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High school football playoff capsules

  • whitmer-2-jpg-4

    Whitmer's Kobe Myers pushes past Lorain's defense in the first half of last week's first-round playoff matchup. The Panthers won on a last-second field-goal to advance to take on Lewis Center Olentangy on Friday night.

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  • Jayden-Cunningham-11-12

    Central Catholic's Domonique Kimble, here smothering Hunting Valley quarterback Jayden Cunningham, has a team-best 17 sacks this year for the Fighting Irish heading into their Division III playoff game vs. Clyde.

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  • EastwoodStartfball27p-6

    Eastwood's Ian Downard has rushed for 706 yards and 10 TDs on the season.

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Division I

Whitmer (11-0) vs. Lewis Center Olentangy (8-3) at Tiffin Columbian

COACHES: Whitmer Panthers-Ken Winters. Olentangy Braves-Mark Solis.

OUTPUT: Whitmer has outscored opponents 407-135, Olentangy 323-243.

PLAYOFF RESUME: Whitmer (18th appearance, 18-12 record, 2012 D-I state runner-up, state semifinals 1979, 1987, 1988, 2010, 2011). Olentangy (12th appearance, 9-11, D-I state semifinals 2014).

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Whitmer is guided by sophomore QB Riley Keller (1,833 yards, 22 TDs), with top targets WRs Patrick Mappe (34 catches, 741 yards, 8 TDs) and Jasean Rader (43 catches, 547 yards, 8 TDs). Top RB is Kobe Myers (918 rush yards, 9 TDs). Panther defense is led by DL Cavon Butler (73 tackles, 9.5 sacks), LB Kaleb Breitner (101 tackles, 9 TFLs), and DB Sam Stickels (72 tackles). Olentangy’s two-way threat QB Riley Bruening has passed for 1,941 yards and 20 TDs and run for 722 yards and 6 TDs. His top targets are WR Caden Kaiser (46 catches, 827 yards, 8 TDs) and TE Ian Drummond (35 catches, 422 yards, 5 TDs). RB Ali Iverson has 769 rushing yards and 9 TDs. The Braves’ defense is highlighted by LBs Xavier Harrison (88 tackles) and Justin Stewart (81 tackles, 10 TFLs), and DBs Brayden Chitty (95 tackles), DeAnte Ables (5 INTs), and Conor Sherry (61 tackles, 3 INTs).

Division III

Central Catholic (9-2) vs. Clyde (9-2) at Clay

COACHES: Central Fighting Irish-Greg Dempsey. Clyde Fliers-Ryan Carter.

OUTPUT: Central has outscored foes 294-107, Clyde 339-161.

PLAYOFF RESUME: Central (19th appearance, 29-15 record, D-II state champ 2005, 2012, D-III state champ 2014, state runner-up 2015, state semifinals 1977, 2016). Clyde (13th appearance, 21-11, D-III state champs 1995, state runner-up 1994, state semifinals 2005, 2013).

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Central defense is led by DLs Domonique Kimble (76 tackles, 24 TFLs, 17 sacks) and DeMarco Craig (74 tackles, 16 TFLs, 10 sacks) and LBs Justin Schiets (75 tackles, 7 sacks) and Dallas Fields (71 tackles, 8 TFLs). DB Sean Blue has 3 INTs. On offense, WR Jase Bowen has 405 rushing yards, 338 receiving yards, and 11 TDs. RB Devon Rivers has run for 1,099 yards and 9 TDs. QB Troy Durden has run for 630 yards and 7 TDs. Clyde’s offense is triggered by QB Trevor Burtch (2,112 passing yards, 19 TDs), whose top target is WR Logan Riehl (54 catches, 821 yards, 9 TDs). Top RB is Braydi Clark (1,163 rush yards, 15 TDs). The Fliers’ defense is led by DL Jaylan Johnson (13 sacks), LB Josh Jenne (121 tackles), and 2016 All-Ohio DB Connor Long (90 tackles, 1 INT).

