Trevor Moran (10) of North Union picks his way through the Fostoria defense during Week 1 of the playoffs. Moran tallied 189 yards and two touchdowns against the Redmen. (Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
North Union’s football rolls into the second week of the 2020 playoffs with an opportunity to make history.
The last time the Cats made it past round one of the playoffs was back in 2013. when they lost to West Jefferson 37-20 in the second round.
The Wildcats have never made it beyond the second round.
The Cats are back in the same place seven years later with the upper hand. The Wildcats, as the 8th seed will host Genoa Area, which is coming to Richwood on Saturday (7 p.m.) as the 9th seeded team in Division V’s Region 18.
NU will face an offense with which it’s familiar.
The Comets run the Wing T, just like the Wildcats.
“The Wing T is all about ball control,” said NU coach Nick Hajjar said. “They are going to try to impose their will on us by running the ball right at us.”
Genoa Area imposed its will on Brooklyn last week in a 55-0 victory.
The Comets used a stable of running backs on that night.
The ball carriers included Jaycob Barlage, Ray Gomez, Justin Barlage and Robert Messenger.
They used three different tight ends to help the linemen as they advanced the ball on the ground.
Hajjar said Genoa Area is a team that is primed to play in the playoffs.
“They are a team that has a history and is battle-tested in the playoffs,” he said. “They have a bunch of big guys up front who play really hard.”
Hajjar said knowing the offense the Comets are going to run so intimately has its advantages.
“We know the mind set of what the offense wants to do,” he said.
Although the Comets have a young quarterback in Braylen Bryant, Hajjar said his defense can’t ‘sell out’ on the run.
“They will try and lull us into the run, then they throw the ball,” he said.
Since the Wildcats don’t see much of the Wing T in their own conference, Hajjar said his team will “have to prepare for all of it.
“It is like going back to camp where you compete against yourself,” he said.
NU knows its own offense well.
Last week’s 48-0 win over Fostoria was completely done on the ground as the Wildcats used seven different ball carriers who tallied 488 yards.
Trevor Moran led the pack with 189 yards and a pair of TDs.
With the two teams running identical offenses, Hajjar realizes the importance of each opportunity with the ball.
“As we move forward (in the playoffs), the stakes get higher, the game moves faster, so each possession will be crucial,” he said. “This game will be a true four-quarter battle.”