Two teams trying to make history will square off in a Division II Regional final Friday night.
La Salle is on a mission to become the first team to win three consecutive Ohio Division II titles. Momentum is on the Lancers' side. They have won 12 consecutive playoff games, 11 by 20 points or more.
The stakes aren’t quite as high for Miamisburg but just as meaningful and monumental for the program, fans and community. The Vikings are pursuing a first ever Regional title. Their crowd will be a worked into a frenzy as they root for this special season to continue.
LA SALLE LANCERS (10-2) vs. MIAMISBURG VIKINGS (10-2)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m., Dwire Field at Atrium Stadium, Mason H.S.
Follow on Twitter @TSFootball
PLAYERS TO WATCH: What’s not to like about the Miamisburg offense? They are led by lineman and Ohio State commit Josh Myers, one of the very best in the country. His classmate and o-line counterpart Cody Lamb has committed to Cincinnati. Tony Clark has been sensational running behind them. Over the last three weeks the junior is averaging 193.7 yards per game - 8.5 per carry - with six touchdowns on the ground. Clark has 1,330 yards and 22 touchdowns rushing this season. Since becoming eligible in Week 6, Jake Neatherton has elevated both the Miamisburg offense and defense to a new level. In seven games, Neatherton has run for 889 yards, amassed 1,305 all-purpose yards, found the end zone 12 times (10 rushing), been in on 21 tackles and come up with five takeaways (three interceptions, two fumble recoveries). Sophomore quarterback Tate Vongsy has taken what the defense has given him. He has thrown for 1,175 yards and accounted for 20 touchdowns (11 passing, nine rushing). Chris Meyers came out of nowhere to earn GWOC National West defensive player of the year honors. The senior has 76 total tackles, 7-1/2 sacks and three fumble recoveries in his only season of football.
This is one of the most athletic teams that La Salle has ever put on the field led by Jarell White, Christian Turner and Tre’Sean Smith. White is a game changer on both sides of the ball. Primarily a linebacker during the regular season White had his first 100-yard rushing game in the postseason last week with 141 yards on 16 carries against Turpin. The versatile Turner was named the GCL South Player of the Year with 602 yards rushing, 51 receptions, 675 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns (nine receiving, three rushing). La Salle has found a way to get the ball into Smith’s hands on offense and he has responded with 10 touchdowns (nine rushing) on 68 carries and six receptions.
TEAM TRENDS: The Lancers only have 12 takeaways on the year. Three of their seven interceptions have been returned for touchdowns, including two pick sixes by Da’Meak Brandon. La Salle is 4-1 in games decided by seven points or less this season. Miamisburg is 3-1 in games decided by seven points or less.
Five of Miamisburg’s last seven wins have been against schools with winning records. Three of those victories have been decided by four points or less - including the last two weeks.
MIAMISBURG’S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Vikings need to what they do best – run the football, control the clock and play without miscues. The longer they keep the La Salle offense off the field the better their chance to win. Everyone has to bring their “A game.” The Lancers will make life very difficult the minute Miamisburg takes their eyes off of the prize. This has to be the most complete game ever played in the history Vikings football if they are to come out on top.
LA SALLE’S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Lancers need to find a way to get a score or two out of their special teams or defense. La Salle knows that if they can make Miamisburg play catch up it will put the pressure on the Vikings offense. Miamisburg has many players who go both ways. They have shown that they don’t get fatigued physically. Wearing the Vikings down mentally could have a major impact on the outcome.
Prediction: LA SALLE 31, MIAMISBURG 20