Thornville Sheridan at Hartley: Hawks looking to ground 'aggressive' Generals

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Marcelis Parker (30), Erik Underwood (18) and Hartley play host to Thornville Sheridan in a Division III, Region 11 semifinal Friday, Oct. 30.

After winning a pair of tight matchups over Watterson during the regular season, Hartley did its part to set up a third meeting with the Eagles when it beat 10th-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley 34-14 in a Division III, Region 11 quarterfinal Oct. 23.

The team the second-seeded Hawks face Friday, Oct. 30, at home won’t be sixth-seeded Watterson but another opponent that coach Brad Burchfield expects to be equally formidable in third-seeded Thornville Sheridan.

Coming off a 28-20 victory over Watterson, the Generals bring an 8-0 record into their first matchup against Hartley, which is 5-3.

The Hartley-Sheridan winner will face top-seeded DeSales or fourth-seeded Jonathan Alder on Nov. 6 for the regional championship.

“They have the distinct look of the type of team that wins in the playoffs: a strong offensive balance but with a clear identity,” Burchfield said. “They’re senior-laden and are used to winning, really aggressive and physical. … This is going to be the best team we’ve played.”

Hartley managed to finish its regional quarterfinal Oct. 23 despite a lengthy weather delay. Nyal Johnson rushed 13 times for 92 yards and one touchdown, Marcelis Parker had 17 carries for 91 yards and one score and Sumo Kesselly added nine carries for 71 yards and two touchdowns. 

Quarterback Erik Underwood threw a 40-yard touchdown to Trey Saunders early in the first quarter for Hartley, which built a 20-0 lead.

“We need to continue to develop consistency (on offense),” Burchfield said. “We’ve shown flashes of doing really good things, but we have to continue to get more consistent.

“At this time of the year, you’re most pleased to win. Getting off to a great start (against Tri-Valley) was important and it’s always even more effective playing at home. I really thought with how lengthy the delay was, and the protocols required, it was a big advantage for us to play at home.”

Sheridan took a 21-20 lead over Watterson with 36 seconds left in the second quarter when quarterback Josh O’Ryan ran for a 4-yard touchdown to cap an 11-play, 80-yard drive.

Running back Jason Munyan’s 2-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter completed the scoring, and the Generals got an interception from Corey Amspaugh in the third and another from Shay Taylor in the final minute to hold on for the win.

Munyan finished with 33 rushes for 143 yards and three touchdowns, while O’Ryan completed nine of 17 passes for 106 yards and rushed 14 times for 66 yards and one score.

Sheridan is making its third consecutive playoff appearance. In 2018, it lost 20-14 to Eastmoor Academy for the Region 11 championship.

Hartley is the defending regional champion.

“Sheridan is really, really good everywhere,” Burchfield said. “They have a great running back (Munyan) that you can tell is a very, very tough runner. He wears people down and has the ability to be explosive. He’s really good.”

julrey@thisweeknews.com

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THORNVILLE SHERIDAN at HARTLEY

•When: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30

•Last meeting: First meeting

•Thornville Sheridan (8-0) to date: Defeated 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; def. Watterson 28-20

•Hartley (5-3) 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; def. Dresden Tri-Valley 34-14

•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)

•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)