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Oldham County vs. John Hardin
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, second round 5A playoffs.
Where: Oldham County.
Records: Oldham County 9-2; John Hardin 10-1.
Key players: Oldham County’s Chad Dennis, Chase Hamby, Dy’Lan Underwood, Joel Cuebas, Tyler Oldham, Chase Hamby and Adam Lange. John Hardin’s Elias Camper, Landon Savoy, Tim Marcum, Alex Dingle and Caleb Mitchell.
Outlook: The Colonels will face a team very similar to themselves in John Hardin. Like OCHS, John Hardin features a good balance between the run and pass.
“They are a lot like us personnel wise and in how they approach the game,” Brown said. “It’s going to be like going against ourselves with a few differences.”
John Hardin, ranked No. 5 in 5A, will attack the No. 6 Colonels with a speedy and talented pair of backs in Elias Camper and Landon Savoy.
Camper, a senior, has rushed for 1,250 yards with 15 touchdowns this year while Savoy has 890 yards with nine touchdowns.
They led John Hardin to a 55-7 rout of Grant County in the first round.
“Those are two guys who can go the distance every time they touch the ball,” Brown said.
The Wildcats will also throw the ball effectively. Quarterback Alex Dingle has completed 93 of 154 passes for 1,507 yards and 27 touchdowns against just four interceptions.
His favorite receivers are Tim Marcum with 40 catches for 724 yards and 11 scores and Camper with 20 catches for 223 yards and six scores.
Defensively John Hardin employs a 4-3 base often shifting into a 4-4.
Linebackers Sammy Smith, David Morehead and Caleb Mitchell lead the pack with their speed and ability to find the ball.
“They are not huge on defense, but they are really fast,” Brown said. “Anytime you see that kind of speed and pursuit, you want to try and run right at them. They try and entice you into going for the big play because they can make up so much with their speed. We won’t fall into that trap if we can run the ball.”
The Colonels will look to use their strong stable of backs in Dy’Lan Underwood, Joel Cuebas, Kirk Yepko and Tyler Underwood to pound the ball. OCHS got a boost offensively this week with top receiver Chase Hamby and lineman Zach Littlefield returning for the game.
Hamby, in addition to being the team’s leading receiver, is also a threat running the ball and on kick returns.
Underwood has emerged as a game-breaking threat this eason. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior has 992 yards on 133 carries with 11 touchdowns.
Littlefield, center Dalton Armor, Austin Fletcher and tight end Adam Lange have led the OCHS rushers through opponents successfully this year.
“This is a game between two teams with legitimate expectations of moving on to the regional finals and maybe beyond,” Brown said. “The keys for us are to deal with their speed and take what they give us on offense.”
North Oldham vs. Elizabethtown
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, second round 3A playoffs.
Where: North Oldham.
Records: North Oldham 10-1: Elizabethtown 9-2.
Key players: North Oldham’s Andrew Tuller, Chase Maddox, Zach Lagrange, Jacob Manor and Zach Fisher. Elizabethtown’s Michael Thomas, Cody Withers, Chris Gohman, Trevor Deneen and Titus Sublett.
Outlook: Elizabethtown will bring the state’s top passing attack to Goshen Friday giving the Mustangs a look they have seen before, just not as prolific.
“Their passing attack is good as I have ever seen in my seven years as a head coach and even back to the days when I was an assistant at Oldham and we played Trinity when they had Brian Brohm,” NOHS coach Billy Martin said. “We have seen the plays they run before with some of the teams we have played, just not with the same caliber of athletes.”
E-town quarterback Michael Thomas has put up Sunday-afternoon type numbers this year completing 226 of 360 passes for 3,383 yards and 41 touchdowns.
Top receiver Chris Gohman is ranked nationally with his stats with 89 catches for 1,733 yards and 25 scores.
Tight end Trevor Deneen has 61 catches for 890 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“The thing we have to do is tackle well, swarm the ball and not let them make big plays after they catch it,” Martin said.
In a true contrast of styles, the Mustangs will attack E-town’s small, quick 4-4 defense with its grinding, ball control running game led by Andrew Tuller and Jacob Manor.
Quarterback Chase Maddox is also a threat running the ball, but will need to throw the ball as well to receivers Tuller and Tyler Geers.
“I am sure they are going to stack the line on us and try to stuff the run,” Martin said. “We’re going to have to be able to throw some to keep them honest and keep them from putting everyone on the line of scrimmage.”
NOHS will get some strength back on the line with the return of junior offensive guard Alex Miller and senior Spencer Gooch.
Gooch, an all-district pick at linebacker and offensive tackle, has missed the past four games with a shoulder injury. Miller sat out last week with a stress fracture in his foot but is expected to return.