Division I may be the sizzle, with all the well known teams and numerous state championships, but Division II is the steak, as it has a number of solid teams, and really has a higher number of teams that could win the state championship in Columbus. In week one of the state playoffs last weekend, fans of Ohio high school football got what they wanted, as week two of playoff season will bring the match-ups everyone was hoping for. The OHSAA released the schedule yesterday of games for this weekend, and some of the games that will be played this Friday in Division II are worthy of state championship games. In Northeast Ohio in particular, Region 3 and Region 4 have semi-finals where all eight teams playing are worthy of getting to Columbus.
In Region 3, top seeded Bedford will take on Willoughby South at Solon’s Stewart Field. The Bearcats of Bedford advanced with a 49-18 win over Garfield Heights. Chawtez Moss led the punishing ground attack as Bedford improved to 11-0 on the year. Willoughby South may be the hottest team in Division II. After dropping their first three games of the year, the Rebels haven’t lost since. They made believers out of a ton more people Friday night when they dominated perennial playoff qualifier Glenville 34-12. D.J. Greene led the Rebels attack with 217 yards on 35 carries. In a quote to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Greene spoke about the success the Rebels had on the ground:
It’s about doing everything right. Start making less mistakes every game by doing everything right. When you do everything right, no matter what they know we’re doing, we’re still going to run the ball.
The other semi-final will have Mayfield and Madison facing off at Mentor High School. The Wildcats of Mayfield continued their strong season, improving to 10-1 with a 49-12 win over Maple Heights. Andy Isabella led the Wildcats, as he rushed for 190 yards on 16 carries. Mayfield’s only loss of the year came in overtime in Week 1 to Nordonia, and the Wildcats have been more than solid since then. The Blue Streaks of Madison proved that last year’s playoff victory over Brecksville was no fluke, as again they defeated the Bees 49-21 in Madison’s first ever home playoff game. In a quote to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Madison linebacker Nick Siminic talked about the importance of leaving a legacy as a senior:
Obviously it’s huge for us. Last year, they left their own legacy and this year, this is the first Madison home game that we won. It’s a chance for us seniors, being a really small class, to leave our own legacy
Keys to the games…. Both games are similar as all four teams want to run the football and stop the run. They just do it in different ways. Bedford and Madison line up and say “Here we are, stop us”, while Mayfield and Willoughby South spread the field and use speed and angles to create running lanes. All four defenses are very good, so don’t expect the fireworks on the scoreboard many fans saw last weekend. Can Bedford use their power running game to keep the explosive South offense off the field? Can D.J. Greene continue his highly productive season? How will Madison deal with Mayfield’s “3-3 Stack” defense? Will Mayfield be ready for the trick plays that Madison uses from time to time? All these questions will be answered Friday night.
Region 4 is the toughest region in Ohio, and the semi-final match-ups are both worthy of state finals. It’s a shame that only one of these teams will advance out of this region. Fans of Ohio high school football don’t want to miss Friday’s games between these four teams.
One semi-final will have top seeded Midview taking on Avon at North Royalton High School. The Middies of Midview rode the arm and legs of sensational sophomore quarterback Dustin Crum to defeat Walsh Jesuit 42-28, to remain undefeated on the year. The Eagles of Avon avenged last year’s playoff loss to Highland by defeating the Hornets 42-21. This is a rematch of a regular season game where Midview defeated Avon 49-42. THIS is a game where the scoreboard should light up, as both offenses have looked unstoppable in recent weeks. Crum and Avon quarterback Jake Sopko are two of the best in the area, and they should both put on a show Friday night.
The other semi-final is THE BIG ONE. Arguably the best second round game in the state, with apologies to the fans of Dublin Coffman and Huber Heights Wayne in Division I Region 2.
Nordonia v.s. Perrysburg at Sandusky’s Cedar Point Stadium
Nordonia has been one of the teams to watch in Division II all year, and last Friday against Fremont Ross, they didn’t disappoint. Showing their all around game on both sides of the ball, the Knights scored in all three phases of the game in defeating Fremont Ross 58-26. Quarterback David Murray threw for 366 yards and five touchdowns, while Dylan Mabin recorded 216 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Denzel Ward blocked a punt for a touchdown, and Justice Alexander recorded three sacks on defense. The Knights are solid on both sides of the ball, and since a Week 1 win over Mayfield, haven’t been tested at all.
They should get that test from Perrysburg, the state’s top ranked Division II team. The Yellow Jackets open the eyes of all Ohio high school football fans with their 56-7 destruction of Massillon. Massillon and its storied program haven’t experienced a loss like this since 1931. How bad was it? Yesterday, Massillon fired its coach. Senior quarterback Gus Dimmerling had a game he will remember. Dimmerling rushed for 304 yards on 21 carries, and threw for another 113 yards. The Yellow Jacket defense held Massillon’s quarterback and Ohio State recruit Danny Clark in check, and stuffed the Tigers running game. The Yellow Jackets have been riding their defense all year, and will need another strong effort if they are to get by Nordonia.
Keys to the games…. For Midview and Avon, it will be business as usual on the offensive side of the ball. There will be a ton of points scored, and it may come down to whomever has the ball last. Nordonia and Perrysburg is a match-up of two outstanding and well-balanced teams. Can Crum and the Midview offense continue to light up the scoreboard? Can Avon use its playoff experience to slow down the tempo and control the game? Will either defense get a stop? Can Murray and the Nordonia offense continue to score at the pace they do against a great Perrysburg defense? Can the Yellow Jackets find a way to get Dimmerling loose against Nordonia’s outstanding defensive players? Friday night these questions will be answered.
Region 3 and Region 4 in Division 2 gives Ohio high school football fans a real treat as eight outstanding teams take the field
Good Luck to all teams this weekend.