A postseason veteran will play host to a newcomer when the Olentangy Berlin football team visits Whitehouse Anthony Wayne on Friday, Nov. 8, in the first round of the Division II, Region 7 playoffs.
Second-seeded Anthony Wayne is 10-0 and has qualified for the playoffs four years in a row. The seventh-seeded Bears, a second-year program, enter their first postseason at 6-4.
"Considering we only got the keys to the building 16 months ago, our kids have come a long way in a short amount of time," Berlin coach Mark Nori said. "(Reaching the postseason) is great visibility for the program. We get an extra week to work on things and the seniors get another week to play together."
Berlin will face stiff competition in its inaugural postseason contest. The Generals have surrendered just 41 points this season and had six consecutive shutouts before giving up a touchdown in a 56-7 win over Holland Springfield on Nov. 1.
On offense, Anthony Wayne uses a run-oriented spread attack. Quarterback Mason Alberts, a senior in his first year as the starter, has rushed for 1,156 yards and 23 touchdowns on 135 carries and completed 54 of 88 passes for 738 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions.
He had 263 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 14 carries against Springfield.
Senior running back Ezra Scott has 1,056 yards rushing and eight scores on 182 carries, and senior Bobby Miller is the top receiver with 15 catches for 405 yards and four scores.
Offensive lineman Nolan Barber will play at Navy and senior linebacker Bryce Boyer is a Bowling Green recruit.
"They are really good, but that's what you expect when you make the playoffs," Nori said. "You're rubbing elbows with the best in the business, so it's good for our kids.
"(The Generals) like to run the ball and their defense has given up seven points in the last seven weeks. They have a big, strong and dominant line. Their running back and quarterback are very slippery, so we'll have our work cut out for us."
Berlin is led by junior quarterback Jacob Moeller, who has completed 126 of 231 passes for 1,747 yards with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He was 16-for-24 for 237 yards with three touchdowns in a 36-13 win over Thomas Worthington on Nov. 1.
Running back Johnny Spinner had 147 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 28 carries against the Cardinals. For the season, the senior has 957 yards and eight scores on 221 carries.
Senior Jack Nebraska leads the receiving corps with 32 catches for 510 yards and four touchdowns. Senior Corey Hill has 26 receptions for 401 yards and five scores, and senior Jalen Weitzel has 14 catches for 252 yards and one touchdown in five games since returning from a broken collarbone.
"They have a good quarterback, and he does a good job running their offense," Anthony Wayne coach Andy Brungard said. "They have some really athletic kids and they have a tough running back and a big offensive line that gets push on the ball.
"Defensively, they run a 33 stack or a 3-5-3, if they call it that. They do a good job in their base defense and they get to the running lanes."
The winner plays third-seeded Troy or sixth-seeded Olentangy in a regional semifinal Nov. 15 at a neutral site.