Wildcats reach playoffs for fourth time in school history, first home game since ‘80

Williamsburg’s Cody Minnie runs off the edge during the Wildcats’ game against Batavia earlier this season.

Williamsburg’s Cody Minnie runs off the edge during the Wildcats’ game against Batavia earlier this season.
By Chris Chaney
Sun staff

The streets of Williamsburg can tell you all you need to know about what’s going on Friday night, Nov. 8 at Ken Osborne Field.

The Wildcats will host their first home playoff game since 1980 as the Scott Lefker-led squad will square off with West Liberty-Salem in the first round of the Division VI, Region 22 playoffs.

Lefker, a Williamsburg man through and through, has now been a part of three of the four of the school’s postseason appearances, first as a player in 1986, then as an assistant in 2001 and finally as the head coach this season.

“It’s pretty fun,” Lefker said. “It’s part of history here. We don’t get this opportunity very often, so that’s what we’re excited about.”

If the school and community are excited about the prospects of hosting a first-round game, Lefker did his best to make sure his team was going to be prepared, getting a jump on their first-round opponent in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

“I think we know pretty much everything (West Liberty-Salem) runs offensively and defensively,” Lefker said. “We traded films around 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning after all of the scores had come in and we were pretty confident that that’s who we were going to play. The coach up there and I exchanged films and we’ve probably watched (the three game films) 100 times each, so we’ve got a good mix of seeing different offenses and defenses against them.

“We know they’re a good team; you don’t make the playoffs if you’re not. We think we should matchup with them pretty decently and we should put on a good showing.”

The Wildcats weren’t assured of anything heading into the final week of the regular season against Goshen. Projections had Williamsburg claiming a postseason spot regardless of the outcome, but Lefker and his team weren’t worried about anything but the Warriors.

“We didn’t know we had anything wrapped up until we won Friday night, that’s how we played it out,” Lefker explained. “We really didn’t give a lot of thought to anything but winning Friday night’s game. We are really excited; I wish I had more time to be excited, but West Liberty-Salem is a good football team and we have our work cut out for us.”

With the win over Goshen, along with other chips falling into place, Williamsburg moved up to the third seed in the region, clinching the second home playoff game in school history.

“(Getting the three seed) meant a lot,” Lefker said. “We get home-field advantage and most likely, we would have been traveling two-plus hours if we weren’t a top-4 seed.

“For our fans and our community, it’s history in the making if we can pull off a victory Friday night. That would be a first for our school. That’s what we’re playing for and our community is excited and we want them to be proud of us.”

The community has already shown the Wildcats how proud they are, adorning the storefronts in town with banners and words of encouragement.

The team on the field has shown that they deserve that support, winning seven of their last eight games of the season and is peaking at the right time.

“Our defense is playing solid,” Lefker said of the team’s current form. “We’re really flying to ball and we’re solid up the middle; the linebackers are great and our defensive tackles are getting a good rush on the quarterback. Defensively, we’re doing everything we want to do.

“Offensively, our guys are controlling the ball. We’ve had a lot of success running the ball in the past few weeks and controlling the clock. That’s what you have to do against bigger schools. We’ve been successful keeping the ball out of the other teams’ hands and that’s what our goal is heading into this game, too.

“The kids know what our game plan is every week. They buy in and they’re playing hard and we expect to do more of the same this Friday.”

Lefker said he is expecting to have a definitive home-field advantage on Friday night as the Wildcats try to capture their first postseason victory in school history.

“I expect it to be packed,” Lefker said. “I don’t expect anybody in our community to be at home watching TV. I think they’ll all be here. The support that the community has shown already has been amazing. It’s a pretty exciting time in Williamsburg.”

The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Friday evening under the lights.

According to the Ohio High School Athletic Association, tickets will be available for $7 at Williamsburg for presale and will be $9 at the gate.