Anna crushed one high-scoring opponent last week and will look to do the same to another as it tries to win its first regional championship in school history this week.
The Rockets (11-1) will face Archbold (11-1) in the Division VI, Region 23 final at 7 p.m. on Friday at Lima Spartan Stadium. It’s the first of two regional championships featuring area teams this weekend. New Bremen will face Marion Local in the Div. VII, Region 28 final on Saturday.
Anna overcame an early two-touchdown deficit last Friday and beat Sherwood Fairview 54-20. It was the team’s tenth running-clock win of the season and marked the 11th time it has scored 42 or more points in a game.
The Blue Streaks haven’t scored quite as much as Anna this season but have still scored a lot. They average 36.6 points and 407 yards of offense per game.
Archbold advanced to the regional final by beating Coldwater 27-21 in a first-round game and Liberty Center 31-30 last Friday. Liberty Center, which beat the Blue Streaks 39-36 in regular season, scored with 33 seconds left but missed a two-point conversion try to take the lead.
Archbold sophomore quarterback DJ Newman took over as the team’s starting quarterback in Week 4 and has thrown for 1,900 yards and 18 touchdowns with seven interceptions and has completed 68.2 percent of his passes. He’s also rushed for 607 yards and eight TDs on 106 carries.
Junior running back Noah Gomez is the team’s leading rusher. He’s gained 906 yards on 132 carries and scored 12 TDs and also has caught 20 passes for 242 yards. Caleb Hogrefe has gained 480 rushing yards on 97 carries and scored 11 TDs.
Antonio Cruz is the team’s leading receiver. He’s caught 59 passes for 869 yards and 12 touchdowns. Brandon Taylor, who started a quarterback in the first three games, has caught 28 passes for 438 yards with three touchdowns. Elijah Zimmerman has caught 23 passes for 433 yards and six TDs.
Archbold has allowed an average of 211 yards and 17.6 points per game.
Anna, which was ranked No. 1 in D-VI in the final state AP poll, racked up 591 yards of offense against Fairview while holding the Apaches’ high-scoring attack to 197.
The Rockets average 453 yards and 46.1 points per game and allow an average of 246 yards and 13.6 points per game. Senior running back Riley Huelskamp has run for 2,099 yards and 34 touchdowns while Bart Bixler has run for 1,277 yards and 24 touchdowns and thrown for 1,366 yards and 22 touchdowns with five interceptions.
New Bremen vs. Marion Local
New Bremen will look to win a regional title on Saturday at Wapakoneta’s Harmon Field against a team that has won regional championships the last eight years and advanced to a state final each year.
The Cardinals (9-3) will face Midwest Athletic Conference rival Marion Local, which edged Fort Loramie 24-21 in overtime last Saturday to advance. The Flyers 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.
The Flyers average 307.25 yards and 32 points per game. Quarterback Kyle Muhlenkamp has completed 94-of-172 passes for 1,524 yards and 13 touchdowns with 11 interceptions while Brandon Fleck leads the team with 866 rushing yards on 128 carries with 12 touchdowns.
The Cardinals average 337 yards and 28.3 points per game and allow an average of 261.4 yards and 21.4 points per game.
New Bremen junior quarterback Mitchell Hays has completed 44-of-100 passes for 557 yards with five TDs and six interceptions and has run for a team-best 1,085 yards and 17 touchdowns on 158 carries. Junior Zach Bertke has run for 944 yards and 10 TDs and junior Wyatt Dicke has run for 683 yards and six TDs.
The teams didn’t play in regular season, and New Bremen will try to play better against the Flyers than it did the two other teams that tied with them for the MAC title. The Cardinals lost 45-0 at Anna in Week 3 and 42-2 at home against Minster in Week 10.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.