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It will be a pair of GCL South/GMC showdowns at Nippert Stadium on Saturday. For the first-time that anyone can recall the Region 4, semifinals will include three teams that had at least three losses during the season. The previous two years saw the final four with two schools with at least three defeats before that it was rare to see more than one team advance past round one with more than two blemishes on their record.
You can throw all the records out the door because there are four teams playing for something they haven’t had in a while or even ever in Lakota East’s case, a regional trophy for the case at school.
Here is a look at the Region 4 semi-finals set for Saturday:
DIVISION I, REGION 4
(games played on Saturday, Nov 10 at Nippert Stadium)
#7 Lakota East (8-3) vs. #3 Moeller (8-3) - 2:00 PM – Moeller should be a team that comes out two start this contest feeling loose but expectations that were once sky high, then came back to earth are now once again gaining a fever pitch on Montgomery Road. There could be some tense moments from the Crusaders because the stakes are set high for the program. Lakota East is getting their beaks wet for the first time. They are hoping to set the clocks back again this weekend so that they don’t strike midnight on their Cinderella run.
Having lost back-to-back games to Sycamore and Mason to start October, Lakota East looked dead in the water for a playoff spot sitting at 5-3. With dogged determination and some help along the way the Thunderhawks are making the most of the programs first ever post-season appearance. Head coach, Rick Haynes and his squad are playing with house money. There is no reason not to let it all hang out. Expect a loose and confident squad to take the field after beating Lakota West, who was 8-1, and Springboro, who was 10-0, the past two weeks.
The Big Moe ground game has the potential to be the Achilles Heel for Lakota East. The Thunderhawks have had their trouble stopping teams with polished rushing attacks. Keith Watkins has 1,592 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground for the Crusaders. It has been easy for him to find yards late in contest because monstrous linemen Alex Gall, Chris Henke, Blake Chambliss, Matt Noble and tight end Evan Jansen. This is quarterback Spencer Iacovone’s fifth playoff start. His four scoring tosses last week tied a career high for the senior. Look for defensive backs Logan Kelleher, Sam Hubbard and linebacker Shane Jones to cheat the line of scrimmage and dare Lakota East to throw the ball.
#4 Elder (8-3) vs. #1 Colerain (11-0) - 6:00 PM – The road to the regional title for Colerain runs through the GCL South. It’s a gauntlet no team wants to face. The Cardinals looked sharp last week beating St. Xavier for the second time this fall. Elder is hot as well as they have won five in a row, four against teams that made the playoffs and three who won their first round matchup.
The offense is dialed in for Elder right now. The Panthers are pounding the ball with Chris Schroer and their ground attack. Schroer has run for 1,382 yards and 23 touchdowns. To complicate matters for opposing teams is that quarterback Josh Moore has thrown for 578 yards with scoring tosses and zero interceptions the past two contests. His top targets, Joe Ramstetter and Max Mazza, have combine for 94 receptions, 1,590 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns. GCL South Offensive Lineman of the Year Jake Hilvert along with teammates Nick Marsh, Mike Schroer and crew pave the way up front. Defensively Marc McGeorge, Carl Lengerich, Tony Mazza have been ballhawks all year. McGeorge leads the squad with 7.0 sacks.
The Colerain offense has done a great job of staying out of third-and-long situations this season. It is reflected in their 50 percent combined conversion rate on third and fourth downs. LA Ramsby has thrown for 1,425 yards and rushed for 1,240 yards while accounting for 31 total touchdowns (14 passing & 17 rushing). The always dangerous duo of Chris Davis and Detuan Smith-Moore have combined for 1,907 all-purpose yards and each has found the goal line 10 times. The Cardinals defense is holding opponents to 16 points per tilt, intercepted 16 passes with 28 total takeaways including taking five back to the house.
Greg is a co-founder of TSF and is now entering his ninth season as a Featured Analyst for the website. The Xavier University grad also serves as the Content Manager for the website and is widely considered one of the top high school football experts in the region. If you are interested in covering your team, please CONTACT US.