Alter’s 18-season playoff streak at stake: “It’s going to be a challenge”

Alter football is in an unfamiliar position. Rather than gearing up for another Greater Catholic League Co-Ed championship and deep high school postseason run, the Knights have been pushed into a corner.

“We need to find out who really wants to play football and who wants to help us turn this thing around,” Alter veteran coach Ed Domsitz admitted. “I don’t think you push the panic button, but it’s pretty clear it looks like we’re going to have to win out to get to where we need to be. It’s going to be a challenge.”

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That was following a Week 6 blowout loss at Badin. Then it got worse for the Knights. Two more losses followed to Fenwick and Carroll. All those program-defining wins by those GCL rivals snapped long losing streaks to the Knights.

Unlike other seasons, Alter (5-4) must win in Week 10 to extend its season. To do that, visiting Alter would have to take down mighty Chaminade Julienne (8-1) on Friday night. CJ is already assured of at least a tie for the GCL Co-Ed title, its first since 2001. CJ hasn’t beaten Alter in the regular season in at least nine years.

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An Alter win would likely vault the Knights into the Division III, Region 12 playoffs. CJ already is assured of a Region 12 home game and would clinch a No. 1 seed with a win.

Alter is just one season removed from playing for a D-III state championship. An 18-year playoff streak also is at stake for the Knights.

Here’s a look at other playoff possibilities for area teams, based on and Drew Pasteur’s Ohio Fantastic 50. The top eight teams in each region qualify for the postseason based on computer points. Level 1 points are awarded for wins and Level 2 points for wins by a defeated opponent.

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The Ohio High School Athletic Association will announce first-round playoff pairings on Sunday.

Division I: Springfield (8-1) and Springboro (8-1) have clinched Region 2 playoff spots. Springfield's only loss was in Week 2 to unbeaten Fairfield, No. 1 in D-I, Region 4. Springboro's only loss was in Week 7 to Springfield.

Northmont (5-4) is at Wayne (3-6) on Friday and will make the Region 2 cut regardless of this outcome, although it will be a low seed. Wayne has a slim shot at advancing with a win. Also on the bubble is Centerville (4-5), which must defeat visiting Springboro to have a chance to crack the Region 2 field.

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Division II: Troy (7-2) has clinched in Region 7 but needs to beat rival Piqua (5-4) to secure a first-round home game. Xenia (8-1) also has clinched and will secure the No. 4 spot in Region 8 by beating Fairborn on Thursday. That would give the Bucs a first-round home game. That's significant, because this is Xenia's first playoff team.

Division III: A loaded division for area teams. Bellbrook (7-2) is the only area contender in Region 11 but is a bubble team at best. That's because three of its wins are against teams with a combined four wins. Bellbrook hosts Monroe (2-7) on Friday. Piqua's game at Troy is a Region 7 play-in game for the Indians.

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CJ, Franklin (8-1) and Badin (6-3) are projected to get out in Region 12. Greenville must defeat Sidney for a slim shot at joining the Region 12 field.

Division IV: Clinton-Massie (9-1) has clinched a Region 16 home game and Waynesville (8-1) of the Southwestern Buckeye League will have to beat Madison (5-4) to earn a home game. Other SWBL reps Valley View (7-2) and Milton-Union (7-2) should make it in Region 16, although they'll likely be the 7-8 seeds. Valley View must knock visiting Brookville (6-3) out of playoff contention and Milton-Union will get a minimum of points by beating Carlisle (1-8).

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Also lumped in Region 16 is defending state champ Cincinnati Wyoming (9-0). The Cowboys are 36-1 over the last three seasons.

Division V: West Liberty-Salem (8-1) and Springfield Shawnee (7-2) have clinched in Region 20. WL-Salem will move up should it beat Mechanicsburg (8-1). Shawnee must deal with rival Kenton Ridge (5-4).

Greenon (7-2) has rode a season-opening defeat of Shawnee to stay in Region 20 contention, but most likely is looking at a No. 9 spot even by beating Greeneview (5-4).

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Division VI: Another loaded area field. Coldwater (8-1) and Anna (8-1) have clinched Region 23 spots and will be joined by Minster (8-1). All those Midwest Athletic Conference teams are state championship caliber. Coldwater will be playing for a share of the MAC title at Marion Local (7-2) on Friday.

Mechanicsburg and Covington (7-2) should make the Region 24 cut. Arcanum (7-2) can do likewise by winning at Mississinawa Valley (6-3).

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Division VII: At least four area teams should qualify in Region 28. Fort Loramie (8-1) and Marion Local have clinched. New Bremen (7-2) and Ansonia (5-4) will do the same with Week 10 wins. Mississinawa Valley must beat Arcanum to advance.

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