Division V

Eastwood (11-0) vs. Otsego (9-2) at Lake

COACHES: Eastwood Eagles-Craig Rutherford. Otsego Knights-Matt Dzierwa

OUTPUT: Eastwood has outscored foes 457-95, Otsego 365-216.

PLAYOFF RESUME: Eastwood (11th appearance, 8-10). Otsego (11th appearance, 5-10, state runner-up in 1981).

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Eagles sophomore RB Jaden Rayford rushed 20 times for 95 yards and three TDs in 48-0 win against Swanton in the opening round. Rayford has 1,501 yards on 227 carries with 26 TDs. Ian Downard has rushed for 706 yards and 10 TDs, while Justin Pickerel has 452 yards and 7 TDs. QB Jake Pickerel, who threw for 81 yards and two scores last week, has completed 22 of 47 passes for 469 yards and 8 TDs. Defensively, Jacob Haas and Alex Ross each have three interceptions. For Otsego, junior QB Mitchell Downs completed 32 of 36 passing for 305 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-14 win against Edison in the playoff opener. Downs also ran for 74 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. Downs has accumulated 3,043 yards of total offense (189 of 313 passes for 2,268 and 30 TDs to go along with 775 rushing yards on 113 carries and 14 TDs). WR Will Varner leads the Knights with 61 catches for 876 yards, while Austin Meier has 50 grabs for 613 yards. 

Archbold (9-2) vs. Marion Pleasant (9-1) at Findlay Donnell Stadium

COACHES: Archbold Blue Streaks-David Dominique. Marion Pleasant Spartans-Aaron Cook.

OUTPUT: Archbold has outscored foes 342-147, Marion Pleasant 357-142.

PLAYOFF RESUME: Archbold (12th appearance, 16-10, D-V state champs 1988). Marion Pleasant (22nd appearance, 27-18, three state titles with last in 2002).

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Archbold QB Gabe Petersen was injured in last week's 23-14 win against Indian Lake and is out. His brother Sam is now in the team's signal caller. Gabe had completed 84 of 155 passes for 1,168 yards and 12 TDs. The Blue Streaks’ top WRs are Nic Rodriguez (31 catches for 516 yards, 5 TD) and Devon Gridham (9 for 214, 4 TDs). Gabe Petersen also had rushed for a team-high 1,345 yards on 225 carries with 17 TDs. Sam Petersen is second with 987 yards on 167 carries and 15 TDs. Ben Zimmerman leads the defense with 107 tackles, while Zach Rocha and Mason Babcock each have two fumble recoveries. Marion Pleasant, which had its first game of the season canceled, defeated Genoa 48-21 to advance. RB/LB Matt Chase leads the team with 118 tackles, including 23 for loss and eight sacks. He also leads the Spartans with 1,138 rushing yards with nine TDs. Patrick Blubaugh has 893 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. QB Ethan Warner rushed for 67 yards and a TD in the win last Friday.

Division VI

Liberty-Benton (10-1) vs. Hicksville (9-2) at Defiance

COACHES: L-B Eagles-Tim Nichols. Hicksville Aces-Lucas Smith.

OUTPUT: L-B has outscored the opposition 457-113, Hicksville 368-209.

PLAYOFF RESUME: L-B (11th appearance, 18-10 record, D-V state runner-up 2008, state semifinals 2006, 2012). Hicksville (8th appearance, 9-7, state semifinals 2004, 2011).

PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Eagles’ offense is keyed by QB Austin May, who has passed for 1,840 yards and 24 TDs and rushed for 610 yards and 9 TDs. Top targets are WRs Will Poling (31 catches, 619 yards, 8 TDs) and Justin Risner (26 catches, 414 yards, 4 TDs). The L-B defense is highlighted by LB A.J. Dobbins (148 tackles, 28 TFLs) and DBs Poling (50 tackles, 4 INTs) and Conor Greer (57 tackles, 3 INTs). Hicksville is paced offensively by QB Jake Greer, who has passed for 1,989 yards and 25 TDs, and rushed for 916 yards and 10 TDs. His top connections have been with WRs Payton Tunis (45 catches, 851 yards, 11 TDs) and Parker Thiel (36 catches, 544 yards, 8 TDs). The Aces are led on defense by LB Gabe Contreras (101 tackles), DL Zac Brickel (96 tackles), and DBs Tunis (5 INTs) and Mason Van Atta (71 tackles, 3 INTs).

