XENIA — Ground-oriented football at its best should be on display in Bellbrook tonight.
The Golden Eagles, the top-seeded team in Division-III Region 12, will host No. 8 St. Marys Memorial in a game that — if it plays out as the stats indicate — could be over before other games finish halftime.
OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration.
But Bellbrook and Memorial like to keep it on the ground in a hard-hitting style. Bellbrook hasn’t thrown for more than 100 yards since a week three win over Valley View. In all fairness, the Golden Eagles haven’t really needed to, as since then they’ve won 42-0, 44-21 in a game that wasn’t that close, 48-7, and 58-0 in last week’s playoff opener against Chaminade-Julienne.
The Roughriders are about the same, at least according to the regular-season stats. They led the WBL at 262 rushing yards per game, and scored 19 touchdowns. Their backs averaged 4.7 yards per carry while running the ball 335 times. Wapakoneta was second with 274 rushing attempts.
Memorial threw the ball just 54 times for 278 yards, 46.3 per game.
“Memorial is a very tough team,” Bellbrook Coach Jeff Jenkins said. “Their game is a reason they are a constant playoff contender. They have a very disciplined offense and defense. Should be a great game.”
The Roughriders do have quite a football pedigree. They have been to the playoffs 19 times including the last five seasons. They won state titles in 1990, 1992, and 1993 and were runners-up in 2004.
Entering the game at 6-2, Memorial is coming off a 6-0 overtime win over Franklin, a team Bellbrook beat, 34-0, in week two.
Memorial’s losses — one in double overtime — are by a combined 13 points to a pair of teams still in the playoffs, Western Buckeye League co-champs Ottawa-Glandorf in D-V and Van Wert in D-IV.
Aiden Hinkle led the WBL with 575 yards. He had eight touchdowns, while teammate Ethan Wedding had 370 yards and two TDs. Together they averaged 157.5 per game.
Overall, the Roughriders average 24.7 points per game.
As good as they are on the ground offensively, they appear to be even better at run defense, holding opponents to 482 yards total yards, 80 per game, and two TDs.
The winner plays the winner of No. 4 New Richmond and No. 5 Hamilton Ross in a regional semifinal at the site of the higher seed at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30.
The other half of the bracket features No. 7 Tippecanoe at No. 2 Hamilton Badin and No. 6 Alter at No. 3 Trotwood-Madison.
Here are the rankings for area teams as most begin their final two regular-season weeks.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.