The obvious answer to how the Ready and Hartley high school football teams will attempt to bust out offensively when they meet with a playoff berth and CCL-Gold Division championship on the line Friday at Dublin Scioto would be for each to put the game in the hands of their running backs.

The obvious answer to how the Ready and Hartley high school football teams will attempt to bust out offensively when they meet with a playoff berth and CCL-Gold Division championship on the line Friday at Dublin Scioto would be for each to put the game in the hands of their running backs.

The team that figures out how best to complement their star players is the one that could stay one step ahead.

The Silver Knights' Demetrius Clark rushed for four touchdowns last Saturday in a 43-7 blowout at Saginaw (Mich.) Nouvel Catholic Central and has about 1,000 yards this season.

One area Ready has shown improvement in, though, has been with its passing. Coach Larry Wolf thinks that quarterback Brennan McCarty and a receiver corps that includes Jordan Carnes, Cody Culbertson and Dana DePassio must be on as well.

"They run a 3-5, or what's called a 3-3 stack defense where they put their athletes on defense out in spaces and expect six guys to take care of your five guys up front, and they usually do," Wolf said. "I think we'll need to throw the football. We threw it pretty effectively (against Nouvel Catholic Central). We need to throw efficiently to keep those linebackers from running downhill on us."

The Hawks have a pair of playmakers in running backs Noah Key, who has scored 19 touchdowns, and Geoffrey Whiteside, who has 14. Last Friday in a 50-13 triumph over Spencerville, quarterback Austin Underwood threw touchdowns of 13 and 25 yards to Mick Groom and a 26-yarder to Whiteside.

Hartley coach Brad Burchfield plans to do more than just set Key and Whiteside loose and hope for the best.

"(Ready is) going to try to keep us from getting out on the perimeter, so we'd better be able to pound it inside," Burchfield said. "They're going to be able to do things to take away our outside game."

Hartley is 7-2 and likely will make the Division IV, Region 15 playoffs with a win. The Hawks are averaging 40.3 points a game and have won their last two.

Ready is 7-1 and will make the Division V, Region 20 postseason with a victory. The Silver Knights average 35 points per game and also are on a two-game winning streak.

Both teams made the playoffs last season, even though Ready beat the Hawks 52-6.

In 2003, Ready defeated Hartley to keep the Hawks out of the playoffs, and the Hawks returned the favor in 2004 and '06.

"We were not 46 points better than they were last year," Wolf said. "This is probably as big of a momentum game as anybody plays all year. It's a perfect rivalry game."

Next game

HARTLEY vs. READY

•When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

•Where: Dublin Scioto

•Last meeting: 2008, Ready 52-6

•Hartley (7-2) to date: Defeated Centennial 56-0; def. Columbus Academy 28-21; def. Bexley 42-14; def. Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas 45-10; def. Dayton Dunbar 59-14; lost to Columbus Grove 20-14 (OT); lost to Dayton Thurgood Marshall 60-41; def. Gallipolis Gallia Academy 28-14; def. Spencerville 50-13

•Ready (7-1) to date: Def. Elmhurst (Ill.) Immaculate Conception 31-30; def. Lakewood 52-21; def. West Jefferson 24-21; def. Covington (Ky.) Holy Cross 38-13; def. Pittsburgh United Military Academy 30-0; lost to Lima Central Catholic 14-7; def. Cincinnati Horizon Science Academy 55-12; def. Saginaw (Mich). Nouvel Catholic Central 43-7

•Top Hawks: Alex Heinmiller (LB), Evan Jackson (DL), Noah Key (RB/DB), Corey McSweeney (LB), Austin Underwood (QB), Geoffrey Whiteside (RB/DB) and Jarrod Zang (LB)

•Top Silver Knights: Eddy Bahen (OL/ LB), Jordan Carnes (WR), Demetrius Clark (RB), Cody Culbertson (WR/DB), Dana DePassio (TE/DL), Lucas Detty (DL) and Brennan McCarty (QB)