It will the fourth straight year that Mayfield and Beechwood have meet in the state semifinals and the boys from Fort Mitchell will be looking for a different result. Mayfield has owned the Tigers' winning all three of those tilts.
An over-confident Cardinals' squad may be in for a long night against a Beechwood team that is thriving right now in the role of underdog. A long bus ride and a hostile environment might be of a factor to keep the Tigers in this affair until the bitter end.
MAYFIELD CARDINALS (12-1) at BEECHWOOD TIGERS (9-4)
Site: Edgar McNabb Field – Beechwood HS
Kickoff: Friday, Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Every November a select few number of players elevate their games and lead their teammates with their will not to lose. Max Nussbaum is in that category right now for Beechwood. In the last two weeks he has scored nine of his 24 touchdowns on the year. The poise of freshman quarterback Kyle Fieger has exceeded everyone's expectations. As long as he stays within himself and not try to do too much against Mayfield he will leave his team in excellent shape to win.
The Mayfield offense all starts with running back Jonathon Jackson. The senior has been a workhorse with over 1,700 yards and 29 touchdowns on the ground. This is the third straight season that Jackson has run for at least 1,100 yards. He had 197 yards in last year's matchup against the Tigers. Quarterback Jake Guhy has not missed a beat following in his brother's footsteps under center. The junior has thrown for more than 2,400 yards with 30 touchdowns. Guhy has thrown 52 touchdown passes in his career. Jordon Brown has over 1,000 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns receptions for the Cardinals.
TEAM TRENDS: These two programs have combined 21 state titles (Mayfield 10, Beechwood 11). Mayfield has won 13 consecutive Regional titles and last state crown was in 2010. Beechwood won it all last back in 2008. In their last eight outings this season, the Cardinals have not given up more than 14 points in a contest. Beechwood has won eight of their last nine games.
MAYFIELD'S KEYS TO VICTORY: Staying balanced on offense and not relying in on the passing game too much. Let the run set up Guhy and not straying from that will be huge in putting points on the board against a Tigers defense that is prone to give up some numbers versus skilled offenses. Defensively they have to rattle the young Beechwood quarterback and keep Nussbaum in front of them at all times.
BEECHWOOD'S KEYS TO VICTORY: For Nussbaum and his senior classmates who have never beaten Mayfield they must erase/block out what has happened in the past against the Cardinals and focus on the here and now. The Tigers weren't supposed to be here after what happened with suspensions three weeks. This team has thrived in the underdog role. That might just help them play more loosely and not being uptight could serve them very well.
PREDICTION: MAYFIELD 27, BEECHWOOD 20
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