ALTER RUNNING BACK BRANDEN McDONALD

DIVISION II REGION 8

#8 LITTLE MIAMI (8-2) @ #1 LA SALLE (8-2)

After missing the playoffs last year, La Salle is back having won the Greater Catholic League title with wins over Moeller, St Xavier and Elder. Their losses came against a 10-0 Covington (KY) Catholic and Winton Woods. On offense junior quarterback Zach Branam leads the way having passed for over 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns while also rushing for 891 yards and nine scores. Northwestern pledge Cam Porter also rushed for over 500 yards and eight scores. However, it’s defense where the Lancers are loaded with talent giving up 67 total points on the season. Senior Luke Thiemann posted a team high 77 tackles and juniors Jaymar Hargrove-Mundy and DeVonte Smith played big roles in the secondary combining for eight interceptions. The Lancers big weapon is kicker Jake Seibert. The future Ohio State Buckeye hit a 42 yarder this season and was 37-of-39 in extra points.

The Lancers will be heavy favorites, but the Panthers will be looking for the upset with some talented players of their own. Senior quarterback Brody Reder passed for over 2,000 yards and 23 touchdowns with only four interceptions while also rushing for over 1,000 yards and 16 scores. On defense the Panthers had three players, Sean Buschur, KC Duncan and Aidan Jones post over 100 tackles on the season.

#5 WALNUT RIDGE (10-0) @ #4 XENIA (9-1)

The Xenia Buccaneers are making their first playoff appearance in school history following a great season in the first year of the Miami Valley League. Don’t look for the Buccaneers to pass the football as they’ve only thrown for 153 yards on the season. Head coach Trace Smitherman has two players with over 1,000 yards rushing in Andrew Pollender (12 TDs) and Kevin Johnson (15 TDs) with a third, Brett Russell having gained 632 yards and eight scores.

Add in a stingy defense that has given up only 53 points on the season and the Buccaneers will look to make more school history with a playoff win.

Walnut Ridge will bring a high scoring offense and a defense that has given up 54 points on the season.

#7 COLUMBUS ST. FRANCIS DESALES (10-0) @ #2 TURPIN (10-0)

Turpin is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and looking to continue their perfect season against a tough DeSales squad that has played a tough schedule. The Spartans have senior quarterback Justin Silverstein leading the way hitting on 62% of his throws for 2,288 yards, 28 touchdowns and only two interception while also adding six rushing touchdowns. Reece Evans has 1,000 yards rushing with 15 scores and junior wide receiver Logan Hurley has 655 yards receiving and seven scores. On defense, Keegan Slaney (8 sacks), Phil Messerly (6.5 sacks) and Will Myres (5.5 sacks) lead the way.

#6 CANAL WINCHESTER (9-1) @ #3 HARRISON (9-1)

Also coming out of the Southwest Ohio Conference is Harrison with senior quarterback Connor Kinnett who has thrown for over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns while adding eight rushing scores. Junior receiver Levi Tidwell is Kinnett’s top target with 1,289 yards and 13 touchdowns. On defense senior linebacker Jake Reardon has posted 112 tackles and 3 sacks on the season.

Canal Winchester will come in tested as they played six DI teams this season.

 

DIVISION III REGION 12

#8 KETTERING ALTER (6-4) @ #1 CHAMINADE JULIENNE (8-2)

These two teams played last week with Alter coming away with a win that placed them in the playoffs. Can the Knights knock off the Eagles two weeks in a row? Both teams know how to post big offensive numbers with the players to watch on the Eagles being quarterback Ryan Minor (1,313 passing yards), running back Quincy Johnson, Jr. (960 rushing yards, 16 TDs) and sophomore receiver Kenyon Owens who pulled down 57 balls for 686 yards and six touchdowns.

In the past quarterback play has separated the Knights from others. This year senior quarterback Kale Steneman has thrown for over 600 yards and seven touchdowns while also adding 498 rushing yards and eight scores. But running back Branden McDonald has been the workhorse with 1,077 yards and eight scores.

The Knights will need senior linebacker Mason Henry (103 tackles) to continue playing at a high level

#5 HAMILTON ROSS (8-2) @ #4 HAMILTON BADIN (7-3)

Ross is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011. These two teams played in Week One with Ross coming out with a 20-19 win in overtime. C.J. Boze (1,227 YDS, 3 TDs) and Jackson Gifford (1,146 YDS, 16 TDs) lead the Ross offensive attack. Badin senior quarterback Zach Switzer passed for 1,453 yards and 15 touchdowns and Alex DeLong rushed for over 1,00 yards and 14 scores on the season.

#7 TROTWOOD-MADISON (7-3) @ #2 WAPAKONETA (9-1)

This is a rematch from last years first round playoff game that saw Wapakoneta come away with a 24-21 win. In the past the Rams came into the playoffs with a long list of top college prospects. This year, they’ve just played a tough schedule with their three losses coming against Winton Woods, Springboro and Springfield who combined for a 24-5 record.

#6 ST. MARYS MEMORIAL (8-2) @ #3 FRANKLIN (9-1)

Over the years St. Marys Memorial has always proven to be a tough team to play and this year will be no different. It helps that Franklin is at home as the Roughriders two losses on the season came on the road. Franklin comes in well tested having played a solid schedule. Senior quarterback Braden Woods is the player to watch for the Wildcats having passed for over 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns while also adding over 500 yards rushing and six scores. If Woods doesn’t have the ball there is a good chance senior running back Gage Johnson does as he’s rushed for 837 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.

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Dave Berk

Team publisher and recruiting analyst for Scout.com from 2002-2017. Founded Dave Berk Consulting (DaveBerkConsulting.com), a football recruiting consulting company focused on helping families through the recruiting process in 2016. Founded First Star Football Report in fall of 2018. Has appeared on national, regional and local television and radio including NFL Network, FOX Sports Radio, Sporting News Radio, 700 WLW, 980 WONE, WCPO CH9 and more. Provided recruiting analysis for FOX Sports Ohio weekly high school game of the week in Southwest Ohio area and was an analyst for the Time Warner Sports (Spectrum Sports) Ohio National Signing Day show.

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