Preseason football: Urbana Hillclimbers

Team: Urbana Hillclimbers

Division/Region: D-IV, Region 16; no change from last season.

Affiliation: Central Buckeye Conference, Mad River Division.

Location: Hillclimbers Stadium, Urbana (Champaign County).

» RELATED: Eaton Eagles preseason preview

» RELATED: Committed area football seniors

Head coach: Carleton Cotner, entering his second season with the Hillclimbers after succeeding Jon Daniels. Moved over as an assistant from CBC rival Bellefontaine. Also, the head coach at CBC member Benjamin Logan (2007-13) and before that at Fairbanks. In addition, spent 10 years as a college assistant.

Assistant coaches: O.J. Sancho, OC; Frank Stid, DC; Kris Doggett, OLB/special teams; Richard Oakes, OL; Kai Scott, DB; Mychal Cox, DL; Mike Mays, LB; Rod Wilson, RB; Gunner Lanning, OL.

2017 records: 3-1 CBC Mad River; 4-6 overall.

» RELATED: Regions for area D-IV football teams

» RELATED: Centerville Elks preseason preview

2017 highlights: Rebounded from consecutive 2-8 seasons in 2015-16. Urbana pushed CBC Mad River champion Indian Lake to the limit in a 20-13 Week 8 loss. That prevented the Hillclimbers from winning out in their last four games. Still, that was a significant improvement following a 1-5 start and provides momentum heading into this season.

» RELATED: Games on radio, TV, internet

Key returners:

Nic Dorsey, 5-11, 175, sr., RB; first team All-CBC; 1,084 yards rushing and 12 TDs.

Max Niswonger, 6-0, 188, sr., RB/DB; first team All-CBC.

Noah Robinson, 6-0, 240, sr., OL.

Dalton Sexton, 6-4, 235, sr., OL.

Preston Shields, 6-1, 235, sr., QB; first team All-CBC.

»RELATED: Milton-Union Bulldogs preseason preview

»RELATED: Arcanum Trojans preseason preview

About the Hillclimbers: “We have a strong senior class that is hungry to put Urbana Football back on the map and return us to our championship ways. We have to overcome the death of our longtime offensive coordinator Bill “Skeeter” Moss. Our kids adored him and to the coaches he was a great friend. He leaves a huge void both personally and professionally for this program.” – Cotner.

Moss, an Urbana grad and longtime football assistant and girls basketball head coach, suffered a fatal heart attack last December.

Dorsey and Shields (436 yards passing and 7 TDs; 687 yards rushing and 9 TDs) are proven in the backfield. Niswonger had 40 solo tackles as a junior.

»RELATED: Greeneview Rams preseason preview

»RELATED: Tippecanoe Red Devils preseason preview

There are two schedule upgrades. Stebbins (1-9) and Greenville (2-8) of the Greater Western Ohio Conference have been replaced by visiting Meadowdale (4-6) of the Dayton City League in Week 2 and a CBC crossover trip at Bellefontaine (10-2) in Week 3. The Stebbins series was a leftover matchup from its time in the CBC.

An established CBC football power, Urbana has won 21 conference or divisional titles since 1976. Its most recent championship was the 7-3 team in 2014.

Fun facts: Lots of outstanding players excelled at Urbana over the years, none more renowned as the Rogan brothers. Jeff Rogan (1979-82) still ranks among the state’s all-time leading career rushers (5,985 yards). His brother Greg Rogan (1980-83) would have had similar stats had he not shared the backfield with Jeff.

»RELATED: Fairmont Firebirds preseason preview

»RELATED: Valley View preseason preview

Urbana was a combined 51-4-1 in that five-year span, all under head coach Ray DeCola. That included a 12-1 season in 1983, which ended with a 14-9 loss to Elyria Catholic in the D-III (of five divisions) state championship at Ohio Stadium in a showdown of unbeatens. Greg Rogan was the go-to senior on that team following Jeff’s graduation the year before. Greg would find a home at Ohio Stadium, becoming a fixture in Ohio State’s defensive backfield.

»RELATED: Key football dates

»RELATED: Saturday playoff football returns

Younger but bigger brother Patrick Rogan (1984-87) signed as a linebacker at OSU. According to Dayton Daily News archives, the three brothers combined for 12,489 career rushing yards and 1,348 points during their time as Hillclimbers. Beat that.

• Urbana was unbeaten in 1976 (10-0), ’77 (10-0) and ’79 (9-0-1) but couldn’t qualify for the postseason. That was the infancy of Ohio’s playoffs, which started in 1972. It took just two wins to capture a state title in that era and was limited to Class AAA, AA and A.

Schedule: All at 7 p.m.

Week 1: Fri., Aug. 24 at London

Week 2: Fri., Aug. 31 MEADOWDALE

»RELATED: New transfer rule approved

Week 3: Fri., Sept. 7 at Bellefontaine,

Week 4: Fri., Sept. 14 at Kenton Ridge

Week 5: Fri., Sept. 21 TECUMSEH,

»FACEBOOK: For more high school sports you should like Marc Pendleton

Week 6: Fri., Sept. 28 at Northwestern


Week 8: Fri., Oct. 12 at Graham,

»TWITTER: You should like @MarcPendleton

Week 9: Fri., Oct. 19 INDIAN LAKE

Week 10: Fri., Oct. 26 BENJAMIN LOGAN

Reader Comments

Next Up in Sports

Tulsa latest challenging opponent for Dayton Flyers
Tulsa latest challenging opponent for Dayton Flyers

Most Dayton Flyers fans will have no interest in revisiting their team’s last matchup with Tulsa. For the brave few, keep reading. In 2003, Dayton received a No. 4 seed — then and now its highest placement — in the NCAA tournament. On the downside, it had to travel across the country to Spokane, Wash., to play No. 13 seed Tulsa. The...
Dayton vs. Tulsa: What you need to know about Sunday’s game
Dayton vs. Tulsa: What you need to know about Sunday’s game

Who: Dayton (5-4) vs. Tulsa (8-3) What: Basketball Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Ct. TV/Radio: CBS Sports Network/ AM 1290, News 95.7 WHIO » FOLLOW THE FLYERS: All the links you need for the season in one place Probable Dayton starters Josh Cunningham, 6-8, R-Sr., 14.7...
Ohio State players describe finding out Urban Meyer is retiring, what made him successful
Ohio State players describe finding out Urban Meyer is retiring, what made him successful

Some Buckeyes were caught off guard by Urban Meyer’s announcement he will retire from coaching Ohio State after the Rose Bowl. Others not so much. Robert Landers said the Dec. 4 announcement, “was kind of out of nowhere,” and Chris Olave recalled having no idea what was in store when the team gathered at the Woody Hayes Athletic...
Disciplined Springfield earns hard-fought win at Centerville
Disciplined Springfield earns hard-fought win at Centerville

Springfield High School boys basketball coach Isaiah Carson knew the key to beating rival Centerville was playing disciplined — especially on the defensive end of the floor. The Wildcats had to stay structured in the paint against Centerville 6-foot-9 post player Mo Njie, who stood four inches taller than any player on Springfield’s roster...
GWOC boys hoop: Davis leads unbeaten Trotwood-Madison over Xenia
GWOC boys hoop: Davis leads unbeaten Trotwood-Madison over Xenia

It was basketball business as usual at Trotwood-Madison High School on Friday night. For 32 high-flying minutes, all was right in the Rams’ world, even if it otherwise isn’t. “One of the players when we were coming out said, hey, GWOC, let’s show them,” Trotwood boys coach Rocky Rockhold said. “That’s not me...
More Stories