Big Board Friday playoff preview: Week 1

Big Board Friday playoff preview: Week 1
(Source: WTOL)

(WTOL) - The 10-week grind of the regular season is over. Conference games and rivalries are in the rear view mirror. Now teams who survived the regular season can focus on winning a coveted state championship.

The Whitmer Panthers (8-2) are looking to continue their five-game win streak against the visiting Battling Bees of Medina (8-2) out of the Greater Cleveland Conference.

Whitmer is coming off a 41-7 win over St. John's Jesuit in the final week of the regular season. The Panthers finished 6-1 in conference play, behind undefeated Central Catholic.

The key to Whitmer's offense, which averaged 37 points per game in the regular season, is their balanced attack.

The Panthers' rushing attack is led by senior running backs Larry Patterson and Malik Moore. Patterson has 515 yards on 99 carries over the season with eight touchdowns. Meanwhile Moore has put up 401 yards on 81 carries over the regular season and six touchdowns. Sophomore Kobe Myers has also had an impressive season, putting up 373 yards and five touchdowns.

Meanwhile, freshman quarterback Riley Keller had thrown for over 1,700 yards through the air and accounted for 17 touchdowns. Keller's favorite target, Nick Witcher, has almost 900 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns.

Whitmer's defense has had a strong finish to the season as well, allowing an average of nine points per game since their week five loss against Central Catholic.

Medina comes into the game on the heels of a 51-43 loss to conference champion Solon. They finished the season 4-2 in conference play.

Like Whitmer, Medina also brings in a powerful offense. The Battling Bees averaged 45 points per game. They're defense has been strong this season, allowing only 19 points per game. But in their two losses this season, Medina allowed 35 points to Mentor and 51 points to Solon.

Whitmer and Medina will face at 7 p.m. Friday night at Whitmer High School in Toledo.

Springfield (10-0) is looking to continue their undefeated season when they host Westlake (7-3) Friday night.

Springfield has done it all this season. The Blue Devils faced tough injuries, played in tight games, and pitched a few blowouts. And through it all, they remained resilient enough to stay undefeated and win the Northern Lakes Conference.

Running back Bryan Koback led the Blue Devils in the first half of the season, putting up almost 1,000 yards and 18 touchdowns by week five. However, he suffered a broken leg, ending his season. But Springfield recovered from the loss of their star player.

Sophomore quarterback A.J. Gucciardo has picked up the slack in the offense. Gucciardo has over 2,200 yards through the air, with a completion percentage of 69 percent. He has 26 touchdowns through the air.

Senior Lamar Witcher has almost half of those touchdowns. Witcher has over 829 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns.

Defensively, the Blue Devils are only giving up an average of 15 points per game, including a shutout win over Napoleon. Springfield has held their opponents to single digits in half of their games through the regular season.

Westlake recovered from three losses in the first half of the regular-season to finish off their season in dominating fashion.

Following their week six loss against Midview, the Demons put up over 50 points in each of their remaining four games.

Westlake is averaging 41 points per game while giving up an average of 33 points per game.

Springfield and Westlake will face off at 7 p.m. Friday night at Springfield High School in Holland.

Meanwhile, across the border in Michigan, Bedford (8-2) is looking to punch their ticket in the the third round of the playoffs against Franklin (7-3).

The Kicking Mules are coming off a dominating 43-21 win over Roosevelt in round one.

The score of the game is deceiving as Bedford jumped out to a 36-0 lead in the third quarter, putting the game out of reach early. The defense allowed only 191 total yards, including 56 rushing yards by Roosevelt. Now they return home to face off against Franklin.

Bedford's defense has been a key to their success, never allowing more than 30 points. The Kicking Mules have given up an average of 16 points per game.

Franklin also coming off a big win, beating Woodhaven 49-28 in their first round match up. The Patriots finished second in the Kensington Lakes Conference.

Franklin's offense is averaging 34 points per game, while giving up an average of 20 points per game.

Bedford and Franklin kickoff at 7 p.m. at Bedford High School in Temperance.

Other notable playoff games this week include:

  • Glenville at Anthony Wayne
  • Logan at Port Clinton
  • Seneca East at Ayersville
  • Colonel Crawford at Liberty Center
  • Tinora at Patrick Henry
  • Findlay at Dublin Jerome
  • Bellevue at Ottawa-Glandorf

Make sure to check the Big Board app for living scoring update throughout all of Friday's biggest games. Then tune into Big Board Friday during the 11 p.m. newscast on WTOL 11.

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