High school football: Tippecanoe Red Devils preview

The following is a high school football preview. The preseason begins Thursday, Aug., 1. Most teams will play Week 1 games on Friday, Aug. 30.

High school: Tippecanoe Red Devils.

Location: Tipp City, Miami County.

Division/Region: D-III, Region 12; same as last season.

Affiliation: Miami Valley League.

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Head coach: Matt Burgbacher; first season at Tipp; Troy's head coach from 2015-18 (30-15 record) and head coach at Fort Loramie from 2009-14 (51-18); 81-33 overall in 10 seasons as a head coach.

Assistant coaches: Charlie Burgbacher, DC/DL; Rick Robertson, OC/RB; Craig Syphrit, special teams/QB; Hunter Fulkertsma, OL; Kyle Corbin, ILB; Sean Ford, DB; Joel Derge, OLB; Scott Butera, OL; Ryan Mayfield, freshmen; Greg Schultz, strength and conditioning.

2018 record: 5-5, 2-3 GWOC American North.

2018 highlights: Big 20-14 win over Butler in Week 10 to finish the season on a positive note.

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5 key returners:

• Cade Beam, 6-0, 207 sr., RB/LB; second team All-GWOC North, 732 rushing yards, 14 TDs.

• Ben Sauls, 5-11, 167, sr., K/P; first team All-GWOC, All-Southwest District, special mention All-Ohio; committed to Boston College, 32 of 35 extra-point kicks, four FGs (45 longest).

• Braden Swank, 6-2, 274, jr., OL/DL.

• Grant Willoughby, 6-0, 197, sr., RB/LB; leading returning tackler.

• Nik Weethee, 5-11, 203, sr., FB/OLB; second leading returning tackler.

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What to know: It's a return to Tippecanoe for Burgbacher, a Tipp grad, and his father, former longtime Red Devils head coach Charlie Burgbacher, both of whom left Troy following a successful four-year run with the Trojans. Tipp hosts Troy in Week 4. Matt began his coaching career as a Tipp assistant on his father's staff.

Red Devils join nine former GWOC teams in reviving the Miami Valley League. Former Tipp head coach Joel Derge is an assistant. Veteran coach Rick Robertson also has joined the staff.

Gone from the 2018 schedule are Bellbrook (10-1), Northmont (10-2) and Sidney (5-5); replaced by Cincinnati Mt. Healthy (5-6), Fairborn (2-8) and Xenia (7-3).

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A major Week 1 test awaits at Mt. Healthy as part of the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown. A No. 8 seed last season, Mt. Healthy (5-6) was edged 14-12 by eventual state runner-up Alter in the first round of the D-III, Region 12 playoffs last season.

Tipp has missed the playoffs the last two seasons after a run of 12 consecutive playoff teams from 2005-16.

A major stadium renovation by the Tipp Pride Association continues. FieldTurf was installed at Tipp City Park for last season. Seating, concessions and everything else connected to a stadium experience are being upgraded as part of a $4.9 million project that was all privately funded.

Coachspeak: "With only three starters returning on offense and two returning on defense, we've had great competition during our camp days this summer. The cupboard is certainly not bare and we are very excited to get the 2019 campaign going. Our players have adjusted well to the coaching change and jumped on board with our vision for the program. This is very exciting times for Tippecanoe football." – Matt Burgbacher.

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Schedule, all at 7 p.m.:

Week 1: Fri., Aug. 30, at Cin. Mt. Healthy

Week 2: Thu., Sept. 5, at Springfield Shawnee

Week 3: Fri., Sept. 13, Fairborn

Week 4: Fri., Sept. 20, Troy

Week 5: Fri., Sept. 27, at West Carrollton

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Week 6: Fri., Oct. 4, Greenville

Week 7: Fri., Oct. 11, at Stebbins

Week 8: Fri., Oct. 18, at Xenia

Week 9: Fri., Oct. 25, Piqua

Week 10: Fri., Nov. 1, at Butler

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