The four teams left in Region 16 have been as close to perfect as you can get at this stage of the tournament as they are a combined 41-3.
It is about a heavy favorite in Clinton-Massie and three surprise teams, who are anything but overwhelmed to be here. They aspire for the same heights that the Falcons soared to a season ago.
One thing all four of these teams have in common is that they all embodied the personality of their head coaches and that means we are going to see some very driven and spirited play amongst this quartet.
Here is a look at Friday night's final four in action:
DIVISION IV, Region 16
(All games played Friday night, November, 2nd @ 7:30 pm)
#4 Batavia (11-0) @ #1 Clinton-Massie (11-0) @ Kings HS - It's a matchup of two unbeatens whose highly explosive ground games could have us in for a night of entertaining fireworks in the Gem City. Clinton-Massie expected to be here and did everything right along the way. This is just another step toward something the Falcons have been eyeing since losing to the Maty Mauk-led and #1 ranked, Kenton in last year's Division IV state semi-finals.
Batavia is going where no other team in the program's history has ever ventured. The Bulldogs must not get caught admiring where they are or C-M will have them down with their talons on the jugular.
Clinton-Massie has shredded through everything that has come across their path. The Falcons averaged 60.6 points per game during the regular season. Their starters only played in 25 quarters this season. In the backfield, there may not be a better one-two punch in Division IV with Bayle Wolf and Wyatt Running.
They have combined for 2,791 yards and 47 touchdowns rushing. Wolf has found the end zone 30 times on the season. Quarterback Tyler Uetrecht has only completed 30 passes on the year, but 12 have gone for scores. Defensively, C-M likes to bring pressure with Trent Smart, Duane Sowers, Travis Daugherty, Jake Weaver, Austin Florea and Kelson Gauden, who have combined for 23.5 sacks and nine takeways. JD Curtsinger may be the most productive player that no one has ever heard about. The senior has accrued 1,312 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns making the most of the opportunities he gets in all three phases of the game.
The stable of Batavia's top four runners - quarterback KeShawn Foley, Zainn Ison, Ryan Gormley and Tony Gatto has combined to rush for 3,496 yards, average 9.3 per carry and find the end zone 49 times this fall. Foley lead the Bulldogs with 21 touchdowns and Ison has a team-high of 1,233 yards on the ground. Brody Browning paces the line the opens the holes for the skills players. Gabe Archer, Mike Posey and Gormley have blown plays up all season long from their linebacking positions. Batavia has forced 32 turnovers, Archer has seven takeaways and Levi Sellars has six.
#7 Milton-Union vs. #3 Norwood (9-1) @ Fairmont HS - By game's end we are going to have one unlikely candidate playing for the regional championship. The victor of this affair will have earned that right to get the represent Southwest Ohio in the finals. The underdog title fits both of these squads well. The one thing you can guarantee that you will see on the field is smart, disciplined play that should lead to a quality night of football.
No one person has to carry the load for Norwood. Players are making plays on both sides of the field and on special teams. One thing Norwood brought with them into their new conference the SBAAC from their days in the FAVC is how to play defense. This is not big team along the front line with Brandon Hubbard and Ronnie Williams taking on opposing giants so that linebackers Robert Boston, Gabe Rice and Jonathan Biggers can attack and make stops. The Indians are fast and that speed makes up for what they lack in girth. Junior Andrew Conover becomes the first quarterback to top the 2,000-yard mark passing as he now has 2,050 and 24 touchdowns. Top target Jared Peters is just shy of 1,000 yards receiving with 49 receptions, 12 of which he has scored on.
The Bulldogs will try to wear out the Tribe behind big Wesley Martin and Jason Siler. The ground game with Tyler Brown, Joe Thoele and David Karns will have their moments to shine. Milton-Union must adjust to the pace that Norwood sets with its no-huddle offense. Their defense will be tried and tired come the end of the third quarter that is when head coach, Bret Pearce and his staff must coach against letting down their guard.