A mighty local-vs-local football playoff matchup could be the best in Ohio history. Here’s why.

What’s all the Marion Local vs. Coldwater high school football buzz about?

This matchup is for champions, only.

That it comes in a Division VI, Region 24 final on Friday at Sidney is our loss. Why? One of these state final regulars will not advance past the regional.

No league can match the high school football success in the last decade as these Midwest Athletic Conference rivals. This is the first time since the addition of a seventh division that Marion Local and Coldwater have been lumped together. That’s significant, because the small-school powers have combined for 140 playoff wins and 15 state championships, including 11 since 2007.

The winner advances to a final four for the 10th time in the last 11 seasons.

Tale of the tape: Coldwater vs. Marion Local

ColdwaterCategoryMarion Local
9State rank this season1
6 (T-7th)State championships (rank all time)9 (T-2nd)
71 (3rd)Playoff wins (rank all time)72 (T-1st)
71-16Playoff record69-10
.816 (4th)Playoff winning percentage (rank all time).873 (1st)
14 (8th)State semifinal appearances (rank all time)15 (T-6th)

This game is a direct result of the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s competitive balance initiative that is in play for the first time this fall. It’s a multi-tiered numerical formula that is directed at private schools and determines postseason divisions for teams. A public school, Coldwater was affected because so many lower division teams were bumped up to D-V. Coldwater dropped to D-VI, same as Marion Local.

Marion Local won the Week 3, regular-season MAC opener, 13-7 at Coldwater.

Here are their impressive numbers, provided by the Ohio High School Athletic Association:

Marion Local (12-0) has the state's best all-time postseason winning percentage of teams that have played at least 50 playoff games; 69-10. That's a winning percentage of .873 and one game less than the equivalent of eight extra regular seasons.

Coldwater (9-3) ranks No. 4 with a 71-16 all-time playoff record (.816). That's just three games less than nine extra regular seasons.

Coldwater has played in seven straight D-V state finals and won four straight championships from 2012-15. Marion Local has played in six consecutive D-VI or D-VII state finals and also won four straight from 2011-14. The Flyers are the defending D-VI state champs; Coldwater the defending D-V state runner-up.

All seven Associated Press state poll winners have advanced to Week 13 regional finals, including Marion Local. The Flyers have been crowned multiple state poll champs and were the only No. 1 team to also win a state title last season.

All of Friday’s regional finals are at neutral sites and will start at 7:30 p.m. The winners advance to the Week 14 state semifinals. The OHSAA will announce those predetermined final four brackets this week. The state finals are Week 15 at Canton’s new Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Stark County from Nov. 30-Dec. 2.

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