HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: WEEK 11 Previews of this weekend’s area playoff games




What: Division II, Region 5 quarterfinal.

When & where: 7:30 p.m., Mollenkopf Stadium, Warren.

Radio: WRRO-AM 1440.

Records: Brecksville-Broadview Heights 8-2; Warren Harding 9-1.

Coaches: Jason Black for the Bees; Steve Arnold for the Raiders.

The skinny: Can anyone stop — or even slow — Raiders quarterback Lynn Bowden? No one has to this point. Bowden is a lock for 4-5 touchdowns and a boatload of yards every week and has generated a buzz as one of the leading candidates to become Ohio’s Mr. Football. Bowden ran for six TDs and 253 yards in Week 10 against a Howland team that shut out Hubbard and Canfield. But don’t think he is a one-dimensional player. Bowden is closing in on some Harding passing records and has talented targets like Marlin Richardson and others. The Raiders also have other options on the ground like Desemen Douglas and Isaiah Wells. This one could get ugly. The Bees didn’t beat a single team that finished with a winning record and they usually gave up a lot of points even when they did win. They’re going to need QB Luke Strnad (20 of 27 for 274, 2 TDs last week in a 31-28 loss to Hudson) to put up similar numbers. Brecksville started 8-0 and finished with losses to Stow-Munroe Falls (41-7) and Hudson.


What: Division IV, Region 13 quarterfinal.

When & where: 7:30 p.m., Stambaugh Stadium, Youngstown.

TV: MyYTV (11 p.m., recorded).

Radio: WKBN-AM 570.

Records: Hubbard 8-2; Cardinal Mooney 7-2.

Coaches: Brian Hoffman for the Eagles; P.J. Fecko for the Cardinals.

The skinny: You can almost plan for a late dinner after this game. Both teams run the ball, run it again and then run it some more. It’s a throw-back game to the 1970s, when both were in the old Steel Valley Conference. ... Hubbard has never beaten Mooney in 13 meetings. ... The Eagles feature Rafael Morales (1,417 yards and 17 TDs), but Tyreq Moorer (827 yards, nine TDs) and Davion Daniels (463 yards, eight TDs) are also credible threats. ... The Cardinals also have a stable of quality backs, including Jaylen Hewlett (748 yards, seven TDs) and Ray Anderson (511 yards, four TDs). QB Antonio Page (428 yards, nine TDs) is also dangerous and Chris Gruber (204 yards, two TDs) broke a 30-yard run for the only score in a 7-0 win over Austintown Fitch in Week 10. Pat Pelini is a big contributor on both sides of the ball. This game will be won in the trenches, but look for field position and special teams to affect the outcome.


What: Division IV, Region 13 quarterfinal.

When & where: 7:30 p.m., Lahoski Field at Bulldog Stadium, Peninsula.

Radio: WNIO-AM 1390.

Records: Struthers 9-1; Woodridge 10-0.

Coaches: Curt Kuntz for the Wildcats; Jeff Decker for the Bulldogs.

The skinny: The Wildcats are one field goal away from being 10-0 and perhaps hosting this first-round game. But that loss (21-20 to Niles) was way back on Sept. 9 and Struthers has since won seven straight. QB A.J. Musolino (a Kent State commit) directs the offense and operates behind perhaps the Valley’s biggest, strongest and best offensive line. Musolino has run for 1,062 yards and 20 TDs. Has hasn’t had to throw much, but has been effective. RBs Regal Reese (689 yards, seven TDs), Willie Mitchell (425 yards, five TDs) and Nate Richards (398 yards, nine TDs) are also threats. But the Bulldogs are unbeaten for a reason. They have talent and experience at QB (Mason Lydic), RB (King Sanders) and WR (Sharif Howard). Lydic has passed for 1,512 yards and 24 TDs. Sanders has 1,314 yards and 14 TDs. Howard has 35 catches for 661 yards and 10 TDs. Woodridge can play defense, too. It has not allowed more than 14 points in a game all season.


What: Division VI, Region 21 quarterfinal.

When & where: 7:30 p.m., Sirpilla Stadium, Louisville.

Records: Lisbon 9-1; St. Thomas Aquinas 8-2.

Coaches: Jim Tsilimos for the Blue Devils; Badre Bardawil for the Knights.

The skinny: The Blue Devils might have produced the quietest 9-1 season in the area. Part of that was an inexplicable 55-8 home loss against South Range in Week 5. But aside from that, Lisbon has been dominant. The Blue Devils scored at least 30 points in every other game, including convincing wins over playoff contenders East Palestine (49-26) and Columbiana (33-13). Cameron Summers (998 yards, nine TDs) and Jason Thompson (752 yards, 17 TDs) are Lisbon’s top rushers, but Colin Sweeney is a dual-threat QB who has rushed for 443 yards and nine TDs and passed for 492 yards and 10 scores. Dougie Minor has rushed for 294 yards and four TDs. The Knights feature RB Nathan Rich. They had a six-game winning streak snapped in a 28-27 overtime loss to Warren JFK, a Division VII playoff team, in Week 10.


What: Division VI, Region 21 quarterfinal.

When & where: 7:30 p.m., Springfield Local Stadium, New Middletown.

Radio: WBBW-AM 1240.

Records: Columbia 8-2; Springfield 8-2.

Coaches: Jason Ward for the Raiders; Sean Guerriero for the Tigers.

