For the same reasons he liked a first-round matchup at Troy last week, Olentangy football coach Mark Solis thinks his team is in good position entering a Division II, Region 7 semifinal against second-seeded and undefeated Whitehouse Anthony Wayne on Friday, Nov. 15, at Tiffin Columbian.
"Anthony Wayne is very similar to Troy as to how they want to run the ball," Solis said, referring to his sixth-seeded team's 42-10 rout of the host and third-seeded Trojans on Nov. 8. "They've had everything go through their quarterback (Mason Alberts) but they have a strong running back (Ezra Scott) that we must account for. They're going to lean on him more now (after an injury to Alberts last week). They'll be creative with how they run the ball and then they'll try to lull you to sleep and break out a play-action pass. We must be sound and disciplined in everything we do."
Olentangy comes in at 6-5. The Generals, who tied for fourth with Avon in the final state poll, are 11-0.
Against Troy, Landon Johnson rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries to lead a running game Olentangy has struggled to establish this season. The Braves ran for a season-high 276 yards.
"We challenged our linemen last week. We were pretty tough on them and they responded," Solis said. "There's an old adage that you throw to score but run to win. You have to be balanced this time of year."
Trent Maddox completed 13 of 15 passes for 213 yards and three touchdowns, one each to Jake Coleman, Caleb Gossett and Jace Middleton.
Middleton had 20 tackles at defensive back and linebacker Mitch Grubb added 18.
Anthony Wayne amassed 408 of its 433 yards on the ground Nov. 8 in a 44-36 first-round home win over seventh-seeded Berlin. Alberts ran for 307 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries before leaving with a leg injury in the third quarter.
Scott added 100 yards and a touchdown for Anthony Wayne, which gave up only 41 points in the regular season and recorded six consecutive shutouts from Week 4 to Week 9. According to Solis, the Generals generally play a four-man front with multiple formations.
Berlin had 411 yards of offense, 307 through the air.
"Regardless of anything, when a kid on his home field for the last time rushes for 17 times for 300-something yards, it's incredible. I'm grateful for everything (Alberts) had given us this season," Generals coach Andy Brungard told The (Toledo) Blade. "Obviously (last week) was a great test. Anytime you give up 36 points, you're not happy. But for us to have that kind of test is going to be good moving forward. We really have no idea (about Alberts for this week). But regardless of what it is, it's survive and advance. So that's what it will be (this) week."
The winner will play top-seeded Toledo Central Catholic or fourth-seeded Toledo St. John's in the regional final Nov. 22 at a neutral site.
Olentangy is returning to Tiffin for the second time in three years and first since a 32-29 loss to Toledo Whitmer in a Division I, Region 2 semifinal in 2017.
"Our schedule has gotten us ready. There's no one we'll see the rest of the way that we haven't seen already in terms of talent," Solis said. "We've been battle-tested."