Despite a relatively smooth ride in the postseason, there is little doubt Cincinnati Anderson faces its toughest challenge Friday night in the Division II regional final. Anderson (10-2), the defending Division II state champion, plays league rival Winton Woods (11-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Princeton High School with a trip to the state semifinals hanging in the balance.
Despite a relatively smooth ride in the postseason, there is little doubt Cincinnati Anderson faces its toughest challenge Friday night in the Division II regional final.
Anderson (10-2), the defending Division II state champion, plays league rival Winton Woods (11-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Princeton High School with a trip to the state semifinals hanging in the balance.
The two teams have long been rivals in the Fort Ancient Valley Conference Buckeye division. Winton Woods, which won the Buckeye division, defeated visiting Anderson 23-13 Sept. 26. But, the teams have virtually traded wins and losses the past five seasons.
“I see a lot of what they’ve done the last year – lots of offensive weapons – they are sound on defense and in the kicking game,” Winton Woods coach Troy Everhart said.
Anderson, which has won six consecutive games, has plenty to offer on both sides of the ball. The Redskins racked up 439 total yards, including 278 on the ground in a 31-13 win over New Carlisle Tecumseh last week.
Junior RB Kyle Slater has rushed for 1,565 yards and 25 touchdowns in his first season of varsity action at Anderson. He also has 13 receptions for 152 yards and a touchdown.
Senior RB Luis Perez has rushed for 592 yards and 13 touchdowns.
“Our offensive line is playing very well at this time and hopefully we can continue to have success running the ball,” Anderson coach Jeff Giesting said.
Anderson has also had success throwing the ball – senior QB Daniel Rod has thrown for 862 yards. Senior WR John Runk, a Yale recruit, has 22 receptions for 356 yards.
“Turnovers will play a part as in any big game,” Everhart said. “However, I think a larger issue will be possessions and if we can limit their touches. They are too explosive to allow them too many opportunities with the ball.”
Defensively, Anderson has senior LB Eli Anglim (4 sacks) and senior DL Joe Walla (3.5 sacks) are among the leaders.
Both coaches said the regular-season result doesn’t have the same impact in the postseason. The teams have each made adjustments from several weeks ago.
“I expect Winton Woods to play a very physical football game on both sides of the ball,” Giesting said. “We have to match that.”
The Warriors are coming off a 44-9 win over Kings last week. This week, Everhart said the game plan won’t change – the Warriors want to establish the run early.
Junior QB Dominique Brown leads the Winton Woods offense with 1,534 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. Junior RB Jeremiah Goins has 1,344 yards rushing and 32 touchdowns. He had 153 yards and four touchdowns against Kings last week.
“We have to cut down on the penalties and mistakes we made last week and try to slow down Brown and Goins and keep them from having explosive long-yardage plays,” Giesting said.
The Warriors’ defense was critical in the regular season game against Anderson and will be key on Friday night.
Winton Woods is led defensively by a trio of University of Cincinnati recruits. Senior OLB Tristen Marvin (5 sacks), senior OLB Maalik Bomar (3 sacks) and safety Chris Williams (5 interceptions) are the leaders.
“(The defense) did an awesome job last time – they’ll have to be stout again this time,” Everhart said.