Hilliard Bradley High School football coach Mike LoParo and Marysville coach Morgan Cotter are in agreement about their teams' opening game Friday, Aug. 30, at Marysville.
Both are expecting a tough, physical game, much like last season when host Bradley won 17-10 in the first meeting between the schools.
"Marysville was a really physical game last year and we expect the same," said LoParo, whose team finished 4-6 overall and 1-6 in the OCC-Cardinal Division last year. "(Cotter) and I are good friends and they play a physical game on both sides of the ball."
Bradley secured the win in the final minute when the Monarchs lost the ball on downs at the Jaguars' 2-yard line.
"It was the most physical game in my coaching career," said Cotter, whose team finished 3-7 overall and 3-4 in the OCC-Central. "We really banged into each other pretty good."
Bradley returns seven starters on defense, including seniors Ryan Reffitt, Daniel Tepe and Walker Hamilton in the secondary and seniors Cameron Hart, Zack Popovec and Jacob Pugh at linebacker. Senior Skylar Hartley (6-foot-2, 305 pounds) started on the defensive line last season and has verbally committed to the University at Buffalo as a center.
Senior quarterback Tommy Horn is one of 10 starters back in Bradley's multiple-set offense. Last season, Horn completed 65 of 115 passes for 894 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions and led the team in rushing with 677 yards and five touchdowns.
Marysville senior Matt Mulholland replaces 2013 graduate Kyle Hites at quarterback and will direct the team's spread offense. Senior Austin Pfarr, who rushed for 305 yards last season, senior Billy Kidd and junior Aron Mowery will be featured running backs, and senior Jimmy Applegate should be a key receiver.
Senior Darius Walker (DT) and Pfarr (LB) should anchor Marysville's 4-3 defense.