Mechanicsburg to play Wayne Trace at Wapak in state semifinal

The Mechanicsburg High School football program has qualified for the playoffs 10 times since 1999. But this season the Indians have gone one-up on all of those other great teams, advancing to the state semifinals.

“You’re in the final four,” beamed Mechanicsburg coach Kurt Forrest following a 34-28 defeat over Ohio Heritage Conference rival West Liberty-Salem that took two overtimes on Friday at Wapakoneta.

“Every team is a heck of a football team,” he continued. “The key for us is just believing in each other, trusting in each other and making sure every guy gets their job done. We’ve got to be able to run the football and we’ve got to be able to stop the run. If we do those things, we’ll be OK.”

The Indians (11-2) will take that method of operation into a fourth-round game against Haviland Wayne Trace (12-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Wapak’s Harmon Field in a Division VI state semifinal.

The other D-VI semifinal pits 2012 D-V state runner-up Kirtland (13-0) against Columbus Bishop Ready (12-1) at Mansfield, also on Friday.

The winners will play in the following week’s state championship either Dec. 5-6 at Massillon or Canton.

Mechanicsburg is the last remaining area football team still playing. OHC rival Triad was beaten 50-0 by two-time defending state champ Marion Local in a D-VII, Region 26 final on Saturday.