THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge | Buy This Photo
Both the Perrysburg and Bryan football teams seek their programs' first playoff victories, and both teams are counting on dynamic quarterbacks to advance.
The Yellow Jackets and Golden Bears have qualified for the postseason for just the second time in school history.
Perrysburg (8-2) travels to Avon (9-1) for a Division I regional quarterfinal at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Bryan (10-0) hosts Columbus Watterson (7-3) in a Division III regional semifinal at 7 :30 p.m. Saturday.
Both teams have tough draws in the opener as the Yellow Jackets face the state runner-up from last season. Bryan plays a Bishop Watterson program that has made 22 playoff appearances with two state championships (2010 and 2002).
Perrysburg's last playoff game was in 2007 when coach Matt Kregel was in his second season. The Jackets lost 43-21 to Macedonia Nordonia.
"Having been there the first time helps this staff out a lot," Kregel said. "This time we're going to enjoy it more.
"We feel confident we can get a win and how to go about doing it. This team has been in big games, too. To get the first playoff win would be huge. People in the community have been dying for this to happen for years."
Golden Bears coach Kevin Kline said the Bryan community is equally excited about the team's memorable season, which included its first Northwest Ohio Athletic League title since 1986.
"We don't have a lot of playoff history so it is new to the kids and the community," Kline said. "The community has been behind us all the way. That makes it special."
He said the next step is to get the first playoff win.
"It would be huge for our program," Kline said. "It is why you play the game. Everyone dreams of it and we hope to pull it off Saturday."
Both teams rely on dual-threat quarterbacks to propel the offense.
Perrysburg senior QB Steve Slocum has literally done it all and has 2,444 total yards of offense. Slocum, a three-year starter, has rushed for a team-high 1,261 yards and has passed for 1,183 yards. He has a total of 28 touchdowns. Slocum also has made 46 of 46 PATs and three field goals.
"He's honestly the ultimate kid," Kregel said. "He's also one of the top 10 students in his class and he's great in the community. He is a focused kind of leader. He is just now starting to realize his potential and the sky is the limit. He's an awesome kid to have."
Bryan is led by junior signal caller Austin Schimmoeller, who has racked up 3,173 yards of total offense. Schimmoeller has completed 126 of 201 for 1,917 and 18 TDs. He also leads the team in rushing with 1,202 yards and 19 scores.
Kline said Schimmoeller has become a leader and has the ability to make plays in his spread system.
"When our quarterback stays within himself and plays our game, we have a really good offense," Kline said.
Yet both teams also have solid supporting casts.
Perrysburg junior back Mark Delas (6-3, 240) has gained steam as the season has gone on and has 803 rushing yards and 18 TDs. Delas rushed for 208 yards and four scores in Perrysburg's 55-26 win over rival Maumee. Delas, who also starts at linebacker, injured his knee in the second quarter but Kregel said it is simply a bruise.
"We expect him to be 100 percent on Friday," Kregel said. "Delas is one of those big hitters and a heavier guy. So we limited his carries in the hot weather. Now when it get colder, we've increased his carries."
THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER Enlarge | Buy This Photo
Slocum's top targets are Austin Lee (333 yards) and Austin Bishop (332 yards).
For Bryan, Schimmoeller spreads the ball around to Elijah Bogosian (619 receiving yards), Sean Culler (304), Derek Knisley (336), and Daniel Pendergrast (268). Senior back Collin Bacon has 613 rushing yards.
"I like this group of kids because they play hard and do things the right way," Kline said.
The Yellow Jackets' only losses were to 9-1 Central Catholic (35-7) and 9-0-1 Napoleon (35-34 in overtime).
Bryan came out on the winning end of its crossroads game Oct. 5. The Golden Bears trailed NWOAL powerhouse Patrick Henry by 15 points with less than five minutes but pulled off an incredible comeback win, 32-28. It was their first triumph over the Patriots since 2000.
Perrysburg must take to the road to square off against an Avon program that is making its third straight trip to the playoffs. Avon knocked out Central Catholic (49-28) in the regional semifinals before reaching the state championship game last season, when they fell 42-28 to Trotwood-Madison.
The Eagles are led by University of Michigan-bound cornerback Ross Douglas, who has 1,038 rushing yards in eight games.
"We need to contain him," Kregel said. "They also have an excellent receiver [Ralph Smith] and they have some big kids across both lines. We have to attack them and get nasty about it."
Bryan must also deal with a big, physical team as Bishop Watterson runs the Wing-T offense. They are led by QB Andy Elberson (615 rushing and 692 passing). The lines are anchored by center/defensive tackle Andrew Lorenz (6-4, 280), a Division I college prospect.
"Watterson has so much tradition," Kline said. "They've been to the playoffs so many times and they play a brutal schedule. They have really good size. They know how to win.
"We just need to play our game and not be intimidated. But it's the playoffs and there are no bad teams now. We've all earned the right to be there. It will be a challenge."
Contact Mark Monroe at: email@example.com, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.