The Olentangy High School football team knows what it's up against.

The Olentangy High School football team knows what it's up against.

The Braves are in the Division II, Region 6 playoffs as the seventh seed and will open Friday against second-seeded Sylvania Southview at Sylvania Northview. The Cougars, making their sixth consecutive playoff appearance, beat Maumee 42-12 last Friday to improve to 10-0. With a shotgun offense, they average 46 points a game. They give up just 9.6.

"We're excited about this opportunity," said Braves linebacker Blake Files, whose team moved to 7-3 overall and finished 4-3 in the OCC-Cardinal Division with a 9-0 victory over Westerville North last Friday. "We know they're a pretty tough team, but we've faced a lot of strong teams before. We think we have a chance to be successful."

"We like being the underdog," quarterback Justin Johnson said. "We will play our hearts out and see how the ball bounces."

Olentangy is in the playoffs for the third time in four years and seventh time overall. All but one of those trips ended in the first round. In 1999, Olentangy advanced to a Division II regional final.

Olentangy faced five playoff qualifiers during the regular season, defeating Division I Delaware 24-21 on Aug. 29, Division III Big Walnut 17-14 on Sept. 5 and Division I Marysville 24-21 on Sept. 19 and losing to Division II Olentangy Liberty 21-16 on Sept. 26 and Division II Dublin Jerome 28-19 on Oct. 3.

Southview faced no playoff teams and, in fact, played only three teams that finished with winning records, beating Springfield (6-4) 60-0 on Sept. 26, Perrysburg (6-4) 42-21 on Oct. 17 and Maumee (8-2).

The Braves are 6-1 in games decided by eight or fewer points.

"Let's just hope we can use that to our advantage," coach Ed Terwilliger said. "It's not going to be an advantage if we're down by a lot the whole game.

"Everyone talks about how talented they are on offense, but I think their defense gets overlooked. They will give you a lot of multiple looks. Sometimes they'll sit back and then all of sudden they're right up on you."

The Southview defense is led by lineman Eric Brown, middle linebacker Greg Isley and safety Jimmy Hall. Against Perrysburg, the Cougars forced four interceptions, with Hall getting two and returning one 82 yards for a touchdown.

"I look at the speed and athleticism of the team and what kind of fronts they use and if we can run the ball effectively against them," said Johnson, who has completed 109 of 214 passes for 1,670 yards and 11 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. "We have had awesome preparation for the playoffs. We've seen all different types of teams. Playing so many different styles will help us with whoever we see."

Olentangy also has scored 13 touchdowns rushing and averages 146.6 yards per game on the ground.

"They're big, strong and physical with guys like (Zach Kerin, Josh Hillard and Preston Oglesbee) up front," Southview coach Jim Mayzes said. "I love their attitude. It's like, we're going to run the football at you, try to stop us."

Last Friday, Olentangy held North to 87 yards of offense, with 49 of that coming on 35 carries. The Warriors were 3-for-11 passing for 38 yards.

Southview quarterback Alex Pidcock has completed 79 of 106 passes for 1,723 yards and 20 touchdowns with no interceptions and is one of the team's top rushers with 895 yards and 15 touchdowns on 103 carries. Last Friday, Pidcock rushed for 190 yards on 18 carries with three touchdowns.

Also keying the offense are running back Ryan Josza (91 carries for 608 yards, 7 touchdowns) and receivers Shaun Joplin (42 catches for 912 yards, 10 touchdowns) and Hall (25 catches for 580 yards, 10 touchdowns).

Olentangy faced spread offenses against Delaware, Jerome and Westerville South. Those three teams averaged 204 yards passing and 143 yards rushing as the Braves went 1-2 against them.

"You have to play disciplined defense. If someone breaks down on pass or run coverage, we're in trouble," Kerin said. "But if everyone does their assignment, we should be able to do well.

"They are one of the best teams around, but if you want to be the best you have to beat the best. They're certainly one of the best. We feel like we haven't played a full game yet. Hopefully that will happen on Friday."

Next game



•When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

•Where: Sylvania Northview

•Last meeting: First meeting

•Southview (10-0) to date: Defeated Toledo Bowsher 42-0; def. Toledo Rogers 33-8; def. Toledo Start 28-12; def. Whitehouse Anthony Wayne 41-17; def. Rossford 73-6; def. Springfield 60-0; def. Northview 51-6; def. Bowling Green 48-13; def. Perrysburg 42-21; def. Maumee 42-12

•Key Cougars: Eric Brown, Jimmy Hall, Greg Isley, Shaun Joplin, Ryan Josza and Alex Pidcock

Last game



•Star: Thomas Carpenter, who provided stability to the Olentangy offense with 120 yards rushing on 26 carries

•Key play: Justin Johnson's 1-yard touchdown run with 2:23 left gave the Braves some breathing room.

•Key stat: North's Justin Brewton was held to 31 yards on 10 carries.