The New Albany High School football team is making its eighth playoff appearance, but considering this is the Eagles' first time doing so since 2013, it's a new feeling for all their players.

The New Albany High School football team is making its eighth playoff appearance, but considering this is the Eagles' first time doing so since 2013, it's a new feeling for all their players.

On the other side of the field in a Division II, Region 7 first-round game Friday, Nov. 4, everything about the playoffs will be new for visiting Columbus West. The Cowboys are in the postseason for the first time.

"(Making the playoffs) is always one of our top goals ... but once you get here, you have to keep the same focus as before," Eagles coach Pat Samanich said. "We emphasize going 1-0 each week, and that has not changed. You cannot look ahead. The key is staying in the moment and staying on schedule, keeping everything the same as it has been as much as possible."

New Albany is seeded third and West, which is 9-1, is seeded sixth.

The Eagles, who are 7-3 and have won six consecutive games, were projected to be the second seed after their 35-28 win over Groveport on Oct. 28. But they dropped one spot the next day when Massillon Washington edged Canton McKinley 21-19 and earned the second seed behind Massillon Perry.

New Albany wrapped up the outright OCC-Capital Division championship with the win at Groveport. The Eagles went 5-0 in the league, a game ahead of runner-up Franklin Heights, which it defeated 38-28 on Oct. 21.

Fullback Brandon DeHass ran for a 57-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter to break a 21-all tie against Groveport, and quarterback Paxon Hunter added a 2-yard touchdown run for insurance in the final minute of the third.

DeHass finished with 150 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, and running back Zach Hall added 115 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.

West finished the regular season with a 44-25 win over Briggs on Oct. 28.

Quarterback Demetrius Brown rushed for 240 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries, increasing his season totals to 2,015 yards and 29 touchdowns on 257 carries.

Brown also threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Michael White, and Jacob Adams rushed for a 55-yard score.

"(New Albany's) offense is pretty similar to ours," Cowboys coach Mike Flusche said. "They're very physical and they want to run the ball right at you. I think it'll be a battle in the trenches."

Brown leads the Cowboys' single-wing offense, the linemen for which include 6-foot-5, 300-pounder Jeremiah Dillinger, Eryn Fleurival (6-2, 300) and Dawson Shaw (5-11, 270).

"They have some impressive size up front, and Brown is a dynamic player," Samanich said. "It's a throwback offense for sure, but a lot of its principles are the same as we use in our wing-T. It's unique. It's not something we see much of. It uses a lot of slants and angles, and we can't get sucked into those."

The winner will play Massillon Washington or seventh-seeded Dublin Scioto in a regional semifinal Nov. 11 at a neutral site to be determined.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave