The revolving door of the OCC-Capital Division continues to spin as the 2009 football season kicks off.

The revolving door of the OCC-Capital Division continues to spin as the 2009 football season kicks off.

The league, won by Big Walnut last season, adds first-year program Hilliard Bradley, but loses Franklin Heights due to the failure of the South-Western City Schools levy on Aug. 4.

Perhaps one of the biggest losses in the conference -- that also includes New Albany, Delaware, Mount Vernon and Olentangy Orange -- is the resignation of Big Walnut coach Scott Wetzel.

"Big Walnut is the team to beat," Orange coach Brian Cross said. "They reload every year. New Albany plays solid football and teams like Delaware and Bradley could surprise people."

The Golden Eagles won their third consecutive and seventh division title since 1997 by going undefeated in league play last season.

Delaware, behind first-year coach Mike LoParo, went 5-1 in the OCC-Capital, while New Albany finished at 4-2. Franklin Heights and Watkins Memorial each won two games, while Orange and Mount Vernon each picked up one league victory.

"(Winning the OCC-Capital) is always our first goal," Big Walnut quarterback Johnny Cannell said. "We want to go undefeated in the OCC. It's always a tough division, so it's going to be a fight."

After losing to Aurora 20-14 in a Division III state semifinal, the Golden Eagles return five starters on offense including Cannell, Cody Leitner (RB), Buddy Carrel (FB) and Bret Myers (WR), and six on defense.

However, they'll also receive some help on the line from offensive tackle Skyler Schofner, a transfer from Johnstown.

He has received scholarship offers from 15 Division I schools, including six from the Big Ten according to

The Pacers, coming off their first playoff appearance in school history, return just two offensive starters -- senior guards Nick Spalsbury and Evan Bull.

Kody Akers moves from the slot to quarterback to run Delaware's option-based offense, which has caught the notice of other coaches in the league.

"They're the only option team in the league," Watkins Memorial second-year coach Jeff Severino said. "We've already been practicing for it because you have to get started early. You can't prepare for that in just a few days."

New Albany was a favorite to contend for the conference title last season, but dropped back-to-back games to Big Walnut and Delaware in the final two weeks, which also cost the Eagles a playoff berth.

New Albany returns second-year quarterback Joe Morlan, as well as Indiana recruit Harrison Scott, who will play tight end and defensive back. Junior middle linebacker Sly Hagan leads the defense.

"Even though we're the smallest OCC division, we still have a tough league with Big Walnut always going to the state tournament," said New Albany coach Mark Mueller.

"Olentangy Orange looked good last year and they were able to bring everybody back with a good coaching staff."

Orange has the distinction of returning everyone as a second-year program. Corey Joe passed for 719 yards and rushed for 584 yards and six touchdowns.

Running backs Jake Vacheresse and Blake Joe return, as do linebackers Kyle Henderson, Jacob Harris and Alex Chekanoff.

Watkins also returns its starting quarterback in senior Clay Nixon, who has added 20 pounds and has a strong offensive line in front of him.

Other key returning seniors include guard Logan Jackson, tackle Marshall Berry and receiver Cory Christman.

Severino agrees that Big Walnut is the favorite, but sees Orange as an up-and-comer.

"Big Walnut's still the team to beat and they got a couple of move-ins that will help," he said. "Orange will be pretty good and they run the spread offense, which also gives us fits."

Mount Vernon returns nine defensive players with experience, but lost all-conference defensive back/receiver Alex Anderson and linebacker James Perry. The Yellow Jackets do return quarterback Cody Green and running backs Jordan Montgomery and Jordan Williamson.

"Our conference is excellent," Mount Vernon coach Gary Keller said. "Every team is well-coached and well-disciplined. There is no easy game in our conference."

The wild card in the Capital will be Bradley, a team coached by Ted Wierzbicki who came over from St. Charles.

The Jaguars have no seniors and only two players with varsity experience -- center Nick Sparks and receiver/defensive back Marquis Copeland. Both are juniors who came from Darby.

"I don't know much about the league, but it should be pretty good," Wierzbicki said. "We scrimmaged against Big Walnut when I was at St. Charles and they were very good. We played Watkins Memorial (at St. Charles) and they have a bunch of tough kids. There's no doubt it should be a tough league."

Among the key league matchups are Orange at Big Walnut on Sept. 25; Orange and New Albany at Crew Stadium on Oct. 2; Big Walnut at Delaware on Oct. 9; Big Walnut at New Albany on Oct. 16; Delaware at New Albany on Oct. 23 and Orange at Delaware on Oct. 30.