SBAAC trio ready for Week 11 playoff battles

By Mark Huber -

Four SBAAC football teams will continue their seasons Friday in the OHSAA playoffs.

Clinton-Massie will host Jonathan Alder while Goshen will host Dayton Dunbar, New Richmond plays at Franklin and Bethel-Tate hosts West Jefferson.

All games are scheduled to kickoff at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Dayton Dunbar (7-3) at Goshen (9-1)

Without standout running back Jimmy Strunk out for this week’s game, Goshen faces an uphill climb in its match with the Wolverines.

“We are like every team this time of year, injuries happen so it is next man up,” said head coach Ryan George. “The worst part of coaching is seeing any players hurt, but it is part of the game.”

Strunk rushed for 1,107 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Warriors but did not play the final two games, one of which was a 51-14 loss to New Richmond.

“It (51-14 loss) was a humbling experience, so we should be ready to come out and play,” George said.

Dunbar lost to unbeaten Belmont 42-0 and 8-2 Taft 32-18 along with Detroit Catholic Central 56-32.

“They are an athletic, talented team that is well-coached,” George said. “They are very good on both offense and defense.”

New Richmond (8-2) at Franklin (8-2)

The Lions come into the game having played back-to-back playoffs teams in Clinton-Massie and Goshen. Both were lopsided outcomes – a 44-14 loss to Massie and a 51-14 win over Goshen.

“We felt like our game against Clinton-Massie Week 9 was uncharacteristic of us and we bounced back Week 10 and played New Richmond football, a very physical brand of football,” said NR coach Patrick Burke.

The Wildcats lost to unbeaten Valley View, 34-3, and to 6-4 Brookville, 35-22 in Week 9.

“Franklin is a well-coached team who likes to throw the ball a little over half the time,” Burke said. “They are big and physical up front and intend to get their best athletes the ball by any means necessary.”

Burke said the two teams have scrimmage each other the past two years but not have not met in the regular season or playoffs.

West Jefferson (9-0) at Bethel-Tate (10-0)

Bethel-Tate capped an unbeaten season and was rewarded with a first-round playoff game against another unbeaten team. West Jeff is 9-0 because its season opener against the Columbus Crusaders was not recognized by the OHSAA.

“We are happy being 10-0 but our kids understand that everyone is now 0-0,” said Bethel-Tate coach Jeff Essig. “Every we have done is history and will be remembered. We are now in a new season, the post-season. We are playing, as we have all year, to continue to make history.”

Bethel-Tate has never won a playoff football game, Essig said.

West Jeff, like Bethel-Tate, was rarely challenged this season. The Tigers defeated Blanchester 22-15 and Purcell-Marian 21-20. The Rough Riders closest outcome was a 48-27 win over Fairbanks.

“West Jefferson can be described as a team who disguises what they do,” Essig said. “This is true about all three phases of the game. On offense they run multiple formations and run the ball very well. On defense they disguise their coverages to confuse their opponent. Their special teams are solid.

“They are similar to us in many ways when it comes to their record and schedule. They come in undefeated and league champions as do we. West Jefferson has beaten three teams who are .500 or better and so have we. Many people are talking about our strength of schedule\, but again we can only play who is on our schedule. Being undefeated by playing any schedule is a feat in itself no matter the league, division or sport.”

By Mark Huber

Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email or on Twitter @wnjsports

Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email or on Twitter @wnjsports