MOUNT VERNON — Depressed about the Browns? Missing football with the Buckeyes on a bye?
The Ohio High School Athletic Association stepped into the breach on Sunday and delivered some fun high school football news to help provide a fix.
One Knox County team is part of the fray when the postseason opens on Friday night.
In Division VI, Region 22, the No. 3 seed East Knox Bulldogs (10-0) will host sixth-seeded Ashland Crestview (7-3).
East Knox dismantled Danville on Friday, 41-7, to claim its first perfect regular season since 1996. The Bulldogs won the KMAC outright and will make their first playoff appearance since 2005.
The last time East Knox made it to the playoffs, head coach Cody Reese was a senior on the team. The Bulldogs beat Nelsonville-York at home in the first round, 35-28, then fell by three touchdowns to Centerburg in the second round.
Having experienced the postseason during his high school days, Reese put things into perspective after Friday’s game.
“There’s only 32 teams in our division practicing this week,”Reese said. “The air’s gonna smell different, the field’s gonna feel different next week, and I just hope it’s something we can really buy into and use that for excitement, towards preparing for the game.”
Crestview has made numerous playoff appearances, but this is the first time since 2011.
Also in north central Ohio, a number of area teams are preparing for the postseason.
Angelo Grose and the rest of Mansfield Senior’s ultra-talented senior class have been waiting for opportunity for the past two years.
The Tygers will get their chance at redemption in the opening round of the playoffs.
Second-seeded Senior High (9-1) will host No. 7 Bay (7-3) in a Division III, Region 10 quarterfinal at 7 p.m. Friday at Arlin Field.
Two years ago Senior High traveled to Bay’s Memorial Stadium as a No. 7 seed and let a winnable game slip through its fingers. The Tygers turned the ball over twice and had a bad exchange on a fourth-down punt that resulted in a short field for the Rockets in what turned into a 28-18 Bay win.
“What I remember most about that game is we came out and moved the ball right down the field and took the lead on them,” said Grose, a starting receiver and defensive back on that frigid early-November night. “Then we got the ball back and were moving it again. Then, boom, we turned it over and they scored and completely changed the game.”
The Tygers were led that night by Jornell Manns, a University of Minnesota recruit. Manns rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns.
The 2019 Tygers are led by another major college recruit. Grose, who caught a touchdown pass from Sid Caudill late in the fourth quarter of the 2017 loss, is headed to Michigan State. Classmates Clay Caudill (Toledo) and Anthony Hawkins (Bowling Green) also have verbally committed to Division I college programs.
“We kind of feel like we have some unfinished business,” Grose said. “We’ll have to play well, but we feel like this is a chance at redemption.”
Senior High was one of six area teams to get the call Sunday when the Ohio High School Athletic Association released its first-round playoff pairings.
In Region 14 of Division IV, third-seeded Galion (8-2) will host No. 6 Ottawa-Glandorf (7-3) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Unckrish Stadium. No. 4 Shelby (7-3) will host No. 5 No. 5 Edison (7-3) at W.W. Skiles Field.
In Division VI, Region 22, No. 5 Hillsdale (7-3) will be at No. 4 Northmor (9-1).
In Division VII, Region 25, No. 2 seed Lucas (8-2) will host No. 7 McDonald (6-4) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Bob Wine Field. The Cubs are in the playoffs for an area-best sixth consecutive year.