With their schools separated by less than two miles, Hartley High School football coach Brad Burchfield joked that a proper place for the Hawks to face Eastmoor Academy in a Division III, Region 11 semifinal would be at the corner of Main and James streets.
The top-seeded Hawks and the fourth-seeded Warriors will follow convincing victories in their respective playoff openers by matching up Friday, Nov. 9, at Hamilton Township.
The programs have scrimmaged every year since 2009, which was Burchfield's second season at Hartley after coaching Centerburg from 2003-07.
The only previous times Burchfield and Warriors coach Jim Miranda have coached against each other were in 2003 and '04, with Eastmoor winning both regular-season matchups.
"I'm excited and I think our kids are excited," said Miranda, who has coached Eastmoor since 2003. "It's an opportunity to play one of the better programs in the state. They're very well-coached. I knew coach Burchfield from back in the day when he was at Centerburg. He has the same type of system, but now it's like they're on adrenaline. They've got great athletes. We'll have to get ready for them."
Eastmoor is 10-1 after beating fifth-seeded Hillsboro 34-14 and Hartley is 9-2 after routing eighth-seeded Athens 51-14 in first-round home games Nov. 2.
The Warriors trailed 8-6 at halftime, but Savon Edwards scored three of his four touchdowns in the third quarter, on runs of 35 and 6 yards and an interception return of 35 yards.
Quarterback Marquise Laster threw a 47-yard touchdown to Cameron Long in the fourth quarter to round out Eastmoor's scoring.
Edwards finished with 15 rushes for 182 yards and Miicah Coleman added seven carries for 68 yards.
On the season, Laster has thrown for nearly 1,500 yards with 20 touchdowns and just two interceptions and Edwards has 1,499 yards rushing and 30 touchdowns -- 25 on the ground, two on receptions, two on punt returns and his interception return against Hillsboro.
"They're only two blocks away from us, and we scrimmage them every year," Burchfield said. "It'll be good. It'll be very intense. The scrimmages are always very intense. Coach Miranda and his staff are fantastic. When you scrimmage people, you can see how coaches teach and how coaches coach and how they work with their assistant coaches within the realm of the team. They do a fantastic job. It's going to be a great game, very hotly contested. It's going to take our very best efforts to get this win."
Hartley had no trouble against Athens even though its No. 1 running back, Jalan January, battled through an ankle injury that he sustained during a 6-3 win over St. Charles on Oct. 26.
January rushed 11 times for 40 yards and a touchdown against Athens, while quarterback Miles Fleming completed four of eight passes for 142 yards and a touchdown and rushed nine times for 98 yards and one score. Kiron Anderson added 10 carries for 92 yards.
Cole had three catches for 129 yards and a touchdown and ran three times for 38 yards and one score, Angelo Evans added three rushes for 34 yards and a touchdown and Mason Sawyer scored two rushing touchdowns.
"(January's ankle) is better this week than it was last week, and it'll be better (this) week than it (was Nov. 2)," Burchfield said. "It's just going to take time and rest. He'll be full throttle Friday night. It's really been a good blessing because we've been able to get other kids some good reps.
"Kiron Anderson was just an animal out there carrying the football. We're going to need it this week. He's such a strong runner and he's a really, smart dependable kid. You want exclamation points in the backfield and that's what he is."