The Dublin Scioto High School football team will travel to an area rich in football tradition as it returns to the postseason.

The Dublin Scioto High School football team will travel to an area rich in football tradition as it returns to the postseason.

After failing to qualify for the playoffs last season, the Irish earned a postseason berth and will play at second-seeded Massillon Washington in a Division II, Region 7 first-round game Friday, Nov. 4. The Irish are seeded seventh.

The winner plays third-seeded New Albany or sixth-seeded Columbus West in a regional semifinal Nov. 11 at a site to be determined.

Scioto's OCC-Cardinal Division title hopes ended with a 12-7 loss at Hilliard Darby on Oct. 28. The Irish fell to 7-3 overall and finished 4-2 in the league, behind co-champions Dublin Jerome and Hilliard Bradley (both 5-1).

Coach Karl Johnson is confident his team will bounce back from the loss.

"You get to play in the playoffs," he said. "In Division II, only 32 teams get to play and you're one of those 32 teams out of 120-something teams. So if you can't get excited for that, then you must not love football."

Scioto is making its 10th playoff appearance, including consecutive trips in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The Irish won the Division II state title in 1995.

Massillon, which is making its 23rd playoff appearance, defeated Canton McKinley 21-19 in the 127th meeting of their storied rivalry Oct. 29 at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium to finish the regular season 8-2.

Quarterback Seth Blankenship guides the Tigers' multi-dimensional offense and Austin Jasinski is a key receiver. Running back Keyshawn Watson rushed for 167 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries against McKinley.

"Their line is a pretty good size, one of the bigger lines we'll have seen this year, so our defensive line is going to have to work their tails off to get pressure on the quarterback when they pass and we'll have to pressure the run," Johnson said.

Johnson said the Tigers utilize a 4-3 base defense.

Massillon heads into the playoffs without second-year coach Nate Moore, who was suspended by the Ohio High School Athletic Association for a recruiting violation. Moore originally was suspended for the entire postseason, but the penalty was reduced to two games.

Quarterback Noah Densel leads the Irish's spread offense, having completed 112 of 197 passes for 1,625 yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

"This means a lot," Densel said of making the playoffs. "Coming off a 2-8 season last year, our goal was to get back to the playoffs and we worked hard for it."

Evan Hutras is Scioto's leading receiver with 44 catches for 702 yards and seven touchdowns. Jaden Penn has 23 receptions for 414 yards and four touchdowns and Weston Talentino has 22 catches for 378 yards and three scores.

Dimetri Brandon has rushed for 507 yards and nine touchdowns on 120 carries.

Defensive back Jared Nolan leads the Irish's defense with 58 tackles, followed by linebackers Cole Baisden (57) and Jeremy Erickson (49).

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