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Africentric Secondary

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New attitude
boosting hopes
for Nubians
By SCOTT GERFEN
ThisWeek Contributor At a glance
Five seniors on the Africentric Sec- AFRICENTRIC SECONDARY NUBIANS
Colors: Purple and black
ondary School football team seemed Coach: Glenn Blue, second season
to know with certainty at this time Key players: Deshon Best, Victor Gra-
last year that their frustration would ham, Breaker Heller, Tajh Jones, Ryan
come to an end. Smoot, Desmond Thomas and Zach
Williams
In his first season, coach Glenn On the Web: columbus.k12.oh.us/cas
Blue had brought a new mindset to
2007 SCHEDULE
a program that went 0-7 in its first Aug. 24.......Cedarville.................Away
season in 2003 and 0-10 each of the Aug. 31.......Centennial..............Home
next two years. Sept. 8 .......Canton Timken .........Away
The no-nonsense Blue understood Sept. 14 .....West ......................Home
By Chris Parker/ThisWeek Sept. 21 .....Marion-Franklin .......Home
the barriers his team would face as a Sept. 28 .....Independence ..........Away
Coach Alan Jones begins his fifth season when the 76ers play Friday as host to Beechcroft. small school in the City League-South Oct. 5 .........South .....................Home
Division, but knew he had the per- Oct. 12 .......Walnut Ridge ............Away
Independence sonnel to compete with anybody.
In the opener, the Nubians crushed
Oct. 19 .......Briggs ....................Home
Oct. 26 .......Eastmoor .................Away
2006 RESULTS

Senior-laden 76ers plan Dayton Belmont 46-6, then went on


to finish 4-6 overall and 2-5 in the
league behind Marion-Franklin (7-
0), Eastmoor (5-2), South (4-3), Inde-
(4-6 overall, 2-5 City-South)
Dayton Belmont ......................W, 46-6
Linden ....................................W, 38-2
Bexley .....................................L, 47-8
Marion-Franklin ........................L, 40-6

to turn around fortunes pendence (4-3), West (3-4) and Wal-


nut Ridge (3-4) and ahead of Briggs
(0-7).
“It’s a whole different mindset this
Independence........................L, 34-20
South ....................................L, 32-24
Walnut Ridge.........................W, 16-13
Briggs.....................................W, 35-8
West .......................................L, 16-0

. . . .
By SCOTT GERFEN and senior receivers Brandon Guinn year,” Blue said. “A lot of kids would Eastmoor...............................L, 49-22
ThisWeek Contributor At a glance and Terrell Carter. Senior Charles get down real easy last year. This year
Small will start at quarterback, but they’re confident and they expect to BE THE ONE to
Independence High School foot- INDEPENDENCE 76ERS
Colors: Red, white and blue
Jones has three others he’s ready to do well. champion
ball coach Alan Jones admits it’s start- Coach: Alan Jones, fifth season
throw in the mix. “This will be their second season life for patients in need.
ing to feel a little strange. Key players: Deon Brown, Terrell Carter, “I think the biggest change for us in the system and they expect to 1-800-GIVE-LIFE
After making a playoff appearance Ryan Dodson, Andrais Elliott, Jordan Fells, this year is that we’re more like a fam- improve on that this year.” BloodSavesLives.org

and finishing 10-3 overall in 2003 Brandon Guinn, Wendell Hill, Anthony ily,” said Nicholas, who rushed for Africentric will begin the season
Lovelace, Luther Nicholas and Charles
with Division II state Offensive Player Small
1,942 yards on 304 carries and scored with 45 players, 11 more than last rushing, also remains intact.
of theYear Eric Haw, the 76ers have On the Web: columbus.k12.oh.us/inde- 14 touchdowns. “I think last year a lot year, and six returning starters. Blue expects Smoot to have a
finished 4-6 the past three seasons. pendence/index.html of the guys were all about them and It must replace Bernie Agnew, who breakout year at running back.
This year with 24 seniors and the 2007 SCHEDULE only worried about which college they was first-team all-City and all-dis- “He leads by example, he’s in shape
return of all-state running back Luther Aug. 24.......Beechcroft..............Home were going to go to.” trict and rushed for 525 yards on 75 and does what he’s supposed to do
Nicholas, who rushed more than Aug. 31.......Northland.................Away If the 76ers have a weakness this carries with seven touchdowns and
Sept. 7 .......Hilliard Davidson ......Away and he’s already got three or four
1,900 yards a year ago, he’s hoping Sept. 14 .....South .....................Home year, it’s up front where senior Wen- caught 20 passes for 340 yards and years in so we expect him to do well,”
for resurgence and a City League- Sept. 21 .....Briggs ......................Away dell Hill (6-foot-3, 335 pounds) and three touchdowns. Blue said.
South Division championship. Sept. 28 .....Africentric ...............Home junior Andrais Elliott (6-3, 295) will Quarterback Darius Rhodes, who “It’s tremendous for us to have the
Central Ohio High School Football Preview ’07 • August 22, 2007

