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Published: Friday, 11/4/2011

Prep Football Playoffs Preview: 11-04

BLADE SPORTS STAFF

Anthony Wayne (8-2) at Whitmer (10-0)

Division I: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Playoff appearances: Anthony Wayne sixth; Whitmer 13th.

Outlook: The underdog Generals take on the state's No. 2-ranked team, pitting their run-dominated offense against a Panther defense that allows 83 rushing yards (168 total yards) per game. Whitmer, which reached the D-I semifinals last year, has outscored foes 483-98 and are again paced offensively by RB Jody Webb (136 carries, 992 yards, 24 TDs). The top target for QB Tyler Palka (49-of-72 passing for 744 yards, 12 TDs) is WR Alonzo Lucas (29 catches, 425 yards). The Panther defense is anchored by All-Ohio DE Chris Wormley (59 tackles, 7 sacks), LB Jack Linch (95 tackles), and DB Mark Meyers (57 tackles). AW's run game includes RBs Aaron Dulay (1,213 rushing yards, 16 TDs), Zach Grohowski (901 yards, 7 TDs), and Sam Bruno (634 yards, 9 TDs). The Generals have outscored foes 315-185. AW's lone postseason win came in 1999.

 

Canton McKinley (8-2) at Southview (9-1)

Division I: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Playoff appearances: Canton McKinley 20th; Southview 11th.

Outlook: The Cougars have won seven straight and are averaging 33.5 points per game while giving up 16.2. McKinley has won four straight and is averaging 31.3 points per contest while yielding 16.2. Southview senior Jalen Marable has a team-high 525 yards on 74 carries, followed by QB Austin Valdez (513 yards). Valdez, a junior, also has completed 92-of-156 passes for 1,555 yards and 11 TDs. The Cougars' top receiver is senior JQ Bowers, who has 21 receptions for 587 yards and seven scores. Allen Gant, a University of Michigan commit, has 22 catches for 281 yards, and Jenard Pinckney has 260. The Bulldogs are balanced on the ground (177.5 yards per game) and in the air (172.3). Sa'Veon Holloway is averaging more than 100 yards per game (1,041 on 203 carries) with eight scores. QB Tyler Foster is second with 488 yards on 126 carries and has a team-high 12 TDs. Foster also has thrown for 1,641 yards (110-of-189) and 19 TDs. His top targets are Malcolm Robinson (521 yards, five TDs), and Jeff Richardson (434, four TDs). Robinson has committed to Buffalo.

 

Findlay (9-1) at Hudson (9-1)

Division I: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Playoff appearances: Findlay sixth; Hudson fifth.

Outlook: This may not seem like a familiar matchup, but there are connections. During its deepest playoff run ever in 2002, Findlay beat Hudson 41-20 in a second-round game on the way to the D-I state semifinals. Also, first-year Explorers head coach Ron Wright is a 1981 graduate of the University of Findlay, where he played for an Oilers national championship team. The Trojans are 5-5 all time in the postseason, with their last trip in 2005. Leading the offense are QB Paul Cosiano (99-of-155 passing, 1,862 yards, 18 TDs), RB Vance Settlemire (147 carries, 961 yards, 17 TDs), and WR Dylan Blunk (34 catches, 692 yards, 6 TDs). The Findlay defense is led in tackles by LBs Devin Dennard (94) and Luke Coale (68). Hudson, which is 2-4 all time in postseason play, is led on both sides of the ball by RB/LB Ben Gedeon (162 carries, 1,220 yards, 18 TDs; 100 tackles). The Explorers use alternating QBs Ben Hart and David Nelson, while WR Leighton Antonio (27 catches, 324 yards) is a playmaker. Findlay has outscored foes 385-180; Hudson 261-116. The Trojans average 414 yards per game, and allow 269 a contest.

 

Olmsted Falls (7-3) at Central Catholic (7-3)

Division II: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Playoff appearances: Olmsted Falls 11th; Central Catholic 13th.

