BY DAVE SCHUTTE
The Cincinnati Enquirer
If Lebanon is paired against Celina in the Division II state football semifinals as expected, Warrior coach Dave Brausch knows what to expect.
Celina and Lebanon played in the first round last year. The Warriors fell behind 21-0 and and came back to win 24-21.
But, after last year's experience, Brausch is expecting the unexpected when the pairings for the state semifinals are announced today by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
"We're not assuming anything about next week's opponent," Brausch said. "Last year, we wasted six hours exchanging films with Columbus Watterson. The next day, the OHSAA announced we were playing Defiance."
Celina's strength is the offense with quarterback Trent Dysert at the helm. Mark Adams is the go-to running back. Receivers Bret Baucher and Chad Higley are the favorite targets for Dysert's aerials.
"They lost seven defensive starters and the top running back," Brausch said. "In the playoff games, they've given up 28 points against Bowling Green (won 35-28) and 37 against Sylvania Southview (won 38-37).
Defense has been Lebanon's strength with the Warriors, allowing only 20 points in victories over Roger Bacon (49-13) and Miami Trace (38-7) during tournament play.
Wyoming coach Bernie Barre expects Coldwater to be the Cowboys opponent in the Division IV state semifinals, also on Friday.
"We've already exchanged films," Barre said. "We scouted Coldwater last night. All I know is that they're a strong defensive team with a diversified offense.
Linebacker Travis Gerlach, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior, is Coldwater's best player. In tournament victories over Kenton (40-12) and Lima Bath (43-8), Gerlach had 22 tackles and five quarterback sacks.
However, the Cavalier secondary of Paul Werling, Jeff Kaup, Adam Jutte and Travis Pottkotter has combined for seven interceptions the past two weeks.
"They use two quarterbacks but don't have any one dominating running back," Barre said.
Wyoming reached the state semifinals for the first time in 21 years by knocking off Ohio's No. 1 ranked team, Valley View, Friday in Hamilton.
After reviewing the films, Barre was applauded the play of Jordan Spore, a junior filling in for Scott Cryder at offensive tackle. Cryder was moved to the starting fullback position for Valley View. "Our defensive tackles, Dan Deering and John Lewis, played extremely well and made some big plays," Barre said. "Steve Cronin also looked good at (offensive) center."
Barre isn't worried that the victory will go to the heads of the players.
"We came back to school after the game and had some pizza," Barre said. "They ate and then filed out and went home. It was business as usual again this morning (Saturday)."
Besides Wyoming and Coldwater, Huron and Orville are still alive in the chase for the Division IV state title.
The OHSAA will announce all of the pairings and sites today about 3 p.m.