The Olentangy Orange and Westerville South football teams close the regular season Friday, Nov. 1, in a meeting of playoff squads.
The visiting Pioneers have clinched a fourth consecutive playoff berth and have secured a home game in Division I, Region 3, according to joeeitel.com. The top eight teams in each region qualify for the postseason and the top four play at home in the first round.
"It's our fourth playoff appearance in a row and that comes from the hard work of a lot of people," said Orange coach Zebb Schroeder, whose team is 8-1 overall and 4-0 in the OCC-Buckeye Division. "That hard work continues this week because we have to keep doing what has made us successful. We have to keep going 1-0 and beat South this week."
South, which is in Division II, Region 7, has clinched its first playoff berth since 2012.
"It's awesome for the kids, the school and the community to make the playoffs," said Wildcats coach Matthew Christ, whose team is 6-3 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Buckeye. "It's nice, but we still have to play in Week 10."
The Wildcats defeated Westerville Central 23-20 in overtime Oct. 25 to sweep the series with the Westerville schools. They defeated North 49-21 on Oct. 17.
Michael Mansaray rushed for 243 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries as the Wildcats beat Central for the first time since 2012.
"They are a very dangerous team offensively with Mansaray," Schroeder said. "They have so many weapons and so much speed that they can score in a lot of ways.
"It's going to be another one of these dogfights. We have to make sure to defend the width of the field."
The Pioneers clinched at least a share of their second consecutive league championship by defeating Olentangy Liberty 10-7 on Oct. 25. Spencer Hawkins was 19-for-30 passing for 152 yards with one touchdown, Zane Lattig caught 11 passes for 83 yards and Caden Konczak had five receptions for 31 yards with one score.
"They are very balanced in terms of run-pass," Christ said. "When they throw the ball, it's usually play-action to complement the run game.
"Defensively, they are very sound. They keep things in front of them and make you put long drives together."