Outlook: The host Fighting Irish (8-11 all time in postseason) have made five playoff appearances since winning the D-II state championship in 2005, but are 1-5 in that time, losing to two eventual state champions (Piqua, 2006; Maple Heights, 2010) in first-round games in which opposing QBs excelled. To get past the opening round this year the Irish will have to contain the Bulldogs' do-it-all, 6-foot-3, 193-pound QB Brennan Laird (203-of-309 passing, 2,398 yards, 17 TDs; 360 rushing yards, 9 TDs). Olmsted Falls also owns a state title (2000) in its history. The Bulldogs have outscored foes 241-237. WR Drew Meketa (52 catches, 691 yards, 7 TDs) is Laird's top target. Central counters with junior RB Amir Edwards (1,049 rushing yards, 18 TDs) and sophomore QB DeShone Kizer (69-of-126 passing, 930 yards, 8 TDs). Leading the defense are LBs Jim Johnston (79 tackles) and Charles Hagler (66 tackles), DT Jon Perrin (55 tackles), and DBs Jayme Thompson (60 tackles) and Derek Hafner (3 INTs). Central gains 330 yards a game and has outscored foes 278-147.

 

Napoleon (5-5) at Clyde (8-2)

Division III: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Playoff appearances: Napoleon 10th; Clyde eighth.

Outlook: The Wildcats made the playoffs based on playing mostly Division I foes in their first season in the Northern Lakes League. They are averaging 26.5 points per game while giving up 15.6. The Fliers are averaging 41.2 points per contest and have yielded just 12.1 Clyde has averaged 348.3 yards per game and has given up 198.4. Napoleon has totaled 252.9 yards per contest and surrendered 259.4. Wildcat sophomore Bryant Schlade leads his team with 627 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Senior Skylar Anderson is second with 417 yards and five TDs. Senior quarterback Jacob Plassman has completed 68-of-146 passes for 834 yards and nine touchdowns. Senior Tyler Miller is his top target (34 catches for 425 yards and four scores). Clyde is led by running back Brad Smith, who has 1,809 yards on 216 attempts with 32 TDs. QB Ryan Meyer has completed 32-of-71 passes for 481 yards and eight TDs. Adam Turner is the top receiver (10 catches for 296 yards, three TDs). Clyde won its fifth straight Sandusky Bay Conference title and has won eight games in a row after starting out 0-2.

 

Ottawa-Glandorf (8-2) at Eastwood (10-0)

Division IV: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Playoff appearances: Ottawa-Glandorf 10th; Eastwood seventh.

Outlook: A week after knocking off rival Genoa and capturing the first-ever Northern Buckeye Conference championship, the Eagles jump right into the state tournament to face a traditional football power in the Titans.
The undefeated Eagles have been a team with too much offensive firepower for opponents to deal with.
Eastwood has outscored its opponents 532-167, or on average of 53-17 per contest.
The Eagles have thrived with a ground game that has averaged 376.5 yards on the ground contest. Isaiah Conkle and Zach Conkle have been a duel threat carrying the football.
Isaiah has led the way with 1,190 yards rushing on 103 carries, including 23 rushing TDs. Zach has been just as unstoppable carrying the football, gaining 1,156 yards on 121 carries, including 21 TDs.
The Titans are competing in the state tournament for the seventh year in a row.

 

Huron (9-1) at Genoa (9-1)

Division IV: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Playoff appearances: Huron 15th; Genoa fifth.

Outlook: The Comets enter the playoffs looking to bounce back from a disappointing season-ending loss to Northern Buckeye Conference rival Eastwood which ruined a chance at a perfect regular season.
Besides losing out on winning a fifth-straight league championship, the Comets also saw a 48-game regular season win streak come to a halt.
Kyle Nutter is the offensive catalyst for Genoa, accounting for 25 touchdowns and leading the team with 1,399 yards rushing on 197 carries.
Josh Bryer has been steady as Genoa's signal-caller, completing 62-of-106 passes for 1,032 yards, including 10 TDs.
Andrew Nutter (17 receptions for 406 yards, 6 TDs), Casey Gose (15 receptions for 127 yards), and Brandon Roberts (12 receptions for 175 yards, 3 TDs) have been Bryer's primary targets.
The Comets take on a Tigers team that enters the state tournament with plenty of tournament tradition to lean on.

 

Carey (8-2) at Liberty Center (10-0)

Division V: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Playoff appearances: Carey 10th; Liberty Center 15th.

