PORTSMOUTH — Coming off the program’s first trip to the OHSAA postseason since 2013, the Notre Dame Titans football team is planning for a repeat step when hitting the field this fall.
And, quite possibly, the next step.
In 2021, the Titans completed a 7-2 regular season to help earn the No. 3 seed in the Division VII, Region 28 rankings.
Decisive victories over non-league opponents Lewis County (Ky.), Fairfield Christian, Fisher Catholic, Bishop Rosecrans, and Fayetteville — and league opponents Eastern and East — helped set the stage for the Titans’ postseason berth and a home playoff game at Spartan Stadium.
Notre Dame returns five of its six all-Southern Ohio Conference performers from a season ago — including first-teamers Gavin Hart (Jr.), Cody Metzler (Jr.), Dylan Seison (Sr.), and Wyatt Webb (Sr.) and second-teamer Carter Campbell (Sr.).
Campbell, Seison, Webb, Dominic Sparks, John Ball and Hunter McNutt comprise Notre Dame’s senior class entering the fall season.
“Last year gave us a glimpse of what we can do,” Campbell said, at ND’s media day on Saturday. “Before that wasn’t our best years, so having that success gave us that hope that we can do something. And returning almost everybody, only graduated three seniors. That has us motivated to do it again, only 10 times better.”
“We’re trying to be the best leaders we can, the best teammates we can be and set an example for what this team can be,” Sparks said.
The OHSAA’s start to the 2022 football season began on Monday (Aug. 1) — the first day of coaching.
Notre Dame, featuring a roster of 32 players as of its media day, will begin its season on Friday, August 19 — with a road trip to face Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy.
“We’ve really put in the work. You can tell everyone’s on the same page and we all have a good attitude,” Sparks said. “The underclassmen really look up to us, we’re trying to lead by example. It’s going great — best I’ve seen in my four years.”
“Everyone in my class, we were kind of thrown into the fire early on. We have a lot of experience on the team, I think the game has slowed down for a lot of us,” Campbell said. “That helps us on the field, and also by showing the younger kids how they can prepare and be ready when it’s their time to play.”
After a year of successes, this ND senior class believes it can reach an even higher standard.
The two losses in last year’s regular season came at the hands of Symmes Valley (league champion) and Northwest (league runner-up) — both by six points.
Contending for the SOC I championship, and a home playoff win, would be major stepping stones in achieving their goals this fall.
“It feels great, but we’re still hungry. Our main goal last year was an SOC championship, we came up short,” Sparks said. “That’s our main goal again this year.”
“Everyone’s bought in this year, which has been the biggest part of it. We have a lot of guys coming up that are strong kids. I don’t think we’ve had a strong group of freshmen like we have in awhile. The best thing this team has is experience,” Campbell said. “A lot of these guys have been playing three or four years, and in practices you can feel the energy.”