(10-29-21) Samuel Houseworth takes a look at Week 1 of the OHSAA playoffs.


One of the most interesting games of the first round is a rematch of week 2 when Mentor heads to St. Ignatius. Despite being the higher seed, St. Ignatius lost to the Cardinals back in August, 28-26. However, the two teams went in different directions after that contest. St. Ignatius would win 4 in a row, while Mentor lost 5 of their next 6, putting them on the road against one of the hottest teams in the state to open the postseason.


The number of competitive contests are few and far between. None of the top 15 teams in the D-II Projection Index should be challenged in the opening round of the playoffs. That doesn’t mean there are none. Harding at Fitch and Turpin at Winton Woods should be exciting games that have an impact on future weeks. That will change next week after the wheat is separated from the chaff.


Earlier this week, I stated that it’s unlikely that a 16 beats a 1. However, that is not the case for 15s vs. 2s. In fact, in D-III alone, there are 3 15 vs 2 games that will be competitive. Columbus South at Jackson, SVSM at Dover, and Kettering Alter at Monroe, where Alter is actually the slight favorite according to the Projection Index. It stands to reason that at least one of these 15s will advance to the second round. Apologies to Sylvania Southview who has no chance at West Holmes.


Defending champion Van Wert were given a fairly easy path to the regional semis as the 3 seed in Region 14. The Cougars are heavily favored against Rossford this Friday. Then in the second round, Van Wert would host Wauseon or Triway. Either way, they would be about three touchdown favorites in either contest. Though, if we get Bellevue, Clyde, and Port Clinton in the Region 14 semis, get ready for some exciting, unpredictable football!


It’s a good thing that Versailles in on the western half of the state, because Kirtland’s path through Region 17 is truly nightmarish. On the other hand, the Tigers may not get challenged until the state semifinals. Region 17 is home to Kirtland, South Range, Garaway, and Garfield. All of these teams are rated higher than any team Versailles could face in the first four rounds of the playoffs.


Similiar to D-II, the competitive contests in D-VI are rare. Anna at Springfield Northeastern and Fort Recovery at Arcanum could very likely result in a 14 vs 11 second round game. But when we get to the second round, we will be looking at games like Tinora at Carey, Colonel Crawford at Ashland Crestview, Liberty Center at Columbus Grove, and Norwayne at New Middletown Springfield instead. If all goes as planned, those will be some state quarterfinal caliber games in week 12.


Outside of D-III, the only other 15 seed with a snowball’s chance in Haiti is Spencerville, who take their hot octane offense to the northwest corner of the state to face Edon. The winner of that game would get either Antwerp or Patrick Henry, another contest that’s just as unpredictable. Then to top it all off, whoever comes out of that grouping into the regional semis will likely face LCC, a team that could win the state championship or crash and burn in the early rounds.