Shawnee set for rematch with Wyoming

SPRINGFIELD — A year after falling to Cincinnati Wyoming in a second-round playoff game, the Shawnee High School football program has earned its chance for revenge.

Braves coach Rick Meeks, however, isn’t buying into any dramatic storylines.

“It’s just another team in front of us,” Meeks said. “We’re a different team, they’re a different team. They’re 11-1 and they’ve been dominant for 15 years now. They are what they are. They just seem to keep reloading. They don’t go through any up-and-down cycles other than up. We’re going to have to play our best game.”

Seventh-seeded Shawnee (11-1) will play sixth-seeded Wyoming (11-1) in a Division IV, Region 16 playoff game at 7 p.m. Friday at Trotwood-Madison High School.

The winner will play either top-seeded Clinton Massie (12-0) or fourth-seeded Alter (9-3) in the Region 16 final next week at a site to be determined.

Wyoming has won 10 or more games in eight consecutive seasons. Last year, Wyoming beat Shawnee 35-0 on its way to a D-IV state runner-up finish. The Cowboys fell to Cleveland Glenville 26-6 in the state championship game.

This year, Wyoming opened the season with eight straight victories before falling to Indian Hill 21-3 in Week 9. The loss snapped Wyoming’s state record regular-season winning streak at 75 games.

The Cowboys beat Washington Court House Washington 42-0 and Cincinnati Taft 35-26 in the playoffs.

They’re led by senior quarterback/linebacker Quad Hauer, who has thrown for 1,682 yards and 13 TDs. He also leads the Cowboys with 118 tackles. The team’s top running back is junior Joel Hancock, who has rushed for 941 yards and 13 TDs.

Shawnee has won eight straight games since falling to London in Week 4. The Braves are led by senior running back T.J. Meeks, who rushed for a school record 405 yards in last week’s 42-7 second round victory over Urbana.

The game will feature two teams that play smash-mouth football on both sides of the ball, Meeks said. Defensively, the Braves are allowing 7.9 points per game, while Wyoming is allowing 10.5 ppg.

“We’re going to keep doing what we have been doing, which is play physical defense, smashmouth, run the football, take some shots here and there, reduce penalties,” Meeks said. “We have been doing that. The formula that we’ve been winning with — if we do that, we’ll have a shot on Friday. We have to do those things to have a shot to win.”

In his 21 seasons as head coach, Meeks has advanced to the regional semifinals nine times (2005, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 19, 20 and 23). It never gets old practicing in November, he said, except “when it’s cold.” Shawnee practiced under the lights in nearly 70-degree weather earlier this week.

The goal, Meeks said, is to play as long as possible, especially the class of 14 seniors.

“It’s a great class of kids,” Meeks said.

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