WEST LIBERTY – West Liberty-Salem (9-2) won its opening-round Division VI, Region 22 playoff game at Cincinnati Country Day and earned the right to play top-seeded powerhouse Marion Local (10-1) this Saturday. The game will be played at Wapakoneta’s Harmon Field at 7 p.m.
“Anytime you win in the postseason, it’s a great feeling,” WL-S Coach Dan McGill said. “It’s exciting because you’re playing teams you’ve never played before.”
Marion Local has won a boatload of trophies, including state championships in 2000, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
West Liberty-Salem’s players are no doubt aware of the mystique that surrounds the Flyers’ football program – and the possible reward that would come from an upset.
“I think they’re excited about the opportunity. It’s not often you get to play a team that has had the success they’ve had,” McGill said. “It goes without saying that we’re clearly the underdog. That’s something that we’ve talked about and we’re comfortable with that role.”
West Liberty-Salem’s skill players will be in for a treat with the switch to turf this week, a surface which tends to bring out the best in top athletes.
“The surface is the same for everybody, but I think certain kids play better on fast surfaces. I think our guys are going to do well playing on turf,” said McGill, adding that the surface will be among the least of his worries on Saturday.
The Tigers will again be looking to play sound, fundamental football and hope for the best. McGill said his team breaks down film every week, hoping to fix things like footwork issues and hand placement on the lines, as well as route running.
“The message really hasn’t changed since Week 1,” McGill said. “You just keep stressing fundamentals.”
Reach Justin Miller at 652-1331 (ext. 1776) or on Twitter @UDC_Miller.