DARKE COUNTY — The neutral site games begin in the OHSAA football playoffs this week. The Regional Semifinals will begin on Nov. 11 as all the Darke County schools will play their games on Nov. 12.
Just within the three games involving Darke County schools, there is a lot of MACtion (the high school kind) this week. Teams are set to be in the grind it out type games this week after they all won with ease last week.
The games will only get tougher from here. As in the past, the MAC will have a chance to showcase their talents and how deep the conference is. In Region 28, the lower seeds remaining are both MAC schools. New Bremen is a fifth seed and Minster is a sixth seed.
There is an all MAC game going on in Region 24. Versailles will have a chance to get redemption from their regular season loss to Marion Local.
Tri-Village will not have a MAC team this week. They will face a relatively unknown opponent this week.
As the teams will escape the 60 degree weather to play in the good ole’ fashion cold playoff weather, here are the breakdowns of each game.
5 New Bremen vs 1 Ansonia Division VII:
The Cardinals from the MAC will take on the Tigers at Greenville High School. They are 9-3 with a 5-3 conference record. After ending the season with an upset loss to St. John’s, the Cardinals have won their first two playoff games by 30+. Last week, they defeated Riverside 39-8. In week one of the season, Ansonia defeated Riverside 36-14 on the road.
New Bremen did their damage mostly on the ground with four rushing touchdowns in the game against Riverside. Their defense has been stout this postseason as they only allowed two touchdowns total so far.
It will be a clash of very similar styles this week. Ansonia is coming off a 46-6 win over Catholic Central where they played great defense and ran the ball. This game will more than likely be a slug-fest.
New Bremen rushed for 2,478 yards as a team this season. Ansonia ran for 3,846 yards as a team this season. Both teams will have an All-Conference first team running back in the backfield. For New Bremen, Hunter Schaefer ran for 1,141 yards and 15 touchdowns. For Ansonia, Exzaviar Moody ran for 1,659 yards and 22 touchdowns.
The boys up front will be battling for four quarters. Whoever has more left in the tank in the fourth quarter will be in the best position to win the game.
3 Tri-Village vs 2 Allen East Division VI:
The Patriots will take on Allen East at Bellfontaine AcuSport Stadium. The Mustangs are 11-1 on the season with a 7-0 conference record in the Northwest conference. Within their conference, they were first in scoring averaging 36.7 points a game. They were second in scoring defense allowing 12.8 points a game. Tri-Village averages 45.4 points a game while allowing 11.3 points a game.
The Mustangs are more of a run heavy team who will not ditch the passing game completely. Quarterback Jacob Hershberger finished the season with 1,196 yards passing with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions. He is also the team’s leading rusher with 930 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns.
As a team, Allen East averages 209 rushing yards a game. They average 127.5 yards passing a game. Their defense has pitched shutouts in the last two playoff games.
Their one loss this season came against Elmwood High School, 53-21. Elmwood is a similar team to Tri-Village. They have a balanced offense which starts with the running game.
For Tri-Village, they will continue to get the running game going before they open up the passing game. Between Reed Wehr, Justin Finkbine and Braden Keating, the run game will have to get going to keep the Mustangs’ defense on their toes.
So far this postseason, the passing attack from Tri-Village has been more horizontal. They have attacked the sidelines on shorter routes and screen passes. There hasn’t been many deep shots towards the middle of the field. This could be the week Keating will take a shot or two down the field on a vertical route more towards the hashes. The offensive balance will be a key to beating Allen East this week.
4 Versailles vs 1 Marion Local Division VI:
During the regular season, Versailles lost to Marion Local 27-7. The score doesn’t show how close Versailles was to beating the Flyers. They kept it close the whole game, but couldn’t get enough scoring drives together before Marion Local broke open the game.
The Flyers are sitting with a perfect 12-0 record. They have won both of their playoff games with 40+ point shutouts. Their smallest margin of victory came in week one against Wapakoneta in a 21-7 win. This game will be played at Wapakoneta Mercy Health Wapak Ford Field.
For the Tigers, they will need the same defensive performance from their regular season game. Versailles had some turnovers that gave Marion Local some good field position.
On the offensive side of the ball, they will need to find ways to finish off drives. Possessions will probably be sparse during this game. They need to make the most of their possession.
In their regular season game, Versailles could move the ball. The issues came when they were getting closer to the endzone. They couldn’t capitalize on most of their scoring opportunities. The Tigers can score on the ground or through the air. Joel Gehret led the MAC in rushing yards with 1,185 and had nine touchdowns. Connor Stonebraker had 1,016 yards passing with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions.
It’s going to be a tough game for the Tigers. But anything can happen in the playoffs.
Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected]