Familiar playoff foes for area teams

·5 min read

Oct. 24—COLUMBUS — Familiar matchups both in the present and possibly the future headline the state playoff football scene for area schools.

The official pairings were released on Sunday by the Ohio High School Athletic Association, and six area teams are among the 448 schools who will continue their respective seasons this weekend.

In Region 25 in Division VII, St. Paul (8-1) is the No. 2 seed in the 16-team field and will host No. 15 South Central (3-6) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Contractors Stadium at the Warren C. Whitney Complex.

The matchup is an ironic twist between the two longtime Firelands Conference opponents. On Sept. 7, the Trojans were forced to cancel their yearly FC game with the Flyers scheduled for Sept. 11 in Norwalk because of COVID-related issues.

St. Paul instead won a thriller over Edon (9-1), 45-44, to replace the Trojans. It had appeared that South Central and St. Paul would not play for the first time since 1967, only to have the playoff seedings bring the Trojans to Norwalk after all.

Also in the region, Plymouth (5-4) is the No. 10 seed and will head to No. 7 Salineville Southern (7-3). That is the same trip the Big Red made on Sept. 3 after their game with Crestline was canceled.

Plymouth won that game at Southern, 28-12. If the Big Red can win again and the Flyers also prevail, that would set up yet another rematch between the two FC foes at St. Paul in the second round. The Flyers rallied for a 24-21 win over the Big Red on Sept. 24 in Norwalk.

Monroeville (3-7) is the No. 14 seed in Region 25 and will make the two-hour trip east to No. 3 Warren John F. Kennedy (6-2). JFK reached the state title game last season and last won a state championship in 2016.

Also on Saturday, Western Reserve is the No. 9 seed in Region 22 in Div. VI and will make the hour-trip west to No. 8 Gibsonburg (7-2). The Roughriders (6-3) narrowly missed hosting the matchup in Collins by .4032 points.

Another rematch awaits an area team in Region 14 in Div. IV. Edison (5-5) is the 16th and final team in the field, and the Chargers will make the 15-mile trip back down Ohio 113 to No. 1 Bellevue (8-2) at 7 p.m. Friday.

In Week 2, the Redmen defeated the Chargers by a 21-14 score on Aug. 27 in Bellevue.

Also of note, Mapleton (3-6) is the No. 16 seed in Region 25 and heads to No. 1 Lucas (8-1) on Saturday, while Crestview (10-0) is No. 2 in Region 22 and entertains No. 15 Northwood (4-4).

That means the entire Firelands Conference — all seven programs that fielded teams — qualified for the state playoffs.

In Div. II Region 6, Olmsted Falls (8-2) went from 13th to sixth with wins over Avon Lake and Berea Midpark over the final two weeks of the season. The Bulldogs, coached by 1999 Norwalk graduate Tom DeLuca, will host No. 11 Parma Hts. Valley Forge (6-3) on Friday.

In Div. III Region 10, Tiffin Columbian (6-4) from the SBC Lake Division is the No. 7 seed and will host No. 10 Lodi Cloverleaf (4-5), coached by former New London head coach Justin Vorhies (2012-13).

In the same region, Mansfield Senior (8-2) is the No. 4 seed and will entertain OCC rival Lexington (4-6) at Arlin Field.

Along with Edison and Bellevue in Region 14, there are four other SBC teams — giving the Lake and Bay divisions six of the 16 teams.

Clyde (8-2) is the No. 2 seed and hosts No. 15 Galion (4-6) and No. 4 Port Clinton (9-1) entertains No. 13 Toledo Scott (6-4). The Fliers shared the Lake title with Bellevue and the Redskins won the Bay title outright.

Also in the region, No. 9 Perkins (7-3) travels to No. 8 Rocky River Lutheran West (8-1), while No. 12 Huron (6-4) heads east to No. 5 Keystone (8-1).

Along with Gibsonburg from the SBC River Division, league champion Hopewell-Loudon (9-1) is the top seed in Div. VII Region 26. The Chieftains host No. 16 Dola Hardin Northern (6-4) on Saturday.

Lakota (7-3) is the No. 9 seed in Div. V Region 18 and travels to No. 8 Eastwood (7-2), giving the three divisions under the SBC a total of 10 playoff teams among its 18 member schools.

In Div. III Region 11, Columbus Bishop Hartley (8-2) is the No. 5 seed and will entertain No. 12 Washington Court House Miami Trace (7-3). The Hawks won at Norwalk on Sept. 17.

The Truckers went 1-9 this season. They faced nine teams in the playoffs, including six that finished among the top eight seeds with first-round home games, and a seventh, Perkins, that narrowly missed (0.4399 points) the top eight in its region.

Area playoff matchups

7 p.m. Friday

Division IV

Region 14

No. 16 Edison (5-5) at No. 1 Bellevue (8-2)

7 p.m. Saturday

Division VI

Region 22

No. 9 Western Reserve (6-3) at No. 8 Gibsonburg (7-2)

Division VII

Region 25

No. 15 South Central (3-6) at No. 2 St. Paul (8-1)

No. 14 Monroeville (3-7) at No. 3 Warren JFK (6-2)

No. 10 Plymouth (5-4) at No. 7 Salineville Southern (7-3)

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