In Westerville Central's spread offense, four players have rushed for between 423 and 640 yards and four receivers have gained between 425 and 664 yards.
Division I Solon (6-4) at Westerville Central (9-1)
In Westerville Central’s spread offense, four players have rushed for between 423 and 640 yards and four receivers have gained between 425 and 664 yards.
“I really didn’t know we had this many offensive threats coming into the season, but our quarterback (Jared Drake) has done a really good job getting everybody involved,” coach John Magistro said. “This is how this offense is supposed to be run. We’re fortunate that we’ve got a lot of good kids at the skill positions.”
Despite a 6-4 record, Solon is no pushover, making its 18th playoff appearance.
“They’re a very, very sound football team offensively and defensively,” Magistro said.Miamisburg (7-3) at Hilliard Davidson (10-0)
While proud of a third 10-0 record in four seasons, coach Brian White conceded that Davidson is far from perfect and wants to repair some of the dings before they become dents.
“I’ve said all year that we have some glaring weaknesses and some strengths, and we need to do our best to cover our weaknesses and emphasize our strengths,” White said, adding that his undersize offensive line needs to be more assertive.
In second-time qualifier Miamisburg, Davidson will face what White called “a very strict version” of the wing-T offense.
“Their coach (Steve Channell) has been around a long time and had a lot of success with the wing-T,” White said. “Hopefully, our playoff experience will pay dividends.”Pickerington Central (7-2) at Lakota West (9-1)
In Lakota West, Pickerington Central will face a team that handed fifth-seeded Huber Heights Wayne and ninth-seeded Fairfield their only losses.
“Their uniforms look just like Wisconsin’s, and they like to play power football and run the ball downhill just like Wisconsin does,” Tigers coach Jay Sharrett said. “When they’re clicking, they’re really impressive. We’ve seen what they do before, but understanding it and stopping it are two different things.”
Against larger schools from southwestern Ohio, Pickerington Central often has been outmatched on the lines.
“We’ve dealt with it in the past, and all we can do is try to counteract their size with speed, angles and leverage and by trying to get penetration through the gaps,” Sharrett said.Fairfield (9-1) at Pickerington North (9-1)
Since securing its first and only playoff spot in 2005, Fairfield had won more than two games in a season just once, going 6-4 in 2009.
By losing its season finale to Grove City for the second straight season, Pickerington North narrowly averted losing its home-field advantage but placed itself opposite the No. 1 seed in the regional semifinal should it win.
While quarterback Zeph Miller has attracted most of the offensive attention, the defense has been solid, allowing 13.3 points per game and just 3.0 yards per carry. Opponents have scored just eight rushing touchdowns.Dublin Coffman (7-3) at Centerville (8-2)
Few teams use the triple option, but Centerville has thrived with the offense for decades, starting with Bob Gregg and continuing with his successor, Ron Ullery, who has been offensive coordinator for 25 years.
“The read option is a big thing now, but Centerville is about the only team we know that runs the triple option the way you used to see it,” Coffman coach Mark Crabtree said. “It isn’t foreign to us. We’ve scrimmaged Centerville the past two years. They’re exceptional at what they do. They’r e flawless at times. It helps that they’ve got big, athletic kids up front to make it work.”
The Elks faced six playoff opponents (five in Ohio), the Shamrocks four. Centerville has been to the playoffs 14 times and Coffman 13.Hilliard Darby (8-2) at Huber Heights Wayne (9-1)
Teeming with exceptional athletes, Wayne has been in a lot of high-scoring games. Hilliard Darby would prefer a defensive struggle.
“They’ve got Division I athletes all over the place, especially on the defensive side of the ball,” Darby coach John Santagata said. “They throw the ball around quite a bit in the spread, and they’re very aggressive on defense. I think the key for us will be to establish the run and contain their offense. We’re putting a big emphasis on keeping the ball in front of us.”
Also: Marysville (7-3) at Austintown-Fitch (10-0). Marysville is making its first trip to the playoffs since 2008. Austintown-Fitch went unbeaten for the first time in history and beat playoff qualifiers in Division I, II, III and IV.Division V Zane Trace (5-5) at Hartley (9-1)
Hartley plays an ambitious schedule each year with the expectation of a long playoff run. Zane Trace, which didn’t beat a team with a record better than .500, might be the weakest opponent Hartley faces, but Hawks coach Brad Burchfield insisted that his team won’t let up.
“The kids know that if we don’t win, we don’t get to play football anymore, and that’s the greatest motivator of all,” Burchfield said. “Our mission is just to play fundamentally sound, physical, hard and smart regardless of who our opponent is.”
Also: Liberty Union (8-2) at St. Clairsville (9-1). Liberty Union has made the playoffs three times in the past five seasons, twice advancing to a state semifinal. … Westfall (5-5) at Martins Ferry (9-1). Despite its worst record since 2000, when it also went 5-5, Westfall has made the playoffs for the ninth time in 11 seasons. ... Dayton Chaminade-Julienne (6-4) at North Union (9-1). Since 2009, North Union is 49-6 with five straight playoff appearances. … Waynesville (8-2) at West Jefferson (9-1). West Jefferson has made the playoffs seven of the past eight seasons and 18 overall.Division VII
Lowellville (6-4) at Danville (8-2). Danville’s defense, led by Conway Baldridge, Andy Payne, Austin Gonzales and Austin Morehouse, has limited six opponents to seven points or fewer. … Fairfield Christian (7-3) at Shadyside (10-0). Fairfield Christian will have its hands full trying to stop a Shadyside offense scoring 43 points per game.
— Steve Blackledgesblackledge@dispatch.com