Division VII

McComb (9-2) vs. Pandora-Gilboa (9-2) at Napoleon

COACHES: McComb Panthers-Kris Alge. Pandora-Gilboa Rockets-Matt Hershey.

OUTPUT: McComb has outscored foes 403-144, Pandora-Gilboa 372-172

PLAYOFF RESUME: McComb (21st appearance, 25-19, state champs 1983). Pandora-Gilboa (9th appearance, 4-8).

PLAYERS TO WATCH: McComb defeated P-G 49-27 on Oct. 20. The Rockets knocked out Mohawk 19-15 last Friday to advance, while the Panthers moved on with a 21-0 shutout of Leipsic. Rockets RB Peyton Traxler has rushed for 797 yards and 9 TDs. QB Jared Breece has completed 129 of 207 passes for 1,922 yards and 25 TDs. WR Carter Nofziger has 65 catches for 840 yards. McComb RB Kheaghan Loe has 819 rushing yards and 11 TDs. Tanner Schroeder (404 receiving yards, 5 TDs) has moved to QB for the No. 10-ranked Panthers, who are in the second round for the third straight year.

Michigan Division 6

Blissfield (7-4) vs. Warren Michigan Collegiate (11-0) at Madison Heights Bishop Foley.

COACHES: Blissfield Royals-Ryan Love. Warren Collegiate Cougars-John Guth.

OUTPUT: Blissfield has been outscored 257-266, Warren has outscored foes 474-122.

PLAYOFF RESUME: Blissfield (9th appearance, 11-8, 2007 D-6 state runner-up). Warren Collegiate (9th appearance, 8-8, 2010 state semifinals).

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Royals QB Gavin Ganun has thrown for 1,738 yards and 14 TDs. RB Jacob Spano has rushed for 631 yards and 11 TDs. Spano scored four touchdowns in Blissfield's 27-17 win over Columbia Central last Friday. WR Jack Wilson has 621 receiving yards with 6 TDs. LB Austin Hall has a team-high 86 tackles. The Cougars have posted a 67-20 record over the last eight seasons. Senior QB Tracy Hubbard rushed for four touchdowns in a 38-34 district title win over Detroit Central and now has 34 total TDs. His top targets are Jason Branch and Jimeire Cannon. Branch had an interception return for a TD in the victory.

Michigan Division 8

Clarkston Everest Collegiate (9-2) at Whiteford (11-0)

COACHES: Everest Mountaineers-Michael Pruchnicki. Whiteford Bobcats-Jason Mensing.

OUTPUT: Everest has outscored opponents 297-189, Whiteford 585-121.

PLAYOFF RESUME: Everest (5th appearance, 3-4 record). Whiteford (18th appearance, 17-17, D-8 state runner-up 2016, state semifinals 2015).

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Everest is keyed by QB Grant Burgess, who has passed for 1,362 yards and 13 TDs, and rushed for 644 yards and 11 TDs. RB Josh Legg (737 rush yards, 10 TDs) is another viable option along with WR-LB Nino Mastromatteo (537 receiving yards, 6 TDs; 74 tackles on defense). Other top defenders include LB Maximilian Engle (81 tackles) and DB Giovanni Mastromatteo (50 tackles, 6 INTs). Whiteford QB Thomas Eitniear is 34-4 as a 3-year starter. This year has passed for 1,006 yards and 13 TDs, and rushed for 759 yards and 13 TDs. The Bobcats’ 1-2 punch at RB is Logan Murphy (1,409 yards, 21 TDs) and Zach Bertz (609 yards, 17 TDs). WR Bradyn Clark-Gilmore has 20 catches for 571 yards and 9 TDs. The Whiteford defense is led in tackles by Abhijit Risley (65) and Eli Shelton (64), and DB Ty Eitniear has 6 INTs. 

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