Playoff Preview: 4 Catholic Central vs. 5 Southern

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It has been a long time coming, but the Southern Tornadoes can finally say they are playoff bound.

An 8-2 regular-season record earned Southern the No. 5 seed in Division VII, Region 25. The Tornadoes will face off with the 8-2 Steubenville Catholic Central Crusaders, the fourth seed in the region.

Tyler Barton has led the Tornadoes on offense this season with 1,346 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground. The Crusaders will look to four-time starter Brenton Colabella under center to get past Southern.

Catholic Central comes into the playoffs having lost its last two matchups. In week 9, the Crusaders fell at Madonna, the current top seed in WVSSAC Class A playoff standings.  A week 10 upset at the hands of Magnolia has Catholic Central limping into the postseason and eager to return to winning ways.

Southern enters week 11 after winning three of its last four games, the loss coming in a 42-14 week 9 matchup with Trimble, the number one seed in Division VII Region 25.

After a four-interception performance by the Southern secondary in week 10 against rival Eastern, it will be interesting to see if Colabella will be able to continue his usual success. Colabella is the all-time leader in passing touchdowns at Catholic Central.

Southern has had more success on defense, allowing just 94 total points this season, while Catholic Central has given up 132 points, including the 24 Magnolia posted in its upset victory over the Crusaders.

Although the Tornadoes have allowed fewer points on defense, the Crusaders have had their way on offense this season, racking up 425 points against opponents, compared to Southern’s 301 points.

Southern and Catholic Central will meet in Steubenville at Harding Stadium on Saturday at 7 p.m. for a first-round playoff battle.