Difference between final playoff spot and dreaded No. 9? Everything

The high school football regular season will end on Saturday night. For many teams, that means the start of the second – playoff – season.

Making the postseason cut is reason enough to celebrate. To do that, teams must place among the top eight in their respective final computer region rankings. Teams clutching those final No. 8 seeds have a daunting task; all are paired at top seeds in first-round games.

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That would be OK with teams that landed in the dreaded No. 9 spots.

Here’s a look at four area teams that earned the final No. 8 seeds and five teams that came the closest but finished ninth.

These playoff projections are based on the websites JoeEitel.com and Drew Pasteur’s Ohio Fantastic 50. The official first-round pairings will be announced by the Ohio High School Athletic Association on Sunday.

Area No. 8 seeds; they’re in

D-III, Region 12: Alter (6-4) was listing at 4-4 after Week 8 with three straight losses. A sweep of McNicholas and rival Chaminade Julienne earned the Knights their 19th consecutive playoff spot and rematch at CJ.

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D-IV, Region 16: Milton-Union (8-2) lost only to Waynesville (9-1) and Valley View (8-2) and barely made the second season. That's because three of its wins were against teams with a combined four wins. Its reward is a first-round game at defending D-IV state champ Cincinnati Wyoming (10-0), also 37-1 over the last three seasons.

D-VI, Region 24: Dayton Christian (8-2) won its last three to qualify for the third time. The Warriors lost only to Cincinnati Summit Country Day (8-2) and Worthington Christian (8-2) by a combined 10 points and two OTs.

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D-VII, Region 28: New Bremen (7-3) nudged Ansonia (6-4) for the final spot by just 0.05 of a point, or an extra first down. The Cardinals are the fifth MAC team to advance, joining Anna, Coldwater and Minster (D-VI, Region 23) and Marion Local (D-VII, Region 28). New Bremen defeated Ansonia 34-6 in Week 2, which held up as the playoff decider.

Area No. 9 seeds; they’re out

D-II, Region 7: Piqua (5-5) had a Week 10 play-in game at rival Troy and lost, 35-9. Instead, it's No. 8 Toledo St. Francis de Sales (6-4) that gets a rematch with top-seeded Toledo Central Catholic (10-0).

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D-III, Region 11: Bellbrook (8-2) went 5-0 in the second half of the season and lost only to Waynesville (9-1) and Franklin (9-1) by a combined eight points and one OT. So how did this happen? Five of its wins were against losing teams and three of them combined for four wins. That's no fault of Bellbrook's but was its postseason undoing. Instead, it's London (7-2) that's at No. 1 seed Columbus Hartley (9-1).

D-III, Region 12: Greenville (7-3) couldn't overcome a Week 8 loss at Piqua. Still, it was an impressive first-season showing by coach Bart Schmitz, who was promoted to succeed now-AD Aaron Shaffer. Alter's upset of CJ allowed the Knights to claim that coveted No. 8 spot and knocked the Green Wave out.

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D-V, Region 20: Greenon (8-2) joins Bellbrook in owning the best record for an area team that didn't make the postseason. It's a recurring theme. The Knights defeated just two winning teams and rode a Week 1 defeat of Springfield Shawnee (8-2) to the edge of making it. Four of those wins were against teams with a combined three wins.

D-VII, Region 28: Ansonia (6-4) lost out by that 0.05 point to New Bremen. Mississinawa Valley (7-3) defeated Arcanum in Week 10 to knock the Trojans out of D-VI, Region 24 contention and also KO'ed Ansonia's playoff bid.

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