GREENE COUNTY — Big plays and big scores have been the norm for the Scots of Columbus Walnut Ridge this season.
Walnut Ridge (10-0) is making its third straight appearance in the Division II postseason football playoffs, and will face the Xenia Buccaneers (9-1) who are making their first appearance since the OHSAA began its current postseason playoff format.
The first-round battle is set to take place at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8 at Xenia’s Doug Adams Stadium.
If the Scots hold true to form, the game officials might want to start working on their sideline sprints now. They could be making a lot of them.
Walnut Ridge, the Columbus City League’s South Division champion, has recorded at least 15 touchdown scores of 25 yards or more this season (no stats could be found for the Eastmoor game), and they’ve done it in a variety of ways.
Four kick returns.
One fumble return.
One blocked field goal return.
Xenia, ranked No. 10 in the final Associated Press Division II state poll, has 10 to its credit (complete statistics for the Tippecanoe game were not reported).
The Scots recorded three shutouts during the regular season, and outscored their opponents 456-54 for an average of 45.6 points scored per game. Their average scoring margin was 40.2 points.
Walnut Ridge played nearly an all-Columbus City League schedule, with its lone game outside of the league also being its closest — a 24-13 Week Two win over Watkins Memorial.
Columbus Marion-Franklin (7-3) also qualified for the postseason out of the CCL. They’re in as a No. 8 seed in Division IV, Region 15. Walnut Ridge defeated them 33-6 in Week 8.
First-year starting quarterback Howard Thornton, a junior, has thrown for more than 1,2oo yards and has more than 20 TD passes. Qian Magwood appears to be Thornton’s favorite target. Magwood has 11 touchdowns and two two-point conversions this season. Magwood also serves as the Scots punter.
Junior back Javarus Leach has scored 13 touchdowns on the ground to go with two two-point conversions.
Walnut Ridge has finished with a 9-2 final record in each of the past two years.
Statistics are from various online sources, including The Columbus Dispatch (dispatch.com).