By Drew Terhall
DARKE COUNTY — It is playoff time. The regular season has come and gone as high school football teams are now gearing up for the playoffs.
Ansonia, Tri-Village and Versailles are all looking to represent their community as they go through the playoffs. Each are in a region of 16 teams with four regions in each division. Getting through the region means a trip to the State Semifinals.
There is one thing interesting about the brackets after they were released. After playing against each other in volleyball, Tri-Village and Versailles could meet in postseason play again. They would have to get through higher seeds to meet in the Regional Final. For Tri-Village, they would more than likely have to get through Allen East. For Versailles, they would more than likely have to beat conference rival Marion Local.
But, that is still a ways away. Here are the matchups and more information on the opposing teams for the first round.
Division VII, Region 28: 16 Riverview East Academy vs 1 Ansonia
After claiming a share of the WOAC conference title, Ansonia earned the one seed in their region. They were also voted sixth overall in Division VII in the Ohio AP rankings. The Tigers have done their damage running the ball and playing excellent defense. As a team, they rushed for 3,589 yards. On a per game basis, they rushed for 358.9 yards a game. Their rushing attack is led by senior Exzaviar Moody, who has 1,519 yards and 19 touchdowns on the season.
Riverview East Academy finished their season 3-7 overall in with a 2-2 conference record in the Cincinnati Metro conference. The winner of that conference was Gamble Montessori, who Ansonia beat 46-12 in the second week of the season. The Hawks lost to Gamble Montessori last week, 38-16. Riverview East gave up 422 yards rushing in that game. The game plan for Ansonia seems simple enough for them. Just play their brand of football and they can move on in the playoffs.
Division VI, Region 24: 14 Deer Park vs 3 Tri-Village
The Patriots claimed the other share of the WOAC conference title with Ansonia. Tri-Village was voted ninth in their division in the Ohio AP poll. They were able to claim the three seed in their region. Like Ansonia, they get it done on both sides of the ball. Their defense can wreak havoc on offenses, but their more balanced on offense. Junior quarterback Braden Keating led the WOAC in passing yards with 1,869 and threw for 28 touchdowns with only four interceptions. He also rushed for four touchdowns. Junior running back Reed Wehr finished third in the conference in rushing yards with 1,077 and had 17 rushing touchdowns. He also caught five touchdowns.
Deer Park finished their season 5-5 with a 4-3 conference record in the Cincinnati Hills conference. The Wildcats will look to gain control of the game with the ground game. Their senior running back, Kendell Luckett, is second in their conference with 1,062 yards. They don’t let their quarterbacks throw it a lot. It seems like they’re not afraid to run some designed quarterback runs. Their junior quarterback, Jayce Parsons, has 76 rushing attempts with 414 yards and three touchdowns. Holding down the run game should be enough for Tri-Village to get the win and move on in the playoffs.
Division VI, Region 24: 13 National Trail vs 4 Versailles
On the other side of the bracket, Versailles will host WOAC member National Trail. The Tigers finished fourth in the MAC with a 7-3 record and a 5-3 conference record and were voted eighth in the final Ohio AP poll. They can beat teams in different ways on offense. Versailles does prefer to run the ball with junior Joel Gehret, but can move the ball through the air with senior quarterback Connor Stonebraker or at times junior Michael Osborne. Their defense has been stout this season. Versailles has allowed 13.2 points per game and shut out two teams this season.
The Blazers are stumbling into the playoffs after losing three out of their last four games. In their losses, their running game hasn’t been up to their winning standards from early in the season. National Trail hasn’t been able to find ways to win without their running game. They do take a committee approach at the running back position as three players have over 70 carries this season. For Versailles, they have to shutdown the running game to get the win and earn the right to play next week.
Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]