Friday Night Live: Division III regional quarterfinal previews

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Jordan Johnson and DeSales play host to Granville in a Division III, Region 11 quarterfinal Friday, Oct. 23.

Granville at DeSales

Following an unplanned week off for both teams, top-seeded DeSales will play host to eighth-seeded Granville in a Division III, Region 11 quarterfinal Friday, Oct. 23.

The Stallions were supposed to meet 16th-seeded Wilmington and the Blue Aces were set to open the playoffs against ninth-seeded Eastmoor Academy in second-round games Oct. 16, but both were canceled the day before and are considered no-contests by the OHSAA. 

DeSales is 5-1 and Granville is 4-2, with both last playing Oct. 2. The winner will play fourth-seeded Jonathan Alder or fifth-seeded London in a regional semifinal Oct. 30 at the home field of the higher-seeded team.

“I’ve already seen a bunch of film and I think (the Aces) look really, really good,” Stallions coach Ryan Wiggins said. “This is a very, very good football team.”

DeSales is on a two-game winning streak, with its last victory a 16-14 decision at Hartley on Oct. 2 to wrap up the CCL championship.

The top nine seeds in Region 11 had first-round byes, but both Granville and DeSales were deep in preparations for their expected playoff openers when their games were canceled.

The Stallions relied on their ground attack to win their last game against Hartley, as senior running back Quintell Quinn rushed for 131 yards and one touchdown on 31 carries and junior running back Jonathan Thompson had 118 yards on 12 rushes. 

Senior quarterback Whit Hobgood was just 1-for-6 passing for 7 yards.

Sophomore Nicky Pentello — who saw action at several positions, including quarterback, during the first four weeks of season — has not played since a 35-34 setback Sept. 18 at home against Watterson but is expected to return. 

One player for Granville who has impressed Wiggins is senior receiver Keshawn Bonner. He has 35 receptions for 626 yards and six touchdowns and has added 18 rushes for 109 yards and three scores.

Senior Blake Rine has been at quarterback the last four games and has completed 49 of 79 passes for 855 yards with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Junior running back Devon Haley has rushed for 403 yards and two touchdowns on 86 carries.

“Their quarterback is unbelievable,” Wiggins said. “He’s got a great arm. They’re running good schemes offensively, and defensively they’ve been good. They have speed, they have size and they have good players. 

“They have some toughness, they’re disciplined and they’re well-coached. We’re in playoff football, where it’s going to be tough sledding.”

GRANVILLE at DeSALES

•When: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23

•Last meeting: First meeting

•Granville (4-2) to date: Lost to Waverly 36-35; defeated Zanesville 15-7; lost to Licking Valley 24-22; def. Watkins Memorial 28-9; def. Johnstown 42-10; def. Licking Heights 49-20

•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 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)

•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)

Trey Saunders and Hartley play host to Dresden Tri-Valley in a Division III, Region 11 quarterfinal Friday, Oct. 23.

Dresden Tri-Valley at Hartley

After it won back-to-back Division IV state titles in 2015 and 2016, Hartley moved to Division III and had its 2017 season end with a 13-9 loss to Dresden Tri-Valley in the Region 11 final.

The Hawks have remained one of the top teams in Region 11 since that time, reaching a state semifinal last fall and earning the No. 2 seed for this year’s playoffs.

Tri-Valley, meanwhile, spent the 2018 season in Division II, Region 7 before failing to qualify for the postseason last fall after moving back to Region 11.

The teams will meet for the first time since that 2017 matchup in a regional quarterfinal Friday, Oct. 23, with the 10th-seeded Scotties entering the game at 7-1 and the host Hawks at 4-3.

“We’ve tangled with Tri-Valley before and we have a pretty vivid history,” Hartley coach Brad Burchfield said. “They’re physical and really well coached. Our kids are very, very excited to play them at Jack Ryan Field.”

Tri-Valley, which upset seventh-seeded Jackson 14-12 on Oct. 16 in a second-round game, played a regular-season schedule that included four Division IV programs and one Division V team. Its only loss was 33-0 on Sept. 25 to Thornville Sheridan, which is the third seed in Region 11.

The Hartley-Tri-Valley winner will face Sheridan or sixth-seeded Watterson on Oct. 30 in a regional semifinal.

The Hawks, who beat 15th-seeded Mount Orab Western Brown 65-14 on Oct. 16, have two losses to top-seeded DeSales — by a combined five points — and the other to Cincinnati Moeller, a Division I program.

Tri-Valley is now coached by Cameron West after Justin Buttermore, who is now Upper Arlington’s coach, led the program during the 2017 meeting.

Leading the Scotties’ offense are running back Blake Sands and quarterback Aidan Fritter. Sands has rushed for 777 yards and seven touchdowns on 110 carries, while Fritter has completed 60 of 101 passes for 844 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions and has added 254 yards and five scores rushing.

Fritter also had a game-saving interception while playing defense during the closing seconds against Jackson.

Another top player is Alex Williams, a wide receiver and defensive back who has 15 receptions for 106 yards and one touchdown and three interceptions.

Hartley led Western Brown 52-7 at halftime in its playoff opener after a first-round bye.

“I was pleased that so many kids contributed,” Burchfield said. “It was a complete game and I can see us getting better. So many kids are improving and growing in confidence. That’s awesome to see and it’s a lot of fun.”