“We have great leadership this year Oct. 5 .........West ......................Home anchor both the offensive and defen- was second-team all-City and hon-
Oct. 12 .......Eastmoor .................Away line back because they understand
and I think that’s something we’ve Oct. 19 .......Marion-Franklin.........Away sive lines. orable mention all-district after the blocking schemes and that’s going
been lacking the last three years,” Oct. 26 .......Walnut Ridge ............Away “We have guys up front who completing 41 of 91 passes for 612 to be key.”
said Jones, whose team opens Fri- 2006 RESULTS haven’t played there before, but we’re yards and four touchdowns, also is At quarterback is Victor Graham,
day against visiting Beechcroft. “I (4-6 overall, 4-3 City-South) looking for an aggressive kid who gone. a Franklin Heights transfer who has
think we finally have continuity within Beechcroft.............................L, 44-19 can come off the ball and hit some- The Nubians look to be strongest
Upper Arlington ........................L, 58-0 impressed Blue with his speed and
our coaching staff so we’re all on the Hilliard Davidson ......................L, 43-6 body,” Jones said. on defense with the return of senior strong arm and leadership in the
same page and the kids know exactly Briggs.....................................W, 48-0 There also is the speed factor with linebacker Ryan Smoot, the City spread offense. His targets will be
what we want and know what they’re Africentric .............................W, 34-20 six players reaching the state track League’s second-leading tackler junior Deshon Best and sophomore
supposed to do.” West ....................................W, 56-20 and field finals last spring. (105.5) with four sacks and 21 tack-
Eastmoor..............................W, 33-28 Tajh Jones.
Last season, Independence tied Marion-Franklin ........................L, 33-0 “Everybody around here knows les for a loss. “He’s the perfect quarterback for
South at 4-3 in league play behind South ......................................L, 38-8 we run the ball, but we’ll put a little He’s joined by senior end Desmond the system,” Blue said. “If teams stack
Marion-Franklin (7-0), Eastmoor (5- Walnut Ridge ...........................L, 21-6 wrinkle in there,” Jones said. “We Thomas (first-team all-City, honor- the line and bring eight in the box he
2) and ahead of West (3-4), Walnut can throw it. We have somebody to able mention all-district), lineman can beat it with the pass.”
Ridge (3-4), Africentric (2-5) and BE THE ONE to throw it to and we have somebody Zach Williams (second-team all-City, Blue’s biggest concern is depth as
Briggs (0-7). champion who can put it out there. We’ll take special mention all-district) and strong a Division V school playing teams
life for patients in need.
It opened last season with losses whatever a defense gives us.” safety Breaker Heller (honorable men- that are mostly Division II.
to Beechcroft (44-19), Upper Arling- 1-800-GIVE-LIFE
BloodSavesLives.org
The defense will be led by all-City tion all-City). He believes last year’s record could
ton (58-0) and Hilliard Davidson (43- returnees Carter and Fells in the sec- “We have just about everybody have been even better without key
6) and closed with losses to Marion- ondary along with seniors Deon back on defense and this will be their mistakes in two contests.
Franklin (33-0), South (38-8) and working hard,” Jones said. “It’s just Brown and Anthony Lovelace. Senior second year in the system so we plan “In our games against South and
Walnut Ridge (21-6). UA (Division a matter of fixing the little things Ryan Dodson should help with expe- to start doing a little bit more scheme- West we just didn’t play well,” Blue
I), Davidson (Division I) and Mar- that we didn’t do last year. I think rience up front at defensive end and wise,” Blue said. said. “I think it was a lot of inexpe-
ion-Franklin (Division II) were play- a lot of our troubles have been Nicholas will play some at linebacker. “Last year we were pretty vanilla, rience and not being familiar with
off qualifiers, with Davidson winning because of inexperience.” “I think there’ll be a lot of surprises but I think we’ll be a lot more intri- the system. We turned the ball over
a state title and finishing 15-0. Independence will have plenty of in the City League this year, and I cate this year.” nine times against South. When we
“The kids have been working experience at the skill positions with think we’ll be one of them,” Jones The offensive line, which last sea- put together four quarters, we were
58 hard and the coaches have been Nicholas, senior fullback Jordan Fells said. son helped account for 1,800 yards a solid team.”