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PLAYOFF PREVIEW: Wheelersburg hosts Minford in Division V, Region 19 Quarterfinal

Derrick Webb, Staff Writer

WAVERLY — Throw records out the window, forget statistics and pay no attention to what has already been done … playoff football is officially here and the slate has been wiped clean.

At 7 p.m. Saturday night, the Wheelersburg Pirates host the Minford Falcons in a Division IV, Region 15 Quarterfinal … a rematch of an overtime game earlier this season.

Both programs have fought to get to Week 11, both still have plenty to prove and both are hungry for a postseason win. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Here’s everything you need to know about Saturday’s game.

THE FACTS

MINFORDWHEELERSBURG
Southern OhioCONFERENCESouthern Ohio
Jesse RubyHEAD COACHRob Woodward
7-3RECORD7-3
9PLAYOFF APPEARANCES31
0 (2012)CONSECUTIVE PLAYOFF BERTHS (LAST PLAYOFF BERTH)8 (2018)
3-8OVERALL PLAYOFF RECORD38-28

FOUR THINGS TO KNOW

  • The Pirates and Falcons will be meeting for a second time this season after Wheelersburg took the first meeting by a 21-20 final in overtime back on Oct. 4. In that game, neither team ever held more than an eight-point lead. The Pirates gained 351 total yards, compared to the Falcons’ 292 and rushed for 263 yards on 48 carries. In overtime, after the Pirates scored, Minford scored and elected to try for a two-point conversion. Wheelersburg got the goal line stop and the win.
  • Wheelersburg’s schedule has been an absolute gauntlet. The Pirates’ opponents’ combined record is 67-33. In fact, the team has only played in two games against teams with losing records … Greenup County (Ky.) and West. Still, the Pirates have outscored their 10 opponents by a 300-204. In the past four weeks, Wheelersburg has scored at least 41 points while holding opponents to a combined 35.
Minford’s Ty Wiget will certainly be a factor in Saturday night’s outcome.
CREDIT: Amy Ratcliff/SOSA
  • After an undefeated start, Minford went 2-3 down the stretch. That started with the overtime loss to Wheelersburg. The Falcons then dropped a 17-14 decision to Oak Hill on Oct. 18 and a 38-22 decision to Waverly the next week. Before last week’s 33-0 win over Valley, the Falcons were on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.
  • Contrary to Wheelersburg’s schedule, the Falcons have played just two teams with a winning record, both losses. Minford’s opponents’ combined record this season is 45-55. The Falcons are averaging 32.3 points per game, and haven’t scored less than 20 in nine of 10 contests, while they are surrendering 19.9.

PRIMETIME PLAYERS

Makya Matthews, RB, Wheelersburg: Lightning in a bottle. That’s the type of speed Matthews possesses. It seems as if every time Wheelersburg plays in a big game, Matthews leaves his fingerprints on it in some way. Take the Pirates’ 42-28 win over Waverly back on Oct. 18 for instance … one where Matthews had 267 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He’ll come to play, as usual, and he’ll play at the highest level possible.

Wheelersburg’s Makya Matthews is a threat to score anytime he touches the football.
CREDIT: Jenny Campbell/SOSA

Hunter Ruby, WR, Wheelersburg: While Ruby may not be as fast as Matthews, he can still hit the home run at any time. The Pirates have used the senior wideout in both the running and passing games, and he’s answered the call every time his number has been picked. Quarterback Evan Horsley has built a rapport with Ruby and he’s emerged as the signal caller’s favorite target. Whether it’s a shovel pass or a shot downfield, Ruby will be a play a major role in the Pirates’ offensive game plans.

Elijah Vogelsong, QB, Minford: When you think of the word “leader,” you can also think of Elijah Vogelsong from now on. The junior quarterback has thrown for 1,429 yards and 16 touchdowns this season while completing 82-of-151 pass attempts. He’s also rushed for 708 yards and seven scores. But set the statistics aside. His heart is what makes him a primetime player. The Falcons follow Vogelsong and his never-say-die attitude wherever they go.

Ty Wiget, RB, Minford: While Vogelsong commands the air attack, Wiget has manned the running game quite nicely all year. On just 197 attempts, Wiget has amassed 1,358 yards and 18 touchdowns. Against Wheelersburg in the two’s first go-around, he had 143 yards rushing on 25 attempts. If the Falcons can establish the running game, everything else opens up.

WHAT LIES AHEAD

One team will face a lengthy offseason and the other will face the winner of Ridgewood (10-0) and Portsmouth (7-3) in Week 12.

You can follow live Twitter updates at @BoggsSports on Saturday night. Then, after the game, be sure to visit sohiosa.com for details, photos and video from the contest.

About Derrick Webb

Derrick is SOSA's chief content coordinator and has worked for the Chillicothe Gazette, the Portsmouth Daily Times and Eleven Warriors. He's a 13-time award-winning journalist, a self-proclaimed baseball purist, a suffering Bengals fan and has never met a stranger.
Read All Posts By Derrick Webb

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