There will be plenty on the line on Saturday night when the McNicholas Rockets and Bishop Watterson Coyotes square off at Northmont High School
Watterson defeated St. Francis DeSales for a second time then beat Elida (and Tiffin Columbian to win their regional. None of those opponents scored more than seven points, yet the Coyotes failed to win any those tilts by more than 14.
McNicholas has just continued to get better and their victories over Dunbar, Roger Bacon and Eaton show that trend. The Rockets only played two teams with a losing record all season. Their opponents combined record is 71-48 (including Roger Bacon just once).
We great you ready for kickoff of the Ohio Division III semi-final tilt:
#2 MCNICHOLAS (11-2) VS. #1 BISHOP WATTERSON (11-1)
Good Samaritan Stadium (Northmont HS)
Saturday, Nov. 27 - 7:00 p.m.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Watterson linebacker Matt Redfield was the Central District's Defensive Player of the Year. The Coyote defense has picked off 18 passes. Quarterback Patrick Rhomberg leads a backfield that uses a committee of players to run the football. The senior was a First-Team All-Central District member in 2010. Brad McCurdy, Islah Murray, Ray Cook and Redfield will take turns carrying the ball. For McNicholas, Ryan Haynes is the leader of the defense. He continues to build on a successful season with three sacks and an interception return for a touchdown in the post-season. Quarterback Matt Staubach is the man on offense. The senior has turned the ball over just four times all season while rushing for 1,140 yards, 22 rushing scores, 765 passing yards and eight touchdown tosses. He's not the only one who can hurt you as multi-faceted threats Rob Rice (1, 086 yards), Matt Norrish (973) and Dillon Stanfield (839) are all-purpose yard monsters.
TEAM TRENDS: McNicholas comes into the contest allowing just 240 yards and 15 points per game. The Rockets have held 10 of their 13 foes to 14 points or less. However, they've given up 42 points to Alter, 35 to Fenwick and 36 to Badin. Watterson mirrors the Rockets' and their defensive prowess. The Coyotes have allowed seven points or fewer to 10 of their 13 opponents, including three shutouts. They are only giving up 7.5 points per game.
MCNICHOLAS' KEYS TO VICTORY: The Rockets are going to have to win the time of possession battle on offense if they are to win this contest. McNicholas has been playing fast and flying around with reckless abandon on defense they will need another spirited effort on this side of the ball in order to come out victorious.
BISHOP WATTERSON'S KEYS TO VICTORY: Bishop Watterson will to spread the wealth on offense. The Coyotes have many weapons and if they can dangle that talent out there in one-on-one situations it is only going to make life difficult for the Rockets. Defensively, the secondary has been very opportunistic with interceptions, but McNick is not going to put the ball up in the air if they don't have to. If they can stuff the run and force the issue, Watterson will be able to come up with a couple of turnovers to create distance between the squads.
FINAL TAKE: Something has to give on defense. Don't expect a high-scoring game as this will be a battle of attrition for the offenses. This affair will be nip and tuck all the way to the final gun…WATTERSON 17, McNICHOLAS 14
Written by Greg Shoemaker, TriStateFootball.com