Caden Mutchler.jpg

Hillsdale quarterback Caden Mutchler takes the snap against Waynedale earlier this season at Community Stadium in Ashland.

ASHLAND — Three area teams will be in action in the opening round of the playoffs this weekend.

Here’s a look at Friday’s game:

Mapleton (2-4) at Cuyahoga Heights (1-4)

The 18th-seeded Mounties have won two of three and are coming off an impressive 65-26 win over New London. Mapleton averages 33.5 points a game, but the defense has surrendered 213 points in six games (35.5 ppg). Bryar Ramey rushed for 260 yards and four touchdowns on 35 carries last week as the Mounties piled up 521 yards on the ground.

Cuyahoga Heights has lost three straight, but has played a rugged schedule that includes undefeated Wickliffe, Independence (5-1) and Trinity (4-2).

Here's a look at Saturday's games

Campbell Memorial (2-4) at Hillsdale (3-3): The Red Devils, seeded 21st, will make a nearly two-hour bus ride from Mahoning County, near Youngstown, to Ashland’s Community Stadium. Campbell Memorial has lost two straight, including last week’s 35-0 setback against Brookfield. The offense runs through quarterback Christian Stores and running back James Shaffer.

No. 12 Hillsdale is in the playoffs for the fifth straight year and is coming off a 22-15 loss to Wayne County Athletic League rival Northwestern. Receiver Justin Zeigler smashed Hillsdale’s single-game receptions record with 17 in the loss. Zeigler has 43 grabs for 522 yards and six touchdowns while do-it-all senior Ty Williams has 43 catches for 450 yards and five TDs. Williams has also rushed for a team-high 305 yards and five TDs on 55 carries and leads the defense with 83 tackles. He became the program’s career tackles leader earlier this season.

Evergreen (0-6) at Crestview (5-1): The Vikings are seeded 24th and are making only the second playoff appearance in school history and first since 1984. Evergreen scored only 14 points through the first five weeks of the season and was shut out three times before scoring 21 in a 48-21 Week 6 loss to Liberty Center. The Vikings allow 43.5 points a game. Quarterback Payton Boucher has thrown for 413 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 93 yards.

The ninth-seeded Cougars have won four straight and are led by dynamic quarterback Ross Kuhn. The 6-foot-5 senior has thrown for 1,122 yards and 15 touchdowns with just one interception and rushed for 442 yards and four TDs on 47 carries. Running back Chase Shifflet has rushed for a team-high 603 yards and eight touchdowns on 90 carries while Evan Hamilton has 27 receptions for 659 yards and 12 TDs.

Loudonville (1-5) at Northmor (2-4): The 18th-seeded Redbirds play in the rugged Principals Athletic Conference for now, but will join Northmor in the Knox Morrow Athletic Conference in the fall of 2022. Freshman running back Sam Williams-Dixon will be a force for Loudonville for the next three years. Williams-Dixon leads the team in rushing with 531 yards on 87 carries and has a team-best 24 catches for 212 yards. Quarterback Logan Huffman has thrown for 904 yards and eight touchdowns.

The 15th-seeded Golden Knights are coming off a 30-6 loss at Highland. Quarterback Marcus Cortez is a dynamic — albeit undersized — playmaker who threw for 121 yards in the loss to the Fighting Scots. Max Lower (6-foot-1, 195 pounds) is a load and rushed for 118 yards on 22 carries last week.

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I have covered high school sports in Richland County since 2000. Email him at curt@richlandsource.com or follow him on Twitter: Follow @curtjconrad on twitter.