Outlook: A decade after their last NWOAL title season, the Tigers roared back under 26th-year coach Rex Lingruen this year. Entering the Region 18 playoffs as the top seed and Ohio's fifth-ranked D-V team, Liberty Center has outgained its foes 381-201 per game on offense, and outscored them 330-86. Keying the offense have been RBs Tony Bais (147 rushes, 999 yards, 9 TDs), Sean Westhoven (156 rushes, 955 yards, 14 TDs), and Anthony Righi (51 rushes, 402 yards, 10 TDs). QB/DB Josh Drain (32-of-71 passing, 591 yards, 5 TDs) leads the team with five interceptions on defense. Senior fourth-year player Bryan Hefflinger leads in tackles (85), followed by Jimmy Speith (66), and Righi (53). Carey is led offensively by QB Bryce Orians (31-of-51 passing, 561 yards, 4 TDs; 82 rushes, 727 yards, 9TDs), and RBs Tyler Cusak (103 rushes, 710 yards, 14 TDs) and Austin Tschanen (110 rushes, 697 yards, 8 TDs). Blue Devils DB Brandon Distel led the Midland Athletic League with six interceptions. Carey outgains foes 400-200 per game on offense, and has outscored them 387-141.

 

Patrick Henry (8-2) at Northwood (9-1)

Division V: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Playoff appearances: Patrick Henry 14th; Northwood seventh.

Outlook: The Rangers are 1-6 all time in the playoffs. The Patriots are playoff vets (20-12) with a state title in 2005. Northwood junior QB Nick Russell helped lead the Rangers to their eighth Toledo Area Athletic Conference title in the last 10 years. Russell has scored 12 touchdowns and rushed for 692 yards. Russell has completed 61-of-96 passes for 1,086 yards and seven TDs. Senior Fletcher Isaacs has 13 catches for 270 yards. Evan Perkins has rushed for 525 yards and 11 TDs.
Patrick Henry placed second in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League (6-1) behind the efforts of Lucas Rosebrook (863 rushing yards and 23 TDs) and Gabe Jones (486 rushing yards and 10 TDs). QB Anderson Okuley (43-of-83 for 827 yards) has connected often with Kyle Bergstedt (21 catches for 430 yards, 3 TDs).

 

Liberty-Benton (9-1) at Lima Central Catholic (10-0)

Division V: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Playoff appearances: Liberty-Benton seventh; Lima Central Catholic eighth.

Outlook: Liberty-Benton returns to the state tournament after a two-year absence from contending in the postseason.
Brady Vaught and Mitch Linhart have carried the load offensively for the Eagles this fall. Vaught has been highly productive carrying the football, becoming a thousand-yard rusher this season after gaining 1,005 yards on 137 carries. Seventeen of his carries ended with him in the end zone for touchdowns. Linhart gives the Eagles a high-octane air attack. He's completed 92-of-179 passes for 1,638 yards, including 21 touchdowns.
Linhart has also rushed for 410 yards on 75 carries and four TDs. Dakota Conkle serves as Linhart's main target, hauling in a team-best 26 passes for 572 yards, including 11 TDs. The Eagles' first-round opponent, the Thunderbirds, reached the state semifinal round a year ago.

 

Ottawa Hills (7-3) at Delphos St. John (7-3)

Division VI: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Playoff appearances: Ottawa Hills third; Delphos St. John 14th.

Outlook: The Green Bears have a 1-2 all time record in the playoffs, while the Blue Jays are 44-7 and are the defending state champions. They have six titles overall. Ottawa Hills has scored 28 points per game, while the Blue Jays have averaged 23.5. OH has given up 25.9, while Delphos has yielded 13.9. Ottawa Hills junior Will Longthorne leads his team in rushing (1,103 yards on 161 carries) and in scoring (21 TDs). QB Jon Rodriguez, a junior, has connected on 69-of-123 passes for 1,141 yards and 16 scores. Senior Doug Stockton (292 receiving yards, 6 TDs) and Longthorne (250) are the top targets. Delphos is ranked third in the state. The Blue Jays average 161.2 rushing yards per game and 89.9 passing. Tyler Jettinghoff leads the team with 613 rushing yards (7 TDs) followed by Jordan Bergfeld (447 yards, 13 TDs). QB Mark Boggs has completed 43-of-85 passes for 638 yards with four scores. Boggs also has rushed for 287 yards (3 TDs). WR Tanner Calvelage has 30 receptions for 539 yards and has 4 TDs. LB Brett Schwinnen has a team-high 54 tackles.

 

Bedford (7-3) at Ann Arbor Pioneer (8-2)

Michigan Division 1: Friday, 7 p.m.

Playoff appearances: Bedford fourth; Ann Arbor Pioneer 14th.

