We can only hope the opening week of the high school football playoffs is a sign of things to come in terms of drama for central Ohio teams.

While Pickerington Central, Pickerington North and Hilliard Bradley won their playoff openers fairly easily, teams such as Gahanna, New Albany and Olentangy survived tightly contested games to move on to round two Friday, Nov. 10.

There are three matchups involving two area teams this week, and each figures to have its share of intrigue.

Here are five things we expect heading into Week 12:

1. Central versus Bradley is one of the matchups we've been waiting for all season.

Bradley put together its first perfect regular season and takes an 11-0 record into the Division I, Region 3 semifinal. The second-seeded Jaguars were No. 1 in the final ThisWeek Super 7 poll and are ranked fifth in the state poll.

The third-seeded Tigers, who finished second in the Super 7 and are ranked eighth in the state poll, were expected to be one of the area's top teams this season and have lived up to those expectations. Central is 10-1, with its only loss coming against Division III power Trotwood-Madison.

The Tigers represent the toughest test of the season to date for Bradley, which is coming off the first playoff victory in program history.

2. Olentangy Liberty versus Gahanna has the potential to be a thrilling matchup.

A year after breaking through with a run to a Division I state semifinal, the second-seeded Patriots take a six-game winning streak into their Region 2 semifinal against the sixth-seeded Lions.

Gahanna has given up at least 35 points in four consecutive games, but the Lions went 3-1 in those contests, including escaping with a 38-37 overtime win at third-seeded Olentangy Orange on Nov. 3.

Gahanna can break new ground, as it has never won more than one playoff game in a season. Liberty looks like a team poised for another long postseason run after beating seventh-seeded Dublin Jerome 35-0 on Nov. 3.

3. North and Olentangy will have to beat out-of-area powers to continue their seasons.

The fifth-seeded Panthers didn't have any trouble at fourth-seeded Huber Heights Wayne on Nov. 3, winning 41-20, and they have an added incentive entering their Region 3 semifinal against top-seeded Centerville -- revenge. North lost to the Elks 27-26 on Sept. 8.

Olentangy has been through a number of close matchups the last five weeks, including Nov. 3 when it won 28-24 at fourth-seeded Dublin Coffman, and the fifth-seeded Braves figure to have another when they face top-seeded Toledo Whitmer in a Region 2 semifinal.

Whitmer, which lost to the Braves 24-21 in the first round of the 2015 playoffs, is 11-0.

4. The City League will test its mettle against a pair of area perennial powers.

There are two City League-South Division teams still alive after Walnut Ridge and Independence won their playoff openers.

Their next tasks won't be easy.

Walnut Ridge, the top seed in Division II, Region 7, must face fifth-seeded New Albany, which was the regional runner-up last season.

Independence, the second seed in Division III, Region 11, will try to knock off third-seeded Hartley, which won the past two Division IV state titles.

5. Columbus Academy and two Licking County teams are looking to stay alive.

Third-seeded Johnstown and fifth-seeded Academy are preparing for Division V, Region 19 semifinal matchups that figure to be challenging.

The Vikings are 9-2 and will take on top-seeded Wheelersburg, which is 11-0 and beat eighth-seeded Ready 34-0 on Nov. 3.

The Johnnies have won eight games in a row and are 9-2, but they must face second-seeded Portsmouth West, which is 10-1 and whose only loss was to Wheelersburg.

In Division IV, Region 15, top-seeded Licking Valley is 11-0 and will try to extend its perfect season against fifth-seeded New Concord John Glenn.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek