By Samuel Houseworth
(11-2-20) Don’t expect any more blowouts in the D-I playoffs. All of the semifinalists are rated in the Top 5 of the Projection Index (Sorry, Dublin Coffman) and none fell outside of the statewide Top 10 throughout the postseason. Yes, I’ve got the St. X Bombers winning it all, but nothing would surprise me over the next two weeks.
D-II is home to the heaviest state champion favorite in Ohio: Akron Hoban. The Knights have spent most of the season as the top team in Ohio across all divisions. They will be double-digit favorites the rest of the way.
Last week, I stated that whoever came out of Region 9 in NE Ohio was going to be the strong favorite to sweep through the state semis and state final. I stand by that as the two best teams left in D-III square off between Chardon and Canfield.
Onto the most balanced, most unpredictable division in the state: D-IV. In fact, Lake Catholic and Ursuline are probably underrated as the winner of that contest will likely get the winner of St. Clairsville and Bloom-Carroll. So yea, your guess is as good as mine! (Though to pat myself on the back, I’ve been big on Van Wert since Week 2, when nobody else was!)
In D-V, I’ve been predicting a Ironton-Kirtland state championship from early on. But, if there’s an opportunity for those plans to fall through, it will be this weekend. Ridgewood and South Range are formidable opponents and more than capable to pull off big upsets of their own on Saturday.
Fun stats in D-VI: Their stellar defense has only allowed 110 points all season long (12.2 papg). 63 of those points came against Fort Recovery. 47 came against their other 7 opponents combined (6.7 papg). Mechanicsburg has scored 30+ in all 9 of their games so far this season, averaging 42.4 ppg. Something’s got to give on Saturday.
No sugar coating it: D-VII is a three team race: New Bremen at Marion Local will be an excellent rematch of their Week 2 contest. The winner will likely get LCC in the state semifinals, but really, that will be the de facto state championship.