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Green looks for rest, health as playoffs await

Andy Harris
Suburbanite correspondent

GREEN  After waiting a bit longer to start their football season than most other area teams, the Green Bulldogs will once again wait an extra week while the majority of their rivals kick off the postseason this Friday.

This time, though, the week off is because Green earned a bye with its 4-1 regular season. That was enough to earn the fifth seed in the Division II, Region 7 bracket.

"Our number one priority is to get as healthy as we can and use the extra time to get into weight room and get stronger," Green head coach Mark Geis said.

Back in the first week of the season, the initial uncertainty around when Summit County health officials would allow teams to begin their seasons left Green without an opponent. Eventually, the district went ahead with the season and the Bulldogs out together a regular season that included games in the second through sixth weeks of the campaign.

That stretch of the schedule ended with a 32-21 loss to rival Lake last week, a loss in which injuries plagued the Bulldogs after a strong start to the contest.

Still, being able to host a playoff game after not competing in the postseason for more than a decade is an exciting opportunity for Green players and coaches.

"I think right now after a loss on Friday we're trying to turn the page," Geis said. "Our guys are excited and they feel that they earned the opportunity to host a playoff game."

The game will take place Oct. 16 against the winner of this week's Worthington Kilbourne-Marion Harding contest. Lake, meanwhile, was named the No. 12 seed and hosts Columbus St. Charles on Friday.

Geis admitted he hasn't seen a lot of film on his team's two potential playoff opponents, but from what he has seen, he sees Kilbourne as being somewhat similar to his own squad.

Whichever team makes the trip to Memorial Stadium, the veteran coach believes the same core components of the game will decide whose postseason continues and whose playoff dreams end.

"Playoff football in Ohio, you win because of special teams, winning the turnover battle and playing great defense," Geis said.

Asked how a team without any playoff experience on its roster will handle the increased pressure that comes in the postseason, Geis admitted there's only so much he and his staff can do.

Still, he cited the competitive nature of the Federal League as one way the Bulldogs have seen the level of play it takes to win playoff games.

"You really can't prepare too much until been in it because you don't have that experience, so that's the biggest thing" Geis said. "Playing in the Federal League has prepared us to play in the postseason in a way and our guys have a lot of experience playing against Federal League teams."

To be sure, rivals such as Perry and Canton McKinley are postseason regulars, although due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the issues it caused with Green's delayed start to the season, neither of those teams appeared on the Bulldogs' schedule through the first six weeks of the season.

But now, the focus is forward and using the next week-plus to get ready for a return to playoff football and what Green players and coaches hope will be another step forward for a program looking to continue its growth.

Green at Lake Football Friday, October 2, 2020