High school football: Defending champions, top seeds set to start playoff journeys

Northmont's Xavier Vuong, right, celebrates after kicking the game-winning field goal in overtime against Springfield on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Clayton. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Before even seeing what Marysville looked like on film, Northmont coach Tony Broering had a good guess of what he would see in the 6-1 Monarchs.

“I know they have big, strong players and good kids,” Broering said after his team remained undefeated with a 35-0 win over Middletown in round one. “Kinda like us they play in a good league, that tough division of the (Ohio Capital Conference), so they’re gonna be battle-tested and ready.”

ExploreWeek 2 playoffs schedule

Marysville, the No. 7 seed in Division I, Region 2, advanced with a 35-14 win over No. 10 Dublin Jerome.

Their headliner is Gabe Powers, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior who has verbally committed to play at Ohio State.

A five-star prospect, Powers is the state of Ohio’s No. 1 player in the 247Sports Composite rankings and No. 31 overall.

“Traditionally I know that Marysville is a great historical program like Northmont,” said Broering, whose team is the No. 2 seed in the region.

The first week of the playoffs provided proof Broering and other GWOC coaches were onto something when they predicted the conference would be deep and difficult this season.

Five conference teams advanced to the second round — even with two having to play each other as Wayne beat Centerville for a second time this season.

Sixth-place Fairmont, the No. 12 seed in Division I, Region 2, had the most eye-opening win as the Firebirds improved to 3-4 on the season by blasting Perrysburg, the No. 5 seed in the region and No. 6 team in the state according to the Associated Press Division I poll, by four touchdowns. That 42-14 victory earned Fairmont a trip east to take on No. 4 seed Olentangy Liberty this week.

Springboro, the No. 5 team in the GWOC and No. 8 seed in the region, beat No. 9 Findlay 28-19 but has what figures to be a bigger challenge this week when the Panthers travel east to face undefeated Dublin Coffman, the No. 4-ranked team in the state and top seed in the region.

There will be another all-GWOC game this week as No. 6 seed Wayne travels to Springfield for a rematch with the Wildcats, who beat them 21-14 in the season-opener. Springfield is the No. 3 seed in the region and ranked eighth in the AP poll.

The winner of that game could get another rematch in round three — if Northmont takes care of business against Marysville.

Several of the area’s top teams had byes last week and are set to start postseason play Friday night.

Undefeated Piqua, the No 9-ranked team in the state AP poll in Division II, is the No. 3 seed in Region 8 and plays host to No. 14 Harrison.

In Division III, reigning state champion Trotwood-Madison is ranked ninth in the state despite getting a late start on the season because the district suspended sports activities in August in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The 3-0 Rams were voted the No. 3 seed by area coaches and are set to open defense of their title against No. 19 seed Carroll, a surprise winner over No. 14 seed Celina in the first round.

The winner of that game will face the winner of a matchup between No. 6 seed Alter and No. 11 Dunbar at Roush Stadium in Kettering.

The Knights, who received a first-round bye, are 4-2 and winners of four in a row. The Wolverines have not lost on the field but are officially 2-2 as a result of forfeiting two games for using an ineligible player. They began postseason play last week with a 33-6 win over Cincinnati Aiken.

On the other side of the Region 8 bracket, No. 1 seed Bellbrook begins the postseason against No. 16 Chaminade Julienne, a 31-28 winner over Cincinnati Northwest last week. The undefeated Golden Eagles are No. 2 in the state AP poll.

In Division VII, another state champion begins its title defense as No. 1-ranked and top-seeded Marion Local will play host to No. 16 seed Cedarville.

That is one of two matchups between Midwest Athletic Conference and Ohio Heritage Conference teams in the region. The other pits No. 19 seed Southeastern against No. 3 New Bremen, who like the Flyers had a bye.

Also returning to action this week is No. 4 seed Tri-Village. The state’s No. 2 team in Division VII will play host to Cincinnati College Prep while No. 2 seed Fort Loramie (ranked No. 6 in the state) will take on No. 15 Troy Christian.

On Saturday night in Division VI, Region 24, No. 1 seed Coldwater is set to play host to No. 17 Triad in another MAC-OHC matchup white defending state champion Anna (the No. 13 seed) plays at No. 4 West Jefferson.

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