Over the past three seasons, the Hartley High School football team has won by an average of 26.7 points while going 4-0 against Amanda-Clearcreek.
While one of those wins was 40-21 in the first round of the 2010 Division IV playoffs, another that sticks out to coach Brad Burchfield is the Hawks' 30-22 victory to open the 2011 season.
"It's always a key at Amanda to limit your turnovers and penalties," said Burchfield, whose team opens Friday, Aug. 30, at the Fairfield County school. "Two years ago we had a lot of penalties. They have a typical Amanda team in that they'll run the ball well. They're much improved from a year ago."
Hartley, which won last year's matchup 42-0 en route to its second consecutive perfect regular season and 13-1 finish, would seem to have a leg up in experience heading into this year's meeting.
Senior Kalil Morris (TE/DL) has verbally committed to Kent State while classmate Alonzo Saxton (WR/DB) has committed to Duke.
Saxton, who was used sparingly on offense in past years, didn't play throughout the preseason because of what Burchfield called "muscle pulls," but he is expected to be on the field against the Aces.
Also back for the Hawks are senior quarterback Jared Brandewie, senior running back Sam Mackowiak and senior offensive linemen Nick Boeriu (6-foot-3, 225 pounds), Austin Kirkbride (5-11, 200) and Max Steele (5-11, 250).
The Aces battled injuries last season and went 3-7. Back on defense are senior cornerback Dusty Riffle and junior end Brayden Cordle.
"The first thing we've got to do is contain their speed," Aces coach Dale Olney said of the Hawks. "They've obviously been well-coached for years and they've got a lot of athletes."
Morris and Saxton are expected to lead a Hartley defense that also features junior linebackers Patrick Heinmiller and Jack Zang and junior defensive back Mateo Saxton, who is Alonzo's brother.
Amanda is led offensively by senior center Mack White (5-11, 190) and senior tackle Seth Hollett (6-2, 280).
Junior Riley Landrum is the new quarterback, with Riffle, seniors Maurice Harris and Steven Fearnow and sophomore Jordan Leasure at running back. Senior Steven Templeton is a returnee at wide receiver.