Preview: Indian Hill at Wyoming

The final stop on the 2019 Blitz 5 Tour is at reigning Ohio Division IV state champion, Wyoming. The Cowboys host rival Indian Hill in what has become one of the best small school battles in the Buckeye State.

The Cincinnati Hills League title is on the line. Wyoming has won the last four crowns. The Braves are looking to get back to the top for the first time since 2015 and a second time in the last decade. The good news is that both teams have already clinched a postseason berth and there is still more to play for after Friday night.

INDIAN HILL BRAVES (8-1, 6-0) at #17 WYOMING COWBOYS (9-0, 6-0)
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m.
Bob Lewis Stadium, Bernie Barre Field
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PLAYERS TO WATCH: When it comes to filling stats sheets few have done it better than Wyoming seniors QB Evan Prater, TE/LB Cam O’Gara, and OL/DL Harrison Shepherd. Prater has amassed 2,096 yards of total offense (1,408 pass, 688 rush) and accounted for 30 touchdowns (19 pass, 11 rush). The University of Cincinnati commit has 8,594 yards of total offense (5,291 pass, 3,303 rush) while accounting for 127 touchdowns (70 pass, 57 rush) in his career. O’Gara is the school’s all-time leading tackler with 440 total tackles (303 solo). Shepherd has racked up 126 total tackles with 10.5 sacks in his three years as a starter. Juniors WR/DB Brennan Pagan, WR/DB Joop Mitchell and RB/DL Beau Thomas have been big contributors on both sides of the ball. Pagan is the team’s top receiver with 30 receptions for 485 yards and seven touchdowns. He also has a league-best four fumble recoveries. Mitchell has hauled in 25 catches for 548 yards and six scores. Thomas leads the squad with five sacks and has averaged 9.7 yards on 27 carries with three touchdowns.

Senior QB Tre Lopez fuels the Indian Hill offense. Lopez has run for a team best 839 yards, thrown 1,117 yards and accounted for 26 touchdowns (12 pass, 14 rush). Classmate RB Duke Wyler leads the team with 15 rushing touchdowns. He has teamed with RB Charlie Sumerel to run for 989 yards. Two-way players WR/DB Luke Hammond and WR/DB Amari Whitehead have combined for 53 receptions, for 960 yards and 13 touchdowns. Defensively, they have combined five interceptions. The Braves love to put pressure on the quarterback. They have 18.0 sacks. Senior DL David Ryu has a team high six sacks.

TEAM TRENDS: Wyoming has won 24 consecutive games and 40 straight regular season affairs. The Cowboys have not allowed more than 17 points in their last 27 contests. Indian Hill was the last school to score 20 points on them, back in Week 10 of 2017. This will be the eighth meeting between the two schools since the beginning of 2015. The Cowboys have won the last five contests. Next weekend will be Wyoming’s 25th playoff appearance and sixth in a row. The Cowboys will be looking to win back-to-back state championships and third overall in for the program.

Indian Hill has scored 48 points or more six times. The Braves have scored 50 or more points nine times in their last 17 games dating back to last season. Indian Hill will be making its 13th playoff appearance in school history next Saturday. It is also a program record fifth straight postseason appearance.

INDIAN HILL’S KEYS TO VICTORY: The Braves’ defense must make Prater one-dimensional. Take away a facet of his game, either his arm or his legs. Possessions will be a of a premium, the offense can ill-afford to squander them. Attention to detail and efficiency in all phases is a top priority.

WYOMING’S KEYS TO VICTORY: The offensive line must protect Prater while someone other than him needs to carry some of the burden gaining yards. Indian Hill is very explosive. The last thing the Cowboys want to do is get into a shootout with the Braves. Disrupting the rhythm of their offense will go a long way toward winning this affair.

Prediction: Wyoming 21, Indian Hill 16

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