by Samuel Houseworth
It should come as no surprise that there is a massive canyon-wide gap between the top two teams in D-I and the other 69 schools in Ohio’s largest division. Thankfully for nerds and talking heads, their common opponents of St. Ignatius and Cincinnati Moeller will give us a better idea of who is truly the team to beat come playoff time. In fact, St. Xavier gets Moeller this weekend!
The same cannot be said for D-II. There is a log jam at the top with at least a half dozen teams with a realistic shot at the state title. And none of them will have an easy path out of their region, especially up by the lake where Avon Lake, Avon, and Toledo Central Catholic have all been crammed into Region 6. The game to keep an eye on this week will be Hoban as they face St. Ignatius in what is their toughest test since their loss to nationally ranked Bergen Catholic.
If we learned anything from Week 4, it’s that Badin will have a cakewalk to the state semifinals through Region 12. They will be a double-digit favorite all the way through the four games of the state playoffs when they begin. Now watch, Ross is going to make a fool out of me and pull the biggest upset in the state in Week 4 at Badin.
Despite winning their toughest game of the season so far, Van Wert falls 2 spots to #4 this week in the Projection Index. Ursuline’s win over Austintown-Fitch, combined with an overall tougher schedule, sees them leapfrog the Cougars. And while West Branch’s schedule is comparable to Van Wert’s, they’ve averaged 51.0 points scored per game through the first 4 wins, while only allowing 13.5.
The top three teams in D-V are probably going to be undefeated going into the postseason: Kirtland, Ridgewood, and South Range. Versailles won’t be because of a narrow loss to Marion Local, while Otsego and Eastwood have hurdles in their schedule. As usual, D-V is one of the more competitive divisions in 2021.
At this point, there’s no denying it: Coldwater and Archbold are miles ahead of the rest of D-VI. Archbold has outscored their opponents 145-43 with a schedule consisting of D-IV and D-V schools. And Coldwater is just their typical selves. Hopefully Columbus does the right thing and keeps these two teams apart in the state semifinals.
In what is probably their last big test of the regular season, Newark Catholic proved they belong in the state championship conversation with a narrow win over Fort Loramie. As for New Bremen, even with their loss to Coldwater, the Cardinals still stay in the top three with Marion Local and LCC.
Midwest Athletic Conference
If football was played on paper, all of the Week 5 games in the MAC would already be decided. If there was a game that I would watch for a potential upset, it would be Anna at New Bremen. But even then, the Cardinals are double-digit favorites. There may be a surprise or two this week, but I ain’t betting on it.
Western Buckeye League
Van Wert is in the middle of the tough part of their schedule. After getting Celina and Defiance, they get Wapak, St. Marys, O-G, and Shawnee, all in a row. But also, good on Celina for pulling the upset win against Kenton this past week. Now let’s see if they can upend Elida’s playoff hopes with two upsets in a row.
This is it! The de facto NWC Championship Game: Allen East at Columbus Grove. Honestly, if you have to pick one game this week to keep track of, it’s this one. And hell, Leipsic at Spencerville will keep one of those two teams in the conference title talks for another couple of weeks. Definitely the best slate of games in west central Ohio this week.