HOLMES TOWNSHIP – Wynford returns to the postseason Friday night after a one-year hiatus. But it is hardly unfamiliar territory for the Royals.
“This is our ninth appearance in the last 10 years,” coach Gabe Helbert said. “It’s one of the goals we work hard for every year. But it’s not guaranteed, as we found out bluntly last year.”
After losing their season opener to Liberty-Benton, the Royals ran the table to finish third in Division VI, Region 20. Their opponent, Delphos Jefferson, creates a rematch, of sorts. The two met at Wynford in 2002.
Jefferson (8-2) played Spencerville last night and won, securing the sixth spot in the region.
“We’re a little behind because they played Spencerville last night,” Helbert said. “We got the film late last night and watched it then and again today.”
The Wildcats have a similar offensive philosophy to the Royals, running the Wing-T.
“They run the ball well and they stop the run,” Helbert said. “But they throw efficiently when they need to.”
Jefferson has faced a number of the teams in the Region 20 tournament, with losses coming to Crestview and Lima Central Catholic and a win over Spencerville. All will play in Week 11.
“They are run-heavy, but the quarterback is very athletic,” Helbert said. “They have played very good competition and are familiar with Region 20.”
Galion is making a third straight playoff appearance.
“This is three in a row for the first time in Galion history,” Tigers coach Chris Hawkins said. “That is always one of our goals. The kids worked hard to get it.”
Galion claimed the eighth spot in Division IV, Region 12 with a 6-4 record, which is a testament to its schedule. Hawkins’ squad will face undefeated and No. 1 seed Wooster Triway on Friday night.
“In the past two years, we had to win our ninth game to get in against NCC competition,” Hawkins said. “While our move to the new conference wasn’t kosher, it really was good for us.”
The Titans run the spread offense, rushing only as a last resort.
“Their quarterback has thrown for over 4,000 yards and 48 touchdowns,” Hawkins said. “He has 11,000 yards for his career. They are very Kentonlike. The only team on our schedule that resembles them is Bucyrus.”
Despite the disparity in styles and records, Hawkins believes his team can compete.
“They go on rolls and we have to control those rolls,” Hawkins said. “The last couple of weeks, we’ve responded well. We have to avoid the turnover bug.”