Friday and Saturday night the elite eight teams in each division will get one last chance at being a part of their divisions final four teams in the OHSAA playoffs. For the other half of the teams it will be a weekend of bitter disappointment as their seasons will come to and end just one game short of competing for a State Semi-Finals berth next weekend.
COLDWATER LOOKS TO REIGN AGAIN IN D5
One of the teams you can count on to be still playing this time of year is the Coldwater Cavaliers. 5th seeded Coldwater enters their Division 5 contest against 7th seeded Huron at 10-2 while the 9-3 Tigers. The contest will take place at Findlay’s Donnell Stadium Saturday night at 7pm.
For Coldwater it will be a chance to improve upon their 4th all-time standing for most playoff wins and come one step closer to Youngstown Cardinal Mooney who sit in 3rd with 6 more wins than the Cavs at 58. Following their 49-21 win over Chippewa, the Chip Otten led Cavs have the 7th best record in OHSAA history at 52-15 (77.6%). Last season Coldwater finished at 15-0 en route to a 10-9 win over Kirtland in claiming the Division 5 championship and putting an end to a streak of 3 straight runner ups.
Huron is coming off of a hard fought 17-13 win over Loudonville. The Tigers finished 3rd in the Sandusky Bay Conference behind Clyde and Perkins. Huron will be looking to keep their season going and become the 3rd SBC team to win a State Championship, joining the aforementioned Perkins and Clyde who have each accomplished the feat once each.
WILDCATS SEEKING RETURN TO STATE
Donnell Stadium will be rocking all weekend as Friday night will see the Western Buckeye League champion and 12-0 Kenton Wildcats bring their high powered offensive attack into the Flag City to do battle with the 12-0 NWOAL Champion Bryan Golden Bears.
Coach Mike Mauk’s Wildcats feature not only the offensive explosiveness of Senior Quarterback Grant Sherman who led the OHSAA in passing yards with 4,062 yards and 45 touchdowns through the air but also his #1 target in Senior WR Justin Sawmiller who broke the national high school record for receiving yardage this season by virtue of his 105 catch, 1,648 yard, 17 touchdown season as well as Kollin Stollar who has 15 touchdown catches.
Last weekend the Wildcats got off to a slow start as they were tied with Triway in the first quarter 6-6 with a trio of picks by Sherman, but found their stride in the second quarter and reeled off 40 straight points to win 46-6 and advance to the Regional Finals yet again. The Wildcats are making their 10th playoff appearance and sport a record of 24-7 all-time, a record they’d like to improve on with a win against the Golden Bears on Friday night and get one step closer to a 3rd state title in school history.
For Bryan it is nothing new to be overshadowed by Kenton, having finished behind the Wildcats in the last D4 poll of the season. Coach Kevin Kline and his Golden Bears are coming off of a 49-19 thrashing of Caledonia River Valley and have no problems putting points up themselves as they lead 42-6 at the half. If the Golden Bears are successful in their first Regional Finals trip they will need QB Austin Schimmoeller to have a repeat performance of last weekend against the Vikings who had only given up 14 points twice this season as he was fantastic in throwing four touchdown passes on his way to completing 14 of 19 passes for 194 yards in addition to rushing 11 times for 155 yards.
BLUEJAYS IN SEARCH OF #7
Historically the Delphos St. Johns Bluejays are the OHSAA Playoffs best team, but none of that matters this Saturday night as the Jays head to Lima Stadium Saturday night at 7pm to take on the Arlington Red Devils.
Delphos enters the Regional Finals with a 51-9 record in the playoffs, the highest all-time winning percentage in the playoffs amongst any team with 50 games played and just one better than fellow MAC mate Marion Local (50-9) who themselves will have a chance to add to their total this weekend.
Coach Todd Schulte and his troops will walk on to the Lima Stadium turf with an 8-4 record that is deceiving if you don’t take in to account that two of the teams they lost to (Coldwater and Marion Local) are each 2 of 8 teams left in their division. In their last outing against Tiffin Calvert, the Jays romped to a 42-10 win over the overmatched Senecas who could not stop the St. Johns rushing attack that saw Senior Runningback Tyler Jettinghoff account for 6 of the 7 Jays touchdowns. If the Red Devils can figure out a way to stop Jettinghoff they will still need to figure out how to stop the rest of the rushing attack in QB Nick Martz who himself had a 60 yard touchdown run in the opening round against Leipsic, or bruising fullback Luke MacLennan who himself has multiple runs over 50 yards this season.
