The Blazers are in.
For the first time in school history, National Trail is making an appearance in Ohio’s football playoffs.
The Blazers travel Friday to Mechanicsburg for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff in a Division VI Region 22 matchup.
Mechanicsburg is the fourth seed, and National Trail is No. 5. Both teams are 8-2. Ohio’s playoff pairings were announced Sunday afternoon, and the top eight teams in each region make the postseason.
“It’s awesome to be in the situation to have a playoff opportunity,” National Trail coach Tony Sonsini said on Sunday. “I’m very proud of our coaches and our players.
“I’m obviously looking forward to go and play somebody we’ve never played before. That’s exciting in itself.”
Miami East (9-1) is the top seed in Region 22 and will play host to No. 8 Tri-County North (7-3) .
National Trail, Miami East and Tri-County North all are members of the Cross County Conference. The Blazers’ 15-12 win over Tri-County North this past Friday clinched the playoff spot for Trail.
“It’s really good for the CCC. We have four teams in the playoffs, one in Division VII and three in our region,” Sonsini said. “Our competition is getting good across the conference.”
Sonsini said Friday’s victory over the Panthers was National Trail’s first at Tri-County North since 1997.
The Blazers did it in thrilling fashion, too. They used a 72-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard TD pass from Garrett Griffin to Devin Mize with 6 minutes remaining to pull ahead.
Trail’s defense held the Panthers to a field goal attempt that went wide left, and the Blazers held on to add to their school-record tally for single-season victories.
“A lot of people wrote Trail off, and our kids responded,” Sonsini said. “The clock hit zero and I can’t describe in words how exciting it felt to win that game.
” … We haven’t had a lot of time to reflect on Friday night’s game. Now, our attention is focused on Mechanicsburg. Our kids are super excited to have this opportunity.”
In other Region 22 pairings, second-seeded Cincinnati Country Day (10-0) plays host to No. 7 Cincinnati Summit Country Day (8-2) and No. 3 Williamsburg (7-3) is at home with No. 6 West Liberty-Salem (8-2).
“I’m just very, very pleased with our effort, day in and day out, with these coaches and kids,” Sonsini said. “Everybody has bought into it. All their hard work with both coaches and players is starting to pay off. That’s why we made the playoffs. Hopefully we can make a little run here.”