The Shawnee Braves will play a team that looks a lot like them on the stat sheet in the first round of the playoffs.
Shawnee, the third seed in Division V, Region 20, averaged 40.7 points per game in the regular season. Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, seeded sixth, averaged 41.7. Shawnee’s defense gave up 23.5 points per game. CHCA gave up 21.0.
Each team brings an 8-2 record into the 7 p.m. Saturday game at Shawnee. Each team lost to teams that combined to lose two games. Shawnee lost to Jonathan Alder (10-0) and Greenon (8-2), while CHCA lost to Kentucky’s Lexington Christian (9-1) and Roger Bacon (9-1).
“They mirror us so much,” Shawnee coach Rick Meeks said. “They do it a little different offensively. They throw the ball a little bit more than we do. We’re run heavy. They’re more balanced, but the majority of their yards are from passing.”
» PLAYOFFS: First-round schedule
Each team also has a senior quarterback standout. Shawnee’s Robie Glass threw six touchdown passes, scored 14 rushing touchdowns and also had one touchdown reception. CHCA’s Cole Fisher threw 19 touchdown passes and scored on 17 touchdown runs.
“I don’t think he’s as fast as Robie,” Meeks said, “but he maneuvers very well. He reminds me of the (Cade) Rice kid from Greenon. He’s about the same height and weight. He can run. He can throw.”
The winner of this game will play No. 2 seed West Jefferson (9-1) or No. 7 seed Cincinnati Country Day (7-2) at a neutral site in the second round Nov. 16. In the region’s other games, No. 8 seed Blanchester (6-4) plays at No. 1 seed Cincinnati Taft (9-1), and No. 5 seed Cincinnati Madeira (8-2) plays at No. 4 seed West Liberty-Salem (9-1).
Cincinnati Hills is making its 15th playoff appearance and 10th in a row. Last season, it beat West Jefferson 49-42 on the road in the first round before losing 50-6 to Madison.
» STATE POLL: Final ranking after Week 10
This will be the ninth playoff appearance for Shawnee and second in a row. It will play at home in the playoffs for the first time since 2011 when it reached the state championship game. Shawnee lost 46-0 at Clinton-Massie in the first round last season. It was the most lopsided loss in Meeks’ 17 seasons as head coach.
“Last year, we were just happy to be there,” Meeks said. “This year, the expectation is, ‘Let’s do something.’”
The Braves built momentum for the postseason by beating Kenton Ridge 35-20 in their final regular-season game.
“I don’t think we played our best football,” Meeks said, “but we played solid. We’re ready to go.”
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