What to expect in the playoffs


Sheridan, Tri-Valley and John Glenn made the cut, but who will survive?

By Nick McWilliams, Sports Director

A trio of area teams — Sheridan, Tri-Valley and John Glenn — will all look to make their mark in the Ohio high school football record books in the playoffs this week.

But each team will have to do it in a different way.

Sheridan and Tri-Valley come into the tournament boasting 9-1 overall records, thanks to potent offenses and veteran leadership in Generals coach Paul Culver III and Scotties coach Kevin Fell. For Culver, it’s his team’s third appearance in three years, while Fell will return to familiar territory in the postseason, albeit in his first year with Tri-Valley.

The lone blemish on both sides came at the hands of other area playoff teams, after Sheridan fell in Dresden during Week 7 in overtime, while Tri-Valley was stunned at home, 14-7, against John Glenn. But none of that matters now.

All that matters this week is the monumental task at hand for either side — beating two of the best teams in the state in their respective divisions.

For the Scotties, they will travel a near 100 mile trek up I-77 North to face Barberton, the No. 9 team in Division II in the state according to the final Associated Press polls. Unlike anything they have faced to this point, there are more than a few positions to watch out for from the Magics.

For starters, the tandem of Chase Haywood at quarterback and Kyree Young at running back has proven volatile all season long. While Haywood possesses a solid arm, it’s Young and his big play ability that can really open the eyes of fans — going for 1,829 yards and 24 touchdowns this season.

Defensively, the Magics have a truly disruptive force in Kionnie Dukes, who has accounted for nine sacks this season.

As for the Generals, their test against Bellbrook, the second ranked team in state in Division III, stopping one of the most terrifying rushing attacks around will be a tough task. As a group, the Golden Eagles have produced just a hair under 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns.

Take for instance the team’s performance on the ground against fellow playoff team Franklin, as a normally tough defense was shredded for 197 yards and three scores on 6.5 yards per carry.

But what about John Glenn?

The Muskies went through what can only be described as a revival, running the field after going just 1-3 to start the season, and picking up the crucial victory over the Scotties. But the team’s true ability will show against an Indian Valley team with a lethal running attack.

Powered by speedster Caden Hostetler at running back and the tough running of quarterback Cade Williams, the Braves’ only blemish this season came against Ridgewood. Perhaps their most impressive performance this season came against Akron-Manchester, topping the No. 2 team in Region 17 with a 46-20 drubbing.

The Muskies might be able to take advantage of a pass defense for the Braves that has surrendered big games to more potent passing offenses like Ridgewood and Sandy Valley.

Who wins this week? Who really knows.

But all three area teams will have new tests in strange places with glory on the line. Should be fun, right?