After beating Anderson 52-21, Winton Woods will face La Salle in regional final

WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- The La Salle football team will face the most formidable opponent of its three-year reign as state champions in the regional final.

That opponent -- Winton Woods -- will have to defeat La Salle a second time this season in order to advance to the state Final Four.

La Salle (10-2), the three-time reigning Division II state champions and No. 1 seed in Region 8, plays Winton Woods (11-1) in the Region 8 final Nov. 17. The Ohio High School Athletic Association will officially announce the neutral site Sunday.

It will be a rematch of the regular-season game, which the Warriors won 18-15 Sept. 22 at Lancer Stadium.

"We still have a chip on our shoulder," Winton Woods coach Andre Parker said. "We understand they are still the Division II state champs, and if we want to beat the champs, we got to beat them."

In the regional semifinal Friday night, Winton Woods continued to show why it's one of Ohio's top teams regardless of division.

The Warriors defeated Anderson 52-21 in a Division II regional semifinal at Lakota West. The game had a running clock in the second half.

Winton Woods advanced to the regional final for the first time since 2009 when it won the Division II state championship.

"It means a lot (to be in the regional final)," Winton Woods senior quarterback Kenny Mayberry said. "We just got to bring it next week."

Winton Woods had 433 yards of total offense including 218 yards rushing. Sophomore running back Miyan Williams had 16 carries for 112 yards and three touchdowns. Williams has eight touchdowns this postseason.

Winton Woods never trailed and excelled on both sides of the ball.

"Tonight we came off the bus rolling," Parker said.

Winton Woods senior Gianni Gamble blocked a punt on Anderson's first drive and ran 2 yards into the end zone to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead. Williams had two touchdown carries to help give his team a 21-7 lead after the first quarter.

The Warriors scored four touchdowns in the second quarter, including senior Cornell Beachum's 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to give the Warriors a 49-15 lead at the 1:10 mark.

Mayberry threw two touchdown passes in the second quarter. He finished 12 of 15 passing for 215 yards.

Defensively, senior linebacker Jayden Myles had nine tackles, according to the unofficial stats. Gamble had eight tackles.

"We are explosive," Parker said. "The beautiful thing is, we continue to get better all year. We continue to get better every week and we are hitting our stride at the right moment."

RELATED: La Salle is hitting its stride, too.

Anderson (10-2) completed one of its most successful seasons in program history.

"I think going from 1-9 (in 2015) to 10-2 is pretty special," Anderson coach Evan Dreyer said.

"I think people don't understand two years ago they lost to Kings 44-7 and now we are in the second of the playoffs. They set a great foundation for the future Anderson football. Nineteen seniors have played their guts out for me the last two years. I couldn't be prouder in a bunch of guys."

Senior quarterback Jay Volpenhein threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns Friday night. Senior tight end Amadaz Jones had six receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown.

Volpenhein completed a memorable career for the Redskins. Dreyer said there is no doubt Volpenhein is a scholarship quarterback.

"If he is not a scholarship player there is something wrong," Dreyer said. "I definitely think people have to look at him and see everything he's done stats-wise and personality and toughness he would bring to a program. I would hope somebody gives him a chance because he is going to be a great one for somebody's program."

Parker said the Warriors wanted to make Volpenhein earn everything he gained Friday night. Winton Woods' defense had a lot of respect for Volpenhein in game-planning during practice this past week.

"He is a great high school quarterback and he is going to have a heck of a college career," Parker said. "Hats off to him and their program - they have a great program and do some great things."

Unofficially, Volpenhein threw for 7,930 career passing yards. He entered Friday night 32nd on the OHSAA's all-time career passing yards list. He also threw for 80 career touchdowns unofficially which is also on the state's all-time list for most career passing touchdowns.

"I think No. 7 has definitely elevated what our quarterback play is for Anderson High School," Dreyer said. "I think No. 7 is going to leave as one of the best competitors I've ever coached. He does things very intensely and I am very proud to have coached him and be a part of his life."

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