On a night when coach Matthew Christ will recognize his first senior class, the Westerville South High School football team will look to secure a Division II, Region 7 postseason berth when it plays host to Olentangy Orange on Friday, Oct. 27.
The Wildcats, who are 4-5 overall, were projected to be eighth in the region's computer ratings this week. The top eight teams qualify for the playoffs.
"It's a credit to the schedule that we play and the wins that we do have," Christ said. "We beat some quality opponents."
Orange has secured a Division I, Region 2 postseason berth and is 8-1 overall.
The Wildcats are 1-3 in the OCC-Buckeye Division and coming off a 42-35 loss at Westerville Central on Oct. 19, while the Pioneers are 3-1 in the league after losing 25-24 to Olentangy Liberty on Oct. 20.
Orange was outscored 19-0 in the fourth quarter.
"Orange is very good," Christ said. "I know they lost a tough one to Liberty, which keeps finding ways to win. Orange has some dudes all over the place, so it's going to be a heck of a test, but it's exciting to be at a point where you're playing a meaningful game in Week 10 with a shot to go to the playoffs."
Senior running back Jaelen Gill leads the Wildcats in rushing with 658 yards and 10 touchdowns on 94 carries, and he has 15 receptions for 282 yards and three scores. Gill has committed to Ohio State.
Quarterback Max Barber has completed 82 of 162 passes for 1,170 yards with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
For Orange, Graham Starn has rushed for 691 yards and seven touchdowns on 133 carries.
Luke Schmeling has completed 71 of 130 passes for 950 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.
"We have to be consistent with tackling," Christ said. "We have to make sure we put pads on people when we tackle.
"It's going to be a physical game up front. If we can defend them and slow them down enough we're going to have a shot to be there in the second half. Offensively, we have a lot of big play potential, so we're going to have to capitalize on that."
Linebacker Bryce Houston, who leads Orange with 56 tackles, will miss the remainder of the season after tearing the ACL and meniscus in his right knee during the fourth quarter against Liberty.