The Walnut Ridge and Independence high school football teams had their respective seasons end in regional semifinals Nov. 10.

In Division II, Region 7, the top-seeded Scots lost to fifth-seeded New Albany 30-6 at Westerville South to finish 9-2 overall.

Walnut Ridge, which was making its first postseason appearance since 2009, beat eighth-seeded Canal Winchester 27-14 on Nov. 3 for its first playoff win since 2002.

"Offensively, we didn't do our part in the first half (against New Albany)," Scots coach Byron Mattox said. "Our defense was playing great."

Walnut Ridge went 5-1 in the City League-South Division to finish a half game behind Independence (6-1) and ahead of Marion-Franklin and Eastmoor Academy (both 5-2), West (3-4), Briggs (2-5), South (1-5) and Africentric (0-7). The Scots' game against South on Oct. 13 was canceled.

Junior quarterback Isaiah Murphy, who threw for 19 touchdowns during the regular season, and junior Sincere Staples, who had 1,073 yards rushing and nine scores in the regular season, were the Scots' biggest offensive threats.

Juniors Kaylynn Anderson (DB/SB) and Julius Wood (DB/WR) and sophomores Jerrell Harrison (LB), Qian Magwood (DB/SB) and Novell Thorton (DL) are other key players eligible to return.

Senior Justin Vance (LB/P/RB), who had three interceptions during the regular season, and senior Nymonta Doucoure (OL/DL) both were named first-team all-district in Division II along with Magwood.

Murphy, Staples and Wood were second-team all-district and seniors Jalen Brown (OL/DL) and Quavon Williams (WR/LB) and junior Jalen Bradley (OL) were special mention all-district.

Mattox was named district Coach of the Year.

"We've got a young team," Mattox said. "We had a great bunch of seniors that did a lot of things that this team hasn't done here in four years. I'm really proud of them, and we're excited about next year. This stings right now, but this team has nothing to hold their heads down about."

Independence opened the Division III, Region 11 playoffs with a 32-7 win over seventh-seeded Jackson on Nov. 3, but the second-seeded 76ers lost to third-seeded Hartley 44-14 on Nov. 10 at Hilliard Darby to finish 10-2 overall.

Independence fell behind 37-0 in the first half against Hartley, which won the Division IV state title the past two years and has won 12 consecutive playoff games.

Senior running back Demontae Taylor entered the matchup with the Hawks averaging 217.6 yards rushing per game but was held to 109.

"You don't become a championship program like that without a great deal of intensity," 76ers coach Maurice Douglas said of Hartley. "It's a good experience for (us). We haven't been (to the playoffs) since 2008. With Demontae Taylor and (senior two-way lineman) Chad Douglas, it's really been nice to be able to see a new wave pick up that banner. We've been one game away from (qualifying for) the playoffs three of the last four years and we just haven't been able to get over that hump, but we were able to do that this year."

In addition to Taylor and Chad Douglas, the 76ers are losing seniors Kionte Blow (QB), Drew Collins (RB/DB), Zion Johnson (LB/RB) and Daleron McCarrell (WR/LB).

Juniors Darantae Ervin (RB/LB), Darius Littlefield (LB/OL), Alex Miller (OL/DL) and Devon Thompson (WR/DB) should be among the top returnees next year.

Taylor was named district Offensive Player of the Year in Division III. Douglas, Ervin and Johnson also were first-team all-district. McCarrell was second-team all-district and Blow and Littlefield were special mention/honorable mention.

Maurice Douglas was named district Coach of the Year.

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