High School Football: Lots to settle for playoff seedings in final 3 weeks of regular season

In four weeks, high school football teams will begin the six-Week trek toward Canton and state-championship Weekend.

Sixteen teams in each region get a shot to make a playoff run. Springfield reached the Division I title game last year and lost. The Wildcats have the talent to make it back. The Midwest Athletic Conference was well-represented again with Marion Local winning Division VII, Versailles winning Division V and Coldwater finishing as runner-up in Division VI.

The top four teams in each region will play up to two home playoff games. The top eight teams get at least one home game. The postseason will shift to neutral sites in the third round.

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The OHSAA releases the playoff points each week, but two other websites update the playoff picture as the scores start coming in on Friday nights. Joe Eitel’s site joeeitel.com is the place to go for updated ratings and each team’s results and upcoming games. Drew Pasteur’s fantastic50.net site provides playoff seeding projections and probabilities.

The clinched playoff berths and projections that follow are based on Pasteur’s projected results of the final three weeks of the regular season.

Projected seedings in parentheses.

Division I, Region 2

Teams: 18

Already in: Springfield (1), Centerville (2), Wayne (5), Fairmont (11).

Likely in: Northmont (14).

On the bubble: Miamisburg (16).

Key games: Springboro at Miamisburg (Week 10), Wayne at Centerville (Week 10), Northmont at Springboro (Week 8).

Analysis: The GWOC could be a big player with a league rematch likely in the region semifinals. If Springfield, currently third, wins out (the Wildcats travel to Centerville on Friday) and ascends to the top seed, they will have rebounded well from a loss to Fairmont. Wayne (which hosts Fairmont on Friday) is creeping back up the race after early-season losses to Fairfield and Springfield.

Division I, Region 4

Teams: 19

Already in: Springboro (5).

Analysis: Springboro (5-2) is in good position to earn a first-round home game in a region otherwise populated by Cincinnati-area schools. To move up, the Panthers will need Moeller, ranked No. 1 in the AP poll, Lakota West, Princeton or Elder, which owns a win over Springboro, to stumble.

Division II, Region 8

Teams: 22

Already in: Xenia (2), Piqua (6), Troy (7).

Strong contenders: Sidney (13).

Contenders: Stebbins (12), Belmont (16).

Key games: Belmont at Meadowdale (Week 8), Sidney at Stebbins (Week 9), Belmont at Dunbar (Week 10), Belmont at Ponitz (Week 9), Sidney at Fairborn (Week 8).

Analysis: Defending state champion Cincinnati Winton Woods is currently behind Xenia but should move to the top of the region if it wins out. Xenia finishes with a schedule not expected to earn it as many points and will be at least No. 2 if it wins out.

Division III, Region 12

Teams: 27

Already in: Bellbrook (4), Tippecanoe (5), Chaminade Julienne (9), Trotwood-Madison (11).

Likely in: Tecumseh (10).

Contenders: Vandalia Butler.

Key games: Troy at Butler (Week 10), Butler at Greenville (Week 8), Tecumseh at Jonathan Alder (Week 9).

Analysis: Unbeaten Hamilton Badin has a 99% chance at the top seed. Tipp could could stay at No. 3 if things break its way. Butler projects as the first team out, but a win over Piqua or Troy would likely get the Aviators in.

Division IV, Region 16

Teams: 26

Already in: Urbana (8).

Likely in: Alter (5), Springfield Shawnee (9), Northridge (11).

Strong contenders: Graham (13).

Contenders: Eaton, Clinton-Massie

Key games: Clinton-Massie at New Richmond (Week 9), Eaton at Monroe (Week 10), Graham at Ben Logan (Week 9).

Analysis: Alter can continue to climb from its current No. 9 spot if the Knights win out as projected.

Division V, Region 20

Teams: 26

Already in: Valley View (1), Milton-Union (2), Northeastern (4), Greeneview (6), Brookville (7), Preble Shawnee (10).

Likely in: Waynesville (12).

Analysis: Valley View is currently third but has a clear path to No. 1 by defeating Eaton and Bellbrook. Likewise, Milton-Union can move to No. 2 with wins over Northridge and Riverside.

Division VI, Region 24

Teams: 25

Already in: Marion Local (1), Tri-Village (3), Versailles (5), West Liberty-Salem (8), National Trail (9).

Likely in: Triad (11).

Contenders: Twin Valley South (14), Dayton Christian.

Key games: Clermont Northeastern at Twin Valley South (Week 8), Gamble at Dayton Christian (Week 9), Dayton Christian at Shroder (Week 10).

Analysis: Tri-Village, currently sixth, has the best chance to move up and have a shot at two home games it they can beat Blanchester and National Trail.

Division VII, Region 28

Teams: 23

Already in: Ansonia (1), Fort Loramie (2), Springfield Catholic Central (4), Mechanicsburg (7), Minster (9), Cedarville (10), Fort Recovery (11), Southeastern (12).

Contenders: Troy Christian.

Key games: Fort Recovery at St. Henry (Week 10), Mechanicsburg at West Jefferson (Week 10).

Analysis: Not a lot of movement expected in the most set region unless upsets occur.

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