The Groveport Madison and Olentangy Liberty football teams' reward for winning showdowns between undefeated teams last week is another such marquee game -- against each other.
Coming off a 19-14 home upset of perennial power Pickerington Central on Sept. 20, their first win over the Tigers since 1990, the Cruisers will visit a Liberty team that, like the Tigers, is seeking its fourth consecutive Division I state semifinal appearance.
The Patriots used a dominating defensive performance Sept. 20 to defeat host Hilliard Davidson 22-10, allowing only one first down in the second half and thwarting a fake punt with eight minutes left in the game.
Central, Davidson, Groveport and Liberty all are in a competitive Division I, Region 3 that features four 4-0 teams and five others that are 3-1.
"This is a grind and this is something you have to prepare for weekly. We have a huge test (on Sept. 27) against another great opponent," said Groveport coach Bryan Schoonover, whose team is 4-0 for the first time since 2010. "I try to stay as even-keeled as I can. Our coaches do a good job of that, too. It's what you have to do. When we look back on the season at the end of the year, we can (assess) how big (the win over Central) was or what it meant to the program, kids and the community and everybody buying in."
Groveport's Jashaun McGraw rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries and Emmanuel Anthony scored the winning touchdown from 19 yards out with 1:54 left. The Cruisers limited the Tigers to 82 yards rushing and an interception by John Motton with 6:41 remaining set up what turned out to be the game-winning drive.
Aidan Kenley's 116 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries paced Liberty past Davidson, which the Patriots outgained 372-214 in total yards in improving to 4-0 for the first time since 2016.
Liberty quarterback Corbin Parrish was injured during a run early in the fourth quarter and was helped off the field.
The Patriots won their only previous meeting against Groveport, 30-0 last year.
"I like the way our kids handled that challenge (against Davidson) and battled through it," Liberty coach Steve Hale said. "We don't get to take a break. (Groveport) had a huge win and I am excited for coach Schoonover and what they've done down there. They've battled to get in a position to be successful. They will give us a great challenge. This will be another great battle, but we feel like this (difficult schedule) is the only way to get our kids ready for the postseason. If we can't get it done during the regular season, then we don't belong (in the playoffs)."