With 14 starters back, Twinsburg football looks to score winning season

Steve Batko
Twinsburg's Alex Branch breaks up a pass during a game against Solon last season. Branch is one of 14 returning starters for the Tigers.

There’s plenty of optimism that Twinsburg’s football team will continue to make more strides this season.

With 14 starters returning, this Tiger squad will have some new faces at key positions and some familiar athletes at some new positions.

Head coach Mike Bell, who enters his sixth season and 19th overall, is excited about his team’s blend of experience and emerging young talent.

Twinsburg’s senior class could sneak up on some teams this fall.

In 2019, the Tigers were 2-8 overall and 1-6 in the loaded Suburban League National Conference.

“This team has a great group of returners with lots to prove,” said Bell (114-90).

“This is a talented bunch that believes in themselves and knows that they can be competitive and win football games,” added Bell.

Graduation plucked away some talent. Gone are honorable mention all-district players like WR-DB Dominick Glenn (Marietta College) and Jamir James.

In addition, the Tigers lost Kyle Apple, Emile Levert (Heidelberg), Brett Callow (Case Western), Jack Turle and a host of offensive linemen.

When Twinsburg opens the season Sept. 11 at Copley (2-8), the Tigers will have a new signal caller.

Junior Trevor Horvath inherits the reigns at quarterback.

Gaining valuable experience through the Tiger system, Horvath has potential as a solid passer and a capable athlete with an aggressive approach to Twinsburg’s diverse spread/multiple offensive set. Horvath is 6-1 and 170 pounds.

“Trevor is a very bright young player,” pointed out Bell. “He has developed really well and he has really worked well with (offensive coordinator and quarterback coach) Chris Knopick. They have done a good job and continue to work well together.”

To help Horvath with the transition, Twinsburg is blessed with a good senior class and a slew of two-way athletes who can run and make plays. Many of those athletes are at wide receiver.

For Horvath to succeed in the passing game, he will need some plays from senior Aiden Corrigan. Corrigan has played a lot of positions and has done everything but grill burgers at halftime at Tiger Stadium.

This fall, Corrigan’s senior campaign, he will play running back as well as linebacker. He can also be used as the second-string quarterback as well.

Last year, the Tigers eventually started graduated Ryan Christensen at QB, which rested Corrigan a bit as he played on defense, and it also gave him some carries out of the backfield.

“We made a change last year and had a senior quarterback (Christianson), so Aiden is used to it,” said Bell.

“Aiden handled the change well and will continue to make plays running the ball,” said Bell. “He is excited about having running duties.”

Another senior starter back is veteran cornerback Alex Branch.

Last season, Branch was a second-team all-district selection. The sterling defender is 6-foot-1, 185 pounds and is committed to play at Kent State University.

A strong cover corner with solid technique and excellent speed, Branch also showed flashes at receiver as well last year.

Senior defensive end Jordan Maxwell has excellent size and is a solid speed rusher who can apply pressure, but can also help thwart the running game.

At 6-3, 260 pounds, Maxwell may have more of an imprint on defense this fall. He started on the offensive line some last year, but was needed to wreak havoc on the defensive side.

Another senior starter back in Twinsburg's 4-2-5 defense is safety Antoine Brown.

Brown (6-3, 180) has speed for a free safety as a track standout. His size will also help at receiver.

Senior wide receiver Logan Genos is a three-year player and is a solid playmaker who needs more touches.

Against  Wadsworth last year, Genos (5-10, 150) exploded for three catches for 121 yards and two scores, including an 81-yarder.

Twinsburg has a slew of athletes that will make an impact this year in the secondary and at wide receiver.

If Corrigan has to return to the quarterback spot, then returning senior Aaron Wallace would be the primary running back. Wallace (5-5, 170) has some experience and will also get plenty of reps on defense at linebacker.

“Wallace is the next guy at running back and at quarterback. We have a couple of young guys,” noted Bell, focusing on development.

Two more seniors with starting experience in the Tigers' deep secondary are speedy Amaree Cunningham (5-6, 135) and Manny Curtis (5-10, 150). They will both also see action at receiver.

Other senior starters back are Dylan Crouch (LB-TE), Colin Bowser (OT), Quran Franklin (DE), Mario Piccolomini (OT), and Geshaun Robinson (DT-OG).

Crouch (6-0, 190) is a backer who can also play defensive end and is a tight end that can be used as a blocker with an H-Back role. That’s a spot that Franklin (6-1, 240) has also played, but he will focus on the defensive line.

Bell likes the experience he has on the line with Bowser (6-4, 250), Piccolomini (5-10, 210), Robinson (5-10, 245), Franklin and returning junior defensive tackle Tyson Jacobs (6-1, 235).

“Colin Bowser suffered a myocardial infarction as a freshman at practice and was diagnosed with leukemia as a sophomore,” said Bell. “Colin is a tremendous young man.”

Besides Jacobs, another junior with loads of starting experience is linebacker Joe Bova (5-11, 195).

“The play of our returners and their leadership, along with the impact of some of the newcomers, will determine the season’s outcome,” said Bell.

Other key seniors, according to Bell, include offensive tackle Keith Golphin (5-10, 275), safety/wide receiver Darryl Kirkpatrick (6-0, 170), wide receiver Cade Laverdiere (5-10, 150), DT-OT Michael Penny (6-2, 225), safety Tacarda Patterson (5-9, 165), and defensive back Chris Wilson (5-6, 150).

Juniors who will make an impact as key newcomers are wide receiver Nathan Christensen (5-10, 150), offensive tackle Peyton Johnsen (6-2, 215), lineman Porter McConoughey (5-10, 190), linebacker Bryant Nguyen (5-10, 200), wide receiver Keyshon Rondo (6-1, 160) and Griffin Willmott (6-1, 155).

Bell also pointed out some athletes who are in the mix this season.

This group includes senior DB-WR Calvin Gibson (5-7, 125), DE Sir Ronte Hobdy (6-3, 195), OL Patrick Holmes (5-9, 250), DB-WR Dylan Perich (5-9, 175), and DB-WR Jaylan Shabazz (5-7, 145).

Xavier Branch (6-1, 250) is another returning senior who could see time on both lines for the Tigers.

The kicking game will include senior Grant Sayoc, senior Ramandeep Signh (K), junior Shantonu Banerjee (K), and sophomore Kyan Barnes, who also is a quarterback prospect.

Other bright young prospects in the mix, according to Bell, are junior DB-WR Nathan Schiopota (5-8, 150), sophomore safety-wide receiver Dalton Allen (5-7, 155), freshman OL Zyan Herndon (6-1, 360), and freshman WR CJ Lyden (5-10, 140).

Assistant coaches include Kyle Archer, Anthony Byrd, Darion Eiland, Knopick, John Merry, Dylan Minick, Shawn McCants and Courtney Reed.