Keeping the ball away from the Bluejays rushing attack will be key for Arlington and coach Dick Leonard who sport a 9-3 record and finished tied for 2nd in the Blanchard Valley Conference behind Liberty Benton. The Red Devils are coming off of an impressive 54-14 win over Hicksville in which they racked up 454 total yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground. In the win the Red Devils only threw one pass, but they really were never in need of throwing the ball as tailback Austin Rettig rushed 32 times for 290 yards and scored the Red Devils’ first seven touchdowns. Fullback Josh Elledge added another 100 yards on six carries for Arlington in the win.
The winner of this game will take on likely the winner of Triad and Marion Local next weekend in a HUGE matchup.
SEEKING 7 OF THEIR OWN
Marion Local currently finds themselves tied with fellow Midwest Athletic Conference schools Versailles, Delphos St. Johns and St. Henry in 5th place all-time with 6 State Championships and would love to move into 3rd place all-time by themselves with the schools 7th title. Before Marion can do that, they must first take on Coach Payton Printz and his 12-0 Triad Cardinals in Piqua at Purk Field Saturday at 7pm. The Flyers are currently 12-0 under long time coach Tim Goodwin and are the lower seed (3rd) in their bracket.
Last weekend the Flyers were on the wrong end of the scoreboard in Piqua for most of the game, but found a way late to come away with a 35-28 win against Covington. With just 2:34 on the Purk Field clock, the Flyers drove down the field and put the game in the hands of their University of Pittsburgh bound Senior QB Adam Bertke to win the game for them, and that is just what he did as he hit Troy Homan for a second time in the game to put his team into another Regional Finals. Marion will look to utilize their dual threat QB and let his decision making give them another night to play as he has done all season against a stingy Cardinals defense that is giving up just 14.0 this season.
The 12-0 Ohio Heritage Conference Champion Triad Cardinals are making just their 4th playoff appearance as compared to the 16 that Marion Local has made, but the pedigree of their opponent doesn’t seem to matter to the Cardinals who dispatched Sidney Lehman Catholic last week by a 14-7 score in a game that was 0-0 at the half on Wapak’s Harmon Field turf. Despite losing their defensive leader Tre McIntyre earlier this season to injury, Triad rebounded by forcing turnovers and turning them into points when it mattered to advance past Lehman Catholic.
Before the season I was told “the NWC is Ada’s to win”, and it stuck with me all season long as I had the opportunity to see the Bulldogs on a couple of opportunities. Both times I saw Ada play I got a different team, it was like night and day. There’s an old saying that “when we’re good we’re really good, and when we’re bad we’re BAD”, and it held true at times this season for the Bulldogs perhaps a little too well.
Struggling at times on defense to get stops, the Bulldogs and coach Bob Olwin sit at 9-3 after a dominating 35-0 payback win over the Crestview Knights Friday night in Wapak. In avenging an earlier season 63-12 loss to the Knights, the Bulldogs pummeled Crestview from every angle defensively in earning a Week 13 matchup against the 11-1 Green Meadows Conference runner up Wayne Trace Raiders Friday night at Lima Stadium at 7:30pm.
Ada will utilize their QB Matt Wilcox not only throwing the ball to Austin Dumbaugh, Hunter Waller, and Blake Ansley, but also running the ball to keep the defense honest. In the win over Crestview, Wilcox was impressive with his ability to read what the Knight defense was giving him as he hit his checkdowns all night for big gains. Wilcox twice found Hunter Waller for touchdowns as the rout began. Credit the Ada defense on their improvement since the first meeting with Crestview as they had a huge night in only allowing 151 total yards while creating four takeaways, a pattern they hope repeats itself Friday night against the Raiders.
Wayne Trace and coach Bill Speller will be making their first Regional Finals appearance in only the schools 2nd all-time playoff berth. 11-1 on the season, the Raiders have relied heavily on the arm of Senior quarterback Colby Speice who has thrown for 3,132 yards and 40 touchdowns.
In their last outing the Raiders snapped Tinora’s 10 game winning streak by scoring 32 1st half points and rolling to a 40-7 victory. In the win, Speice accounted for 4 touchdown passes including a 1st quarter strike to Korbin Showalter. In the two meetings with Tinora this season, Wayne Trace outscored the Rams 88-42.
If you’re looking for something to do this weekend look no further than one of those great matchups. Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @michaelhirnpbp as I will be tweeting scores and live thoughts from Lima Stadium during the Delphos St. Johns/Arlington matchup.