High School Football: Edgewood looks to extend winning streak to nine

Cougars host Stebbins in second-round playoff game tonight: Lakota West, Fairfield. Badin and Carlisle also alive in postseason

The Edgewood football team had some confidence heading into the playoffs on a seven-game winning streak, but coach Scott Clemmons said the last two games of the regular season especially prepared them for postseason competition.

Clemmons is hoping that pays off in the second round of the Division II, Region 8 playoffs as the Cougars (8-2) hostStebbins (6-4) on Friday at Kumler Field.

Edgewood flipped a switch after a pair of losses to Milford and Franklin to open the season and was rolling through opponents with wins by 20 or more points every week. When it came time to play 2020 Southwest Ohio Conference champion Ross, Clemmons knew he would find out more about exactly what kind of team he was coaching.

The Cougars shut out the Rams, 42-0, on Oct. 15 to clinch the SWOC title and then beat Harrison, 48-13, in the finale the next week to claim the crown outright. They continued their strong play last week and won their eighth in a row with a 37-10 win over Sidney to open the playoffs.

“We played well against Ross, but to shut them out, that was something you weren’t expecting because of the offensive style they play, the skilled backs they have, but our young men kept grinding and making plays,” Clemmons said. “As we got to the end of the game, you’re just thinking, ‘Wow, this is really happening.’ I was just so proud of the young men. They went out and played the game the way they were supposed to and did the job they were supposed to do, and they were rewarded. That was big for us.”

That game against Ross was important for postseason preparations, Clemmons said because most of the schedule to that point had been against spread offenses that focused more on the passing game. The Rams are a power running team that forced the Cougars to think differently on defense, and now Edgewood has felt ready for any kind of offense.

Stebbins is more like what Edgewood faced all season with a heavy emphasis on passing. Stebbins QB Nate Keller led the Miami Valley League with 2,009 yards passing and 26 touchdowns. However, the Indians also have the ability to run. Keller adds 553 yards and four touchdowns on the ground and running back Omar Holloway has 897 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns.

“Coach (Greg) Bonifay was a great football player in Miamisburg in the 90s, and he’s a great coach,” Clemmons said. “They are gritty, tough, pay attention to details. Offensively, they are very dangerous. They have a quarterback that can throw but can take off and run too. Defensively, they’ve got some good guys up front. They get after it, and that will create issues.

“We just need to do what we’ve been doing, putting together good, long drives, keep their offense off the field, fly around and create turnover opportunities on defense and take care of things on special teams.”

Edgewood is led by quarterback Eli Jones (847 yards passing), running backs Tavionne Crosby (961 yards rushing, 19 touchdowns), Jay Dailey (859 yards rushing, 17 touchdowns) and Braden Sullivan (594 yards receiving, five touchdowns), middle linebacker Radical Rothermel (81 tackles), outside linebacker Carter Smith (45 tackles) and defensive backs Layne Howell and Jake Valerio.

Fairfield, West continue in Division I

Fairfield (6-4) faces one of the more difficult matchups, traveling to play top-seeded Moeller (8-3) on Friday in the second round of the Division I, Region 4 playoffs Friday, while third-seeded Lakota West (9-1) hosts Milford (7-4).

The Indians have won four straight and five of their last six, but Moeller has been challenged by a schedule that included three out-of-state opponents and three overtime games – two wins against Cleveland-area powers.

The Firebirds have won nine straight games, including last week’s 49-14 win over West Clermont, who they also beat in Week 2 in a rout. Milford played West Clermont in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference and won 28-7 on Oct. 22 in the regular-season finale.

Badin continues perfect season

Top-seeded Badin (10-0) is looking to keep its perfect season going this week as the Rams host Lima Shawnee (7-4) in a Division III, Region 12 playoff game at Hamilton High on Friday.

Shawnee beat Cincinnati Hughes 28-0 in its postseason opener last week, while the Rams shut out Vandalia Butler, 37-0. Badin is looking to advance to the third round for a third straight season.

Carlisle hits the road again

In Division V, Region 20, the 13th-seeded Indians won their third straight game last week, upsetting No. 4 Reading 34-23 on the road. QB Kole Larison completed the only three passes he attempted, and all three went for touchdowns to Grant Chaney. Carlisle added 283 yards on the ground behind Talon Borders (22 carries, 141 yards) and Brice Naylor (20-95).

The Indians (6-5) travel to fifth-seeded Versailles on Saturday.

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