Blanchester football coach Jon Mulvihill said Springfield Shawnee is the best team his Wildcats have seen all season.
He compared them to the only team to defeat the Wildcats in 2020.
“Very comparable to Bethel-Tate,” he said.
The Wildcats (6-1) and Braves (4-2) will meet 7 p.m. Saturday at Barbour Memorial Field in the third round of the Division V Region 20 playoffs. Shawnee defeated Madison 34-0 in its first playoff game. Their two losses are to London 34-7 and Jonathan Alder 38-0.
“Springfield Shawnee is a very good football team,” said Mulvihill. ‘Their quarterback (Drew Mitch) is their leading rusher and a very good passer. They have four good receivers and two good running backs. They’re a very athletic team with some big boys up front.”
Rudy Scanlon leads the Braves “fast and aggressive” defense. He had 19 tackles in a game earlier this season against Tecumseh.
Blanchester defeated Madison 55-33 in its playoff opener after taking a week off. Mulvihill said his team gave good effort but was sloppy and looked like it hadn’t played in two weeks.
“We went over the game film from Saturday and corrected some mistakes,” the BHS coach said.
Shawnee is giving up 285 yards per game on defense, so the BHS offense will be tested.
After rushing 54 times for just 185 yards in the the first five games of the season, Blanchester’s Gage Huston has erupted for 252 yards and three touchdowns on 38 rushes in the last two games.
“Coach (John) Lovin is very good at finding weaknesses in a defense,” Mulvihill said. “This past week, they gave us a look on defense that opened the off tackle, so we ran it very efficiently in the second half. We take what they’re going to give us, whether that’s through the air or on the ground. Gage Huston has had two very good games on the ground in a row. He is one tough kid.”
The Braves are coached by Rick Meeks, who took over the program in 2003 following Jack O’Rourke, the former BHS standout player and coach who is now at Hillsboro High School.
“We’ve had the same attitude all year long,” said Mulvihill. “Play every game like it is your last because it very well could be with Covid-19 looming. The boys have done a good job of preparing and playing hard every week.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email email@example.com or on Twitter @wnjsports