MOUNT VERNON -- Home cooking for pregame meals is working out well for Knox County high school football teams.
Both Danville and East Knox defended their home turf in last week's playoff openers, and each are back in action again on Friday night.
Here's a closer look at the area's matchups:
No. 5 Newark Catholic (4-3) at No. 4 Danville (5-2): The Green Wave washed over Conotton Valley last week, limiting the Rockets to 106 yards of total offense. Kyle Langenbrunner led a balanced Newark Catholic attack with 39 rushing yards on five carries. The Blue Devils rolled to a 46-20 win over Cardington with quarterback Max Payne throwing three touchdown passes to sophomore wideout Kaiden Colopy. Danville trailed 8-0 before scoring 34 unanswered points.
No. 7 Shadyside (4-3) at No. 2 East Knox (6-1): Shadyside rolled to a 48-14 win over Frontier, the Tigers’ third straight win, to advance to the regional quarterfinals. Quarterback Rhys Francis hooked up with Mason Vannest on a pair of long touchdowns as Shadyside built a 14-0 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. Linebacker Jacob Visnic retuned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown and rushed for 149 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries. East Knox had to rally from a 6-0 halftime deficit in last week’s 20-6 win over Toronto. Freshman Cole Delaughder rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries while quarterback Peyton Lester completed 5 of 11 passes for 100 yards. The East Knox defense got into the act, too, intercepting three passes.
No. 7 Norwalk (4-3) at No. 2 Ashland (6-1): The Truckers advanced to the regional quarterfinals with a 17-10 win over Copley. Norwalk kicker Garrison Smith booted a 57-yard field goal late in the first half to give Norwalk a 17-10 lead and the defensive pitched a shutout in the second half.
The Truckers scored a special teams touchdown when Parker Evans fell on an errant punt snap in the end zone.
Quarterback Garrett Chapin tossed a 32 yard touchdown pass to Ethan Phillips in the first quarter — Norwalk’s first first-quarter TD of the season. Chapin ranks second in the Sandusky Bay Conference’s Lake Division with 1,268 passing yards while completing 109 of 187 passes. Phillips leads the division with 43 catches for 532 yards.
Ashland knocked off Ohio Cardinal Conference rival Mansfield Senior 35-22 to reach the quarterfinals. Quarterback Declan Rohr completed 15 of 23 passes for 238 yards and four touchdowns while Ethan Hartley caught five passes for 132 yards and two TDs. Landon McFrederick had two TD catches among his four receptions.
No. 10 Independence (6-1) at No. 2 Lucas (5-2): Independence trailed Monroeville 20-7 with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter, only to score 21 unanswered points in last week’s 28-20 second-round upset.
The Blue Devils are led by junior quarterback and three-year starter Michael Tommer, who completed 11 of 21 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns against the Eagles.
The Cubs played their first home game of the season last week and rumbled to a 35-0 win over Cuyahoga Heights in a rematch of last year’s regional championship game. Ethan Sauder rushed for 155 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Ethan Wallace scored a pair of rushing TDs as the Cubs piled up 365 yards on the ground.