Weekend Watch: Week 6
The calendar has turned to Fall and that signals that the end of the regular season is in sight for area high school football teams.
This weekend features several matchups with heavy playoff implications on all sides of the river.
We take a deeper look at the games of note and provide some insight to what is on the line in this week's Weekend Watch.
DIVISION I, REGION 4
Middletown at Sycamore
The Middletown skills players on offense are very young, but fortunately for coach Jason Krause they have two of everything. Sycamore (4-1, 2-0) must find a way to stop the waves of speed the Middies will bring at them. We will find out whether the Aviators have been playing with smoke and mirrors or if they are for real. They are allowing opponents to rush for 203 yards and convert 39.1% of their third down opportunities on the year.
Springfield at Wayne
The GWOC Central gets under way with a clash of between two talented squads. Springfield (4-1) is hitting its stride with four straight wins. Wayne (3-2) still has not gotten its offensive engine in full tune yet. Don't be surprised if young JC Wallace of the Wildcats outperforms Braxton Miller at quarterback. The sophomore is beaming with confidence right now. The Warriors must address that with big hits from their defense early on in this tilt.
St. Xavier at Elder
Elder (2-3, 0-0) gets a much-needed home-field advantage in this affair as they fight for their post season lives against a St. Xavier (3-2, 0-1) squad that is in the same position. The stakes are high on both sides. The Panthers could put the Bombers at 0-2 in GCL South play with a victory in The Pit.
Walsh Jesuit at LaSalle
It is a matchup between two Division I recruits at quarterback. Walsh Jesuit (4-1) senior Connor Cook has committed to Michigan State. The Warriors rely on a balanced attack as running back Ryan Jun is possible of gaining 100 yards on any given night. LaSalle (5-0) signal caller Andrew Kummer will look to his classmates Matt Woeste and Rodriguez Coleman to open up the game through the air. Surprisingly, it is the Lancers' ground game with Matt Farrell that have been the key to the team's success early on as they are averaging 243 yards per contest on the ground.
DIVISION II, REGION 8
Harrison at Winton Woods
Harrison (4-1) sits atop the Region 8 Harbin Ratings this week. The Wildcats now begin the gauntlet portion of their schedule at Winton Woods and then closing out the season versus four Division I foes. Winton Woods (4-1) has gotten considerably better and healthier since the loss in the opener to Elder. Warriors' running back Aaron Kemper has 17 touchdowns the last four weeks. The team has averaged 347 yards rushing with 23 scores on the ground.
Trotwood-Madison at Piqua
The Trotwood-Madison (3-2) run game has really struggled without a healthy Antwan Gilbert. The Rams should not be discouraged by their back-to-back losses to Division I Wayne and Springfield though as they are superior teams at this point. Piqua (3-1) has played everyone close to the vest. The Indians have wins by two, six and seven points and losses by three and seven points. They will need to stay close to Trotwood-Madison if they are to escape with a victory.
Walnut Hills at Wilmington
Wilmington (4-1) has played stingy defense thus far giving up just 117 total yards and 11 points per contest against teams that are a combined 4-16 at the midway point. Walnut Hills has seen its passing attack suffer with so many injuries. The Eagles must bounce back after giving up 42 unanswered points in a loss to Winton Woods. Hidden yards may be the deciding factor in this game as Walnut Hills has already amassed 628 total return yards and five touchdowns off those opportunities.
DIVISION III, REGION 12 / DIVISION IV, REGION 16
Alter at McNicholas
Alter (4-1, 2-0) has won the last five matchups in this rivalry by an average score of 43-5 with three shutouts. This McNicholas (4-1, 1-1) team mirrors the Knights squad. The Rockets love to run and pass only when necessary. Look for a knockdown, drag-out, low-scoring affair as McNick is allowing just 11.8 per contest and Alter only 12.6.
