It’s not as if Tre McIntyre has been out of touch since injuring a leg in midseason. Just the opposite, the senior Triad High School football standout has been more active than ever.
“A lot of people thought that the wind was out of our sails,” Cardinals coach Payton Printz said of losing McIntyre, an All-Ohio football candidate, to injury. “It took us a while to fill the void. … (McIntyre) actually became a student coach. He’s been in the press box talking to our offensive and defensive coaches. He aspires to be a coach and a teacher in the future. He turned a real bad negative into something very positive.”
Even better, McIntyre is expected to return to the lineup on Saturday night when Triad (12-0) plays two-time defending state champ Marion Local (12-0) in a Division VII, Region 26 final at Piqua’s Alexander Stadium – Purk Field.
Triad is joined in the third week of the playoffs by Ohio Heritage Conference rivals Mechanicsburg (10-2) and West Liberty-Salem (10-2), which will play in a D-VI, Region 22 final at 7:30 p.m. today at Wapakoneta’s Harmon Field.
All the Divisions II-VII regional winners will advance to next week’s state semifinals.
Triad most certainly will be buoyed by the return of McIntyre. He was the Cardinals’ leading rusher, receiver and tackler when he was lost to injury.
However, injuries to several other key players have left Triad’s lineup at 25 members. In contrast, Marion Local annually dresses 60-75 players. The Flyers won another Midwest Athletic Conference title this season. They join MAC rivals Coldwater and Delphos St. John’s this deep into the playoffs.
The Triad/Local game is one of five throughout the state in all divisions that will pit unbeaten teams against each other.
The Mechanicsburg/WL-Salem rivalry has a long tradition, dating back to 1929. Burg has been to the playoffs 10 times and WL-Salem eight, all since 2004. Both programs will be seeking their first state final appearance.
Mechanicsburg scored a late touchdown to secure a 32-22 win at West Liberty-Salem in their Week 7 regular-season OHC showdown.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association will announce state semifinal neutral sites on Sunday.