Liberty Benton (11-1) and the Hillsdale Falcons (9-3) will meet in the Division VI Region 22 Finals Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Frost-Kalnow Stadium in Tiffin. Neither team has faced adversity in their playoff runs, the Eagles have won their two postseason games by a combined 109-25 compared to Hillsdale’s tally of 69-7.
When Liberty-Benton has the football:
Once again, Tim Nichols has his Eagles offense humming along. On the season, they have averaged 43 points a game and have put themselves into overdrive at the right time. Through two playoff games, Liberty-Benton has averaged 55 points.
Austin May has provided the Eagles offense with both senior leadership and dynamite playmaking ability. May has 1,972 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, and an astronomical 190 quarterback efficiency rating. As if that wasn’t enough, May leads his team in the ground game where he has run for 739 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is joined in the backfield by Conor Green (415 yards, 9 touchdowns) who is more than capable of ripping off big yardage if Hillsdale focuses on May and the passing game.
When he puts the ball in the air, May will look to hook up with his favorite target he looks for Will Poling first. Poling has 691 yards and 10 touchdown grabs. Justin Risner has given Liberty-Benton a great secondary option when Poling is covered. Risner has 27 receptions, 447 yards, and four touchdowns.
Hillsdale’s defense has been strong all year and has only allowed
When Hillsdale has the football:
The Falcons average 30.1 points per game and are led by Trey Williams who has passed for 1,562 yards and 20 touchdowns. His running mate is Garrett Smith who has rushed for 1,275 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The Eagles allow only 10 points a contest on the defensive side of the ball. Perhaps, the most impressive stat of the 2017 Liberty-Benton team is that they have recorded a whopping six shutouts; that’s two more than 419 state powerhouse Marion Local has to date.
A.J. Dobbins leads the defense with more than 140 tackles, 30 behind the line of scrimmage and three interceptions – one of which he took to the house. has led the defense in interceptions with four and one returned for a touchdown. Risner also has put his name on the defensive stat sheet with one pick-six on three interceptions.
Key to the game:
If Liberty-Benton can avoid making too many mistakes they should easily roll past the Falcons. They will have to maintain their lanes and complete their assignments on defense to hold Smith in check.