The regional semifinals of the OHSAA football playoffs are upon us, and only one Champaign County school remains alive in the hunt.
Mechanicsburg (11-0), the third seed in the Division VI, Region 24 bracket, faces off against second-seeded Delphos Jefferson (10-1) this week at Bellefontaine’s AcuSport Stadium.
Kickoff is slated for Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The Indians went through Jefferson in last year’s semifinals.
“It was a pretty even ballgame up front,” M’burg Coach Kurt Forrest said of last year’s matchup. “We hit some big plays, but you can’t count on that consistently.”
Instead, the Indians will lean on what they do well – controlling the line of scrimmage and pounding the football.
Senior quarterback Kaleb Romero has become the all-time leader in rushing at Mechanicsburg – recording 5,601 yards in his career to surpass the previous mark of 5,380 compiled by former teammate Aeryton Erwin from 2011-2014, according to Mechanicsburg statistician Dave Dingey.
He also owns the school’s single-season scoring record with 178 total points, eclipsing the previous mark of 174 established by Irwin in 2013 and equaled by Philip Cook last season.
To prepare for Jefferson, Forrest has been looking at the details.
“They don’t do a lot of different things. They don’t try to confuse you. They come out and play as hard as they can,” Forrest said. “That’s why they’ve had so much success.”
One unique thing that the Wildcats like to do is quick snap the ball. They come out of the huddle and sprint to the line, according to Forrest.
“It’s on us to recognize that, understand it, teach it, and then it’s up to the kids to go do it,” Forrest said.
Pre-sale tickets for Friday night’s game are available at Mechanicsburg High School.
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.