The Hartley High School football team lost the CCL-Gold Division game to Ready 52-6 last Friday to finish the regular season 7-3 overall, but the Hawks still have more games to play.

They qualified to the Division IV, Region 15 playoffs as the eighth seed and will play at No. 1 Martins Ferry on Friday. The Purple Riders are 9-1 after beating Bellaire 41-6 last Friday. Their loss was to Rayland Buckeye Local 21-14 in the opener Aug. 22.

"They're very fast and very physical. They've got a good tradition and it's really tough to find a weak point in them," coach Brad Burchfield said. "We're going to have to play our best football."

Leading Martins Ferry is Jeremy Murray, a dual-threat quarterback. Hartley has faced similar quarterbacks in Bexley's Seth White and New Lexington's Clint Cannon. Murray leads an offense that uses multiple formations and
averages 36 points per game.

Martins Ferry runs a 4-4 defense that will be among the toughest the Hawks have faced. The Purple Riders have allowed 29 points in their last four games combined.

The Hartley offense will need consistent production from running backs Malik McCord, Geoffrey Whiteside and Noah Key as well as quarterback Austin Underwood.

"Our kids understand to be competitive with Martins Ferry, they have to play their best football to win," Burchfield said.

Burchfield added that the Hawks will learn from last Friday and not let the loss affect them negatively.

"When you have a game like that, you just have to flush it," he said. "The blessing of the thing is that we still got in the playoffs so that game against Ready won't define us. I think everything went wrong in that game. We
turned the ball over and gave up big plays. But we'll be better because of it."