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The Beechwood Tigers are in familiar territory, but it is not all good. Yes they are in the midst of yet another deep playoff run, but this week they make a trip to Mayfield to face a team that has ended their season in each of the past two seasons.
Beechwood wasted no time in disposing of Franklin last week 51-19 to claim the regional title and win their ninth straight outing. Meanwhile, Mayfield is coming off 44-0 shutout over Louisville Holy Cross and enter this contest as winners of 28 straight.
With a trip to Bowling Green on the line both sides will bring everything they’ve got in this affair. Let’s take a closer look at the Class 1A state-final matchup:
BEECHWOOD (12-1) AT MAYFIELD (13-0)
Site: Mayfield High School – War Memorial Stadium
Kickoff: Friday, November 25th at 7:30 P.M.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Mayfield’s Jonathon Jackson is a star of the both of sides of the ball for the Cardinals. He is approaching the 2000-yard mark on the ground and has picked off five passes on defense. Quarterback Jake Guhy spreads the ball around well and makes very few mistakes. He doesn’t hurt opponents as a runner, but more than makes up for with his accuracy. The Tigers’ versatile Max Nussbaum does his damage with his legs. He has rushed for 168 yards per game and six touchdowns in three playoff wins. Running back Cameron Vocke has already eclipsed the 2000-yard rushing mark and needs just two more rushing scores to get to 30-TD plateau. Senior FB/LB Joey Staten doesn’t often get noticed in the box score, but his refusal to quit on plays is a valuable asset for the Tigers.
TEAM TRENDS: Mayfield has won the last two matchups 38-0 in 2009 and 38-14 last year at Beechwood. The Cardinals are the defending Class 1A state champions and have won 10 state titles overall. The Tigers have been crowned state champions 11 times, most recently in 2008. Beechwood scores in bunches and average 50.5 points per game. Mayfield keeps teams off the scoreboard as a good as anybody in the state as they’ve ceded just 5.9 points per contest while holding 10 of their 13 opponents to seven points or less. The Cardinals are tough at home last losing there on November 7, 2008 against Caldwell County, a span of 24 games.
BEECHWOOD’S KEYS TO VICTORY: Beechwood’s tough schedule is going to pay dividends here. Over the past two meetings the Tigers have struggled to get its running game going versus Mayfield. Much of that has come from getting beat up front. This year the Tigers will have the advantage in trenches in both size and experience and they need to capitalize on it. It’s a long trip to Mayfield and unfriendly environment. Getting out to a fast start will not only help quiet the fans, but should also help put pressure on the Cardinals. Mayfield has a balanced offense, but haven’t been asked to come from behind often.
MAYFIELD’S KEYS TO VICTORY: Defense wins champions and it has been a staple of this Cardinals’ team all season. Forcing Beecwhood into passing situations by limiting their yardage on early downs should help lead to turnovers and points on the board from the Cardinals. Winning the turnover battle will play into their hands very well. Stopping the Tigers’ high-powered running attack should ensure Mayfield a third straight trip to Bowling Green.
PREDICTION: MAYFIELD 24, BEECHWOOD 20
Dan Clasgens is a co-founder of TSF and serves as the President/Director of Media & Content for our parent company, GetSports Enterprises LLC. In addition to nearly a decade of experience in covering local high school football, Dan is a widely recognized as a fantasy football guru. He is both a local and national radio personality, including hosting a weekly show on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. If you are interested in covering your team, please CONTACT US.