Hartley High School football coach Brad Burchfield is looking at the positives from his team's final tune-up before it begins its ninth consecutive postseason.
With a 6-3 victory over St. Charles on Oct. 26, the Hawks wrapped up a second consecutive CCL championship and clinched the No. 1 seed for the Division III, Region 11 playoffs.
Although Hartley was held to a season-low point total, it still rushed for 277 yards despite using Jalan January sparingly knowing a postseason berth already was wrapped up.
Philip Cole rushed for a 5-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and a defense led by linebackers Mason Sawyer and Kiron Anderson made the score hold as St. Charles was limited to 121 yards of offense.
Hartley improved to 8-2 overall, including finishing 3-0 in the league, and will play host to eighth-seeded Athens on Friday, Nov. 2, in a first-round playoff game.
"I was really happy to win the game," Burchfield said. "To win a CCL championship is a big deal, and it's hard to do. We're really proud to have beaten St. Charles. I was also really happy to have won a low-scoring game. We won a high-scoring game a week ago, and I think it's important for the chemistry of the team to show one another that we can win a tough game in a lot of different ways.
"The tradition of the CCL is unmatched in central Ohio, and to be the best team in the league again is always our top priority and goal."
Athens is on an eight-game winning streak and is 9-1 after closing the regular season with a 49-14 victory over Nelsonville-York on Oct. 26.
Quarterback Clay Davis has shown the ability to run and throw considering he's completed 109 of 198 passes for 1,703 yards with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions and also has 103 rushes for 676 yards and 10 scores.
Running back Evan Adams has 870 yards and 20 touchdowns on 152 carries. Peyton Gail (28 receptions, 403 yards, 1 TD) and Nate Trainer (42 receptions, 522 yards, 4 TDs) are the top receivers.
January has rushed for more than 1,400 yards and quarterback Miles Fleming has thrown for about 1,000 yards while rushing for more than 500 to lead the Hartley offense.
The Hartley-Athens winner will play fourth-seeded Eastmoor Academy or fifth-seeded Hillsboro on Nov. 9 in a regional semifinal.
"They look to have really good offensive balance," Burchfield said. "They've been on a roll since Week 2, so they're going to feel good about playing us. In the tournament, every team has proven to be good and every team is confident."