Mechanicsburg earns regional final rematch vs. MAC power Marion Local

See Scoreboard for regional final pairings.

Undefeated Mechanicsburg is next up to take the Midwest Athletic Conference challenge.

It’s been one year since the Indians lost 9-7 to perennial small-school and MAC dynasty Marion Local in a dramatic Division VI, Region 24 regional final. With no disrespect to an overwhelmed Ohio Heritage Conference schedule and a couple of playoff games, guess who Mechanicsburg has awaited a rematch against?

“They’re definitely going to come ready to play and hit us in the mouth,” celebrated Mechanicsburg senior quarterback Kaleb Romero said. “And we’re planning to hit them right back. We know it’s going to be a dogfight and we just have to go out there and play our best football. It’s going to be a heck of a game.”

The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced neutral sites for the Week 13 regional finals on Sunday. Mechanicsburg (12-0) will play Marion Local (11-1) in a D-VI, Region 24 rematch on Friday at Sidney.

Other 7:30 p.m. Friday games involving area teams are:

• Wayne (11-0-1) vs. Pickerington Central (11-1) at London; D-I, Region 3.

• Miamisburg (10-2) vs. Cin. La Salle (10-2) at Mason; D-II, Region 8.

• Alter (12-0) vs. Cin. Wyoming (12-0) at Monroe; D-IV, Region 16.

Saturday’s 7 p.m. games with area teams are:

• Trotwood-Madison (10-2) vs. St. Marys Memorial (11-1) at Piqua; D-III, Region 12.

• Coldwater (11-1) vs. Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (12-0) at Northmont; D-V, Region 20.

• Fort Recovery (8-4) vs. Minster (8-4) at Wapakoneta; D-VII, Region 28.s

>>>READ MORE: Statewide regional final pairings

Romero, a three-time state wrestling champion who's committed to Ohio State University, blasted Delphos Jefferson for a career-high 275 yards rushing and four touchdowns in a 56-20 semifinal win. Marion Local KO'ed St. Henry, another MAC rep, 22-0 in its semi.

An established small-school state power in most of the major sports, the MAC is in position to contend for three state championships in Divisions V-VII. The 10-team conference is guaranteed a spot in the D-VII state semifinals next week. Fort Recovery is the defending D-VII state champ and Minster was a surprise D-VI state champ in 2014.

>>> READ MORE: High School Football Playoff Guide

Unbeaten Covington of the Cross Country Conference seemed the best bet to break through the MAC’s playoff football dynasty. The top-seeded Buccaneers were crowed the D-VII state poll champ, yet were thumped 42-14 by Fort Recovery in Saturday’s Region 28 semifinal.

Minster has won six straight games following a 2-4 start. It’ll also be a rematch for the MAC rivals, which Fort Recovery won in Week 5 of the regular season, 33-21.

Yet another MAC power, four-time defending state champ Coldwater, also faces a severe test in unbeaten CHCA. The Cavaliers trailed 17-0 to Greeneview and rallied to stun the OHC rep 27-24 in a Region 20 semifinal also on Saturday. CHCA defeated Greeneview 41-22 in a season opener and also was declared a state poll champ.

Other playoff story lines to watch:

• Wayne’s route to a third straight D-I state title game took an unexpected twist when St. Xavier rallied in OT to upset unbeaten and D-I state poll champ Colerain 29-23. St. X (7-5) will play Sycamore (8-4) in D-I, Region 4 final no one could have seen coming.

That will all be for naught if Wayne can’t get past Pickerington Central. The Warriors have been at their running-clock best in 52-7 and 52-10 playoff blowouts of Lancaster and Dublin Coffman.

>>>VIDEO: Wayne whips Dublin Coffman

Miamisburg completed a sweep of Troy, 28-21, and gets two-time defending D-II state champ La Salle as a reward. Like St. X, the Lancers are a Greater Catholic League South titan and have lost only to Colerain 6-0 and national power Christian Brothers (Tenn.).

• Alter and Wyoming will play in one of only two unbeaten regional final showdowns, the other Hamler Patrick Henry vs. Defiance Ayersville in D-VI, Region 22. The Knights shut down Clinton-Massie 28-0 in their regional semi, allowing the Falcons less than 100 yards of offense.

• A Trotwood/Franklin matchup seemed inevitable until St. Marys spoiled the Wildcats unbeaten season, 55-31. The Roughriders join Ottawa-Glandorf (D-IV) as two remaining Western Buckeye League teams.

>>> PHOTOS: Franklin vs. St. Marys

Trotwood hammered a third WBL power Wapakoneta in its playoff opener 41-7 and followed with a 47-10 blowout of New Richmond. The Rams have playoff history on their side with a streak of six straight state semifinal appearances, rejuvenated running back Raveion Hargrove (329 yards rushing, five touchdowns in the postseason wins) and a shutdown defense that was at its best in a 17-6 Week 10 loss at Wayne.

• The OHSAA will announce some state semifinal sites later this week. The rest will be determined following the regional finals. State semifinal pairings (final four) are based on geography; less travel distance that makes sense and ideally at a midway location.

Tickets are available at all participating schools. A percentage of the presale proceeds are returned to each school.

About the Author