After losing its opener, the Alter High School football team won out the rest of the regular season. That secured a third straight Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North championship and propelled the Knights into the playoffs.
It also resulted in an Associated Press Division III state poll title. Alter was among seven teams that finished No. 1 in the final state polls that were released on Monday.
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“It’s a tribute to what they’ve been able to accomplish since (the opening loss to) Fairmont and it says a lot about the reputation to our program to get that kind of consideration on a state-wide basis,” veteran Alter coach Ed Domsitz said. “It doesn’t do anything tangible for you, but it’s nice to be recognized.”
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It was the fourth time Alter (9-1) has been crowned a state football poll champ, joining the 2016, ’14 and ’09 Knights. Other state poll winners on Monday were Cincinnati Colerain (D-I), Akron Hoban (D-II), Cincinnati Wyoming (D-IV), Genoa Area (D-V), Kirtland (D-VI) and Sycamore Mohawk (D-VII).
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Last season Trotwood-Madison (D-III) and Marion Local (D-VI) were state poll champs and each followed up by winning state championships on the field. Marion Local appeared destined to win its sixth straight state poll title until falling 26-20 in double overtime at Midwest Athletic Conference rival Coldwater last Friday.
Finishing No. 2 in their respective polls were Bellbrook (D-III) and Madison (D-V) of the Southwestern Buckeye League and Coldwater (D-VI). Five of 10 MAC teams were among the top 10 in the final polls: Anna (D-V), Coldwater, Marion Local and St. Henry (D-VI) and Minster (D-VII).
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Other area teams to crack the final top 10 were Northmont (D-I), Trotwood (D-III), Clinton-Massie (D-IV) and Fort Loramie (D-VII).
All those area teams will play in Week 11 regional quarterfinals in playoff openers on Friday or Saturday. Alter will host Cincinnati Mt. Healthy (5-5) at Fairmont at 7 p.m. Friday.
“That was the goal, to win out,” Domsitz said. “We were not going to let a loss to Fairmont dictate our season. That was not going to be our identity and let that spoil the season. It hurts because it’s a big rivalry, but there’s plenty of football left.”
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Weekly poll voting is done by state-wide media and tabulated by the Associated Press.
• Here’s some football playoffs number crunching:
There are 718 teams that play football throughout the state and 224 qualified for the postseason (31.2 percent). The average number of teams in Divisions II-VII is 108, but only 72 in D-I.
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There are seven divisions and four regions each division. The top eight teams in each of the 28 regions qualify for the playoffs and those top four earn first-round home games.
Qualifying for the playoffs is based on a numerical computer point total of wins (first-level points) and wins by a defeated opponent (second-level points). There also is a sliding scale to the formula, the most points awarded to D-I and the least to D-VII.
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Winning margins, win streaks, league titles and past history do not affect computer point rankings. Football remains the only Ohio sport in which teams must qualify for the postseason. All teams and/or individuals in the other 12 fall, winter and spring sports automatically advance to the postseason following the regular season.
• Advancing to the girls volleyball regional semifinals on Thursday were Fenwick and Tippecanoe (D-II), Anna, Versailles and Miami East (D-III) and Jackson Center, Russia, Fort Loramie and New Bremen (D-IV). All those teams won district championships last Saturday.
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The D-II regional is at Butler, D-III at Fairmont and D-IV at Northmont. Semifinal winners advance to Saturday’s regional finals. Those winners qualify to next week’s season-ending state final fours at Wright State University’s Ervin J. Nutter Center.
Versailles (D-III) and New Bremen (D-IV) are defending state champs.
• Troy Christian (15-1-1) will play Dayton Christian (17-2-1) in a D-III boys regional soccer semifinal at Centerville on Wednesday. The teams tied 1-all in a regular-season game earlier this month.
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Tippecanoe (16-2-2) advanced to a D-II regional semi against Cincinnati Summit Country Day (9-7-0) at Lakota West on Wednesday. Those regional semi winners advance to Saturday’s regional finals at sites to be determined.
• The season-ending boys and girls state cross country championships are Saturday at National Trail Raceway in Hebron. Centerville has won four consecutive D-I girls state titles and Minster is the two-time defending girls D-III state champ. Both should be among the favorites again along with Beavercreek junior Taylor Ewert, who was third overall among D-I girls last season.
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