High school football preview: Alter Knights

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High school football preview: Alter Knights

High school: Alter Knights

Division: III; Region: 12 (D-IV, Region 16 last season)

Affiliation: Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North Division

»SEE PHOTO GALLERY BELOW

Head coach: Ed Domsitz is in his second stint as Alter’s coach, spanning 26 years. His overall record with the Knights is 243-62. Including other stops at Trotwood-Madison and Northmont, his combined career record is 318-145.

Assistant coaches: Tom Alig, Tom Meyer, Dave Imber, Mike Donohoo, Phil Drayton, Rick Willits, Dan Shea, Marcus Makras, Ron DiSalvo, Tim Connor, Greg Hohl, John Fantauzzo, Mike Rose, Jason Freshwater, Ryan Roth, Dan Morrison and Bill Thurman.

2016 record: 7-0 GCL Co-Ed North; 13-1 overall.

2016 highlights: Loaded with a robust senior class, romped through the regular season undefeated - its second 10-0 run in three seasons - and reclaimed a divisional title following Fenwick’s first GCL Co-Ed North championship in 2015. Statistical advantage was pinch-me stuff. Outscored league opponents 356-35; overall, had a 607-114 scoring advantage. Posted three shutouts and limited six other opponents to eight points or less.

It should be noted, however, that just two regular-season opponents had winning records and both Fenwick and CJ were 6-4. But that’s no fault of Alter’s.

Senior RB Holden Rushing accounted for 1,185 yards rushing (10.6) and 18 TDs and senior QB Ryan Markoff was just as effective (1,045 yards and 16 TDs). Sophomore John Bivens proved himself with 918 yards rushing (9.3) to go with 12 TDs.

For all that, fared no better than a No. 3 seed in D-IV, Region 16. No matter. Defeated Indian Hill 54-28 in a first-round shootout, blanked nemesis Clinton-Massie 28-0 and unloaded on previously unbeaten and top-seeded Cin. Wyoming 35-7 in a regional final.

All that hoopla came to a grinding halt in a 14-7 state semifinal setback to Col. Bishop Hartley at London. That was Alter’s 10th appearance in a state semi and sixth since 2006. Hartley (13-2) defeated Steubenville 24-21 to win the D-IV state title the following week.

That long-running Knights’ success has not gone unnoticed. Domsitz will be inducted into the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in June of 2018.

Key returners

Connor Bazelak, 6-4, 205, jr., QB

John Bivens, 6-0, 204, jr., RB, 2nd Team GCL

Connor Brinkman, 6-0, 215, sr., DE

Jordan Coovert, 6-2, 195, sr., WR/DB, 1st Team GCL

Brian Dalidowicz, 6-1, 210, sr., DE

Nathan Grey, 6-3, 272, sr., OL

Lane Harshbarger, 5-9, 190, sr., RB/LB, 2nd Team GCL

Sam Homan, 5-9, 232, sr., OL

Alden Simms, 6-2, 210, sr., LB, 1st Team GCL

About the Knights: Most of that 2016 two-way firepower has graduated, meaning this is as rebooted as the Knights get. As usual, this will be another senior-dominated team, although those numbers won’t come close to the Class of 2017. Simms, Coovert and Harshbarger all are proven talents.

However, it’s Bazelak and Bivens, a pair of juniors, who should provide the offensive fireworks. At 6-4, Bazelak dazzled in pinch-hit QB roles as a sophomore. He’s the best passer the Knights have had since Malik Zaire. Unless someone else steps up, Bivens could be a legit threat to reach 2,000 yards rushing in the veer option offense.

There is no regular-season schedule change from last year. However, the traditional opener at Fairmont will be played on Thursday, Aug. 24, at Kettering Roush Stadium. That’s where Alter also will play three other “home” games and two more at Centerville.

Bumping up to D-III will be a new challenge. Alter now is lumped with Dunbar, Franklin, Mount Healthy, Piqua, Tippecanoe and mighty Trotwood-Madison along with GCL North rival CJ. Cracking the top eight in Region 12 and qualifying for the playoffs will be a significant accomplishment for any team.

Schedule: All games 7 p.m.

Week 1: Thu., Aug. 24, at Fairmont

Week 2: Fri., Sept. 1, Thurgood Marshall at Centerville

Week 3: Fri., Sept. 8, Xenia at Fairmont

Week 4: Fri., Sept. 15, Carroll at Centerville

Week 5: Fri., Sept. 22, at Fenwick

Week 6: Fri., Sept. 29, at Cin. Roger Bacon

Week 7: Fri., Oct. 6, Cin. Purcell Marian at Fairmont

Week 8: Fri., Oct. 13, at Badin

Week 9: Fri., Oct. 20, Cin. McNicholas at Fairmont

Week 10: Fri., Oct. 27, at Chaminade-Julienne      

»FACEBOOK: For more high school sports you should like Marc Pendleton

»PHOTO GALLERY 
Alter head football coach Ed Domsitz will be inducted into the OHSFCA hall of fame in June of 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

 

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