The Alliance Aviators shocked fans across the state in 2004 by not only making the playoffs, but by upsetting top seeded Beaver Local in the first round. Led by Division III coach of the year Ron Kuceyeski, the Aviators will attempt to repeat last year's success in 2005.
One of the top guns at Alliance is junior quarterback Charles Baab. Baab, ranked as one of the top players in the junior class by Ohio High magazine, has been a starter since the second game of his freshman year.
"Charles is the one who makes our offense go," said Kuceyeski. "He's thrown for over 3,000 yards the past 2 seasons. He's thrown for 30 touchdowns and has scored 7 himself. Charles is also a great kid. He's a 3.8 student and is great in the locker room. He's a leader and a winner."
Baab, 6' 0" and 190 pounds, also starts at linebacker for Alliance. If anyone can overcome the stigma of being too short, Baab could be the one. He has a great arm and shows remarkable touch with the football. He can escape pressure by running the ball as well.
With Chris Smith of South Point being ranked as the number one quarterback in the junior class, Baab finds himself being ranked right behind Smith by Duane Long, recruiting editor of Ohio High.
"Charles isn't a small quarterback," said Long. "He's a short quarterback. I've watched him on film and I love his decision making. You can see he's been well coached. Charles Baab has shown me a lot. I'll be watching him closely this season."
One of Baab's top targets will be newcomer Troy Pascley, 6' 1" and 190 pounds, who has transferred from Marlington. Pascley, ranked as a top senior by Ohio High, has committed to play college football at Louisville and is looking forward to playing his senior season at Alliance.
"I love it here. I've known all the guys for a long time, so it was an easy move," said Pascley. "Coach Kuz is so great to be around and the team chemistry is excellent."
Kuceyeski is happy to have Troy Pascley on his team as well. He thinks Troy might continue to be recruited by Big 10 schools even though he's committed to Louisville.
"If there's a better receiver in Ohio I'd like to see him," said Kuceyeski. "He's got 4.4 speed and great hands. We'll try to get the ball to him a lot."
Another top prospect at Alliance is senior defensive tackle Marcus Proctor, also rated as a top senior by Ohio High. Proctor, 6' 3" and 285 pounds, had a great summer camp season earning scholarship offers from several MAC schools. Proctor, who ran a 4.7 forty at a Nike camp, committed to J.D. Brookhart and Akron last weekend, but that might not stop bigger schools from continuing to track his progress.
"Coach Jim Bollman of Ohio State wants to see tape of my first three games," said Proctor. "I'm committed to Akron but when Ohio State shows interest, I've got to listen."
The 2005 Aviators will be a fun team to watch and they should be a factor in the Northeastern Buckeye conference race.