The final Friday night for regular season football is about pride for some; however, for many elite it is about finishing championship runs and securing playoff spots. No matter what the records read when teams enter the fall finales, almost every gridiron tilt plays a role in how the computers calculate next week’s first-round playoffs. There are some teams atop the various regions that have already clinched spots. There are others that control their own destiny – meaning win and you’re in – while others must win and wait – meaning they need help from a variety of others to punch a week 11 ticket. With so many postseason scenarios to imagine, another race for many comes in capturing the conference crowns.
Williamsport Westfall beat Chillicothe Unioto 55-15 on Friday night to capture the Scioto Valley Conference championship. Coach Scott Keller’s Mustangs have been a mainstay in the Division III top ten all year long and now set their sites on a probable week 11 home game and a run at a regional title.
Westfall has used a balanced attack on offense led by quarterback D.J. Cain, and Coach Todd Seymour’s defense has been lights out all year and has joined in the scoring parade on many occasions including a three-defensive touchdown performance last week in a blowout win versus Piketon. This Week 10 win over the Shermans gives Westfall a perfect regular season and yet another golden football for its trophy case that is rich with football tradition.
Joining Westfall on the conference championship podium is the Southern Ohio Conference II champion Wheelersburg. Any thoughts of the Pirates suffering from a letdown after last week’s big win over Waverly were quickly dismissed Friday night as Wheelersburg scored early and often to defeat Portsmouth West 34-7. The Pirates now head to Week 11 where they will host a first-round game with hopes of reaching the sweet sixteen in Division V. Fellow SOC II schools Waverly and Minford also won Friday night securing playoff spots in D4 and D5 respectively.
In the SOC I, Sciotoville Community (Portsmouth East) held off neighboring rival Portsmouth Notre Dame to capture the league title. The Tartans win completes a perfect 10-0 season and has them hosting in the first round of next week’s D-VI, Region 24 playoffs. For Notre Dame, it entered this Week 10 showdown ninth in the same region, but this final week setback will most likely prevent the Titans from a top-eight spot.
Another split division conference in southeast Ohio – the Tri-Valley Conference – headed to Week 10 with the conference titles up in the air as well. The Ohio Division was Belpre’s to lose but the Eagles were unable to finish the deal as they lost to Pomeroy Meigs 42-6. This loss comes a week after Belpre won 10-6 at Nelsonville-York and actually forces Belpre to share the title with Nelsonville.
The title is the fifth straight year the Buckeyes of NY finish atop the TVC Ohio Division and Belpre’s title is its first since 1988. Belpre entered the regular season finale in control of its playoff destiny in the D-V, Region 19 playoffs, but the setback will have the Eagles scoreboard watching over the next 24-hours to see if they can sneak in as a seven or eight seed.
In the other half of the TVC – the Hocking Division – Waterford entered Friday night needing a victory to win the title outright. A Waterford loss to Federal Hocking would mean a tri-championship with Waterford, Fed Hock, and Trimble, but Waterford was having none of that as the Wildcats defeated the Lancers 33-6 to finish 9-1 with the TVC Hocking Division title.
Despite the one-loss season, it is a wait-and-see playoff situation for Waterford who entered Week 10, two spots out of the coveted top eight. Region 23 in D6 already has six teams that have clinched spots; however, Waterford does beat a previously 5-4, D5 Federal Hocking team while many others vying for this spot played teams with losing records in week 10. The final two spots are too close to call at this point, but the Wildcats are hoping that a 9-1 record is enough to avoid being on the outside looking in come Week 11.
The Mid-State League, which contains many teams outside the southeast district, does contain Circleville who entered Week 11 needing a win and a Canal Winchester loss to share the title. Circleville took care of its end of the bargain beating Bloom Carroll 21-7, but unfortunately for Tiger fans, Canal Winchester shutout Logan Elm 17-0 to finish league play one game ahead of Circleville to capture the outright league title. The good news for Circleville is its 7-3 overall record should be good enough to make them a part of the D-III, Region 12 playoffs – a region that could very well have Canal as its top seed.
The game of night in the southeast took place over in Fayette County in a match-up of neighboring rivals battling for the South Central Ohio League’s top spot. The SCOL contains only seven schools which forces each team to take a week outside of league play while the other six play in conference. Clinton Massie entered Week 10 already finished with conference play at 5-1, but they would need help from one-loss Miami Trace against league unbeaten Washington Court House if it were going to have a chance for a piece of the title.
After 82 total points were scored, the scoreboard had Miami Trace up 42-40 with Court House facing a two-point conversion attempt to tie the game, but the Panther defense stopped the Blue Lion attempt to secure the two-point victory and force a tri-championship. Clinton Massie, Washington Court House and Miami Trace all share the title; however, Miami Trace at 6-4 overall had already been mathematically eliminated from the postseason.
Clinton Massie picked up a huge win over Plain City Jonathon Alder 14-9. This should not only put them into Week 11 but could have them playing at home, and despite the tough loss for Washington CH, the Blue Lions should still see its name when the top eight are named later this weekend.
The Southeastern Ohio Athletic League’s North Division was dominated by Logan from start to finish and Week 10 was no different as Logan hammered Ironton 53-14 to finish its title run. Portsmouth beat Warren in the final week of the regular season by a score of 42-8 to capture the south. Both Logan and Portsmouth are heading to the postseason in their respective divisions and both will most likely host in Week 11.
In the Muskingum Valley League, teams are also divided up into a north and south division. In the north, Tri Valley High School enjoys a perfect season to capture the league title and a likely home date in week 11. The south came all the way down to the final play of the season, but in the end, it was New Lexington holding off second-place Sheridan 21-14 to win the south division.
Rounding out the search for all the conference champions in the southeast district the Ohio Valley Conference title belongs to Coal Grove Dawson Bryant and South Point. Coal Grove needed overtime to beat one-win River Valley 32-31. South Point and Rock Hill both entered with one loss, with the winner looking to share with Coal Grove, and it was South Point defeating Rock Hill 20-14.