Bob Skidmore huddled with his Valley View football coaching staff and vowed to return the Spartans to the high level of play that was the seasonal norm. That meant contending for Southwestern Buckeye League titles, deep playoff runs and making Spartans football must-see on Friday nights at Germantown.
“That was our goal all along, but it takes players,” said Skidmore, who’s in his fourth season as Valley View’s main man and 33rd year on the coaching staff. “When the players are there, they make the coaches look smarter than they really are. We’ve got players this year.”
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Following consecutive postseason upsets of No. 2 seed Clinton-Massie and Cincinnati Roger Bacon last week, Valley View (10-2) takes on another daunting task against defending state champ Cincinnati Wyoming (12-0) in a Division IV, Region 16 final on Saturday at Princeton’s Mancuso Viking Stadium.
All of this weekend’s games are at 7 p.m. Week 13 regional final winners advance to next week’s state semifinals. Bracket pairings were released on Tuesday and the Ohio High School Athletic Association will announce neutral sites on Sunday.
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Three of those key Valley View players are quarterback Cade Cradlebaugh and two-way linemen Justin Bromogen (6 feet 5, 285 pounds) and Noah Harrison, all seniors. They were instrumental in Valley View advancing to its first regional final since 2005.
“We have a great group of seniors,” Skidmore said. “It’s not a big group, but the leadership has been great. They’ve pulled us through and kept the guys in line. They made them know what’s important. They’ve done a great job.”
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Wyoming revolves around another great senior in QB Evan Prater. He’s the highest-rated recruit ever to commit to the University of Cincinnati. Here’s why: 39-1 three-season record, closing on 6,000 career passing yards, accounted for 130-plus touchdowns and nearly 3,000 career rushing yards.
The Cowboys also have been undefeated in the regular season the last four years and own a 27-game win streak.
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“Their quarterback is outstanding,” conceded Skidmore. “He’s a scary guy. That’s why he’s getting recruited so heavily. He can run and pass. He’s the real deal.”
Other Friday games
• Springfield (11-1) vs. Dublin Coffman (10-2) at London, D-I, Region 2: Springfield keeps updating its program records with its deepest run in North, South and combined history. Springfield coach Maurice Douglass inherited a 1-9 team in 2014 and now leads the area’s best D-I hope since Wayne made three state-title appearances from 2010-15.
»» PHOTOS: Alter vs. Badin, Week 12 football
This game is among eight that will be carried online at OHSAA.tv free for Spectrum subscribers ($9.99 for non-subscribers).
• Badin (9-3) vs. Trotwood-Madison (9-3) at Miamisburg, D-III, Region 12: It’s the first time these long-established heavyweights to play. Badin senior Alex DeLong rushed for a career-high 239 yards in last week’s 38-21 KO of rival Alter, last year’s D-III state runner-up. Trotwood has history on its side, having played in eight consecutive state semis from 2010-17.
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• Anna (11-1) vs. Archbold (11-1) at Lima, D-VI, Region 23: Anna also is on an unprecedented program run, courtesy of senior running back Riley Huelskamp and QB Bart Bixler, both program single-season and career record setters. The high-scoring Rockets have scored 42 or more points in each win and are one of three Midwest Athletic Conference teams still playing.
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• Covington (10-2) vs. Mechanicsburg (10-2) at Piqua, D-VI, Region 24: Covington, out of the Cross County Conference, lost leading receiver Andrew Cates, the son of head coach Tyler Cates, to a season-ending injury in the first quarter of last week’s defeat of Chillicothe Southeastern.
Mechanicsburg owns a 80-14 scoring advantage in its playoff wins and lost only to West Jefferson (11-1) and West Liberty-Salem (11-1) in the regular season.
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• Among four Friday games that will be televised live on Spectrum News 1 is the D-I, Region 4 final between Cincinnati Elder (10-2) and Cincinnati Colerain (11-1) at Mason.
Saturday’s other games
• West Liberty-Salem (11-1) vs. West Jefferson (11-1) at Sidney, D-V, Region 20: One of three Ohio Heritage Conference teams still playing, including Mechanicsburg. A rematch of a Week 8 shootout that West Jeff won, 42-39.
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• New Bremen (9-3) vs. Marion Local (10-2) at Wapakoneta, D-VII, Region 28: Yet more unchartered territory for New Bremen in this MAC matchup. A No. 8 seed, New Bremen blew out top-seeded and previously unbeaten New Miami 45-15 and followed with a 42-14 hammering of Lima Perry. Marion Local dodged Fort Loramie 24-21 in overtime last week.
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