CINCINNATI – Five Tri-State teams are left as the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana high school football playoffs go down to the wire.
Lawrenceburg has reached the Indiana championship round for the fourth time, while St. Xavier and La Salle are in the Ohio semifinals and Holy Cross and Beechwood made the Kentucky semifinals.
Here’s a look at this week's matchups:
St. Xavier (8-5) vs. Pickerington Central (12-1)
Ohio Division I semifinal, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Piqua H.S.
Pickerington Central knocked off Huber Heights Wayne 17-14 on a 19-yard field goal on the final play. Trailing 14-7 with six minutes to go, the Tigers faked a punt and converted a 52-yard completion that set up the tying TD. QB Darius Coker then set up the winning field goal by running 48 yards on a draw play to the Wayne 7. The Tigers beat Elder 20-14 in Week 1. St. Xavier continued its amazing season with a second straight comeback-to-remember, escaping Sycamore 35-28 in OT after doing the same to top-ranked Colerain the previous week. QB Sean Clifford (Penn State commit) came off the bench to pass for two TDs and run for two.
La Salle (11-2) vs. Anthony Wayne (10-3)
Ohio Division II semifinal, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Sidney H.S.
Anthony Wayne rushed for 509 yards and beat Olmsted Falls 38-31. The Generals threw only one pass and averaged 7.6 yards per run. Evan Brown had 287 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 35 carries. QB Nick Schneider ran 31 times for 226 yards and three touchdowns. La Salle continued its march to a third straight state title by crushing Miamisburg 45-17. Griffin Merritt threw for a pair of touchdowns, and Jarell White ran for two TDs. The Lancers scored on their first seven drives and have outscored their last two opponents 79-17.
Holy Cross (10-3) vs. Danville (11-2)
Kentucky Class 2A semifinal, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Danville H.S.
Danville's balanced offense was too much for Lexington Christian in a 35-28 victory. QB Zack Dampier was 18 of 26 for 277 yards and three TDs. Ellison Stanfield and D’mauriae VanCleave each ran for 115 yards. Holy Cross fell behind NewCath 14-2, then bounced back behind Xavier Abernathy and Derrick Barnes for a 26-21 upset. Abernathy ran for 154 yards and Barnes gained 127. Holy Cross hung on with a late goal-line stand, stopping NewCath on two plays inside the 2.
Beechwood (12-1) vs. Russellville (12-1)
Kentucky Class 1A semifinal, 7:30 p.m. at Beechwood H.S.
Russellville rushed for almost 400 yards in a 48-12 semifinal rout of Bethlehem. Johnny Drumgole ran for 194 yards and three TDs and Jaylyn McMurry added 153 yards and two scores. The Panthers won their second straight region title. Beechwood ran for six TDs and 345 yards in smashing Kentucky Country Day 42-7. Aiden Justice, Trevor Soward and James Davis rushed for two touchdowns each. This is a rematch of last year's semifinal won by Beechwood 34-25.
Lawrenceburg (13-1) vs. Fort Wayne Concordia (12-2)
Indiana Class 3A championship, 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis
Concodia is going to its first state championship game after a 56-42 shootout win over Garrett. Senior QB Peter Morrison threw five TD passes (he has 46 on the year) and Peterson Kerlegrand ran for two TDs and scored another on a pick six. Lawrenceburg will be playing in its first state championship since 1985 and trying to win a title for the first time since 1978. The Tigers' defense stopped a two-point conversion run on the last play to preserve a 41-40 semi-state victory over Brownstown Central. Senior RB Austin Bowling scored three touchdowns and became just the ninth Indiana runner to rush for 3,000 yards in a season.