Updated Thu, Nov 7, 2013 12:57 pm
For two teams separated by 60 miles, the Maysville Panthers and the Bexley Lions could not be more similar. Both teams have seen their ups and downs this season, but all that matters now is what happens Friday, Nov. 8 at 7:30 in Zanesville, when the Panthers and Lions meet in the regional quarterfinals.
After a 5-0 start, Maysville took a step back and lost three of its next four games, dropping in the MVL standings. Bexley also started the season 5-0, but their season also took a turn for worse with three straight losses.
However, even with their struggles, the Panthers and the Lions have rebounded to clinch playoff berths.
Maysville capped its season with a thrilling win over non-conference opponent Claymont, while Bexley rounded out its season Friday, Nov. 1 with a 24-7 win over rival Columbus Academy, a team that the Lions haven’t been able to beat since 2008.
Outside of records, the teams are almost mirror images of each other when it comes to their style of play on the football field. Both rely heavily on the ground game and feature multiple threats coming out of the backfield.
Maysville’s three-headed monster of Jordan Hayes, C.J. Harris and Chase Roberts has had their way in the majority of their contests this season. Bexley quarterback Andre Stewart and running back Javell Gray are both coming off 100-yard rushing performances, as they contributed to a Bexley rushing attack that totaled 358 yards on 61 carries against Columbus Academy.
But perhaps the most striking similarity between the two teams is that both have plenty of inexperience when it comes to playoff football.
Maysville reached the playoffs for the first time in their history in 2012, while Bexley returns to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
The Panthers and Lions kick off from the Maysville Athletic Complex in Zanesville on Friday night at 7:30. It will be the first home playoff game in Maysville’s history.
Friday’s winner moves on to face the winner of a 1-8 matchup between Licking Valley and Steubenville.