It is a great week for teams to show vast improvement as we go from Week 1 to Week 2 in Ohio. Already there are games on the schedule that are auditions for the postseason. A win here and playoff chances are enhanced as we see Divisional and Regional foes square off throughout the Tri-state area.
Teams from south of the river are going to get a chance to show if their surprising starts are for real or just a mirage. Interstate battles provide some playful and thought provoking "what if" scenarios that we would like to see more of.
In addition, there are several great interstate battles on the slate.
Here is a look at this weekend's Best Bets on the high school gridiron.
--FOX19 Friday Prep Rally: Lebanon at Loveland
--TSF Backyard Battle: Western Hills at Walnut Hills
RYLE AT COLERAIN
Ryle head coach Bryson Warner and his Raiders wear the title of "giant killers" suits them just fine. They handed Highlands their only loss last season and would like to do the same to Colerain in 2011. The Cardinals might be in for a letdown after a win over the nation's number #24 team, Cocoa (FL) on ESPN but don't expect it. Colerain linebacker Joe Bolden versus Ryle running back Travis Elliott may be best one-on-one matchup we see all year. Those two boys are going to be awfully sore on Saturday morning.
LASALLE AT COVCATH
Offense is the name of the game in this interstate rivalry. CovCath (2-0) has looked unstoppable through the first two weeks. Quarterback Blake Bir has been outstanding with seven touchdown passes and zero interceptions. LaSalle (1-0) signal-caller Dominic Capano threw for four touchdowns and 270 yards in his first varsity start under center. If either team punts more than three times in this game it will be a shocker.
EDGEWOOD AT EAST CENTRAL
East Central (2-0) has been winning with defense. The Trojans are young, but now experience offense is progressing along nicely. Quarterback Seth Federle has a good feel for what is going on around him right now. Edgewood brings a new look on offense under first-year head coach Phillip Mauro. The Cougars have not fared well in this series falling the past three seasons to East Central.
LISTEN: WEEK 2 PODCAST
WESTERN BROWN AT FRANKLIN
The only two people that circled this contest as a pivotal one on the schedule before the season started were head coaches Evan Dreyer (Western Brown) and Rodney Roberts (Franklin). It is going to be difficult to earn one of the eight cherished playoff spots in Division II, Region 8 so a win here is going to loom large in the final Harbin Ratings. The pressure could cause these squads to come out tight to start the night. Western Brown quarterback Nick Woodyard has the tools to lift the burden off his teammate's shoulders.
WYOMING AT TURPIN
Who would have thought that both of these teams would be 0-1 heading into this tilt? This is a HUGE game for both schools. The loser is going to probably have to run the table the final eight weeks in order to make the Division II or Division III playoffs. There is no doubt that both of these teams will play much better football than they did in Week 1. Wyoming sophomore quarterback Will Marty has all the tools to be the next big star for the Cowboys.
MADEIRA AT CHCA
Madeira (1-0) stood at 2-4 after a Week 6 loss to Wyoming in 2009 since that time they have gone 13-2. The Mustangs are an extremely confident. They have a pair of bookend offensive tackles in Kyle Williamson and Will Steur that are arguably the best duo in Cincinnati. A young CHCA (1-0) squad found a way to win last week. That bodes well for head coach Eric Taylor moving forward. There are plenty of opportunities for the Eagles to shine with such a tough schedule. This week may be the crowning jewel on their resume if they can sneak out a victory.
HAMILTON AT MOELLER
The Big Blue had a nice effort in a lopsided win in Week 1 and the Crusaders cruised past Pickerington Central at Nippert Stadium. Both teams are stacked with talent, but Hamilton has been unable to win games against big teams in recent years and will have to prove they can do it before being considered a playoff team. Moeller should move the ball well, but needs to force the issue defensively and set the tone early before Hamilton builds confidence.
SPRINGBORO AT SYCAMORE
Down 21-7 to Withrow last week Sycamore (1-0) showed the poise of a veteran team outscoring the Tigers 31-7 to close out the win. The Aviators have won three of the last four against Springboro (0-1). The Panthers defense was pushed around by Mason offensive line. With two losses the Vikings will be in real jeopardy of a playoff berth with Troy, Centerville and Lebanon still ahead. They are the team that has to play with the biggest sense of urgency.
MIDDLETOWN AT TROY
There will be athletes galore all over the Troy Memorial Stadium field this Friday night. Middletown (1-0) narrowly escaped with a quality win over Wayne. The Middies found a new stud at running back in senior EJ Junior, who is a wonderful pairing with quarterback Jalen Marshall. Troy has a dynamic backfield duo of their own with Marcus Foster and Isaiah /Williams. This should be a high-scoring and entertaining affair that should see very few passes go up in the air.
BATESVILLE AT SOUTH DEARBORN
Both teams rebounded to win last week after falling in Week 1. The team that plays the cleanest game will claim victory. The affair features three of the best kept secrets in quarterback Brady Cavinee & athlete/return specialist Connor Jeffers from Batesville and South Dearborn linebacker/tight end, Garrett Saunders.
BEECHWOOD AT HOLMES
Little Beechwood (1-0) shocked Simon Kenton (1-1) last Friday night. The Tigers look to continue their success against bigger schools as they proved that their lines can play with anybody. Cameron Vocke may be Beechwood's most heralded weapon, but head coach Noel Rash has a ton more firepower in his arsenal. Holmes (1-0) had a positive effort in the debut of the Terry Liggin era. The challenge this week for the Bulldogs is going to take much more to conquer.
*Written by: Greg Shoemaker, TriStateFootball.com