Friday Night Live: Division III second-round playoff previews
Hamilton Township at Watterson
Watterson’s first playoff opponent has a history of facing CCL programs during the postseason.
The sixth-seeded Eagles will play host to 11th-seeded Hamilton Township in a second-round Division III, Region 11 game Friday, Oct. 16, with the winner to face third-seeded Thornville Sheridan or 14th-seeded Columbus South in a regional quarterfinal Oct. 23 at the home field of the higher seed.
The Rangers, who are in the playoffs for the sixth time, made their last postseason appearance in 2016 when they lost 49-6 to DeSales in the Region 11 final.
Hamilton Township last played Watterson during the first round of the Division III, Region 9 playoffs in 2015, with the Eagles winning 28-3.
Watterson also beat the Rangers 20-0 to open the Region 11 playoffs in 2002 on its way to the Division III state championship under coach Mike Golden.
This year’s matchup pits an Eagles team coming off a first-round bye after going 3-3 during the regular season, including winning three of its last four.
Senior quarterback Jake Hoying enters the postseason after completing 83 of 138 passes for 1,086 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions, while senior running back Cam Nickleson has 680 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns on 109 carries.
Sophomore wide receiver Brandon Trout (25 receptions for 360 yards, 1 TD), senior wide receivers Andrew Bettendorf (16 receptions for 270 yards, 4 TDs) and Tyler Young (14 receptions for 193 yards, 1 TD) and senior tight end Davis Boone (14 receptions for 165 yards, 2 TDs) are other key contributors.
Hamilton Township improved to 5-1 with a 50-16 victory over 22nd-seeded Beechcroft on Oct. 9. Quarterback Brock McGuire threw for one touchdown and rushed for another, as the Rangers finished with 433 yards rushing on 44 carries.
Seniors Josiah Beverly and Stephen Mikell are the top running backs, and senior tight end Malcolm Denny is another key weapon for the Hamilton Township offense.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP at WATTERSON
•When: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16
•Last meeting: 2015, Watterson 28-3
•Hamilton Township (5-1) to date: Lost to Bloom-Carroll 10-0; defeated Logan Elm 41-18; def. Fairfield Union 42-13; def. Teays Valley 21-12; def. Newark 35-13; def. Beechcroft 50-16
•Watterson (3-3) to date: Lost to DeSales 28-22 (OT); lost to Hartley 28-21; def. Teays Valley 39-0; def. DeSales 35-34 (2OT); lost to Hartley 42-32; def. St. Charles 38-14
•Top Rangers: Josiah Beverly (LB/RB), Joe Brobst (OL/DL), Malcolm Denny (LB/TE), Riley Gibbs (RB/LB), C.J. Holt (WR/DB), Elijah Kraft (OL/DL), Brock McGuire (QB), Stephen Mikell (RB) and Felix Prewitt (RB/DB)
•Top Eagles: Andrew Bettendorf (WR/DB), Henry Blevins (WR/DB), Davis Boone (TE/LB), Jake Hoying (QB), Cam Nickleson (RB/DB), Dom Orsini (DB), Brandon Trout (WR), Nick Youell (OL/LB) and Tyler Young (WR/DB)
Wilmington at DeSales
The first assignment for top-seeded DeSales in the Division III, Region 11 playoffs will be a matchup Friday, Oct. 16, at home against 16th-seeded Wilmington.
It will mark the first matchup between the teams in more than five decades.
DeSales played its first season in 1962 and beat the Hurricane in 1965 and ’67 before moving to 3-0 in the series with a 24-14 win to close the 1968 season, a week after the Stallions wrapped up their first outright CCL championship.
The programs haven’t played since that time and they have taken decidedly divergent paths, with the Stallions about to make their 27th playoff appearance while the Hurricane is still looking for its first postseason win after losing playoff openers in 2003, ’05 and ’09.
DeSales, which is in the postseason for the second consecutive season, lost 42-7 to Harrison in a second-round Division II, Region 8 playoff game a year ago.
After beating Hartley 16-14 on Oct. 2 to improve to 5-1, the Stallions had a first-round bye while Wilmington beat Marietta 56-14 on Oct. 9 in its playoff opener to improve to 3-3.
The DeSales-Wilmington winner will face eighth-seeded Granville or ninth-seeded Eastmoor Academy on Oct. 23 in a regional quarterfinal at the home of the higher-seeded team.
The Hurricane has been rotating senior Peyton Hibbard and junior Cameron McEvoy at quarterback.
Sophomores Thane McCoy and Thad Stuckey have been among the top running backs, with senior wide receiver Kendal France seeing action at running back and wide receiver.
The Stallions have been led offensively by senior running back Quintell Quinn and junior running back Jonathan Thompson.
Quinn has rushed for 691 yards and 10 touchdowns on 115 carries, and Thompson has 414 yards and four touchdowns on 44 rushes.
Senior Whit Hobgood has been at quarterback for the Stallions after splitting time early in the season with sophomore Nicky Pentello, who has been out with an injury.
