AMANDA — Getting to play a home playoff game for the first time since 2011, along with the potential of adding to the program’s rich postseason history, awaits Amanda-Clearcreek on Saturday when it hosts Columbus Academy in a Division V, Region 19 quarterfinal.
Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
“I know our whole team and especially our seniors are excited about getting to play an extra game in The Pit this season,” A-C coach Steve Daulton said. “I know it’s going to be a tremendous environment for our kids to play in.”
Columbus Academy and Amanda-Clearcreek have met two times previously in the playoffs, most famous of which was a 13-8 win for Academy in the 2003 Division V state championship game. Trailing 13-6 in the fourth quarter, the potential game-tying touchdown was negated when an aiding the runner penalty was called on the Aces.
The two teams met three years later at Teays Valley for a regional semifinal, with the Aces leaving nothing to doubt in a 36-9 win.
Amanda-Clearcreek carries a 33-18 all-time postseason record into the contest, while Academy currently stands at 16-10.
“Both programs have historically had a lot of postseason success and you are talking about two communities that have a passion for high school football,” Daulton said.
The Aces have lost their last five playoff games and will look to earn their first postseason win since a 42-7 rout of Alexander in 2009.
Columbus Academy (7-3) enters the game winners of four consecutive games, including a 41-0 rout of Bexley last week.
“Academy’s playing well right now on both sides of the football,” Daulton said. “On defense, they play a four-man front, they’re fundamentally sound and play their gaps pretty well.
“They’re playing with some momentum, so it’s going to be important for us to be very fundamentally sound at the point of attack and take care of the football.”
Six-foot junior quarterback Brady Hess leads the Vikings’ offense, completing 90 of 161 passes for 1,119 yards and 17 touchdowns. He’s also added 324 yards rushing with four more scores.
Hess’ top target has been 5-11 senior Carter Warstier, who has caught 43 passes for 558 yards and nine touchdowns, while adding 300 yards rushing and three more scores.
Sophomore Carter James leads the ground attack for the Vikings with 532 yards rushing on 101 carries and six touchdowns.
“Academy has a number of weapons and their quarterback does a nice job of distributing the football and controlling the game. He’s an intelligent young man,” Daulton said. “They like to get the football in space, so we need to do a good job of keeping them in front, getting to the football and tackling well.”
The Aces (8-2) are coming off a 28-6 win over Logan Elm, which combined with a 24-9 Bloom-Carroll win over Teays Valley, clinched a share of their first Mid-State League Buckeye Division championship since 2011.
Despite owning a 224-29 advantage in total offense during the first half, the Aces only led 7-0 at halftime and had that lead cut to 7-6 in the third before a pair of touchdown runs and a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown by Jayse Miller put the game on ice.
“That’s one thing we need to improve on from last week, especially since we’re in the playoffs now,” Daulton said. “When we put together a drive we need to put points on the scoreboard and we also need to control field position when we don’t score.”
Academy’s opponents, which includes defending Division IV state champion Wyoming, have went a combined 55-45, while the Aces’ opposition has posted a record of 43-57.
The Aces are scoring 31.9 points per game and allowing 19.1 points, while the Vikings are averaging 29.5 points and yielding 21.8 points per outing.