Marysville’s Carson Smith (5) stares down a Central Crossing defender while picking up yardage. The Monarchs will travel to Springfield on Friday for the opening round of the Division I state playoffs. (Journal-Tribune photo by Chad Williamson)
It’s been a long six-year stretch, but the high school football playoff wait is over for the Marysville Monarchs.
MHS earned its first post-season gridiron berth since the 2013 campaign when the final state computer ratings were released Sunday afternoon.
The Monarchs will take a 6-4 record into Friday’s 7 p.m. contest at Springfield.
The Wildcats are 9-1 on the season and are ranked fifth in the final Associated Press Division I poll that was released Monday afternoon.
Springfield earned the No. 1 seed in Region 2, while the Monarchs are No. 8.
Springfield’s lone loss of the season was a 16-12 setback to Fairfield (9-1) during the second week of the regular season.
Marysville head coach Brent Johnson said his squad was primed for the post-season Saturday morning, after the regular-season finale victory over Central Crossing.
“The guys have been working hard with their weight lifting all season, but I think we had some of our best lifts of the year on Saturday,” he said. “There was a little more pep in their step and we liked what we saw.”
Johnson said the playoff berth is very important in the on-going process of rebuilding Marysville into a regular post-season competitor.
Marysville was the first local football team to play in the post-season, back in 1991.
The Monarchs made three consecutive playoff appearances in the late 1990s-early 2000s.
Each MHS head coach since Rich Weiskircher and prior to Johnson had taken the program to the post-season at least once in the past 27 years leading up to the current campaign.
“This playoff spot is very important to our program,” said Johnson. “It is the result of what we’ve been working on the past three seasons.
“We’ve changed our approach to the game and we’ve wanted to change the culture of Marysville football,” he said. “All of the players and coaches have held true to that approach.
“Being able to play in Week 11 is a testament to all the hard work by the players and coaches,” said Johnson. “We don’t want to waste this opportunity.”
It has been an unusual season for the Monarchs.
They were forced to play their first two games of the season on the road against Columbus Northland (at Olentangy High School) and Delaware Hayes (at Hilliard Bradley).
Both contests were scheduled for home, but were changed due to the fact the new stadium was not ready for play in late August and early September.
The Monarchs won their first two games by respective scores of 49-0 and 35-14.
A strange Friday evening awaited Marysville during the third week of the season.
MHS made the long trip to play Findlay in a non-conference game.
Lightning delayed the start of the contest for more than two hours.
The battle ended shortly after midnight, with the Monarchs falling by a 21-7 count.
MHS ripped off easy victories over Grove City and Big Walnut, only to fall 28-9 to Dublin Coffman.
The Monarchs rebounded with a cake-walk triumph over Westland, but then suffered setbacks at the hands of Upper Arlington and Hilliard Davidson.
What made the losses to the Ohio Capital Conference Central Division’s “Big Three,” more difficult to stomach is that MHS outgained each in statistical categories, with the exception of the scoreboard.
The Monarchs closed out the regular season with an easy 35-0 triumph last week over Central Crossing and began preparing for Springfield.
Despite all the obstacles, Johnson said MHS has had the support of the community.
“It’s been awesome,” he said. “Our ‘Pit’ (the student section) has been something I’ve never seen here at Marysville.
“The entire community has handled a lot with the stadium issue, but everyone has stayed positive,” said the coach. “There’s a lot of buzz around Monarch football and I feel it’s revitalized the program.”
Monarch Ryan Kern (32) carries the ball through a block put on by teammate Chase Kilgore (34) against Central Crossing. The Monarchs will play at Springfield on Friday as the Division I playoffs begin. (Journal-Tribune photo by Chad Williamson)
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