Madison voted team to beat in SWBL Buckeye football chase

Madison quarterback Mason Whiteman (7) recovers his own fumble during the second quarter of a Southwestern Buckeye League game against Carlisle on Oct. 7, 2016, in Madison Township. The visiting Indians won 21-19. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY DAVID A. MOODIE
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Madison quarterback Mason Whiteman (7) recovers his own fumble during the second quarter of a Southwestern Buckeye League game against Carlisle on Oct. 7, 2016, in Madison Township. The visiting Indians won 21-19. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY DAVID A. MOODIE

Madison High School’s football team is getting noticed in the preseason.

Already touted as one of the top Division V squads in Region 20, the Mohawks have also been voted No. 1 in the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division coaches poll.

“It’s kind of a different spot for Mohawk football to be thought of as No. 1 in our league,” Madison coach Steve Poff said. “It’s nice to be in the conversation, but I don’t put a lot of merit in a preseason poll. We’ve got a lot to prove before we can talk about those things.”

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Milton-Union was second in the poll and got one first-place vote. Carlisle was third while getting a pair of No. 1 votes.

Preble Shawnee was fourth and followed (in order) by Waynesville, Dixie and Northridge.

“Milton is always going to be pretty good because they’re so fundamentally sound,” Poff said. “I’ve got a ton of respect for Mark Lane and how he runs his program.”

“I know we don’t have a whole lot of respect compared to other leagues around here, but I feel like the league’s going to be a lot more competitive than it’s been in the past. I feel as a whole, the league’s moving forward.”

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The Mohawks are coming off consecutive 7-3 campaigns, yet are still seeking the first postseason berth in school history.

Madison returns its top two rushers in junior Cameron Svarda and senior Tyler Baumgartner, along with senior Reid Davis and junior Mason Whiteman at quarterback.

“For having a mixture of experience and some first-time Friday players, I think that not being at the top is beneficial for us so we can shoot for that,” Carlisle coach Mike Brown said. “We feel we really have a good group of seniors who are starting to figure out what it takes to be leaders, and we have a group of underclassmen who are willing to follow them.”

The Indians are moving on after the loss of record-setting running back Ridge Reed, who’s now at Eastern Kentucky University.

Senior fullback Spencer Mays will see more of the running load, with senior speedster D.J. Chambers set to line up in various positions. Senior quarterback Jake Moore returns as well.

Brown said Carlisle will try to take advantage of Moore’s improved skills with a more wide-open approach on offense.

“Last year we were able to spread the ball around a little bit, and I think we’re looking to do that even more this year. We feel we have some pretty good weapons on the outside,” Brown said. “It’s nice to have Jake Moore back. He’s a three-sport athlete who’s good at everything, and he’s one heck of a kid too.”

The Indians have been a D-V playoff team in Brown’s first two seasons at the helm. Carlisle went 6-0 in Buckeye play last year.


SWBL Buckeye: The Vote

Here’s how the coaches voted in the preseason Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division football poll, with point totals and first-place votes (in parentheses):

1. Madison (4) 45

2. Milton-Union (1) 41

3. Carlisle (2) 38

4. Preble Shawnee 24

5. Waynesville 19

6. Dixie 17

7. Northridge 12

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