Outlook: If the Kicking Mules learned anything from their first game with Pioneer this season, a 38-14 Southeastern Conference loss that decided the Red Division title, it was they must at least contain back Drake Johnson if they have any hope of advancing to the third round of the playoffs. When his team played at Bedford on Sept. 30, Johnson rushed 21 times for an eye-popping 390 yards and scored TDs on runs of 75, 37, 2, 85, and 64 yards. In last week's first round, the elusive 6-foot-1, 215-pound Johnson dismantled Monroe in a 28-6 win, rushing 33 times for 228 yards and four TDs. Bedford counters with its flexbone offense led by QB Aaron Czesak (198 carries, 1,162 yards, 16 TDs; 24-of-62 passing, 538 yards) and RB Jon Prajzner (166 carries, 947 yards, 10 TDs). More importantly, however, will be the effort of the Mules' defense, which has been led in tackles by Bryan Smith (105), Logan Rimmer (65), Mike Malone (51), and Steve Szakovits (51). Fourth-year coach Jeff Wood (30-11 overall) has Bedford in its third straight postseason. The Mules went 11-1 and made the third round last year.

 

Edon (7-3) at Tiffin Calvert (8-2)

Division VI: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Playoff appearances: Edon third; Tiffin Calvert 10th.

Outlook: Edon is 0-2 in two state playoff games, while TC is 14-7 with two state titles. The last came in 1981. The Bombers are led by senior RB Shannon Geren, who holds all of the school's rushing records. Geren has 5,075 carrer rushing yards, including 1,967 this season with 27 TDs. Geren, a punishing runner, is averaging 9.2 yards per carry. Reid Bowling is second with 403 rushing yards. QB Keegan Long also set school records in completions (77 for 1,469 yards) and TD passes (18). Brock Thiel is the top receiver (562). Edon has 41.7 ppg and 32.1 against. TC is averaging 27.8 for and 15.7 against. Nathan Ritzler has rushed for 1,083 yards and passed for 873 (60-of-123) and has accounted for 14 TDs.

 

McComb (7-3) at Edgerton (8-2)

Division VI: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Playoff appearances: McComb 15th; Edgerton fourth.

Outlook: McComb, a perennial state-tournament participant, is looking to make another strong run this season. The Panthers, who reached the Division VI regional finals a year ago, are led by QB Dalton Buck, who completed 103-of-167 passes for 1,741 yards, including 21 touchdowns. RB Jerry Brown led all scorers in the Blanchard Valley Conference with 33 touchdowns. He proved tough to take down, rushing for 1,125 yards on 117 carries, including 29 rushing TDs.
Cody Wilson proved quite complementary in the backfield, rushing for 720 yards on 111 totes, including 10 TDs.
The Panthers face a Bulldogs team that came up a victory shy of winning the Green Meadows Conference.

 

Arcadia (7-3) at Leipsic (9-1)

Division VI: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Playoff appearances: Arcadia first; Leipsic fourth.

Outlook: Leipsic, which claimed its fifth Blanchard Valley Conference title, is looking to continue its winning ways in the state tournament. RB Trevor Schroeder rushed for 654 yards on 104 rushes with 13 TDs in only seven games to head the Vikings' offensive ground attack. Brady Schroeder ranks second in rushing with 264 yards on 41 attempts and four TDs.
The Redskins, who finished fourth in the BVC, are led by RBs Trevor Colman (64 carries for 454 yards, 4 TDs) and Lane Mellott (58 carries for 435 yards, 5 TDs).
K Lucas Huntley made 30-of-32 extra-point attempts and was 2-for-2 on field goals. Colman has been one of the best pass defenders in the BVC, recording six interceptions, returning one for a TD.

 

Melvindale Business & Tech (6-4) at Summerfield (7-3)

Michigan Division 8: Friday, 7 p.m.

Playoff appearances: Melvindale B&T first; Summerfield fourth.

Outlook: All four of Summerfield's playoff appearances have come under fourth-year coach Erik Johnson (33-10). The Bulldogs beat Detroit Westside Christian 41-20 in the first round last week. They are led by QB Lucas Diver (932 passing yards, 7 TDs), RB Josh Golkiewicz (1,076 rushing yards, 14 TDs), and WR Chris Sylvester (20 catches, 323 yards). Their top tacklers are LBs Dakota Ladd (106) and Travis Hunter (103). Summerfield outgains foes 301-223 per game offensively, and has outscored them 291-160. MBT's Gators are in their second year as a program and their first playoff. They beat Westland Lutheran 46-14 last week. QB Darryl Notay Hines directs their run-oriented spread offense.



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