The 2010 high school football regular season has reached its climax and now it's time for teams to write their own conclusions. There will be more than bragging rights on the line as conference and division foes collide.
There are several teams from across the Tri-state fighting for playoff positioning. Meanwhile, others have been relegated to the role of spoiler. How each team performs this week will go a long way towards to determining which schools will be suiting up two weeks from now for the start of the playoffs and which teams will be left sitting at home.
Let's take a look at some of the key battles from around the area on the slate for this week:
Anderson at Winton Woods
This has become one of the best rivalries in Cincinnati over the past several years. The two teams get Week 9 started on Thursday night. Winton Woods (7-1, 3-0) has been "lights out" since their opening game loss to Elder. The Warriors have averaged 455 yards rushing and found the end zone 25 times on the ground over their last four outings. Anderson (7-1, 3-0) has only allowed more than 15 points in a contest twice this season. The Redskins have actually thrown for more yards than they have rushed for in 2010. That will be a bad sign if that trend continues against the Warriors in the battle for the FAVC Buckeye title.
Wilmington at Kings
Head coach Rob Vida has done a great coaching job as he has seen his Wilmington (6-2, 2-1) squad overachieve with great defense. The Hurricane has been able to keep games close for the better part of the season, but if they don't against Kings (7-1, 3-0) it could be a long night for an offense that is not geared to make large comebacks. The Knights can beat you in all phases of the game. They have 34 offensive touchdowns and six more scores via special teams and defensive returns.
Mount Healthy at Ross
It is just what the FAVC Scarlet was hoping for – a late season rematch between the division's co-winners from a year ago. Mount Healthy (6-2, 3-0) is rolling with six straight wins and a balanced offensive attack, something that the school hasn't seen in sometime. The Ross (7-1, 3-0) aerial attack will have to avoid the Rams pressure if they want to keep this affair close. In all likelihood the winner will knock the loser out of the Region 8 playoff picture.
Centerville at Springfield
After starting the season on a high note things have hit the skids in a hurry for Centerville (6-2, 1-2). Now the Elks head north to take on the GWOC's hottest team in Springfield (7-0, 3-0), who are winners of seven straight games. Teams have figured out that they needed to stay at home on defense when facing Centerville's triple-option attack. The Wildcats will dare the Centerville offense to beat them downfield with the pass, something they have yet to prove that they can do.
Wayne at Northmont
Two teams oozing with confidence clash heads in this GWOC affair. Northmont (6-2, 3-0) was left for dead after a 1-2 start, but the Thunderbolts have found life and now control their own playoff destiny with home games against Wayne (5-3, 2-1) and Springfield to end the season. The Warriors have won six of seven and quarterback Braxton Miller is finally at 100 percent. Expect a rowdy and robust crowd at Good Sam Stadium for this one. The T'Bolts will need all the help they can get against Wayne.
Mason at Hamilton
The Hamilton (5-3, 3-2) rushing attack has been unstoppable all season. The Big Blue has rushed for at least 318 yards five times this year, including a season-high 395 yard last week against Sycamore. Mason (5-3, 3-2) uses a ball control, time-of-possession running attack to suck in their foes. Don't count the Comets out in any game under head coach Brian Castner.
Sycamore at Colerain
Colerain (8-0, 5-0) has no trouble moving the ball up and down the field running the football and that trend should not change on Friday night. Sycamore (5-3, 3-2) has had trouble matching up with athletic squads. The Aviators just aren't deep enough to play with the likes of Middletown, Hamilton, Springfield and now the Cardinals. Colerain's speed and backfield depth will wear Sycamore down in the second half.
LaSalle at Columbus DeSales
DeSales comes into the game at 4-4, but don't let their record fool you. The combined record of the four teams they fell to is 26-2. Those only two losses were to Winton Woods (Bishop Watterson) and Brother Rice (MI) (Orchard Lake St. Mary's). The Stallions will give LaSalle (8-0, 2-0) all they can handle. Scoring points has been a problem for DeSales that bodes well for a very formidable Lancers' defense.
Badin at Bishop Fenwick
It is a last ditch playoff push for Badin (4-4, 2-3). The Rams are in dire need of a big win. They have played so many close games only to fall short. It's a matchup of contrasting styles as Bishop Fenwick (7-1, 4-1) will try to set the tone with their smash-mouth running attack. Badin will use its Wing-T ball control offense to keep the Falcons off the field. It will be their best chance for victory.
Roger Bacon at Alter
In a season with so many schools in the GCL North and Central having banner years no one has been able to knock Alter (7-1, 5-0) off of their throne. Now it is Roger Bacon (6-2, 3-2) who gets its shot at the Knights. The Spartans will not be intimidated and if they can keep the score close at half and not commit turnovers it should be a whale of a ballgame.
