Alter, Coldwater and Marion Local all advanced to the high school football regional finals this week. Nothing unusual about that; all three programs have traditionally thrived in the postseason and often are state-title contenders.
What is different are the missing area teams. Those seven Greater Western Ohio Conference representatives that were spread through Divisions I, II and III? Gone.
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That includes Trotwood-Madison, which was ousted in the first round. That snapped a streak of eight straight seasons the Rams advanced to the state semifinals.
Clinton-Massie, the run-heavy machine that figured to have a state-title rematch with mighty Steubenville? Gone.
Minster, which couldn’t contend for a Midwest Athletic Conference championship and instead made three small-school state title appearances since 2014, winning twice? Gone.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced neutral regional final sites on Sunday afternoon. Divisions I, II, III and VI will play on Friday and Divisions IV, V and VII on Saturday. All games are at 7 p.m. The winners advance to the Week 14 state semifinals on Nov. 23-24.
Here’s the area matchups:
• D-III, Region 12: Alter (11-1) vs. Wapakoneta (11-1) at Piqua, Friday. The top-seeded Knights have won out following a season-opening loss at Fairmont. Wapak eliminated Trotwood and Fenwick in its tourney journey.
• D-V, Region 20: Madison (12-0) vs. Wheelersburg (11-1) at Hilliard Darby, Saturday. The Mohawks haven’t had a close game since a Week 3 defeat of Valley View. They’ve allowed just 21 points in the last eight games. Wheelersburg is tucked in Scioto Valley and didn’t play any area opponent until a 35-13 KO of Greeneview on Saturday.
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• D-VI, Region 24: Coldwater (10-2) vs. Marion Local (11-1) at Sidney, Friday: This is the matchup MAC patrons have dreaded ever since the Cavaliers and Flyers were lumped in the same region. Both multiple state champs, Coldwater defeated Marion Local 26-20 in two overtimes in a Week 10 regular-season finale to snap a two-game losing skid. Marion Local beat Coldwater in last year’s regional final on its way to a state title.
• D-VII, Region 28: Fort Loramie (11-1) vs. Convoy Crestview (11-1) at Lima Spartan Stadium, Saturday: It’s Loramie, not Minster, that gets a small-school shot at a state title. What’s significant about that? Loramie lost to Minster 34-14 in the season opener and hasn’t lost since. The Redskins are members of the Cross County Conference for football only and a long time Shelby County Athletic League member in all other sports.
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