The skinny: Springfield closed the season with seven consecutive wins after a 1-2 start. The Tigers know how to win close games, with five of their victories coming by a touchdown or less. The defense has improved over time. After allowing 27, 20, 45 and 26 points in their first four games, the Tigers have given up more than 19 only once in their final six games. Luke Snyder (59 yards, six TDs) and Frankie Centofanti (557 yards, 10 TDs) are Springfield’s top rushing threats. QB Brannon Brungard is 78 of 135 for 964 yards and 11 TDs and just five interceptions. Brungard uses all of his receivers.



What: Division III, Region 9 quarterfinal.

When & where: 7 p.m., Dowed Field, Akron.

Records: Howland 7-3; Hoban 9-1.

Coaches: Dominic Menendez for the Tigers; Tim Tyrrell for the Knights.

The skinny: The Tigers received perhaps the toughest draw of any Valley playoff team. The Knights are the defending Division III state champions. QB Danny Clark and WR Garrett Houser are a big-play duo who will test Howland’s secondary. Tyrrell, a former Ursuline and YSU standout, won’t be on the sideline because of a postseason suspension that was recently reduced to two games after an appeal. The Tigers have legitimate offensive stars in RB Tyreq Ellis (995 yards, 14 TDs) and dual-threat standout Victor Williams (36 catches, 535 yards, four TDs and 391 rushing yards and five TDs). QB Samari Dean (49 of 78, 830 yards, nine TDs) has been extremely effective and has thrown only one interception.


What: Division V, Region 17 quarterfinal.

When & where: 7 p.m., Memorial Stadium, North Lima.

TV: 19 (11:30 p.m., recorded).

Records: Garfield 7-3; South Range 9-1.

Coaches: Mike Moser for the G-Men; Dan Yeagley for the Raiders.

The skinny: The Raiders’ lone blemish came in Week 6 in a 34-27 OT loss to Springfield. South Range has dominated every other opponent. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that six of its wins have come against teams that finished with winning records. The Raiders have multiple threats with RB Nathan Daniszewski (828, nine TDs) and QB Aniello Buzzacco (474, eight TDs) the leading rushers. Peyton Remish, Seth Morrow and Ethan Dominguez have also contributed to one of the area’s most prolific offenses. WR Mathias Combs averages 28 yards per catch and has four TDs. Twelve of Buzzacco’s 28 completions in 12 attempts have gone for TDs. Garfield QB Dalton Fall is one of the area’s most prolific passers. The G-Men spread the ball around.


What: Division V, Region 17 quarterfinal.

When & where: Viking Stadium, Leavittsburg.

Records: Wickliffe 8-2; LaBrae 7-3.

Coaches: Marce Porcello for the Blue Devils; John Armeni for the Vikings.

The skinny: LaBrae started 1-2 and was beaten soundly in Week 10 by AAC Blue rival Jefferson, but still wound up hosting a first-round playoff game. The reason? In between, the Vikings were one of the area’s hottest teams, winning six straight. Tariq Drake is a dual threat for LaBrae. He leads the Vikings with 31 catches for 460 yards and four TDs and has rushed for 343 yards and four more scores. Arjay Oliver has a team-best 578 rushing yards and seven TDs and Colton Stoneman has 431 yards and three TDs. QB Carlton Brown (82 of 155 for 1,144 yards) has passed for 10 TDs with eight interceptions. The Vikings must contend with the Blue Devils’ wing-T offense, which is seldom seen these days.


What: Division VII, Region 25 quarterfinal.

When & where: 7 p.m., Mollenkopf Stadium, Warren.

Radio: WKBN-AM 570.

Records: Toronto 8-2; Warren JFK 9-1.

Coaches: Eric Meek for the Red Knights; Jeff Bayuk for the Eagles.

The skinny: This is a rematch of last year’s regional semifinal game, which the Eagles dominated and won 40-6. The bad news for the Red Knights is that Warren JFK star Jacob Coates is back and healthy again after missing most of the season. The Eagles won all but their Week 9 game against Cleveland VA-SJ without Coates, but relied heavily on a dominant defense. Coates’ return means Warren JFK is now much better on both sides of the ball. RB Evan Boyd leads the Eagles with 892 yards and has six TDs. RB Ross Nocera has scored eight TDs on just 33 carries. QB Greg Valent is 66 of 109 for 600 yards and six TDs, with just three picks. WR Hyland Burton has 18 catches for 200 yards and five TDs.


What: Division VII, Region 25 quarterfinal.

When & where: 7 p.m., Wildcat Stadium, Mogadore.

Records: Jackson-Milton 7-3; Mogadore 8-2.

Coaches: Mark Assion for the Bluejays; Matt Adorni for the Wildcats.

The skinny: The Bluejays are making a habit getting into the playoffs after years of being one of the few Valley teams without a postseason appearance. The bad news? They drew the powerful Wildcats in the first round again, thanks in part to Mogadore’s 21-14 home loss to Rootstown in Week 10. A year ago, the Wildcats began their march to the Division VII title game with a 63-20 rout of J-M. This time, the Bluejays’ top threat is QB Johnathan Voland (81 of 157 for 1,454 yards, 10 TDs, 11 interceptions). Voland also leads J-M with 453 yards and 12 TDs on the ground. WR Noah Laster has 41 catches for 618 yards and seven TDs. Nick Vergallito has 36 receptions.

Ed Puskas, epuskas@vindy.com

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