The Westerville South football team's postseason drought has ended.

On Friday, Nov. 8, the Wildcats will play their first playoff game since 2012 when they visit Toledo St. John's for an opening-round matchup in Division II, Region 7.

"I don't know if it has set in yet for our guys how special it is to make the postseason in football," third-year coach Matthew Christ said. "It's so much different than in any other sport. There are 107 Division II high school football teams and you (got) to practice (on the) Monday (after the regular season). That's pretty neat.

"What you're working for all season is an opportunity to play down the stretch and play in November, so I'm really proud that we've worked for that opportunity."

The winner between the fifth-seeded Wildcats and fourth-seeded Titans plays top-seeded Toledo Central Catholic or eighth-seeded Toledo St. Francis in a regional semifinal Nov. 15 at a neutral site.

South saw its bid for a home playoff game end with a 42-24 loss to visiting Olentangy Orange on Nov. 1.

The Wildcats, who are 6-4, led 17-14 in the third quarter before being outscored 28-7 the rest of the way. They finished 2-3 in the OCC-Buckeye Division.

"We decided to not be very good for about a five-minute stretch," Christ said. "We were winning in the third quarter. We gave up some big plays."

Michael Mansaray rushed for 98 yards on 26 carries with one touchdown. For the season, he has rushed for 1,387 yards and 21 touchdowns on 187 carries.

Quarterback Brayden White has completed 51 of 116 passes for 912 yards with eight touchdowns and nine interceptions.

"We know that (making the playoffs) is something that is very special in our program, especially since the last few years we haven't been able to make it," Mansaray said.

The Titans are making their third consecutive playoff appearance and have won five consecutive games to improve to 7-3.

"They run a spread offense and they have a pretty good quarterback (in junior Brady Lichtenberg)," Christ said. "They throw the ball quite a bit. Defensively, they're a 4-3. ... They've certainly played some high-caliber talent. They're battled-tested as well, so it should be a good game."

The Titans finished the regular season with a 46-28 win at Lima Senior on Nov. 1 to clinch a home playoff game.

Lichtenberg, who is being recruited by several Big Ten schools, completed 23 of 33 passes for 249 yards and five touchdowns. Thomas Zsiros had seven catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns.

"They're a pass-heavy team," Mansaray said. "Our defense will do a good job watching film."

The Titans played one central Ohio program during the regular season, defeating Olentangy Berlin 42-19 on Sept. 13. Berlin is the seventh seed in Region 7.

"Going into the season if you weren't in our locker room and around the whole offseason, there weren't too many people thinking that we were going to be able to compete with the schedule we were up against," Christ said. "To their credit, they've worked hard. They've been coachable. We've battled

"It's a huge deal for the community (for our team to make the playoffs). People are excited about it."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

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