2023 HS Football Preview: Carroll setting sights on Week 11


RIVERSIDE — Cody Byrd wasn’t bashful when asked what a successful season would look like for the Carroll football team.

“It’s time to bring the playoffs back to Linden Avenue,” the fifth-year coach said. “Our goal is to host a playoff game.”

That would mean a top-8 seed in Division III, Region 12, which features perennial powers Badin, Bellbrook, Tippecanoe, Wapakoneta, and Chaminade-Julienne. It would also mean a heck of a turnaround from last season when Carroll went 3-7 overall and did not win a game in the rugged Greater Catholic League Co-Ed.

Carroll graduated eight seniors from that team, and six of them started at 11 positions on either side of the ball, meaning the Patriots have about half of their starters back.

And Byrd is “very excited” as the Patriots prepare to open the season for the 60th time by hosting Columbus South Friday night.

“We’ve got a really nice class of seniors,” he said. “We don’t have many in terms of a huge class. We’ve got 10 seniors who are good leaders.”

Among them are converted wide receiver Zach Van Meter, who will be tasked with replacing three-year starting quarterback Ryan Chapman, who threw for 3,154 yards and 25 TDs. Byrd said a hungry Van Meter — who has played some QB in the past — came to the coaches in the off-season and initiated the switch.

“He wanted to make the move back to back to QB,” Byrd said of his dual-threat signal caller. “He’s electric, truly. He has proven that he can manage this offense and keep us a bit more balanced.”

That said, Carroll will still be committed to run the ball. But opponents can’t ignore Van Meter’s ability to throw the ball down the field, Byrd said.

Senior running back and outside linebacker Noah Mangold is “the kind of guy coaches need to have on the field,” according to Byrd.

Another pair of seniors in John Franklin and Jackson Overturf will help man the offensive line. Franklin was a running back as a freshman but grew and bulked up and was an obvious choice to move to OL. Overturf has played center but has the “intelligence and toughness” to put him anywhere on the line. That helps as the coaches position other linemen, Byrd said.

Defensively, the Patriots feature the aforementioned Mangold — a distant relative of former Alter, Ohio State, and NFL standout Nick Mangold — along with senior safety Izaak Wood, and a trio of juniors in Vince Selfic, David Hubbard-Thompkins, and Jake Brazel, who moved to the area from Alabama. Selfic will play the “Mike” linebacker spot, while Hubbard-Thompkins moves to nose guard from outside linebacker and has the quickness to create problems for the opposing offensive line, Byrd said.

Brazel is a defensive tackle and will also see time at tight end.

Byrd called the defense “exciting” and said they are bringing back guys in key positions who are getting older and better.

Carroll also welcomes back a pair of former assistants in inside linebackers coach Chris Pennington and defensive line coach Mike Sanchez, who has a unique ability to tell when he’s being hoodwinked.

“There is no better an authenticity detector in an adolescent boy (than Sanchez),” Byrd said.

In addition to the gauntlet that is the GCL, the Patriots host Tecumseh in week two and visit a couple directional schools in Columbus Northland and Northwest in weeks three and four. Former Mid-Miami League brethren Talawanda visits in week five before the Patriots enter GCL play against Alter at Miamisburg High School. Carroll has just two league home games — Badin and C-J in weeks 7-8.


Carroll Patriots

Coach: Cody Byrd (5th year, 11-27)

2022 record: 3-7 (GCL 6th); Points per game: 16.6 (Off.) 32.0 (Def.)

What to expect: Carroll hasn’t had a winning season since going 6-4 in 2018. Coach Cody Byrd hopes to end that skid as well as a playoff drought dating back to 2010 (not counting the COVID year of 2020 when every team could play in the playoffs). Ironically, Carroll last won a playoff game in 2020.

Key Players: Zach Van Meter, Sr., QB (25 rec., 369 yards as WR); Noah Mangold, Sr., RB/OLB (24 rec., 94 yards, 44 tkls, 26 solo, 1 INT ); John Franklin, Sr., OL; Jackson Overturf, Sr., OL; Izaak Wood, Sr., S (22 tkls, 16 solo); Vince Sefic, Jr., LB (17 tkls, 10 solo, 3.0 TFL); Jake Brazel, Jr., DT/TE; David Hubbard-Thompkins, Jr., DL


Schedule (all games 7 p.m.)


Aug. 25 — TECUMSEH

Sept. 1 — at Columbus Northland

Sept. 8 — at Northwest


Sept. 22 — at Alter (Miamisburg High School)



Oct. 13 — at McNicholas

Oct. 20 — at Fenwick

Reach Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

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