Mercer County will host Bureau Valley

Robert Blackford/Editor

The Mercer County Golden Eagles will host Bureau Valley Saturday, Oct. 31 at 1 p.m. in the first round of the Class 2A football playoffs.

Mercer County (7-2) is ranked seventh in their bracket while Bureau Valley is ranked 10th.

Mercer County head football coach Nat Zunkel said he was happy with the bracket but didn't know too much about Bureau Valley yet. "They have a strong playoff history," said Zunkel. "I liked it better when they ranked teams 1-32 but I understand why they changed."

Zunkel said the team was missing a few players to illness Friday night when Mercer County dropped its season finale with Stark County. "We'll be ready next Saturday," said Zunkel.

"We're excited to be in the playoffs. We're going to take it one game at a time," said Zunkel.

Bureau Valley placed third in the Big Rivers conference behind Morrison and Amboy.

This is the team's second year under coach Jeff Ohlson. The Storm finished 10-2 last year losing in the quarterfinals to eventual state champion Immaculate Conception. They have been to the playoffs eight of the last nine years winning a state championship during the 2005-06 school year under Dave Moore.

Of the 32 teams in Class 2A Mercer County is the only one with as many as three state championships. No other team has more than one. Bureau County has one state title.

This is Mercer County's 13th consecutive playoff appearance, second only to Stark County's 14. Seven of the 32 schools have won a total of nine state championships.

Offensively Mercer County is averaging 39.8 points per game. On defense it is giving up 16.7 points per game for a difference of 23.1 points.

Bureau Valley is averaging 33.3 points per game on offense. Defensively it is allowing 14.4 points per game for a difference of 18.9 points per game.