By Jim Horvath
Week Nine of the high school football season is here, and so is all of the corresponding discussion about the upcoming OHSAA Tournament.
If you haven’t noticed, a number of Westshore area teams are finding themselves in the playoff hunt. And throughout Ohio, teams are trying to secure one of the 192 spots throughout the six divisions. As usual, many of those spots won’t be won until the final regular season game is played.
Each division had four regions, with each region sending eight teams to the post season. A lot of attention in the area has been fixed on Division II, Region 6, and with good reason.
Undefeated Avon is in the first slot with an 18.6625 point average. Another unbeaten team, Maple Heights, is second, but with a lower average of 15.7625.
After that, it starts to get a bit crazy.
Avon Lake is in fourth (15.0625). Lexington and Maumee are next, followed by Westlake in seventh (11.8375). Olmsted Falls is in the eighth and final spot (11.4625), with North Ridgeville knocking on the door in 10th (10.5250). Even Rocky River has a slight chance, currently holding steady at No. 13 (6.7625).
Looking at the schedule, you can see why the next two weeks are important to so many teams.
Olmsted Falls, for example, has a huge home game this Friday night with an undefeated Division I team, Amherst, coming to town. A win would solidify another playoff appearance for the stories Bulldog program of veteran coach Jim Ryan.
Westlake, despite a number of close losses lately, is holding on and needs to win out to get in. Both games at home, with Midpark coming in this Friday and Division I Brecksville the week after. The Bees are in a playoff battle of their own, so a lot will be on the line at Lou Duchez Field that night.
And talk about a lot on the line…let’s take a look at Fairview and Lutheran West.
The Warriors, 5-3 on the season, hosts Avon Friday night in a big West Shore Conference game. Not only is first place on the line, but the up-and-coming Warriors have been presented a big opportunity. Fairview, currently 16th in Division IV, Region13, would HUGE computer points should they be able to knock off this undefeated larger school.
A win over the Eagles would thrust them into playoff contention. Tack on a win the final week against arch rival Rocky River, and Dave Latkovic’s crew is in like flint.
Over at Lutheran West, the Longhorns really made a move with their win over Division IV Clearview. That win moved them up all the way to the 10th spot in Division V, Region 17. A win at winless Oberlin sets up a home game against 7-1 Columbia, currently sixth in it’s region. Again, big points on the line.
But really, I’m just scratching the surface with this info. There are a lot of factors (and a lot of math!) involved in the whole process. To get an idea, just go to www.ohsaa.org, click on football and take a look for yourself. There are some examples of the playoff formula that determines the final playoff field.
Best of luck to our area teams the next two weeks. As for the fans, enjoy the ride!