For the second time in four seasons, the Hilliard Davidson High School football team will face Huber Heights Wayne in the Division I playoffs.
The top-seeded Wildcats will meet fifth-seeded Wayne in a Region 2 semifinal at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at Upper Arlington. Led by current Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller, the Warriors defeated Davidson 28-14 in a state semifinal in 2010.
In second-round games Nov. 16, the Wildcats defeated eighth-seeded Pickerington North 20-7 at Gahanna to improve to 12-0 and Wayne improved to 11-1 with a 31-10 win over 13th-seeded Dublin Coffman.
"They are pretty exceptional," coach Brian White said. "They are very athletic and they have some big, strong, fast kids in the right spots. They look very similar to what they looked like in 2010 when we played them."
Wayne, which is averaging 37.8 points, is led by 6-foot, 170-pound junior quarterback D'Mitrik Trice, who completed 21 of 29 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns against Coffman and is 223-for-347 passing for 2,970 yards with 33 touchdowns and five interceptions on the season.
"If he throws better than Braxton, that's going to be a problem because he has a lot of targets to throw to, a lot of receivers to choose from and they're all very athletic," White said. "When he chooses to, he can pull it down and run it as well."
Other key players on offense for Wayne include running backs Kenny Bester (5-5, 170), who ran for 182 yards and a touchdown against Coffman and has 812 yards rushing and eight touchdowns on 114 carries on the season, and Trey McFadden (5-9, 195), who had just one carry for 5 yards against Coffman but has a team-high 844 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns on the season.
McFadden also has 24 receptions for 329 yards and five scores.
Wide receiver Tristan Davis (5-10, 165) had 11 receptions for 189 yards and a touchdown against Coffman and has a team-high 85 catches for 1,245 yards and 17 scores on the season.
According to White, Wayne typically employs a 4-3 base defense led by linebackers Dorian Hendrix and Diamond Jones, but he expects the Warriors to go with a 6-2 scheme like they did when the teams met in 2010.
"They've played Centerville, (which) is a strict option team in their league and they play Beavercreek, (which) is strictly an option team, so they're very familiar with how to line up and how to defend the option," White said. "We certainly don't get an advantage (being an option offense)."
Wayne, which is in the Greater Western Ohio Conference, defeated Beavercreek 14-10 on Oct. 11 and beat Centerville 42-35 on Oct. 18. Davidson beat Beavercreek 35-7 on Sept. 13 but did not play Centerville this year.
The other common opponents for the Wildcats and Warriors this season were Darby and Coffman. Wayne defeated Darby 37-7 in the first round of the playoffs Nov. 9 before beating Coffman, and Davidson beat the Panthers 21-0 on Sept. 6 and the Shamrocks 28-7 on Sept. 20.
"Who doesn't know about Davidson?" Wayne coach Jay Minton said. "Brian is a spectacular coach and his players are so organized and know what they want to do. You can see that even by the way they come out and warm up. Then, when the game starts, they ... come right at you."
Against Pickerington North, Davidson scored twice through the air, as quarterback Nick Iske and wide receiver Phillipie Motley connected on touchdown passes of 50 and 80 yards. Iske finished the game 2-for-3 passing.
Robert LeFevre made two field goals (44 and 45 yards) against Pickerington North and running back D.D. Clark rushed for 100 yards on 35 carries, with Motley adding 44 yards on the ground.
On the season, Clark has 1,743 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns on 242 carries and Motley has 657 yards rushing and eight scores.
"We're willing to take on any challenges," Iske said. "We're not going to back down or be intimidated or anything, but (Wayne) is a really good team and it's going to be a really tough game."
The semifinal winner will face second-seeded Cincinnati Moeller (11-1) or sixth-seeded Cincinnati Colerain (12-0) in the regional final Nov. 30 at a site to be determined.
The regional champion will play Austintown Fitch (12-0), Cleveland St. Ignatius (8-4), Lakewood St. Edward (10-1) or Mentor (11-1) in the state final at Fawcett Stadium in Canton. The date has yet to be announced.