The Archbold football team will head back to the playoffs for the first time in five years Friday night when they welcome Lewistown Indian Lake from the Central Buckeye Conference.
Due to poor field conditions after a game in the rain last week against Swanton, Friday’s Division V, Region 18 regional quarterfinal contest will now be played at Defiance High School.
After going 4-6 in 2015 and 5-5 last season under head coach David Dominique, the Blue Streaks went 8-2 this season and managed to win the Northwest Ohio Athletic League title, their first since 2010.
“This season we have been able to get our football program back on the map,” said Dominique. “We have endured some hard times the past couple of years but the guys who have stuck it out and given so much to this program are now seeing all the hard work come to fruition. I am very proud of all of my players and assistant coaches for what we have been able to accomplish thus far, but we need to continue to improve each day leading up to the game on Friday. Although we have been able to accomplish a lot, we are not satisfied with just getting to the playoffs and know we have a tough task awaiting us on Friday.”
Archbold hasn’t recorded a playoff victory since the aforementioned 2010 season, so they hope that changes this week.
The Streaks’ opponent, Indian Lake, finished 7-3 on the season and with a 4-0 mark in conference play, they took first in the Mad River side of the Central Buckeye Conference.
“The big thing that stands out to me when watching Indian Lake on film is the number of athletes they put out on the field,” explained Dominique. “They are a quick team that will fly all over the field on all sides of the ball. The skilled positions is definitely a strength for them so we must slow this group down.”
Their three key position players are all seniors, starting with running back Connor Dixon. The 5’11”, 190-pound tailback has rushed for 1,221 yards and 14 touchdowns on the season. Dixon is also the team’s leading tackler on defense, with 99 on the year.
The Lakers then have receiver Collin Coburn and running back Dylan Knotts who lead the team in receiving. Coburn has 50 catches on the season for a total of 725 yards and eight TDs. Knotts comes in with 37 catches for 560 yards and three TDs.
Indian Lake quarterback Clay Jacobs, a sophomore, has completed 56 percent of his passes on the season to go along with 1,683 yards, 13 TDs to eight interceptions.
“On the defensive side of the ball, we must find a way to limit their big play capabilities and get them out of their comfort zone,” said Dominique on the keys to victory versus the Lakers. “They have shown the ability to strike fast so we need to keep them in front of us. Tackling and limiting yards after contact will be critical to our success on Friday night.
“Offensively, we must control the line of scrimmage and be more physical than them. We must also limit the mental mistakes in terms of penalties and turnovers. In a good matchup like this, it usually comes down to the team who makes the fewest mistakes (that) will come out on top.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010