Week 1: Warren G. Harding (0-0) @ Medina (0-0) Full Scouting Report
There is a rich tradition of football excellence at Warren G. Harding and over the last decade, head coach Steven Arnold has continued that tradition. Arnold has not only been proven to impact his players on the football field, but also off the field where he pours his heart and soul in building young men to become model citizens within and outside the Warren community.
Arnold is entering his eleventh season at the helm with a 62-45 record, winning six total playoff games since 2012. If you have been around Coach Steven Arnold you know that he is an inspiring individual who runs a tight ship. Even though the Raiders lose key veterans such as Kincaid Tyson, Tyriq Ivory, and Dom Foster, just to name a few, the young athletes this season have been continuing the rich tradition and embrace the mantra The Standard is the Standard.
This season, the Raiders will rely heavily on their stout offensive line and running game with junior tailback Ryan Powell, who has multiple offers from colleges including Duke, Boston College, Bowling Green, and Western Michigan. The great thing about Powell is that while he is considered the bruising back that can run the ball hard between the tackles, he also has help when Harding decides to run outside of the tackles. Enter speedster running back JaVontae Jones, 6’0” 170. Jones is a track athlete who is extremely electric. The Harding offense also will look toward another back in junior O’Ryan Dukes, 5’10” 175, who will also see playing time this season. Thunder and lightning is what the Harding backs bring to the table, but do not underestimate Ryan Powell, who sits at 6’1” 215 pounds, and has the ability to be a true workhorse for the Raiders this season as they will lean heavily on establishing their running game.
After having a magnificent junior season last year, signal caller Dalys “Cowboy” Jett returns for one last showdown. Jett, 5 '11”, 170 pounds, amassed a total of 34 total touchdowns (23 passing and 11 rushing) in 2021. Jett threw for 1,670 yards and rushed for 531 yards, all while being named to the First-Team All-AAC. Jett hopes to continue the success this year and will look for his receivers Devin Boss (SR), Bryan Powell (JR), Nau’Jeat Jones (JR), Raylin Adams (JR), and a younger but hard-nose sophomore in Airiz Coleman-Bey to step up to the plate.
On the defensive side of the football, it all starts up front. The defensive line is the strong suit this season as they look to set the tone and get pressure early and often against Medina in week one. If that is the case, the vertical passing attack that Medina employs will slowly diminish, giving the secondary opportunities to feed off of that pressure, which will ultimately create turnovers. The defensive line will feature seniors Jaden Hudson, Tamari (TJ) Jackson, and Cayden Murphy. All three of these athletes have been in the weight room since January and are bigger, faster, stronger and chomping at the bit to get to the opposing team’s quarterback. At the most recent scrimmage, you can see progression and how fierce of competitors these individuals are. This leadership and the tone of “It all starts up front”, will trickle down to the younger defensive players who will feed off of this energy.
As for the secondary, look for younger players to step up in big roles. Although, there are two veterans, one at both positions, that anchor the secondary and continue to be leaders every single day in practice - safety Devin Boss and cornerback Dalys Jett. With both of these seniors in the two key secondary positions (safety and cornerback), the younger athletes can lean on an experienced leader at their respective position when times get tough.
Medina will host the Raiders at their stadium this season and the Battling Bees will be without offensive player of the year in quarterback Drew Allar. After committing and now having competed in camp this summer at Penn State, Allar’s terrific senior campaign in 2021 ended with 4,444 yards and 48 total touchdowns with a low seven interceptions. The quality of quarterback play by Allar gave Medina a 13-1 record, ultimately losing 41-6 to the eventual State Champions St. Edwards (Lakewood).
This season, Medina looks for junior signal caller Danny Stoddard, 6’1” 175 to try and create his own path in the record books for the Battling Bees. Stoddard and company have not changed their identity and will continue their offensive philosophy going into this season. If you remember, Medina last year went empty formation (no running back) and passed the football countless times. Even though their veteran quarterback Allar is gone, Stoddard will continue the offensive standard set by head coach Larry Laird in his sixth season at the helm (35-20).
On the defensive side of the football, Medina is very similar to Harding with a strong defensive line. Their secondary plays a good amount of cover 3 and they look at their line to force the opposing quarterback to make mistakes early and often. While Medina had a stout defense that was underrated last season, look for the younger secondary and linebackers to step up in a big way and try and prove their worth in week one against Harding.
Matchup to Watch: Medina Wide Receivers vs. Harding Secondary
A key matchup to watch in this game will be Medina’s wide receiver Brennen Schramm, who racked up a school-record 82 receptions for 1,333 yards and 14 touchdowns. Schramm did all of that while a junior and during the offseason of course got bigger, faster, and stronger like any football player from a solid foundational program. Medina’s vertical passing attack does put a lot of stress on Harding’s young secondary. Look for cornerback Dalys Jett and safety Devin Boss to play a vital role in slowing down this extremely fast receiving corps filled with track-style athletes.
At a Glance:
Warren Harding Raiders
Head Coach: Steven Arnold
Years as HC: 11
Record Last Year: 5-6
League: All-American Conference
Aug. 19 at Medina
Aug. 26 vs Buchtel
Sept. 2 vs Hudson
Sept. 9 at Massillon
Sept. 16 vs Ursuline
Sept. 23 at St. Vincent-St. Mary
Sept. 30 at Boardman
Oct. 7 vs Mooney
Oct. 14 at Chaney
Oct. 21 at Fitch
Medina Battling Bees
Head Coach: Larry Laird
Years as HC: 6
Record Last Year: 13-1
League: Greater Cleveland Conference
Defense: 4-2 Cover 3
Aug. 19 vs. Warren Harding
Aug. 26 at Avon
Sept. 2 at Wadsworth
Sept. 9 vs. Stow
Sept. 16 vs. Strongsville
Sept. 23 at Euclid
Sept. 30 vs. Mentor
Oct. 7 at Brunswick
Oct. 14 at Lorain
Oct. 21 vs. Solon