DRESDEN TRI-VALLEY at HARTLEY

•When: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23

•Last meeting: 2017, Tri-Valley 13-9

•Tri-Valley (7-1) to date: Defeated McConnelsville Morgan 38-0; def. Zanesville Maysville 35-0; def. Duncan Falls Philo 21-16; def. Warsaw River View 35-21; lost to Thornville Sheridan 33-0; def. New Concord John Glenn 41-13; def. Centennial 50-0; def. Jackson 14-12

•Hartley (4-3) 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; def. Mount Orab Western Brown 65-14

•Top Scotties: Aidan Fritter (QB/DB), Jalen Goins-Chandler (WR/DB), Hansel Holmes (LB/WR/P), Luke Hill (RB/DB), Blake Sands (RB/LB), Alex Williams (WR/DB) and Ben Williams (OL/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)

Brandon Trout (left) takes a handoff from quarterback Jake Hoying during Watterson's 39-21 win over Hamilton Township on Oct. 16. The Eagles visit Thornville Sheridan on Friday, Oct. 23, for a Division III, Region 11 quarterfinal.

Watterson at Thornville Sheridan

During its 39-21 victory over 11th-seeded Hamilton Township on Oct. 16 in the second round of the Division III, Region 11 playoffs, sixth-seeded Watterson built a 27-14 halftime lead and then held the Rangers to just a last-minute touchdown.

Conversely, the Eagles allowed 297 yards of offense and the Rangers held the ball for 31 minutes, 38 seconds. Watterson also had eight penalties for 90 yards.

“It was obvious to me that we had a bye week, because I thought we weren’t as crisp as we have been,” Eagles coach Brian Kennedy said. “There’s a lot of things we can do better, especially on defense, but on both sides of the ball.”

Watterson hopes to have a sharpened focus when it travels Friday, Oct. 23, to third-seeded Thornville Sheridan for a regional quarterfinal.

The winner will face second-seeded Hartley or 10th-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley on Oct. 30 in a regional semifinal at the home field of the higher-seeded team.

Watterson has won four of its last five games and is 4-3, while Sheridan improved to 7-0 by defeating 14th-seeded Columbus South 27-0 on Oct. 16 following a first-round bye.

The Generals are led by running back Jason Munyan, who rushed 19 times for 183 yards and three touchdowns against South. 

Quarterback Josh O’Ryan completed only three of 10 passes for 71 yards, but one was a 29-yard touchdown to Logan Ranft.

While Watterson split with the top seed in Region 11, DeSales, and lost twice against Hartley, Sheridan’s regular-season schedule featured four Division IV programs and one Division V opponent. 

The Generals — who were seventh in the state poll released after the first week of the postseason, ahead of No. 8 DeSales — also beat Tri-Valley 33-0 on Sept. 25.

Against Hamilton Township, quarterback Jake Hoying completed 11 of 16 passes for 167 yards and one touchdown, and running back Cam Nickleson had 14 rushes for 158 yards and four touchdowns.

Wide receivers Andrew Bettendorf (3 catches, 75 yards, 1 TD) and Brandon Trout (3 catches, 30 yards) and tight end Davis Boone (4 catches, 47 yards) were Hoying’s top targets.

Lineman Nick Youell had 6.5 tackles and a fumble recovery, and linebacker Anthony DeFilippo had 7.5 tackles.

“Our offense did progressively get better,” Nickleson said. “It was a real good week for us, but we’ve got to get better for Sheridan. The whole offensive line overall every week always does a good job for me. They open it for me and they let me do the rest.”

WATTERSON at THORNVILLE SHERIDAN

•When: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23

•Last meeting: First meeting

•Watterson (4-3) to date: Lost to DeSales 28-22 (OT); lost to Hartley 28-21; defeated Teays Valley 39-0; def. DeSales 35-34 (2OT); lost to Hartley 42-32; def. St. Charles 38-14; def. Hamilton Township 39-21

•Thornville Sheridan (7-0) to date: Def. New Lexington 55-18; def. New Concord John Glenn 20-0; def. Zanesville Maysville 33-14; def. Duncan Falls Philo 42-14; def. Dresden Tri-Valley 33-0; def. Warsaw River View 48-7; def. Columbus South 27-0

•Top Eagles: Andrew Bettendorf (WR/DB), Henry Blevins (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)

•Top Generals: Corey Amspaugh (DB), Logan Morris (OL/DL), Jason Munyan (RB/DB), Josh O’Ryan (QB/DB), Logan Ranft (WR/DB), Colton Talbot (OL/DL), Tyler Talbot (TE/LB) and Shay Taylor (WR/LB)

Playoffs — Week 3

Friday, Oct. 23

Division I, Region 2

Olentangy Liberty (4) at Dublin Coffman (1)

Division I, Region 3

Hilliard Bradley (13) at Pickerington Central (1); New Albany (10) at Westerville Central (3)

Division II, Region 7

Olentangy Berlin (11) at Westerville South (3); Worthington Kilbourne (12) at Olentangy (4); Dublin Scioto (8) at Massillon Perry (1)

Division III, Region 11

Granville (8) at DeSales (1); Dresden Tri-Valley (10) at Hartley (2); Watterson (6) at Thornville Sheridan (3)

Saturday, Oct. 24

Division V, Region 19

Harvest Prep (5) at Columbus Academy (4); Ready (6) at Wheelersburg (3)

Division VI, Region 23

Africentric (8) at Beverly Fort Frye (1)