Anna showed in a Division VI, Region 23 quarterfinal at Minster Memorial Field on Friday that playoff games are not a bugaboo for the program this season. With that fear gone, the squad will try to continue what it hopes will be a long postseason by containing another high-powered opponent this Friday.
The Rockets (10-1) will face Sherwood Fairview (10-1) in a regional semifinal playoff game at 7 p.m. on Friday at Wapakoneta’s Harmon Field. The team is one of three area squads left in the playoff and the only that will play Friday. Fort Loramie and New Bremen will take the field in playoff games on Saturday.
Last Friday’s win was a rare playoff victory for Anna. The program had a 2-11 playoff record entering the matchup with the Midwest Athletic Conference rival Wildcats and hadn’t won a postseason game in a decade. Many of the team’s players were on the squad the last two years, when its seasons were ended by last-second playoff losses.
There was not much need for worry about a last-second loss against Minster. The Rockets built an early three-touchdown lead, and after Minster cut the gap to 27-21 in the third quarter, Anna scored the last three TDs to earn a 47-21 win.
Anna, which was ranked No. 1 in D-VI in the final state AP poll, racked up 601 yards of offense in the win and held Minster’s high-powered attack to 357 yards. The squad also intercepted three passes by Minster quarterback Jacob Niemeyer, who had thrown three interceptions in 10 regular-season games.
The Rockets will need a strong pass defense against Fairview as they try to win a second playoff game in the same season for the first time in program history.
The Apaches opened the season with a 17-14 loss to Division IV playoff qualifier Wauseon (9-2) and haven’t lost since. The squad, which opened the playoffs with a 29-27 win at Lima Central Catholic (9-2), averages 38.6 points and 397 yards of offense per game.
Senior quarterback Cade Polter has led the Apaches’ attack. He’s completed 222-of-325 passes for 2,739 yards with 32 touchdowns and six interceptions. He’s also run for 251 yards and six touchdowns on 71 carries.
Polter spreads his passes around; four players have over 500 receiving yards. Riley Lucas has caught 38 passes for 581 yards and eight touchdowns while Caleb Frank has caught 49 passes for 558 yards and six touchdowns. Luke Timbrook has caught 44 passes for 530 yards and five TDs and Doug Rakes has caught 40 passes for 502 yards and eight TDs.
Timbrook and Lucas are the team’s leading rushers. Timbrook has run for 509 yards and eight TDs on 61 carries while Lucas has run for 329 yards and five TDs on 24 carries.
The Apaches have allowed an average of 196.9 yards and 7.6 points per game. Chayse Singer has recorded a team-high 120 tackles and five sacks. The team has recovered four fumbles and intercepted 12 passes.
The Rockets average 440 yards and 45.4 points per game and allow an average of 250 yards and 13 points per game. Senior running back Riley Huelskamp has run for 1,807 yards and 29 touchdowns while Bart Bixler has run for 1,147 yards and 22 touchdowns and thrown for 1,245 yards and 21 touchdowns with five interceptions.
Fort Loramie vs. Marion Local
The Redskins (10-1) will try to do something no other team has done in the last nine years on Saturday in a Div. VII, Region 28 semifinal at St. Marys’ Alumni Field: beat Marion Local in a regional game.
The Flyers have won regional titles the previous eight years and have advanced to a state final each year. They last lost in a regional playoff game in 2010.
Marion Local, which was ranked No. 1 in D-VII in the final state poll, allowed MAC lows in yards (195.1) and points (10) per game in regular season and kept up their stellar defense with a 56-6 opening-round win over Mississinawa Valley last Friday.
The Flyers average 314 yards and 32.7 points per game. Quarterback Kyle Muhlenkamp completed 76-of-146 passes for 1,317 yards and nine touchdowns with 10 interceptions while Brandon Fleck led the team with 758 rushing yards on 111 carries with 10 touchdowns.
Fort Loramie, which was ranked No. 2 in the final state poll, averages 366 yards and 48 points per game. Junior quarterback Collin Moore has thrown for 1,314 yards and 16 TDs and is one of three players that have over 300 rushing yards this season. A variety of players have caught passes; three players have over 250 receiving yards.
The Redskins allow an average of 112 yards and 5.7 points per game in regular season.
New Bremen vs. Lima Perry
New Bremen (8-3) will try to keep its playoff run going when it faces Northwest Central Conference champion Lima Perry (8-3) in a D-VII, Region 28 semifinal at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium on Saturday.
The Cardinals average 330.6 yards and 27.9 points per game and allow an average of 263.6 yards and 22 points per game.
New Bremen junior quarterback Mitchell Hays has completed 36-of-87 passes for 449 yards with four TDs and six interceptions and has run for a team-best 1,012 yards and 15 touchdowns on 148 carries. Junior Zach Bertke has run for 833 yards and eight TDs and junior Wyatt Dicke has run for 656 yards and six TDs.
Perry lost its first three games and then won seven consecutive league games to capture the NWCC title. The Commodores opened the playoffs with a 44-0 win at Cincinnati College Prep on Saturday.
Sophomore quarterback Ryan Yingst has thrown for 1,775 yards and 27 touchdowns with 11 interceptions and has rushed for 917 yards and 16 touchdowns on 131 carries. Senior Chazz Jackson leads the team with 49 receptions for 974 yards with 16 touchdowns.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.