DeSales coach Ryan Wiggins is hopeful Pentello will be available for the playoffs.
Senior wide receiver Jordan Johnson has 14 receptions for 340 yards and three touchdowns and has averaged 13.9 yards on 17 punt returns.
WILMINGTON at DeSALES
•When: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16
•Last meeting: 1968, DeSales 24-14
•Wilmington (3-3) to date: Defeated Sabina East Clinton 21-0; def. Goshen 21-14; lost to New Richmond 35-14; lost to Mount Orab Western Brown 40-34; lost to Clarksville Clinton-Massie 56-21; def. Marietta 56-14
•DeSales (5-1) to date: Def. Watterson 28-22 (OT); def. Mansfield Senior 35-12; def. Hartley 24-21; lost to Watterson 35-34 (2OT); def. St. Charles 48-7; def. Hartley 16-14
•Top Hurricane: Brett Brooks (DL), Kendal France (WR/DB), Peyton Hibbard (QB), Carter Huffman (WR/DB), Thane McCoy (RB), Cameron McEvoy (QB), Isaiah Rigling (WR/DB), Thad Stuckey (RB/LB) and Jeffrey Valentine (LB)
•Top Stallions: Nathan Barber (WR/DB), Billy Cain IV (OL/DL), Jordan Johnson (WR/DB), Jackson Hartman (OL/DL), Whit Hobgood (QB), Quintell Quinn (RB/LB), Matthew Stewart (TE/DL/LS), Jonathan Thompson (RB/LB) and Jason Velazquez II (WR/LB)
Mount Orab Western Brown at Hartley
During a regular season in which it played five CCL games after opening with a 34-17 loss to Division I Cincinnati Moeller on Aug. 28, Hartley averaged 28.5 points and twice scored 42 or more.
The Hawks’ first opponent in the Division III, Region 11 playoffs also has had a propensity for scoring this fall.
On Friday, Oct. 16, second-seeded Hartley plays a second-round contest at home against 15th-seeded Mount Orab Western Brown, which opened the postseason with a 42-12 victory over 18th-seeded Athens on Oct. 9.
The winner will face seventh-seeded Jackson or 10th-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley on Oct. 23 in a regional quarterfinal.
The Broncos are averaging 47.8 points and have been involved in several shootouts, including losses to New Richmond (77-61 on Sept. 4) and Clarksville Clinton-Massie (86-54 on Sept. 11) and a win over Wilmington (40-34 on Sept. 25).
Western Brown, which has gone 0-3 all-time in the postseason — with its only appearances in 2008, ’13 and ’14 — is led by quarterback Drew Novak and running back Cade Chisman.
In its playoff win, Novak rushed for 85 yards on eight carries and completed 11 of 15 passes for 115 yards with one touchdown pass to wide receiver Logan Campbell and another to tight end Gary Powell.
Against Clinton-Massie, Campbell had 18 receptions for 373 yards and five touchdowns as Western Brown outgained the Falcons 648-602.
Chisman, who also has seen time at quarterback, rushed 21 times for 138 yards and three touchdowns against Athens.
Hartley’s leaders on offense have been sophomore quarterback Erik Underwood, senior running backs Marcelis Parker and Sumo Kesselly and junior running backs Nyal Johnson, Richard Kenny and Trey Saunders.
Underwood has completed 31 of 53 passes for 553 yards and five touchdowns, and his top targets have been Saunders (17 receptions for 285 yards, 2 TDs) and Kenny (12 catches for 194 yards, 3 TDs).
Saunders also has run for 325 yards and four touchdowns on 39 attempts, and Kenny has 195 yards and one score on 19 carries.
Johnson is the leading rusher with 572 yards and four touchdowns on 92 carries, followed by Parker (314 yards, 7 TDs on 67 rushes) and Kesselly (242 yards, 2 TDs on 40 carries).
MOUNT ORAB WESTERN BROWN at HARTLEY
•When: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16
•Last meeting: First meeting
•Western Brown (5-2) to date: Defeated Hillsboro 62-6; lost to New Richmond 77-61; lost to Clarksville Clinton-Massie 86-54; def. Goshen 29-15; def. Wilmington 40-34; def. Batavia 47-20; def. Athens 42-12
•Hartley (3-3) to date: Lost to Cincinnati Moeller 34-17; def. Watterson 28-21; lost to DeSales 24-21; def. St. Charles 49-10; def. Watterson 42-32; lost to DeSales 16-14
•Top Broncos: Logan Campbell (WR), Cade Chisman (RB), Evan Conatser (DB), Bryar Cornett (LB), Andre LaJoye (LB), Brian Newberry (OL/LB), Drew Novak (QB) and Gary Powell (TE/DL)
•Top Hawks: James Crenshaw (OL/DL), Richard Kenny (WR/DB), Nyal Johnson (RB/DB), Sumo Kesselly (RB/LB), Marcelis Parker (RB/LB), Trey Saunders (RB/DB), Tony Thivener (OL/LB), Daniel Tooson (TE/DL) and Erik Underwood (QB)
Eastmoor Academy at Granville
Eastmoor Academy will try to recapture the momentum it gained during an abbreviated regular season when it travels Friday, Oct. 16, to Granville in the second round of the Division III, Region 11 playoffs following first-round byes for both teams.