Bishop Fenwick at Roger Bacon
What an unexpected and pleasant surprise this game turns out to be. Both teams are undefeated at 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the conference. Roger Bacon is the top-ranked team in the Division III, Region 12 Harbin Rankings this week and Bishop Fenwick is #1 in Division IV, Region 16. The Spartans' pressure has created problems with 12 sacks, eight fumble recoveries and seven interceptions to this point. A victory on Friday night and it almost guarantees the winner a game in Week 11. The team that wins the turnover war gets over the hump in this tilt.
Eaton at Monroe
Eaton (5-0) is all about defense as they have given up seven points or less in every game and just 26 total points for the year. Monroe (3-2, 1-1) comes into the game averaging 27 points. The Hornets are in desperate need of big victory to enhance their playoff resume. Eagles' quarterback Cole French must be contained by the Monroe defense they can't let him have a big day throwing the football.
Wyoming at Madeira
This has all the makings of a highly entertaining scoring affair. Both teams have wide open offenses and that will lead to many big plays. Madeira (4-1, 2-0) is averaging 495 yards of total offense and 45 points per contest. Wyoming (4-1, 2-0) is more balanced averaging 151 yards a game passing and 150 rushing with eight touchdowns on the ground and 11 through the air. The most alarming statistic is that the Mustangs are allowing opponents to convert third downs at a rate of 60.5 percent. Letting the Cowboys having a fresh set of downs three out of every five times will doom Madeira.
DIVISION V, REGION 20
CHCA at Summit Country Day
A pivotal MVC and playoff positioning for both squads at The Castle. Summit Country Day (5-0, 2-0) sits at #2 in this week's Region 20 Harbin Ratings. CHCA (3-2, 2-1) comes in at #7. The Knights have many opportunities to solidify their hold on the post season with contests against North College Hill, Clark Montessori and Fort Loramie still remaining. A loss by the Eagles might leave them on the outside looking in come Week 11 for a second straight year.
Cooper at Simon Kenton
The Cooper Jaguars (2-3, 0-1) have arrived. Their seven-point loss to Ryle showed that they can play with the best of 6A three years into the birth of the program. Sustaining that level of intensity is another step that remains to be seen. Simon Kenton (4-1, 1-0) figured it out exactly two years ago and they continue to achieve new heights for the school. The Pioneers are playing very well right now and have won four straight, including the last three by an average margin of 34-10.
Campbell County at Ryle
On paper this is bad match up for Campbell County (2-3, 1-0). The Camels have trouble stopping the run and Ryle (4-1, 1-0) loves to pound the ball on the ground with Travis Elliott. Despite the mismatch, both teams sit at 1-0 in district play. Expect a big passing game from Michael Kremer because the Camel could be playing catch up for a good portion of the evening.
Conner at Boone County
This is a huge district tilt for both squads as neither wants to start 0-2 and be in jeopardy of missing out on the playoffs. Conner (3-3, 0-1) was disappointing in a home loss to Simon Kenton last week. If their heads aren't in this game Boone County (2-3, 0-1) will knock them off the line of scrimmage all night long.
NewCath at Newport
How impressive has Class 2A Newport Central Catholic (5-1) been thus far? The Thoroughbreds have wins over Division I Aiken. They are 2-0 versus Class 5A and 2-1 against 6A schools. They are too battle tested not to win their district in convincing fashion. Newport (3-2) quarterback Demetri Brown will have something to say about that though. He looks for his sixth straight game with over 100 yards passing and 100 rushing. Brady Hightchew is completing an eye-popping 67.7 percent of his passes for 877 yards for the 'Breds.
It's backyard rivalry week in the EIAC. Greensburg (3-3, 2-1) is at Batesville (3-3, 2-1). A road win for the Pirates would set up a first-place showdown as East Central comes to Shriver Field next Friday. Franklin County (3-3, 0-3) plays host to South Dearborn (4-2, 2-1). The Knights have won the last three in the series. East Central (5-1, 3-0) heads to Neary Field to play Lawrenceburg 3-3, 1-2). The Trojans are on a four-game winning streak and have allowed just 6.25 points per game in that span.
Written by: Greg Shoemaker, TriStateFootball.com