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When the bell rings for the heavyweight showdown Friday between Genoa and Ottawa-Glandorf it is sure to be a slugfest.
Both teams are 11-0 and feature run-oriented offenses that will battle in a regional semifinal at 7:30 p.m. at Findlay High School's Donnell Stadium.
Genoa, ranked No. 5 and the Northern Buckeye Conference champion, has rushed for 4,266 yards (387.7 per game) and 58 touchdowns.
Ottawa-Glandorf, ranked No. 2 and the Western Buckeye League champion, has totaled 3,749 on the ground (340.8 per contest) and 55 scores.
The Comets thumped Columbus Bishop Ready 42-21 in a first-round playoff game.
"Our players remain confident," Genoa coach Tim Spiess said. "We focus on our opportunities. Every coach understands the importance of controlling the line of scrimmage, but these games usually come down to turnovers and special teams play."
Ottawa-Glandorf demolished Lorain Clearview 72-0 to advance. The Titans set a school record for points in a game.
"We hope we are improving and peaking at the right time of the year," Ottawa-Glandorf coach Ken Schriner said. "Our kids attacked the game last week with a great attitude and intensity and came away with an outstanding team victory."
The Comets have qualified for the playoffs for the sixth straight season (9-5 record) after making it for the first time in 2007.
Spiess, who is in his first year after five seasons under Mike Vicars (now an assistant), said when they took over in 2007, they changed the program's mindset.
"Anything is possible when a group of young men share a common vision to reach an objective," he said. "We have told the kids from day one that, 'This is a great story we are writing in Genoa's athletic history. Let's see how many chapters we can add to this story.' "
The Comets are 67-7 in six years. Genoa defeated Ottawa-Glandorf 40-21 in a regional final in 2008 as the Comets went 13-1 and reached the state semifinals. In 2010, Genoa knocked off Ottawa-Glandorf 7-6 in a first-round game.
The Comets are paced by record-setting running back Kyle Nutter. The 5-11, 214 pound senior holds the school records for yards rushing in a game (412 versus Huron in last season's playoffs), season (2,250), and career (5,758). He also has scored the most career touchdowns (86).
"He has an unmatched work-ethic of any athlete I have ever coached," Spiess said. "Not only has Kyle made his body a piece of iron, he has done the same with his mind. He understands exactly what is expected of him, but his teammates also understand what is expected of them."
Nutter has scored 37 touchdowns and has 224 total points this year.
Last week, he rushed for a team-high 187 yards and two scores. His brother, David, a junior, added 138 yards and a TD, while junior Ryan Espinoza and Kyle Edwards also scored.
"Kyle carries quite a load, but Bishop Hartley found out how good our other running backs can be," Spiess said.
David Nutter has rushed for 516 yards and seven scores. Espinoza has 429 yards and four TDs. Jake Wojciechowski has 660 yards.
"I'm not sure if slowing their running attack is possible," Schriner said. "We need to do our best to not give up the big plays. We need to be great tacklers."
The unheralded players along Genoa's lines have been senior center Nick Keller (6-0, 235) and junior defensive tackle Michael Deiter (6-4, 274), along with offensive guards senior John Belsky (5-9, 180 and junior Logan Bryer (5-11, 232).
Junior tight end Quentin Spiess (6-2, 174) has been an efficient blocker the record-setting offense.
Defensively, senior Zachary Roberts and junior Max Reeder have anchored at the tackles.
Keller (6-0, 235) has excelled at linebacker along with Espinoza.
Kyle Nutter also has two interceptions and five fumble recoveries at defensive back. Senior Jake Young is the other defensive back
The Comets also have a record-setting placekicker. Sophomore Cody Pickard has connected on 57 of 59 extra points and is 12 for 15 on field goal attempts. He is Ohio's all-time record holder for most field goals in a game with six.
As a punter Pickard is averaging 41.8 yards per boot. Pickard has stepped in admirably to fill the shoes of his brother Tyler Pickard, who was All-Ohio in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Junior Casey Gose is the return specialist and averages 38.6 per return with two scores on punts and on one TD on a kick return.
But Spiess lost RB Alex Hayes, lineman Garrett Etts, and QB Logan Scott to injuries. During one game he was missing nine starters.
"Overall, we have had an unbelievable run of injuries, but we have kept our focus on the mental health of our team as we move forward," Spiess said.
The Titans are averaging 46.3 points per game and only giving up 11.7 per contest.
Quarterback Caleb Siefker has completed 67 of 131 passes for 872 yards and 14 touchdowns. His top target has been Jacob Leopold, who has 20 receptions for 252 yards and three scores.
Siefker also has rushed for 872 yards and leads the team with 1,950 all purpose yards (177.2 per game). Siefker also is the Titans' kicker had has made 47 of 54 extra points and one field goal (38 yards).
"He is an excellent athlete that is making great decisions within our schemes on offense," Schriner said. "He doesn't try and do things he isn't capable of doing."
Running back Tristan Parker has rushed for 1,754 yards on 219 carries and 24 touchdowns. Parker averages 159.5 yards per game.
Caleb Siefker is second on the team with 1,078 yards on 137 carries (7.9 per tote) and 17 scores.
Shane Schroeder (357 yards, four TDs) and Brad Racer (291, six TDs) also contribute.
Logan Diemer leads the O-G defense with 77 total tackles, including 52 solo.
The Titans are averaging 425.3 yards per game and have given up just 233.8.
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.