The St. Charles Preparatory School football team opened last season with a 27-20 win over Canal Winchester, but neither team will look the same this time around.
The Cardinals have had to replace most of their offensive firepower and the Indians will have a new coach when the teams meet Friday, Aug. 26, at Canal Winchester.
The Cardinals finished 5-5 last season and made their first playoff appearance since 2002 despite losing their final four regular-season games. They lost 41-14 to host Uniontown Lake in the opening round of the Division II playoffs.
After the opening loss, Canal Winchester won nine consecutive games to reach the Division II playoffs. The Indians lost 44-20 to visiting Big Walnut in the opening round.
St. Charles lost two key cogs in its spread attack in quarterback Joe Spahr and slot player Jourdan Wickliffe, both 2011 graduates. Spahr led the team in rushing with 963 yards on 179 carries with six touchdowns. The Dayton recruit also was 94 of 179 passing for 963 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions.
Wickliffe, an Eastern Illinois signee, caught 18 passes for 276 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 546 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Replacing Spahr at quarterback will be senior Nick DeJaco, who has been the Cardinals' junior varsity quarterback for three years.
Senior running back Gunner Francis had 265 yards in 26 carries with two touchdowns last fall.
Coach Shawn Hinkle has replaced Phil Mauro and changed the Indians to a three-man defensive front. Hinkle was the assistant head coach last year and helped design the spread offense that set a program record by scoring 328 points.
Canal Winchester lost seven offensive starters to graduation, including quarterback Drew Black and running back Sam Jones. Black threw 17 touchdown passes and rushed for 12 scores last fall, and Jones rushed for 10 touchdowns.
Senior Alex Fox will start at quarterback with seniors Alex Pickens and Antonio Whitfield and juniors Matt Cunningham, John Franklin and Jaquan Ransome looking to contribute at running back.