ZANESVILLE – Playoff positioning is on the line Friday for Tri-Valley and Zanesville.
The Scotties (8-1, 7-0) sit sixth in Division II Region 5, and the Blue Devils (8-1, 3-1) are third in Division III Region 9 with games against Philo (5-4, 4-3) and at Marietta (5-4, 1-3), respectively, to highlight Friday’s schedule.
Tri-Valley, which is going for a seventh straight postseason trip, will likely be on the road even with a victory. The Scotties sit more than a point behind fifth place Youngstown Boardman and almost two points behind fourth place Pataskala Licking Heights.
A win secures a home playoff game for Zanesville, which will reach the postseason for a fifth time under coach Chad Grandstaff. The Blue Devils are in a close race with Hamilton Township and Columbus DeSales for the top two spots.
Two area teams are on the outside and need wins with help. Maysville (7-2) is 10th in Division IV Region 13 and Sheridan (6-3, 6-1) is 11th in Region 9. The Panthers visit Claymont (1-8) and the Generals head to New Lexington (3-6, 3-4).
The Panthers are three-tenths of a point behind eighth place Meadowbrook. The Colts host rival Cambridge and ninth place Bloom Carroll welcomes Fairfield Union, as both have more points available then Maysville with victories.
The Generals are about two points behind eighth place Columbus Beechcroft. They need max points and losses by teams in front of them to have a chance.
The area slate also includes West Muskingum (1-8, 1-6) visiting Morgan (0-9, 0-7) and Crooksville (4-5, 3-4) entertaining John Glenn (2-7, 2-5) in Muskingum Valley League play.
The Tigers’ offensive success starts with quarterback Trent Dawson. He has the ability to throw it deep as well as remain accurate underneath. He also has plenty of receivers, highlighted by Travis Moore and Zach Deskins, who can make plays.
Dawson can run when the opportunity is there, while Isaac Danford and Dominic Vanfossen provide speed in the backfield.
“They have good athletes who can make plays. They may not have a game breaker, but they have guys who can move the chains,” he said. “I watched three game films, and they have been consistent with what they run. You can tell the kids are believing in that system.
“They run a nice offensive package and are as balanced as any team we’ve seen,” he added. “I could see them trying to do to us what Cambridge did by taking advantage of our aggressiveness.”
Playing with a purpose has been a focal point for the Blue Devils. Though the Tigers are eliminated from the playoff race, Grandstaff doesn’t expect them to roll over either.
“We want to sure up a home game and gain momentum going in so it’s important we get off to a fast start,” he said. “This is an interesting game because (Marietta) could pack it in or let it all hang out, and I expect the latter.”