Ohio high school football playoffs: Previews of Friday's second-round games

Four local teams square off in Division II

The top four seeds in Region 6 – all representing Cincinnati - advanced to the second round.

Loveland, Mount Healthy, Winton Woods and Northwest are the best four teams and now it becomes time to find out who is the top dog.

All four can put points on the board in a hurry, and that could be the key to getting to the championship.

All play stellar defense, but a couple of quick strikes on offense may be just what the doctor ordered to dictate the flow of these games. Getting ahead early is going to enable those top defenses to bring pressure and cause havoc for those teams that are trailing.

Any little edge is going to be highly coveted on Friday night.

(Friday night, Nov. 15 @ 7:30 p.m.)

#1 Loveland (10-0) vs. #4 Northwest (8-2) @ Lakota West HS (Firebird Stadium) – The Loveland Tigers are putting together a special season. The Tigers have been dominant on both sides of the ball. The defense has recorded three straight shutouts and four on the year. It has held eight opponents to seven points or fewer, and no one has scored more than 15 points on Loveland.

Despite losing star running back Nate Slagel, head coach Fred Cranford thinks this group is playing its best right now. Sophomore quarterback Drew Plitt has settled in as a starter since Week 4. That is a scary thought considering that Loveland is averaging 298 yards a game rushing with 55 offensive touchdowns through 11 weeks. The Tigers have had six runs of 80 or more yards, another nine of 50 or more. Throw in 11 returns for scores (seven by the defense, four by special teams) and fireworks have become commonplace for the black and orange this season.

The Northwest Knights will have their work cut out for them. The Knights are a quick-strike team, and that could be good and bad on Friday night. Those fast scores mean that the defense has to stay on the field longer against a mammoth Tigers O-line, causing it to wear down late.

The good news is that ability to score from anywhere and anytime on the field could also keep them close enough to be dangerous as the game wears on. Of Darius Johnson’s 20 touchdowns, eight have been for 47 yards or longer, and five have been more than 60 yards.

#2 Mount Healthy (9-1) vs #3 Winton Woods (8-2) @ Lockland HS (Roettger Memorial Stadium) – There are going to be bodies flying everywhere in this game. Expect a hard-hitting, low scoring affair with athletes coming up with spectacular plays all evening long. This is the game Mount Healthy has been playing to get to and conquer all season. The Owls are making just their second trip to the second round of the playoffs – and they have never gotten further. A senior-laden team that has gone 27-5 over the past three campaigns won’t be fazed by anything that Winton Woods throws at them.

The Warriors have one enemy – themselves. Penalties and turnovers have been Winton Woods’ downfall. The seniors have lived with the pain and anguish of knowing that they should have beaten Trotwood-Madison in last year’s Region 8 finals if they just would have taken care of the football. That is more than enough motivation for Winton Woods.

In big games, the best of the best seem to rise above it all. Last week Mount Healthy star running back Tyree Elliott was asked to play defense. All he did was come up with three interceptions, including a pick six. Elliott finished the night with 171 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns on 12 touches. That is the sort of effort the Owls are going to need from him again. Expect him to deliver.

Winton Woods quarterback Shemar Hooks is back after breaking his hand. His absence allowed the Warriors to develop some depth at the skills positions and that is only going to make them better deep into games. Hooks is the table-setter, yet he knows when to call his own number. His ability to orchestrate harmony in the WW offense is imperative for a victory.

(Friday night, Nov. 15 @ 7:30 p.m.)

#2 Clinton-Massie (10-1) @ #3 McNicholas (9-2) @ Kings Stadium, Kings HS – If you want to be the best you have to beat the best, and McNicholas gets its shot at taking down the reigning Division IV state champions.

The Rockets are an opportunistic bunch, having forced 36 turnovers. That has kept a defense that allows more than 325 yards per game out of the doghouse.

Teams have been able to move the ball on McNick. That is a good sign for Chayse and Bayle Wolf as well as the Clinton-Massie rushing attack. The brothers have been special. Bayle has run for 1,124 yards with 18 touchdowns on the ground while Chayse has racked up 1,103 yards and 17 scores rushing.

Clinton-Massie is very good at taking care of the football. That will make it even more imperative for the Rockets to toughen up on defense. The McNick underclassmen

can’t be awestruck by who they are lining up across or else the C-M train will run right past them.


#1 Alter (10-1) vs #4 Valley View (10-1) @ Centerville H.S.

(Friday night, Nov. 15 @ 7:30 p.m.)

#6 West Liberty-Salem (9-2) vs #7 Summit Country Day (9-2) @ Roush Stadium, Fairmont HS – Last Friday night, Summit Country Day made quite the statement by pounding previously unbeaten Cincinnati Country Day and avenging a regular season loss to the Indians. The Knights are on a mission, but such a big win could lead to a letdown. They need to be disciplined and really hone in on the job at hand vs. West Liberty-Salem.

A handful of SCD players have some bad memories at Fairmont High School as the basketball team lost to Roger Bacon in the tournament last winter. That gives Antonio Woods and Michael Barwick Jr. even more motivation to bring their 'A' games.

The bus ride to Williamsburg may have left West Libery-Salem a little sluggish on the field last week, but the team came away a winner. Look for the Tigers to be sharp and a make very few mistakes in this affair.


#1 Miami East (10-1) vs #4 Mechanicsburg (10-1) @ Welcome Stadium.

Previews will be posted later Friday

Saturday, Nov. 16, 7 p.m.

2 Moeller (10-1) vs. 7 Elder (9-2) at Nippert Stadium
14 Pickerington Central (8-2) vs. 6 Colerain (11-0) at Dayton Welcome Stadium.

DIVISION V, Region 18
Saturday, Nov. 16, 7 p.m.

2 Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (11-0) vs. 3 Badin (9-2) at Mason

See the statewide second-round pairings at https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/817602-ohio-football-playoffs-second-round-pairings.html

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