After opening with a 49-0 victory over Northland on Sept. 18, the Warriors beat 2019 City League-South Division champion Walnut Ridge 25-19 in overtime Sept. 24.
The ninth-seeded Warriors, who then defeated Africentric 26-6 on Oct. 3 to improve to 3-0, will look to turn the tables in a matchup that they’ve struggled in recently when they play the eighth-seeded Blue Aces.
After losing to Granville in both 2015 and 2016, Eastmoor was blanked 33-0 by the Aces last season on its way to a 6-4 finish.
The winner will play top-seeded DeSales or No. 16 Wilmington in a regional quarterfinal Oct. 23 at the home field of the higher-seeded team.
Granville, which is in the postseason for the fourth consecutive season, has won three in a row and improved to 4-2 by beating Licking Heights 49-20 on Oct. 2.
Blake Rine has been Granville’s quarterback the last four games, completing 49 of 79 passes for 855 yards with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Keyshawn Bonner has 35 receptions for 626 yards and six touchdowns, and Miles Eckenrode has 15 catches for 224 yards and four touchdowns to lead the receiving corps.
Running back Devon Haley has 403 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Defensively for Granville, linebacker Braden Atchison has 50.5 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss, lineman Luke Holmberg has 6.5 tackles for loss and four sacks and linebacker Matt Chaykowski has four interceptions and four tackles for loss.
Eastmoor, which has an eight-game winning streak that includes its last five contests a year ago, is in the postseason for the second time in three seasons after reaching a state semifinal in 2018.
Sophomore Ahmad Armstrong has blossomed into a multi-threat quarterback for the Warriors.
Against Walnut Ridge, Armstrong scored on a 4-yard run in overtime after throwing two touchdowns earlier in the contest.
Other key contributors have been running backs Cameron Foster and Malachi Coleman and wide receivers Devin Lloyd and Matthew Washington.
EASTMOOR ACADEMY at GRANVILLE
•When: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16
•Last meeting: 2019, Granville 33-0
•Eastmoor (3-0) to date: Defeated Northland 49-0; def. Walnut Ridge 25-19 (OT); def. Africentric 26-6
•Granville (4-2) to date: Lost to Waverly 36-35; def. Zanesville 15-7; lost to Licking Valley 24-22; def. Watkins Memorial 28-9; def. Johnstown 42-10; def. Licking Heights 49-20
•Top Warriors: Ahmad Armstrong (QB), Malachi Coleman (DL/WR), Cameron Foster (RB/DB), Devin Lloyd (WR), Brandon Lovelace (LB), Isaiah Pressley (WR/DB), Diamonte Salley (WR/LB) and Matthew Washington (TE/DL)
•Top Blue Aces: Braden Atchison (LB/LS), Keshawn Bonner (WR/DB), Matt Chaykowski (RB/LB), Carsyn Crouch (RB/DB), Miles Eckenrode (WR/DB), Devon Haley (RB/LB), Luke Holmberg (OL/DL) and Blake Rine (QB)
Playoffs — Week 2
Friday, Oct. 16
Division I, Region 2
Springboro (8) at Dublin Coffman (1); Kettering Fairmont (12) at Olentangy Liberty (4)
Division I, Region 3
Hilliard Darby (9) at Pickerington Central (1); New Albany (10) at Pickerington North (2); Upper Arlington (11) at Westerville Central (3); Hilliard Bradley (13) at Reynoldsburg (5)
Division II, Region 7
Watkins Memorial (14) at Westerville South (3); Licking Heights (13) at Olentangy (4); Big Walnut (9) at Dublin Scioto (8); Olentangy Berlin (11) at Wooster (6); Worthington Kilbourne (12) at Uniontown Green (5); Walnut Ridge (15) at Massillon Washington (2); Canal Winchester (17) at Massillon Perry (2)
Division III, Region 11
Wilmington (16) at DeSales (1); Mount Orab Western Brown (15) at Hartley (2); Eastmoor Academy (9) at Granville (8); Columbus South (14) at Thornville Sheridan (3); Hamilton Township (11) at Watterson (6)
Division VII, Region 28
Grove City Christian (11) at St. Henry (6)
Saturday, Oct. 17
Division IV, Region 15
Carrollton (11) at Marion-Franklin (6)
Division V, Region 19
Coshocton (13) at Columbus Academy (4); Piketon (21) at Harvest Prep (5); McDermott Northwest (11) at Ready (6)
Division VI, Region 23
Lucasville Valley (13) at Worthington Christian (4); Lore City Buckeye Trail (9) at Africentric (8)