This contest is crucial for Big Walnut's playoff hopes.

This contest is crucial for Big Walnut's playoff hopes. The Golden Eagles entered last week 16th in the Division II, Region 7 computer ratings and were expected to gain some ground with their win over Mount Vernon. However, they still were projected to be outside the top eight, which qualify for the playoffs.

Christian Johnson, a sophomore, has emerged as Big Walnut's featured running back, rushing for 241 yards and two touchdowns against Delaware on Sept. 22 and running for 73 yards against Mount Vernon on Oct. 5. Defensively for Big Walnut, Seth Myers and Adam Shaheen both have five interceptions.

New Albany has won five consecutive games and is seeking its fourth win in a row in the series and fifth in six years.

Darron Lee is equally adept at running and passing and has scored nine touchdowns, and Leslie Anoyke and Alan Watson have been sharing the load at running back.

•LAST WEEK - Big Walnut won its third consecutive game as Carson Chatterton scored on an 8-yard run and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Shaheen, running back Cody Conley scored on a 14-yard run and Shaheen returned an interception 48 yards for a touchdown.

The Golden Eagles won despite being outgained 304 to 239 in total yards.

New Albany led previously unbeaten Olentangy 7-0 at halftime on Oct. 4 but pulled away by scoring 19 points in the third quarter to open a 26-0 lead. The Eagles extended their advantage to 33-0 in the fourth quarter.

Lee ran for touchdowns of 1 and 32 yards, the second of which was set up by his interception of Braves quarterback Andrew Horstman. Watson scored on runs of 2 and 72 yards and Anokye scored on a 5-yard run.