Injuries forced the Grandview Heights football team to get creative in its Division VI, Region 24 playoff opener.
Now, fresh off an upset of second-seeded Bainbridge Paint Valley, the seventh-seeded Bobcats have more to worry about than their next opponent. They're not sure if a couple key players will be healed in time to face sixth-seeded Mechanicsburg in a regional semifinal Friday, Nov. 15, at Hilliard Darby.
Grandview shuffled its lineup during a 35-28 win at Paint Valley on Nov. 8, moving senior Luke Lachey to quarterback after an injury to Charlie James in the first half. Running back Darreion Davis also left the game with an injury.
Coach Jason Peters said it would be determined later in the week whether James and Davis will be available against the Indians, who are in the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season and improved to 9-2 with a 32-7 win at third-seeded Frankfort Adena on Nov. 8.
"Charlie was tackled late in the first quarter and hit a concrete barrier between the turf and the all-weather track," said Peters, whose team is 7-4. "He had a cut on a leg and had to go to the hospital to get stitches. We'll know more later on if he's available."
Davis missed a 27-14 loss to Ready on Nov. 1 while nursing an ankle injury. That injury flared up against Paint Valley, forcing him to the sideline.
The Bobcats will try to stop a potent Mechanicsburg running attack led by Chayse Propst. The junior rushed for 132 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries against Adena.
The Indians also alternate two quarterbacks in senior Logan Hurst and sophomore Aaron Conley.
"The thing that can really get you is that they can pass the ball well despite having the reputation as a running team," defensive coordinator Mike Lanza said. "It doesn't look like they have a lot of tendencies with their quarterbacks and pretty much do the same thing with both guys."
The Indians had 353 total yards in the first round, with 311 coming on the ground. Their defense limited Adena to 116 total yards, including 45 rushing.
Sophomore Jake Hurst had 120 yards rushing and three touchdowns on just four carries. At linebacker, he led the defense with 7.5 tackles and two sacks.
"They are hard-nosed and get after you on defense, and they know what they want to do on offense," Peters said. "Coach (Kurt) Forrest has done a really good job of establishing an identity with them.
"They run a spread, but they do a lot of things out of it. They look at their kids and see what they have and build their offense around that."
The Bobcats overcame injuries to defeat Paint Valley after losing to the Bearcats 39-36 in the first round last fall.
"I think the kids were a little teed off because we had opportunities last year, and this time they played with a chip on their shoulders," Peters said. "We dominated the line of scrimmage and played our best game of the season."
Lachey made the most of his time in the backfield, rushing for 254 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries. He did not attempt a pass.
"We put Luke back there and let him do his thing," Peters said. "He came up big for us."
The Bobcats also put senior two-way lineman Joey Bertani in the backfield on short-yardage downs. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter, and on defense he recovered a fumble and had an interception.
"Alfie Sterneker and Trey Cook have done a good job behind Darreion, but neither are really a short-yardage type of back," Peters said. "Joey is a big body with good hands, which you know because he's a good baseball player. For all he's done in his four years with the program, it was nice to see him get a touchdown."
Davis also scored on an 11-yard run for the Bobcats, who recorded their first playoff victory since 2015.
If the Bobcats can get another win, they'll play top-seeded Chillicothe Southeastern or fourth-seeded Covington in a regional final Nov. 22 at a neutral site.