Postseason hopes are on the line Friday, Nov. 1, when the Hilliard Bradley High School football team travels to play Hilliard Darby.
Darby is 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division, and projected to be in the 16th and final playoff spot in Division I, Region 2 entering the regular-season finale.
Bradley is 6-3 overall and 5-1 in the OCC-Cardinal, and projected to be 10th in Division II, Region 5, two spots out of that region's eighth and final playoff spot.
"It's going to be a fun environment," Bradley coach Mike LoParo said. "It looks to be a play-in game for both of us. I know if we want to have a shot at making our first playoffs, we have to win. We might have to have some help, but we just have to worry about taking care of ourselves."
In the two meetings between the programs, Darby has outscored Bradley 91-7, including 42-0 last season.
"Anytime you play a game with kids who grew up against each other, it's going to be a big game," Darby coach John Santagata said. "As far as the numbers look, both teams have playoff berths on the line. Plus, you have two Hilliard schools battling it out, so it should be an exciting game."
The Panthers are coming off a 35-21 loss to Westerville Central on Oct. 25. Darby was outgained 341-114 in the first half and trailed 28-7.
Senior quarterback Nate Green rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries and was 8-for-13 passing with a 24-yard touchdown to junior wide receiver Zack Donatelli.
Through nine games, Green has completed 44 of 70 passes for 554 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions. He also has rushed for 646 yards and 11 touchdowns on 146 carries.
Junior running back Lorenzo McLaurin has 544 yards rushing and eight touchdowns on 124 carries.
"You know what (the Panthers) are going to do and they are very good at doing it," LoParo said. "They are going to run the ball and try not to give you many possessions. They try to grind it out and we have to give it our best effort to stop them.
"Defensively, they are really standard. They don't take a lot of chances, but just come right after you."
The Jaguars run their offense through senior quarterback Tommy Horn, who leads the team with 770 yards rushing on 140 carries with seven touchdowns. He also has completed 54 of 111 passes for 606 yards with five touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Senior wide receiver Ryan Reffitt has 17 catches for 205 yards and two touchdowns, and senior wide receiver Matt Johnson had 12 receptions for 173 yards and one score.
Bradley outlasted Dublin Scioto 34-28 in overtime Oct. 25 as senior running back T.J. Martin rushed for 131 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries. He has rushed for 687 yards and 10 touchdowns on 134 carries this season. Horn added 120 yards on 24 carries against the Irish.
"(The Jaguars) are scoring a lot of points," Santagata said. "They run the spread and do some good things offensively.
"They have a senior-laden team on both sides of the ball, and that's been a big part of what they do. They have been playing pretty well and it's going to be quite a challenge for us."