There will be plenty at stake Friday, Oct. 27, when the Hilliard Darby High School football team plays at Dublin Scioto.
Both teams are holding onto their playoff hopes. The Panthers were projected to be 10th in the Division I, Region 3 computer ratings entering Week 10, while the Irish were projected to be 10th in Division II, Region 7. The top eight teams in each region make the playoffs.
Darby is 6-3 overall and 3-2 in the OCC-Cardinal Division after beating Delaware 35-0 on Oct. 20 to extend its winning streak to four games after back-to-back losses.
Scioto scored 13 points in the final 52 seconds to beat Thomas Worthington 20-7 on Oct. 20 to improve to 5-4 overall and 3-2 in the league. The Irish have won three consecutive games and four of their last five.
“There are major implications for both teams in this game,” Panthers coach John Santagata said. “I know we will need to win and get some help (to make the playoffs), and I’m thinking if (Scioto beats) us, they’re in. But no matter what else happens, both of us need to win. So the kids understand that this is a big game and we don’t need extra hype for this one.
“But our mentality doesn’t change. We want to go 1-0 this week and the goal, as always, is to execute the fundamentals at an extremely high level.”
Scioto is averaging 21.7 points and allowing an average of 23. However, in their past three games, the Irish have averaged 32 points and allowed 11.7.
Against Thomas, running back Kenyon Pannell rushed for 117 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown run with 52 seconds remaining after the Cardinals missed a 35-yard field-goal attempt with just under 2 minutes left.
Scioto also scored as time expired when Tobias Thomas returned a fumble 58 yards for a touchdown.
Quarterback Kyron Rogers was 12-for-21 passing for 94 yards against the Cardinals.
Darby is averaging 21.2 points and allowing 14.9 per game. During their winning streak, the Panthers have averaged 32 points and allowed only 5.8.
“Our defense has been playing very well for a while now and we have more experienced players and have had fewer injuries on that side of the ball,” Santagata said. “Our offense is progressing every week and (quarterback Jack Stultz) is really progressing every week and is making good reads.”
The Panthers forced five turnovers against Delaware. Ian Coverstone, Hayden Vroom and Jack Conley each had an interception and Taj Long and Tajai Walters each recovered a fumble.
Offensively against the Pacers, Stultz rushed for 109 yards and four touchdowns of 14 carries, including 104 yards and two scores in the first half, and Grant Hollinger ran for 70 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.