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Playoff preview - Tallmadge vs. Ashland

By izzy Published: November 10, 2010

Wil lit be air vs. ground or ground game vs. ground game?

The remarkable and unexpected season for the Tallmadge Blue Devils football team (11-0) moves to the Division II semifinals 7:30 Friday night at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.

The challenge this week comes from Ashland (9-2), which used a different method to light up the scorebard at home and defeat Aurora 36-26 in the regional quarterfinal.

Chris Thomas and Michael Bixler are normally targets for star quarterback Marcus Fuller, who was 192-of-295 for 3,092 yards with 33 touchdowns and nine interceptions in the regular season.

Instead, Thomas ran for 194 yards on 17 carries, including a crucial swing play. After the Arrows stopped the Greenmen on a fourth-and-1 play on their own 7, Thomas went 94 yards for touchdown, tying a school record, and give Ashland an early 7-0 lead.

Fuller was still effective, hitting 9-of-15 passes for 107 yards.

Special teams also were key, as Calep Kipp of the Arrows blocked a punt and Willie Moore, the team's star linebacker, scooped it up and ran it in for a TD. That cetainly is a big point of emphasis with Tallmadge, which had a punt blocked in its playoff game.

Arrows kicker Greg Gallaway had a pair of field goals.

The Arrows will concentrate on slowing the Blue Devils vauntedground game. In the 41-28 win over Kent Roosevelt, Tyrin Wlliams rushed for 257 yards on 27 carries with two touchdowns and Dylan Getz had 124 yards on 10 carries.

The X-factor could be Blue Devils sophomore quarterback Anthony Gotto, who s 5-for-9 but threw for a pair of touchdowns.

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