Olentangy football coach Mark Solis admitted that when looking at possible playoff matchups the past few weeks, he thought teams from the Toledo area or even Westerville South were the likeliest opponents for the Braves.
Third-seeded Troy, which will play host to the sixth-seeded Braves in a Division II, Region 7 first-round game Friday, Nov. 8, was not on his radar until the dust settled after an ugly 41-7 home loss to Westerville Central to end the regular season Nov. 1.
"We had no idea it'd be them, but that's how it worked out," Solis said.
Olentangy is in the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season and 14th time overall.
The Braves went 5-5 for the second consecutive regular season and have lost three of their last four games, but those all were to Division I, Region 3 playoff qualifiers in Orange (28-24 on Oct. 11), Liberty (24-21 on Oct. 18) and Central.
Second-level points proved crucial for Olentangy, especially New Albany's 35-7 rout of Groveport on Nov. 1.
The Braves finished with 16.7 points, .45 of a point in front of seventh-seeded Berlin.
"When you play the schedule we have, that's why at 5-5, we got in," Solis said. "I'm not sure there's anybody in Division II better than who we've played."
Olentangy committed seven turnovers against Central, four interceptions and three fumbles, to finish 2-3 in the OCC-Buckeye Division.
On the season, quarterback Trent Maddox has completed 177 of 275 passes for 2,102 yards and 23 touchdowns with 11 interceptions.
Jake Coleman (60 catches, 755 yards, 10 touchdowns) leads a balanced group of wide receivers that also includes Jace Middleton (43 catches, 648 yards, 5 TDs) and Caleb Gossett (28 catches, 304 yards, 5 TDs).
Maddox also leads the Braves in rushing with 279 yards and two touchdowns on 66 carries.
Troy is 8-2 after a 35-9 rout of Piqua on Nov. 1 in which quarterback Brayden Siler rushed for 204 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries and completed 11 of 18 passes for 99 yards and two scores.
The Trojans, who won the Miami Valley League-Miami with a 7-1 record and are in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year, amassed a league-leading 3,377 yards of offense in the regular season. The Trojans average 238.1 yards rushing per game, led by Kevin Walters (177 carries, 1,186 yards, 12 TDs) and Siler (180 carries, 1,056 yards, 12 TDs).
Siler, who has completed 73 of 130 passes for 992 yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions, is the first Troy quarterback to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season.
"I think it's just a testament to the hard work that we've put in, really, over the last six years we've been together," Siler told the Troy Daily News.
Defensive back Weston Smith's seven interceptions led the Miami Valley League.
"They're an odd-front team and the defense is really physical. We're not sure how many spread offenses they've seen," Solis said. "They run it out of the spread themselves, but they're physical. They've won a lot the past few years."
The winner will play second-seeded Whitehouse Anthony Wayne or Berlin in a regional semifinal Nov. 15 at a neutral site.