The Hartley High School football team earned a chance Oct. 28 to extend its season.

The Hartley High School football team earned a chance Oct. 28 to extend its season.

The Hawks needed some help but ended up easily clinching a Division IV, Region 14 playoff berth. The defending state champions are the fifth seed.

They will make their seventh consecutive postseason appearance Friday, Nov. 4, when they play at fourth-seeded Jonathan Alder.

The last time Hartley played Jonathan Alder was in 2006 when the Pioneers were in the sixth year of an 11-year run of making the playoffs.

The Pioneers won the matchup 34-0 and went on to a Division IV state runner-up finish.

Hartley and Jonathan Alder have split their 10 previous matchups, and the Hawks enter the postseason as the hotter team, having won six in a row. They beat the Reigning Sports Academy club team 72-14 on Oct. 28 to improve to 8-2.

Jonathan Alder lost to Caledonia River Valley 18-14 on Oct. 21 but beat Fairbanks 42-28 on Oct. 28 to close the regular season at 9-1.

The Hartley-Jonathan Alder winner plays top-seeded Port Clinton or eighth-seeded Bellefontaine Benjamin Logan in a regional semifinal Nov. 11 at a site to be announced.

"(Jonathan Alder is) 9-1 so they're obviously having a great year," coach Brad Burchfield said. "They've got a player who's going to Northwestern and he didn't play in the game they lost. They're tough and physical and they've obviously got great tradition."

The player Burchfield was referring to is senior Trey Pugh, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound tight end who has scored 14 touchdowns.

Junior running back Jamie Dye has rushed for more than 1,100 yards.

Against Fairbanks, quarterback Preston Eisnaugle threw for two touchdowns as the Pioneers clinched the MOAC-Red Division title at 6-1.

Hartley finished with nearly 700 yards of offense against Reigning Sports Academy as it led 65-0 by halftime.

"We've been able to put a lot of time the last couple weeks into the fundamentals and we've improved as the year has gone on," Burchfield said.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

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