BELLBROOK — No. 6-seeded Wapakoneta faces its first road opponent in the OHSAA Division III Region 12 Tournament when it travels to play No. 3-seeded Bellbrook at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Redskins and Golden Eagles both enter the Region 12 quarterfinal contest 9-2 overall and each squad has a seven-game winning streak on the line. Wapakoneta and Bellbrook both went 2-2 in each team’s first four games.
Bellbrook began its postseason path with a 50-20 home victory against No. 14-seeded Trotwood-Madison in the first round last Friday. Wapakoneta shut out its first-round opponent, Dayton Dunbar, 30-0 last Friday at Harmon Stadium.
“We’re fortunate to continue to play and it’s our goal to be 1-0 at the end of each week while continuing to get better,” Redskins coach Travis Moyer said. “Going on the road, we know that it will be an extremely tough place to play. One thing that you will see, regardless of your opponent, is that there will be great teams and great players from here on out. Bellbrook fits that bill.”
Bellbrook: The Golden Eagles have wins over Tipp City Tippecanoe (24-14), Tecumseh (28-9), Franklin (44-21), Waynesville (42-17), Middletown Madison (63-13), Oakwood (56-7), Monroe (42-10), Valley View (35-25) and Trotwood-Madison (50-20). Bellbrook has lost to Hamilton Badin (17-7) and Eaton (21-20).
Wapakoneta: The Redskins count victories against Lima Shawnee (21-7), Kenton (34-0), Elida (30-13), Lima Bath (28-21, OT), Celina (41-7), Defiance (27-6) and Dayton Dunbar (30-0). Wapakoneta split its first four games this season by losing to Marion Local (31-6) in Week 1 and Van Wert (55-45) in Week 4, while defeating Ottawa-Glandorf (28-13) and St. Marys Memorial (10-7) in Weeks 2 and 3.
Meet the Golden Eagles
Running back Seth Borondy is Bellbrook’s biggest offensive threat after running for 2,082 yards and 27 touchdowns on 222 carries. He’s averaging 9.4 yards per carry this season.
What’s more, the Golden Eagles are deep in the offensive backfield after employing 17 different rushers. In addition to Borondy, five more Bellbrook running backs have gained 100 yards or more with Nick Eitenne piling up 438 yards and four touchdowns on 61 carries.
Luke Benetis and Carson Lebensky have split time at quarterback with Benetis having more success. Benetis has completed 20 of 38 of his passes (53%) for 391 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions. Labensky has connected 32% of his passes (17 of 52) for 295 yards with six interceptions and two touchdowns.
Borondy leads BHS with 16 receptions and two touchdowns for 331 yards.
With 29 total touchdowns, Borondy has scored 174 of the Golden Eagles’ 397 points this season.
Moyer has seen two primary ways the Golden Eagles are successful on offense.
“Bellbook is a senior-dominated football team with a very balanced run game,” Moyer said. “They want to do a lot of different things with (Bronody) to get him the ball by playing him in a lot of spots. He’ll be the focal point of the offense. We’re going to have to do a good job defending him.
“I believe (Borondy) was the conference Player of the Year last season. He’s not only done it this year, but also in the past, as well,” Money said. “We’re going to have to do a good job of putting Bellbrook in long-yardage situations. Whenever we have an opportunity to get off the field, we have to do it.”
Moyer said running isn’t the Golden Eagles’ only way of moving the ball.
“Guys who are responsible for stopping the run will have to stop the run. But the second part of it is that they can hurt teams with play-action passes by taking shots over the top,” Moyer said. “We’re going to have to go a good job of being disciplined. Their offense is a tough challenge for us because they can both run and throw the ball effectively.”
Tackle leaders for the Golden Eagles include Nick Cumpston (77), Ashton Ault (73), Luke Kosins (64), Ashton Kooken (55) and Cameron Strong (50). Ault and Kooken lead with 3.0 sacks apiece, while Kosins has intercepted three passes.
Meet the Redskins
Wapakoneta’s biggest offensive threats have been quarterback Braeden Goulet and running back Jace Mullen.
Goulet edged ahead of Mullen last Friday for the lead in the Redskins’ rushing attack. Goulet had 98 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries against Dayton Dunbar to give him 1,098 yards on 146 running attempts this season. Mullen added 59 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries last Friday to give him 1,059 yards on 160 running attempts. Both Goulet and Mullen have run for 16 touchdowns this season.
Other options for WHS at running back include Connor Meckstroth, Joey Truesdale, Jace Knous, Nate Metzger and Reece Schnarre, who all have received carries this season.
Goulet, who completed 2 of 9 passes for 20 yards against the Wolverines, has gone 75 of 139 (54%) in passing this season for 860 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions.
The primary receivers for Goulet are Kaden Siefring (28 receptions, 352 yards, two touchdowns), Kaleb Walter (24 receptions, 266 yards, two touchdowns), Mullen (seven receptions, 138 yards, one touchdown) and Zach Rogers (11 receptions, 74 yards).
Wapakoneta’s defense shined against Dunbar last Friday, allowing 169 total yards and 14 rushing yards. Kaden Ware (two) and Mikey Lee (one) each collected sacks, while Meckstroth led WHS with six total tackles (four solo and four assists). Austin Stauffer (four solo stops), Siefring and Ware also made 4½ total tackles apiece. The Redskins had eight defenders with three or more total tackles.
Kicker Nikane Ambos increased her extra-point success rate to 95% after making all four her attempts against the Wolverines. She is 36 of 38 in PATs this season.
Region 12 Tournament
Other first-round results in the Region 12 Tournament — in bracket order — include No. 1 Hamilton Badin 37, No. 16 Vandalia Butler 0; No. 9 Lima Shawnee 28, No. 8 Cincinnati Hughes 0; No. 13 Dayton Chaminade-Julienne 38, No. 4 Hamilton Ross 17; No. 5 St. Mary’s Memorial 49, No. 12 Franklin 13; No. 3 Bellbrook 50, No. 14 Trotwood-Madison 20; No. 6 Wapakoneta 30, No. 11 Dayton Dunbar 0; No. 7 Tipp City Tippecanoe 50, No. 10 Cincinnati Mount Healthy 6; and No. 15 Kettering Archbishop Alter 20, No. 2 Monroe 14.
Other quarterfinal matchups at 7 p.m. Friday — in bracket order — No. 9 Lima Shawnee at No. 1 Hamilton Badin, No. 13 Dayton Chaminade-Julienne at No. 5 St. Marys Memorial, No. 6 Wapakoneta at No. 3 Bellbrook and No. 15 Kettering Archbishop Alter at No. 7 Tipp City Tippecanoe.