Week 12 Playoff Preview



No. 7 seed Hamilton celebrated its first-ever playoff victory last week following a 13-10 win over Sycamore, which has set up a rematch against No. 2 Princeton on Friday night in a Division I, Region 4 quarterfinal at Pat Mancuso Field in Jake Sweeney Automotive Stadium.

The Big Blue (8-3) went toe-to-toe in Week 5 against the Vikings (11-0), the Greater Miami Conference champions and the state’s fourth-ranked team.

Princeton quarterback Deangelo Birch hit Daelyn Jarman on a 14-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds left to knock off Hamilton 22-16 back on Sept. 15.

The Big Blue are 5-1 since that loss.

Junior quarterback Antonio Mathis has thrown for 1,557 yards and 11 touchdown passes. His favorite target is junior R.J Shephard-Ruffin, who has 39 receptions for 511 yards and seven scores.

Senior running back Cournell Bennett-McCoy has rushed for 956 yards and six touchdowns.

Junior end Trey Verdon anchors the defense with 70 tackles, including eight sacks and 12 for loss of yards. CJ Bryant (115), Gracen Goldsmith (105) and Carter Isaacs (100) are in the GMC’s top five in tackles.

Junior PJ Nelson leads Princeton with 74 tackles and 11 sacks. Birch has thrown for 1,131 yards and 10 touchdowns.


The No. 3 Firebirds (9-2) take on the No. 6 Panthers (7-4) in a Division I, Region 4 quarterfinal at Firebird Stadium.

Elder leads the series 6-1 dating back to the 2004 season. Lakota West won the last meeting 30-10 in the 2022 postseason.

The Firebirds tout both the Greater Miami Conference’s best offense and defense, while outscoring their opponents 357-77.

The Panthers have won three out of their last four.


The No. 1 Rams (11-0) face the No. 9 Eagles (8-3) in a Division III, Region 12 quarterfinal at Fairfield Alumni Stadium.

Both programs won their respective conferences during the regular season, with Badin taking the Greater Catholic League Coed crown and Bellbrook the Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern Division title.

The last time both teams played was in the 2021 regional finals. Badin won 21-9.

The Eagles have won six straight, including last week’s 48-0 rout of Wilmington. 

The Rams blanked Goshen 41-0 in their playoff opener.

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