting for this senior class to arrive, and that time is now. Back Chris Snook and linebacker Tyler Houska anchor strong offensive and defensive units.
7. Nordonia (I, 10-2)
The Knights, one of the surprise teams in the area last season, will sneak up on no one this season. Tailback John Hamilton and linebacker Luke Batton are potent offensive and defensive leaders.
8. Aurora (III, 9-2)
Lineman Adam Bellamy, an Ohio State recruit, and defensive back-wide receiver Dee Brizzolara will lead the Greenmen's quest for a fourth consecutive appearance in the state playoffs.
9. Wadsworth (I, 9-2)
Dru Jones, the leading all-time rusher in Medina County history, is gone, but the Grizzlies have a deep and talented junior class ready to fill the void.
10. Brunswick (I, 13-1)
Ricky Manco, who takes over at quarterback for Beacon Journal player of the year Sean Bedevelsky, leads a solid Blue Devils team looking for a seventh consecutive trip to the state playoffs.
11. Tallmadge (II, 10-2)
The Blue Devils' attempt to win another Suburban League championship will rest on a core of seniors led by tailback Tyler Fortner and linebacker Nick Thompson.
12. Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (IV, 9-2)
Running back John Pettigrew, who just missed rushing for 2,000 yards in 2007, returns for a Royals team trying for a fourth consecutive trip to the state playoffs.
13. Firestone (II, 7-4)
Coach Tim Flossie has quickly rebuilt the Falcons and has them poised to follow up the first playoff season in school history with another one.
14. Archbishop Hoban (II, 3-7)
The Knights' defense will be strong, and quarterback Josh Masters and tight end Brian Slack are back to lead a potentially strong offense.
15. Garfield (I, 7-3)
The Rams will contend for honors in the City Series behind a core group of seniors led by running back-safety Tyson Gulley.
16. Ravenna (III, 8-3)
The Ravens, who will be led by running back Blayre Davis, will be seeking their second consecutive appearance in the state playoffs.
17. GlenOak (I, 6-5)
The Golden Eagles, who qualified for the state playoffs for the fourth time in school history last season, return eight starters on defense, led by lineman Aaron Williams.
18. Waynedale (V, 9-3)
Optimism is high among the Golden Bears' faithful that tailback Thad Nofsinger and his teammates will have a long run in the state playoffs.
19. Mogadore (VI, 10-2)
The Wildcats always seem to face heavy graduation losses and then find able replacements. A 22nd appearance in the state playoffs is likely.
20. Orrville (IV, 6-4)
The Red Riders, who missed the state playoffs by one spot in 2007, have plenty of offensive talent back, led by quarterback Joe Besancon and running back Josh Graber.
Others to watch: Alliance, Buckeye, Canton Central Catholic, Canton McKinley, Canton South, Cloverleaf, Ellet, Garrettsville, Green, Hudson, Jackson, Kent Roosevelt, Lake, Manchester, North Canton Hoover, Northwestern, Norwayne, Perry, Revere, Stow, Streetsboro, Tuslaw, Twinsburg.