Although he realizes his team faces a daunting challenge this week, Columbus Academy senior football player Herman Moultrie said the Vikings won't back down.
The fifth-seeded Vikings play top-seeded Wheelersburg in a Division V, Region 19 semifinal Friday, Nov. 10, at Chillicothe.
The Pirates, who were ranked third in the final regular-season state poll, improved to 11-0 with a 34-0 win over eighth-seeded Ready in a first-round game Nov. 3.
"They're a good football team, they're undefeated," Moultrie said. "They've won some games pretty handily, but we've been stressing that they're still a high school football team and they're not world-beaters. I think we can compete with anybody when fully healthy. Mentally our team is in a good spot. I don't think anyone is scared. We just have to prepare."
The Pirates are making their sixth consecutive postseason appearance. They reached the Region 19 final last season, losing to Coshocton 30-20.
Academy rallied past fourth-seeded and host Belmont Union Local 13-6 on Nov. 3 to improve to 9-2.
"We want to be a perennial playoff team and we don't want to be just happy making the playoffs," coach Robin Miller said. "We want to make some noise, so that was the first step."
Matt Saling threw fourth-quarter touchdown passes of 10 yards to Chris Boyle and 24 yards to Moultrie, the latter coming with 2 minutes, 30 seconds to play.
"That's what I've worked all my life for, being able to make key plays when need be," Moultrie said. "Coach made a great play call and I was able to make a play when I needed to."
Saling completed 12 of 21 passes for 188 yards, and Moultrie had four catches for 119 yards.
"It was a very exciting game," Moultrie said. "I don't know if I ever played in a game like that with how quickly the momentum switched and went in our direction."
Academy won its first postseason game since 2006, a 55-21 victory over Nelsonville-York in a first-round contest.
Wheelersburg allowed just 111 total yards against Ready and received a balanced effort from its offense.
Junior quarterback Trent Salyers passed for 236 yards and became the program's all-time passing leader with 2,872 yards.
Junior Tanner Holden (WR/DB), who is 6-foot-6, had five catches for 92 yards. Senior Cole Lowery (WR/DB) had eight receptions for 84 yards.
Xander Carmichael is a key player at linebacker.
"They're very impressive," Miller said. "They're 11-0 for a reason. They have a great program. They're super aggressive. They come flying to the ball on defense. They're very aggressive (in their) blocking. ... We have our work cut out for us this week."
The winner plays second-seeded Portsmouth West or third-seeded Johnstown in the regional final Nov. 17 at a neutral site to be determined.