Three county schools have punched their tickets to Week 11. The Galion Tigers, Wynford Royals and Colonel Crawford Eagles all will be playing in the postseason. Let’s take a look at their matchups.
Galion Tigers (8-2) at Edison Chargers (9-1)
The Galion Tigers will be the only Crawford County team traveling to their playoff matchup. The Tigers will travel to the birthplace of Thomas Edison in Milan to take on the Edison Chargers on Friday night.
The Chargers come into to matchup out of the Sandusky Bay Conference and holding a 9-1 record. Their only loss came to Clyde. The Chargers have a couple of key weapons in quarterback Keegan Hall and running back Owen Moyer. But it is the triple option offense that may give the Tigers fits.
“We have not seen the triple option in over two years, so it is going to be a new challenge for us,” Galion coach Chris Hawkins said. “They have three guys that have around 700-800 rushing yards, but when you throw that all into one back, that’s a 2,500 yard back right there.”
The Tigers will have a new feeling when they visit the Chargers. In years past, the Tigers have limped into the playoffs. Two years ago they lost their best player before the playoffs started and last year they lost their Week 10 game. The Tigers are finally in full strength heading to Week 11.
“We have a lot of confidence this time around,” Hawkins said. “We are hitting our stride offensively because we are multidimensional. Drake (Barnett) is a great back, but you cannot beat your head against the wall and try to run every play.”
The multidimensional look has come with the emergence of quarterback Chase Cooke. The added passing ability has allowed the Tigers to take advantage of different defenses.
“When teams stack the box on us, we will throw over the top,” Hawkins said. “When they unload the box, we will take off and run.”
Cooke missed all of June and had to sit out all of the Tigers’ scrimmages and first regular-season game. Hawkins has been impressed with his development.
“Week 2 was basically his first scrimmage and by Week 5 or 6, he was playing in his first game if you look at it like that,” Hawkins said. “His progress has been amazing.”
The biggest challenge will be that triple option offense, but the Tigers installed a new defense before the season in hopes of matching up with any type of offense that will be thrown at them.
“We have to play disciplined and assignment football,” Hawkins said. “If any one guy does not follow his assignment big plays will happen. We have to just do our jobs.”
Delta Panthers (6-4) at Wynford Royals (9-1)
The Wynford Royals will host the Delta Panthers on Saturday night. The 6-4 Panthers of the Northwest Ohio Athletic League come in as the No. 8 seed, but the Royals faithful should not chalk this up as a cakewalk.
“They are the best football team we will play all year,” Wynford coach Gabe Helbert said. “They play in a very good league and have incredible football players all over the field, and there is a reason why they are in Week 11.”
The NOAL includes teams such as Archbold, Bryan, Evergreen, Montpelier, Swanton, Wauseon, Patrick Henry and Liberty Center. The Pathers dropped games to Patrick Henry, Liberty Center, Swanton and Tinora in 2015, all of whom are playoff teams.
“People might look at the 6-4 record and wonder why they are in the playoffs,” Helbert said. “They lost to two 9-1 teams, including state powers Patrick Henry and Liberty Center. 6-4 does not mean anything, they are an excellent football team.”
The Royals will be focused on Bailey Storeholder, Josh Beverly and Noah Parsons. Storeholder leads the team in scoring with 15 total touchdowns and has racked up 903 rushing yards. Beverly will be the feature running back and has rushed for 1,141 yards and 11 scores on the year. Parsons will be under center and has thrown for 587 yards and five scores.
“They have size where size is needed and speed where speed is needed and it will be a major challenge for our kids,” Helbert added.
The Royals have weapons of their own in Zach Hoffman, Nick Looker, Tony Watson and Braxton Tea. Hoffman has been in command under center all year long and has racked up 1,114 passing yards, 1.153 rushing yards and 36 total touchdowns. Looker broke 1,000 yards rushing last week against Bucyrus and closed out the regular season with 1,027 yards and 14 touchdowns. Tea and Watson have been Hoffman’s favorite targets hauling in a combined 680 yards and 11 scores.
As many weapon as the Royals have, Helbert still believes the game will come down to details.
“Field position and turnovers,” Helbert said. “If we can win the turnover battle it will give us more opportunities offensively and it will be a great situation for us.”
As for the biggest X-factor in the game, it will come down to the Royals’ bread and butter, the big guys up front.
“It starts up front,” Helbert said. “Our offensive and defensive line have to play well. Delta wants to be physical so we will have to match that physicality.”
Ayersville Pilots (8-2) at Colonel Crawford Eagles (9-1)
The Ayersville Pilots claimed the No. 6 seed in the region and will be invading the small town of North Robinson as they play the No. 3 Colonel Crawford Eagles a visit Saturday night. The Pilots have lost just two games, but the losses have come in the past two weeks. A 32-26 double overtime loss to Hicksville and a 41-0 shutout loss to Tinora. Both squads are playoff teams in 2015.
The Eagles will be focused on stopping quarterback Dauson Dales, a coach’s son who is one heck of a football player.
“They have a very good multi-threat quarterback in the Dales kid, who has thrown for almost 1,000 and moves to running back on some occasions,” Eagles coach Ryan Teglovic said. “He is also their middle linebacker on defense and their leading tackler. And they have a 1,000-yard rusher and a receiver with 49 catches.”
The two Pilot losses were to a pair of playoff teams. Even with the impressive resume, the Eagles are going to treat the match up as just another game.
“They got beat by two very good teams in Tinora and Hicksville,” Teglovic said. “Our goal is to continue to do what we have done and take what the opposing defenses give us. We need to match up defensively against a bunch of different formations.”
The Eagles will aim their trio of offensive weapons straight at the Pilots. Will Kirkpatrick ran for a Crawford County high of 1,759 yards and scored 23 rushing touchdowns. He also threw for 1,068 yards and 10 scores. His backfield partner, Blake Treisch, ran for 911 yards and 15 scores in the regular season. Kirkpatrick’s favorite target, Owen Adams, piled up 581 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
The Eagles are excited to display their talent to the home crowd.
“It is the second time we have hosted,” Teglovic said. “Two years ago we hosted the state runner-up in Wayne Trace and the place was packed and a great environment. This is a community that supports its athletics and people are here all the time, so it is nice to be able to represent them and give them something to be proud of.”
The Eagles will perform well, but Teglovic admits the game will be won between the ears.
“Mentally we have to be sharp and focused,” Teglovic said. “Our mental focus has got to be strong.”