note…Rockford Parkway, 3-0 for first time since 2000 hosts Maria Stein Marion Local, Ohio's No. 1 D-V team; Southeast power Duncan Byrnes (S.C.) visits Centerville; Huber Heights Wayne travels to Xenia, and Milton-Union hosts Franklin in clash of unbeatens.
Time to trim the fat.
Over the next three weeks the high school football playoff and
league races will take shape. That being said, now is the time for
contenders to start separating themselves.
A few teams already look postseason-ready (Marion Local,
Bellefontaine and Springfield Catholic), while some others are close.
There are others though that already find themselves playing what
amounts to playoff games in Week 4 (Bellbrook and Monroe).
This weekend there are plenty of intriguing match ups across the
Miami Valley. Below we take a look at some of the ones that stick out.
Fort Loramie (3-0) at Ada (2-1): Fort
Loramie has been a pleasant surprise this season with its undefeated
start. Now things get decidedly more difficult for the Redskins.
Loramie faces its toughest two tests this season starting this week
with back-to-back games against Ada and Lehman Catholic. Ada is a
playoff team from a year ago and features Miami recruit and arguably
the state’s top quarterback in Zac Dysert. Last week in a 33-23 win
over Columbus Grove, Dysert completed 21-of-34 passes for 274 yards and
three TDs and rushed for 50 yards and another TD. The game is Ada’s
homecoming. Loramie could earn its first postseason appearance without
a win at Ada, but a victory here would definitely enhance its
opportunity for a berth and sustained run in the playoffs.
Coldwater (2-1) at Anna (3-0): Anna has
established itself as a contender for both the MAC title and a D-V
playoff berth. What it does against Coldwater will solidify or revoke
its legitimacy for each. The Rockets have a talented backfield in Wes
Hunsucker (QB), Joel Naseman (RB), Corey Jutte (RB) and Cory Sniffen
(RB). Coldwater rebounded from its 35-14 loss to Marion Local to
manhandle New Bremen 49-7. Cavaliers need win to help extend area’s
longest playoff streak (10 years).
Tippp City Tippecanoe (3-0) at Lewistown Indian Lake (2-1): Lakers
undefeated start ended last week in 22-8 loss to Lehman Catholic.
Indian Lake couldn’t overcome weather or turnovers (four). Despite
being a playoff team the last two years, Tipp was an unknown entering
this season thanks in part to an overhauled backfield. After three
games, it’s safe to say the Red Devils are primed to compete for their
fourth postseason trip in six years. Wrecking ball back Kyle Corbin has
seven TDs in last two weeks for Tipp. Game will have huge implications
in CBC race as year wears on. Both still have to face Bellefontaine.
Duncan Byrnes (S.C) (3-0) at Centerville (2-1):
Elks rebounded after loss to Princeton to outlast Northmont 14-7 last
week. Now they turn their attention to Byrnes, a traditional power from
South Carolina. The Rebels beat Orlando’s Dr. Phillips High, 18-13, in
a nationally televised game (Fox Sports Net) last Thursday. Byrnes won
the S.C Class AAAA Division II state title from 2003-05 and was a
Division I semifinalist last year.
Springfield Catholic Central (3-0) at Mechanicsburg (2-1):
Game usually decides OHC champion and this year should be no different
– although West Liberty Salem will have something to say about it.
Regardless, winner of this contest, which features teams that have made
a combined 12 postseason trips the last eight years, will stake claim
to plethora of playoff points. SCC, led by four-year starter and
standout Brian Wagner, has been to playoffs last four years, while
Mechanicsburg has made five straight trips. The Indians have won three
straight in the series. Irish’s last win was 8-0 in 2003.
Franklin (3-0) at West Milton Milton-Union (3-0): A somewhat
surprising match up between two undefeated teams, but for different
reasons. Milton has adjusted to the graduation of former four-year
starter Mitchell Evans (Indiana) and has established a devastating
ground game (42 points per game) with Tyler Wilson and Trevor
Luckenbill. Defensively Milton has been just as tough, allowing nine
points. Franklin, which went 5-25 from 2003-05, continues its
resurgence under second-year coach Rodney Roberts. The Wildcats are 9-4
under Roberts (including last year’s 6-4 record).
Bellbrook (1-2) at Lemon-Monroe (1-2): Suddenly this
contest is a must-win for both teams – especially Bellbrook. If the
Eagles have plans on reaching the D-II postseason it has to start with
a win over D-IV Monroe. Bellbrook’s offense (27 points per game) has
shined behind running back Jared Edwards, but defensively the Eagles
have struggled, allowing 37 points per game. Bellbrook has allowed 40
points in a game this year twice. In the five years prior the Eagles
allowed over 40 points once (to Valley View in 2005). Monroe’s problem
hasn’t been defense, it’s been offense. The Hornets returned 10
starters from last year’s playoff team that averaged 44 points per
game, including standout QB Tyler Osterman. Thus far, Monroe is
averaging 20 points.
Germantown Valley View (3-0) at Dayton Oakwood (3-0): Should be
plenty of points put up in this one. Oakwood is averaging 42 points per
game thanks in part to senior QB A.J. Lewis, senior RB Chris Hardy and
junior receiver Robby Sherk. The Spartans are only averaging 27.6
points per game, but have had a tougher slate (wins over Indian Hill
and Monroe) to navigate than Oakwood. First of many pivotal SWBL
Southwest Division games in upcoming weeks.
Maria Stein Marion Local (3-0) at Rockford Parkway (3-0): This is not
a misprint. Parkway is 3-0 for the first time since 2000 and looking to
fight for a post in the MAC’s upper echelon. Since winning MAC titles
in 1973-75, Parkway has failed to win more than three conference games
in a season. Even in 1999, when the Panthers made the school’s lone
playoff appearance, they finished 3-4 in the MAC. Already 2-0 in
conference, Parkway has a steep test at Marion Local. The Flyers are
coming off back-to-back drubbings of Coldwater (35-14) and St. Henry
(31-0) and seem destined for a date in the state finals. Keep an eye on
the QBs in this game. Both Marion’s Chris Stucke and Parkway’s Jordan
Thompson are seasoned. Thompson is also the MAC’s reigning Defensive
Player of the Year (at linebacker).
Huber Heights Wayne (2-1) at Xenia (2-1): The best of the
area’s big school slate and both coming off wins over Greene County
schools. Warriors shut out Beavercreek 28-0, while Xenia outlasted
Bellbrook 42-36. Wayne’s freshman QB Braxton Miller continues to shine,
while Buccaneers are riding senior tailback Aston Jackson. Jackson had
242 yards and two TDs on 25 carries against Bellbrook.