As the second half of the season begins, teams prepare for the playoffs
MILLERSPORT – As we move into the second half of the high school football season and teams start to get into the thick of their conference schedules, things should get interesting.
Bloom-Carroll and Berne Union, who went undefeated at 5-0, have so far proven to be the crème de la crème in the region. The Bulldogs took a massive 34-7 victory in the Mid-State League-Division Buckeye at Amanda-Clearcreek and the Rockets continued at their scorching scoring pace with a 57-0 victory over Beaver Eastern.
It gets to the point of the season where every win becomes important due to the expanded playoffs as the top 16 teams from each region advance to the playoffs. Bloom-Carroll and Berne Union have almost hit their postseason tickets. But for the rest of the region’s seven teams, they need to score at least a few more wins to guarantee their chances of making the playoffs.
As the only team that has yet to win, Millersport has fallen to 0-3 this season after a 46-20 loss to Miller, but the Lakers have shown great courage in competing with just 14 players.
Team of the week last week
Millersport: This place is usually reserved for a team that has achieved a huge victory, but Millersport has certainly proven to be worthy. The Lakers only had 14 players dressed, then were forced to play with 13. One of them had a bokken hand and was playing with a cast. When senior running back / linebacker Mason Reynolds fell late in the second quarter, the Lakers continued to fight in the second half. Senior Cody Blosser, who just joined the team a week ago, gave them a spark by returning a 75-yard kickoff for a touchdown and catching a touchdown pass. The Lakers still have a long way to go, but at least they’re playing football, which they haven’t done since 2017 for lack of interest.
This week’s game of the week
Catholic Fisher at Fairfield Christian Academy: This Mid-State League-Cardinal Division city rival should be a good one. The Knights are coming off a huge win over Grove City Christian, while the Irish fell against undefeated Worthington Christian. The Irish and Knights are 2-3 and sit 16th and 17th in Division VII, Region 27, as both look to continue winning to secure playoff spots. The Knights are led by quarterback Zi’Year Pardon, who just wrapped up a massive game that saw him run for 283 yards and four touchdowns. Fisher Catholic is led by running back Jack Tencza and linebacker Kavanaugh Frank, who is having an exceptional game at linebacker.
Brae Friesner, Berne Union: Friesner, a senior running back, only carried the ball five times, but rushed 207 yards and scored on a touchdown, with runs from 35, 71 and 90 yards and caught a 37-yard touchdown pass. He also scored seven more points in a 57-0 win over Eastern.
Zi’Year Pardon, Fairfield Christian Academy: Pardon, a junior quarterback, rushed for 283 yards and four touchdowns and had 124 yards and two more touchdowns in a 49-38 victory over Grove City Christian.
Branyon Dodds, Bloom-Carroll: Dodds, a senior wide receiver, caught seven passes for 129 yards, including three touchdown receptions from 2, 56 and 14 yards in a 34-7 win over Amanda-Clearcreek.
Nate Nemeth, Berne Union: Nemeth, a junior quarterback, rushed for 105 yards on eight carries and scored on 20 and 50 yard touchdowns, threw a touchdown pass and returned an interception 50 yards for another scoreline in a 57-0 win over the East.
KJ Benedict, Bloom-Carroll: Benedict, a senior quarterback, completed 15 of 19 passes for 158 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-7 win over Amanda-Clearcreek.
Chase Plantz, Bloom-Carroll: Plantz carried the ball six times for 98 yards and scored on a 40-yard touchdown in a 34-7 win over the Aces.
Jack Brown, Liberty Union: Brown passed 160 yards in a 38-7 loss to Teays Valley.
This week’s games
Central Passage (3-2) to Lancaster (1-4)
Freedom Union (2-3) at Bloom-Carroll (5-0)
Amanda-Clearcreek (3-2) at Circleville (2-3)
Miller (2-3) at the Berne Union (5-0)
Logan Elm (3-2) at Fairfield Union (1-4)
Manchester (0-2) at Millersport (0-3)
Catholic Fisher (2-3) at Fairfield Christian (3-2) (at Millersport HS)
Last week’s results
Olentangy Berlin 42, Lancaster 14; Bloom-Carroll 34, Amanda-Clearcreek 7; Berne Union 57, Castor Est 0; Worthington Christian 31, Catholic Fisher 17; Township of Hamilton 22, Fairfield Union 7; Teays Valley 38, Liberty Union 7; Fairfield Christian 49, Grove City Christian 38; Miller 46, Millersport 20.
Tom Wilson is a sports reporter for the Lancaster Eagle Gazette. Contact him at 740-689-5150 or email [email protected] for commentary or story advice. Follow him on Twitter @ twil2323.