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MAC Football Week 13 Playoff Previews

November 14, 2012
Midwest Athletic Conference (MAC)

As we enter week 13 of the 2012 season, the Midwest Athletic Conference remains well-represented on the state-wide stage, as four teams are prepared to play through another week of playoff action.  Friday evening will be loaded with Division VI action, as the St. Henry Redskins and Marion Local Flyers lock helmets for the second time this season, while Delphos St. John’s will meet up against the McComb Panthers, a squad they defeated twice previously in the playoffs in 2000 and 2010.  In Division V, the Coldwater Cavaliers will take on the Covington Buccs in a 2011 playoff rematch at Welcome Stadium in Dayton on Saturday evening.

The Redskins and Flyers currently enjoy one of the closest and most entertaining series in Midwest Athletic Conference history, where they first met in 1971.  In 43 meetings, the Flyers hold a 22-20 advantage with one tie, while their only previous post-season meeting unfolded in 1993, when the Redskins came out ahead, 35-7.  Earlier this season, with Mother Nature pummeling the Mercer County area, the Flyers downed St. Henry 38-22 to notch their third straight win over the Redskins.  “Marion Local has really improved from the middle of the season,” St. Henry head coach Jeff Starkey pointed out.  “They look like a veteran team on both sides of the ball and are playing extremely well right now.” 

Last week against Ada, the Redskins held a commanding 33-14 lead midway through the third quarter, but had to hold off a furious rally in the last 16 minutes before leaving Lima Stadium with a 40-35 victory.  In the win, senior quarterback Kyle Stahl and junior running back Adam Reichert combined for nearly 200 yards on the ground, while Stahl added close to 200 yards through the air, while throwing or running for all six of St. Henry’s touchdowns.  “Our line play on both sides of the ball was very good at times against Ada, especially on defense,” explained Starkey.  “We really did an excellent job of containing Ada’s running back who was their career rushing leader, while our pressure on their quarterback caused five turnovers.”
Down the interstate in Piqua, the Flyers also enjoyed a late-game lead over the Minster Wildcats only to have the Orange and Black rally in the final quarter to make things extremely interesting.  The Flyers led 35-14 early in the fourth quarter when the Wildcats picked up two straight touchdowns to pull to within eight with 2:20 to play.  Jacy Goettemoeller sealed things with a 41-yard touchdown run with less than two minutes to play, but a missed PAT and another Wildcat touchdown at the 48-second mark pulled the ‘Cats to within a touchdown.  Thankfully for Flyer fans, the offense ran the clock out and they survived for another week.  “Last week, I think that both offenses were tough match-ups for the opposing defenses and it went a lot like we expected,” Marion Local head coach Tim Goodwin explained.  “We were able to establish ourselves physically on the line of scrimmage and we did enough good things to move on, but there are some things that we need to shore up quickly.  Alaric Keller had a great game as a lead blocker, while Adam Bertke and Jacy made the plays that we needed from them.” 

This will mark Marion Local’s fifth straight year of facing an MAC team in the post-season, while they have split their four previous meetings.  The Flyers are 4-5 all-time against fellow conference teams in the post-season, while the Redskins are 5-2 against league opponents all-time in the playoffs.  “St Henry has a great quarterback in Stahl who puts so much pressure on a defense with his running and passing,” Goodwin complimented.  “Our defense will need to come up with a couple of stops here and there and try to win the turnover battle again.  Offensively, we need to be balanced and do the things that we have been doing pretty well for the last month or so.   I think that everyone is looking forward to competing against our friends this week.”

In their week ten loss to the Minster Wildcats, the Blue Jays had a difficult time slamming the door shut at the end of the game and rebounding when they found themselves down.  That has not been an issue in two impressive playoff wins in the past two weeks.  In the opener against Leipsic, and again last week against Fremont St. Joe, the Blue Jays found themselves on the negative side of major momentum swings before rallying to win.  Against St. Joe last week, the Blue Jays trailed 21-7 early on, and rebounded by piling on 47 straight points to chalk up the 54-21 victory in the Region 22 regional semi-final.  The week before, they held a considerable lead before Leipsic rallied ahead in the closing minutes, only to regain their lead in the final minute for the victory.  “I just think we are finally getting to where I thought we would be earlier in the year - for some reason it just took us a little longer this year to have the light bulb come on,” commented St. John’s head coach Todd Schulte.  “I thought that minus our turnovers against Minster that we played really well at times.  Consistency has been an issue all year - at this point we are just more consistent than not!”

This week, the Blue Jays will butt helmets with the McComb Panthers, who ended the regular season 10-0, before ousting the Tiffin Calvert Senecas last week.  The Blue Jays booted the Panthers from the playoffs 56-20 two years ago and 44-3 in 2000.  “Their overall team speed is a big concern of ours – they are not the biggest team we have faced, but definitely their overall speed is a concern,” Schulte explained.  “We are hoping that our physical style of play can take a toll on them as the game moves on.”

As will be the case for the remainder of the playoff trail, the Coldwater Cavaliers will have to wait a day longer than the rest of the league to take the field, and will do so this week on Saturday against the Covington Buccs.  This will be the second straight year that the Cavs and Buccs have met in the playoffs as Coldwater blasted them in round one in 2011 by a final of 31-7.    

Last week, the Cavaliers bumped the West Liberty Salem Tigers from the playoffs, 41-22 for the program’s 47th all-time playoff victory and tenth for head coach Chip Otten.  In the victory, quarterback Austin Bruns hit 17 of 23 pass attempts for 214 yards, with standout receiver Caleb Siefring pulling in 13 receptions for nearly 180 yards.  Bruns also added 80 yards on the ground and three touchdowns in the victory.  “There were no real surprises about our game with West Liberty Salem - we continued to play efficient offense and not turn the ball over,” Otten pointed out.  “Other than one play in the first half, our defensive front eight dominated the game.   Vinnie Droesch had an outstanding game with seven tackles, two sacks, and a caused fumble.  Also, our two inside linebackers, Zach Dickman and Derek Collett, played well as they combined for 20 tackles.”

This week, the Cavaliers will try to push another step toward the Division V state championship game against a Covington team that finished the regular season 10-0 and has picked up two lop-sided playoff victories.  The Buccs average 54 points per game and last week downed Cincinnati Summit Country Day by a 58-14 mark.  “Our biggest concern this week is how Covington’s offense hogs the ball and runs the clock like no one else does,” Otten explained.  “This is similar to what Kirtland did to us last year - our diverse offense and multiple weapons will hopefully give them some matchup issues to overcome that though.”

by Robb Hemmelgarn

Tags Midwest Athletic Conference (MAC) • Publisher
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