The Conference Countdown continues…with the Central Catholic League coming in at No. 5. Never let it be said that teams in the CCL aren’t willing to play the state’s best. Never let it be said that teams in the CCL aren’t among the state’s best either.
5. CENTRAL CATHOLIC LEAGUE
THE GUTS: Road Warriors. Never let it be said that teams in the CCL aren’t willing to travel to play the state’s best. This year CCL teams will play road games at: Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, Cleveland Benedictine, Jonathan Alder, Zanesville, Cardinal Mooney, Cincinnati LaSalle and Cincinnati Elder. The CCL isn’t afraid to host the state’s best teams either. CCL teams will play home games against: Cardinal Mooney, Cincinnati LaSalle, Winton Woods, Youngstown Ursuline, Columbus Eastmoor, Dayton Dunbar, Gahanna Lincoln, Anderson and Findlay. Even more impressive is that the CCL is made up of one D-II team (St. Charles), two D-III teams (DeSales and Watterson), a D-IV team (Hartley) and a D-V team (Ready). That schedule is one most D-I teams couldn’t navigate.
HISTORY: The most impressive stat is that 80-percent of the CCL’s schools (four of five) own at least one state title.
TURNING POINT: 1980. Since then CCL teams have made the playoffs 27 of the last 29 years, including 19 straight.
STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS (6): Bishop Hartley (1986), Bishop Ready (1983), Bishop Watterson (2002), DeSales (1985, 1997-98)
CLOSING ARGUMENTS: CCL teams have played in 14 state championships and four of the five teams each own at least eight playoff berths. Hartley, state runner-up in 1984, has been to the playoffs eight times, while Ready has been in the postseason 10 times. Watterson (state runner-up in 1972, 1999 and 2001) and DeSales (runner-up in 1990, 1996, 2001 and 2005) each have 19 postseason appearances. St. Charles owns three playoff berths
LAST WORD: Last year Watterson and DeSales met two times – once in the regular season and once in the first round of the playoffs. That match-up could be played out twice again this year with the rematch happening in the D-III, Region 10 final.
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