Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
JACKSON — 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. Friday night, the Jackson Ironmen host the Centennial Stars in a Division III, Region 11 Quarterfinal.
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 Friday’s game.
|CONSECUTIVE PLAYOFF BERTHS (LAST PLAYOFF BERTH)
|OVERALL PLAYOFF RECORD
FOUR THINGS TO KNOW
- Centennial will be making its first-ever postseason appearance after finishing the year 9-1. The Ironmen will be making their 13th playoff appearance, as well as their third straight. The Stars do have a common opponent with Jackson as both have played Chillicothe. Centennial won that game 48-15 while the Ironmen beat the Cavaliers by a 49-2 score.
- Jackson has outscored its opponents this season by a 405-109 margin. The Ironmen’ defense has held its opponents to less than 10 points in six different contests … wins over Wellston, Logan, McClain, Washington, Hillsboro and Chillicothe. In league play alone, Jackson outscored its opponents 232-34.
- Jackson’s most impressive win this season arguably comes in a 35-15 victory over Wheelersburg on Sept. 27. Centennial’s most notable win comes in a 28-7 decision over Beechcroft on Oct. 4. The only loss between the two took place on Aug. 29 when Centennial dropped its season opener by a 21-20 final at the hand of Grandview Heights.
- Centennial’s defense has been the benchmark of the team’s success, allowing just 8.3 points per game. Aside from the team’s only loss, the Stars haven’t allowed more than 15 points in any game this season while throwing two shutouts. This week, they’ll play an offense that’s averaging 40.5 points per game. Strength vs. strength should be fun to watch.
Jared Icenhower, QB, Jackson: Icenhower brings experience and poise to the Week 11 contest after completing 56-of-102 passes this season. He couples that stat with 865 yards and 11 touchdown tosses. While the Ironmen certainly rely on their running game, Icenhower does have weapons he can use through the air to make a difference. The senior is the team leader and will do whatever it takes to play into Week 12.
Jayden Spires, QB, Jackson: While Icenhower is the team leader as a whole, there’s no question who the leader of the offense is. Spires provides balance for the Ironmen and has amassed 1,175 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns on 156 carries, an average of 7.5 yards per attempt. Spires has next-level speed but he can also lower his head and initiate contact. He’ll be, or should be, the main focus of Centennial’s defensive game plan.
Luchene Davis, RB, Centennial: Over the past two weeks, Davis has 349 rushing yards. Those types of numbers have been a trend all year long. So far, he’s rushed for 1,153 yards and 23 touchdowns on just 132 carries, an average of 115.3 yards per game. Davis’ best game came in a 202-yard, six-touchdown performance in a 55-7 win over Whetstone. The Ironmen will try and make sure nothing similar to that happens.
Jaylen Gilbert, QB, Centennial: Early in the year, the Stars relied on multiple players to play under center. But as of late, Gilbert has emerged as the go-to starter. The junior has completed 27-of-58 pass attempts for 627 yards with a 6-1 touchdown-interception ratio. He’s also started in each of the last five contests. While the Stars like to run the football, Gilbert makes Centennial more than capable of beating a team through the air.
WHAT LIES AHEAD
One team will face a lengthy offseason and the other will face the winner of Jonathan Alder (10-0) and Sheridan (8-2) in Week 12.
You can follow live Twitter updates at @SirBrockNetter on Friday night. Then, after the game, be sure to visit sohiosa.com for details, photos and video from the contest.