Archbold is set to welcome fourth-seeded Columbus Grove this Saturday for a Division VI, Region 22 semifinal matchup. With the top four seeds in the region remaining, Archbold coach David Dominique expects it to be an uphill battle for any team to win the region.
“As you can see from not only our game last week but also the other three regional games, all of them were closely-contested battles,” Dominique said. “Region 22 is very competitive and we expect much of the same this week. Any of the remaining four teams have the ability to win this region so as always, preparation and execution are going to be critical in determining who moves on.”
As Dominique said, the competitiveness of the region was on full display this past Saturday. It took second-seed Colonel Crawford overtime to top Liberty Center, third-seed Fairview topped Northwood 38-36, and Columbus Grove used a late touchdown to overcome Tinora, 41-35.
The advantage for the Blue Streaks as the top seed, they get to host regional games for as long as they remain.
“The ability to continue to play at home is an advantage in my mind,” said Dominique. “Obviously you still must have proper preparation throughout the week but not having to worry about traveling allows you more time to focus on the task at hand.”
The Bulldogs enter the contest at 8-0 — same as the Streaks. Offensively they have playmakers both in the run and pass game.
Quarterback Blake Reynolds has completed 60% (76-126) of his passes for a total of 1,255 yards, 12 touchdowns and just one interception. Reynolds is the team’s second leading rusher with 378 yards and 11 TDs.
Running back Colin Metzger has accumulated 792 yards on the ground and eight TDs. He averages five and a half yards per carry.
The Bulldogs’ top receiver on the season is Gabe Clement, at 31 catches for 564 yards and eight scores. Jacksen Schroeder is behind Clement with 18 catches for 307 yards and three scores.
“Columbus Grove is a well-coached football team that has a number of good athletes on both sides of the ball,” said Dominique. “You can tell by watching film that these guys are very competitive and know what it takes to succeed. They boast some good size as well on both the offensive and defensive lines and play very physical.”
Archbold is also a juggernaut offensively.
They are led by quarterback DJ Newman who completes 67% (88-131) of his passes for 1,410 yards and 12 TDs, and also leads the team in rushing with 663 yards and 10 TDs.
Tailback Noah Gomez adds 610 yards rushing and 12 scores.
In the passing game, Antonio Cruz has 33 receptions on the season, good enough for 533 yards and six TDs. Their next highest is Brandon Taylor at 26 catches for 459 yards and four TDs.
Although Dominique was not totally satisfied with his offense’s performance against Carey last weekend, they still managed 35 points in a 35-28 triumph.
“I think the biggest thing we need to improve upon offensively is limiting our mental mistakes and play more disciplined football,” said the Blue Streak mentor. “We made far too many mistakes that will cost us against a quality opponent like Columbus Grove. At this point in the year, we are not going to make sweeping changes offensively but instead focus on the little things that have gotten us this far.”
Coach Dominique will look for his team to play a more efficient game this week.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010