Olentangy at Massillon Perry: Braves preparing for Panthers’ vaunted wing-T

Dave Purpura
ThisWeek group
Olentangy's Landon Johnson scores a touchdown against Worthington Kilbourne on Oct. 23. The Braves won the Division II, Region 7 playoff game 35-13.

An Olentangy defense that is plus-12 in turnovers will face perhaps its stiffest test to date Friday, Oct. 30, when the fourth-seeded Braves visit top-seeded Massillon Perry in a Division II, Region 7 semifinal.

Perry, which is 8-0 and was ranked fourth in the final state poll, has rushed for 2,816 yards in the wing-T, completed only 17 passes all season and outscored its opponents 237-63.

“They’re a heck of a program (with a) legendary coach in Keith Wakefield. He’s a master at running the wing-T,” Olentangy coach Mark Solis said. “You can see that they’re tough, they’re blue collar, they're disciplined, they’re fundamentally sound, they play well together, they’re physical. There’s a lot of superlatives that I can use to describe them. But I have a lot for our guys, too.”

Olentangy improved to 6-2 with a 35-13 victory over 12th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne in a regional quarterfinal. 

Quarterback Kaden Doup completed 11 of 20 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns, both to Jace Middleton. Landon Johnson ran for 52 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries and Middleton caught five passes for 138 yards in a game that began Oct. 23 but was suspended until the next morning because of bad weather.

Perry running back Josh Lemon has rushed for 1,540 yards and 17 touchdowns on 182 carries to pace the Panthers. Devonte Armstrong has nine catches for 142 yards, and Samuel Thompson has four of Perry’s nine interceptions.

Lemon had 191 yards on 22 carries in a 35-10 home win over eighth-seeded Dublin Scioto on Oct. 23.

Olentangy has forced 16 turnovers, including three interceptions against Kilbourne, and committed only four.

“The turnover margin has been very good for us,” Solis said. “Our defense, we still have some things to clean up. We weren’t good on third down on a few occasions getting off the field, but a win is a win. Nobody cares about how you win in the tournament.”

The Braves are seeking their first regional championship since 2014 and the second in program history.

The winner will face second-seeded Massillon Washington or third-seeded Westerville South in the regional final Nov. 6.

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave

OLENTANGY at MASSILLON PERRY

•When: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30

•Last meeting: First meeting

•Olentangy (6-2) to date: Defeated Olentangy Orange 7-3; def. Olentangy Berlin 45-33; def. Thomas Worthington 43-7; def. Hilliard Darby 37-6; lost to Dublin Jerome 27-16; lost to Marysville 28-7; def. Licking Heights 47-0; def. Worthington Kilbourne 35-13

•Perry (8-0) to date: Def. Uniontown Lake 21-3; def. Canton Central Catholic 28-0; def. North Canton Hoover 20-14; def. Canton McKinley 35-23; def. Massillon Jackson 14-13; def. Canton GlenOak 42-0; def. Canal Winchester 42-0; def. Dublin Scioto 35-10

•Top Braves: Kaden Doup (QB), Jason Feasel (OL/DL), T.J. Gadd (OL/DL), Caleb Gossett (WR/DB), Ethan Hand (TE/DL), Landon Johnson (RB/LB), Daniel Kelly (WR/DB), Jace Middleton (WR/LB) and Toby Wilson (OL)

•Top Panthers: Davonte Armstrong (DB), Jovoni Lapanja (DB), Luke Laubacher (DB), Josh Lemon (RB), Samuel Thompson (DB), Dom Vinas (RB/LB), Hayden Vinas (QB) and Cayman Williams (LB)