McNicholas at Carroll
McNicholas (6-2, 3-2) is playing excellent football, but could use one more quality win to ensure their playoff chances. Beating Division II Carroll (6-2, 3-2) would be just what the doctor ordered for the Rockets. The Patriots have other ideas though as they currently sit at eighth in the latest Region 8 Harbin Ratings. There is little margin of error for Carroll as they must beat McNick and Fenwick to end their season in order to make it to Week 11.
Taft vs. Western Hills (at Stragel Stadium)
A win by Western Hills (6-2, 4-1) would create a three-way in the CMAC championship race. Taft (5-3, 4-0) is on the outside looking in at the Division IV playoffs. A win over the Mustangs would go a long way in bettering their chances to play in Week 11. For Western Hills, the loss to Withrow all but ended their post-season hopes. However, a share of the league title would still make for a great 2010 campaign.
Eaton at Valley View
The Eaton (8-0, 5-0) defense has been fantastic having not allowed more than seven points in a game this season. Despite their lofty achievements, the Eagles have not beaten a team with a record above .500. The combined record of their foes is 22-42. Valley View (5-3, 3-1) is in a fight for their post-season lives. The Spartans have scored less than 24 just once this year. Something has to give in this matchup between SWBL Southwestern stalwarts.
Lockland at North College Hill
Being the small fish in the bigger MVC pond has not aided Lockland this season (5-3, 2-3). The Panthers are coming off a tough loss to Cincinnati Country Day. It was their first league loss to a team with a sub .500 record in over four years. North College Hill is playing with lofty goals in their sight. The Trojans are looking for a second straight undefeated regular season and the chance to host a first-round playoff game. Look for a close contest for a half and then NCH should pull away.
Summit Country Day at Fort Loramie
Summit Country Day (6-2, 3-2) is falling fast in the Region 20 Harbin Ratings and is in need of a big victory. The Knights get their shot at a quality win as they head north to face Fort Loramie (7-1), who sits at #5 in the Region 24 Harbin Rankings. SCD can be in a great spot if they win this contest and again next week at Clark Montessori.
CHCA at Clark Montessori
It is a game that has big-time Region 20 playoff implications for both schools. CHCA (5-3, 3-1) is sitting at third in the Harbin Ratings this week. The Eagles could use one more win to solidify their playoff position. Clark Montessori is sitting at #10 in the latest rankings. The Cougars will be hungry and well prepared in their quest for the school's first ever post-season appearance. Look for the game to be played with scores in the 20's one big special teams' play could mean the difference in this tilt.
Campbell County at Simon Kenton
It is a battle for the #2 spot in the Class 6A, District 6 Playoff seedings. Campbell County (4-4, 3-4) comes into the game having won three of four. The Camels last two losses are by a combined eight points. Simon Kenton (6-2, 3-1) is playing on senior night. Expect nothing less than Pioneers quarterback Chad Lawrence (1,414 PaYds, 18 PaTDs, 834 RuYds & 8 RuTDs) willing his team to victory in his last home game.
Dixie Heights at Covington Catholic
Dixie Heights has two weeks to prepare for this key district matchup against their rivals. That has given Tom Spritzky's team a chance to get healthy and prepare for the stretch drive. Covington Catholic is coming off an impressive effort against top-ranked Highlands and is clicking on all cylinders heading in to this contest. Whichever Colonels' team wins this game will lock up the district's No. 2 seed and a first-round home playoff game.
Bellevue at Beechwood
Beechwood (5-3, 4-0) has been destroying their district opponents. The Tigers are averaging 52.7 points per contest and are outscoring their league foes by 46 points per game. Most of those games have been over by halftime thanks to the play of Cameron Vocke. The junior has 18 opening stanza touchdowns in those contests. Bellevue (4-4, 3-1) has been much improved in recent weeks, but they will have its hands full in this one.
Newport at Holy Cross
Newport (5-3, 1-1) and Holy Cross (3-5, 1-1) go at it for the #2 spot in the Class 2A, District 6 playoff picture. Holy Cross has missed opportunity after opportunity. The Indians best win was over Conner and now they look to get that magic back against the Wildcats. Newport hasn't won six games since 2006 so they will be playing with a purpose in this slugfest.
Greensburg at Batesville
It will be the fourth time that these two schools have met in the Sectionals since 2005. Greensburg (4-5, 3-2) won the last meeting in '08 and Batesville (5-4, 3-2) won the two previous contests. This is a Week 7 rematch that saw the Pirates pull off a 44-33 upset on the road. Since the big win Greensburg has dropped two straight while giving up 101 points. Batesville has gone the other way since the loss with two victories while averaging 43 points per tilt.