By Samuel Houseworth
(10-26-20) In D-I, St. Xavier has emerged as the strong favorite to win their 4th state championship. The Bombers have scored 40+ points in each of their past 5 games, winning all 5 games by an average of 30 points per game. St. Xavier is a strong road favorite against the Firebirds of Lakota West.
Staying down in SW Ohio, the D-II regional semifinals feature a battle of the undefeated between Kings at Winton Woods. Last season, Winton Woods was the highest rated team in the Projection Index to not make the OHSAA Playoffs. Now, as part of the Eastern Cincinnati Conference, the Warriors’ schedule is more fitting to their school size and will benefit the school for years to come.
D-III will be decided by Region 9 up in NE Ohio. Of the remaining teams in D-III, 4 of the top 5 are from Region 9, with Region 12’s Bellbrook being the black sheep of the family. Canfield at Streetsboro and New Philadelphia at Chardon are going to be great contests and de facto state semifinals.
A touchdown with 22 seconds left lifted Valley View over Indian Hill in the biggest upset of the weekend. Indian Hill was a co-favorite to win the D-IV state title, but the D-IV picture has been flipped on its head. With 16 teams remaining, Clinton-Massie is the favorite to win their 3rd state title, with Shelby and Bellevue strong contenders as well. As for Valley View, they are slight road favorites at Wyoming this weekend.
From the beginning, I have said that Ironton and Kirtland were the co-favorites to win D-V, and I still stand by that. And I can say that with most confidence after North Union upset their biggest threat: Liberty-Benton, 28-7 in the regional quarterfinals. Looking at competitive regional semis, keep an eye on O-G at Otsego and Versailles at Roger Bacon.
Surprises were nonexistent in D-VI this past weekend, and this coming weekend doesn’t look hopeful for many. 7 of the 8 regional semifinals have double-digit spreads with Norwayne at Wickliffe being the only exception. But that said, Fairview is a strongest road favorite in the OHSAA playoffs this coming week, traveling to undefeated Colonel Crawford.
In D-VII, no game will carry as much importance as New Bremen at Fort Loramie. Both teams are in the Projection Index Top 5, with the winner likely getting to face top-ranked Marion Local in the regional final. Then next week, we can talk about that and a potential Arlington-LCC contest as best de facto state semifinals.