High School Football: Centerville, Springfield in battle of unbeatens

It’s not Centerville vs. Springfield South, but it’s the next best thing.

A Week 4 matchup of Greater Western Ohio Conference National East contenders Centerville at Springfield has everything on the line. Both are unbeaten (3-0) headed into the division opener. Both are in early Division I, Region 3 playoff contention.

Besides, this series resonates back when Springfield was split with North and South. The Centerville-South series was especially high-end entertainment, often resulting in unlikely shootouts that weren’t decided until the end.

“I can remember being a ball boy back in the day and Springfield South would roll into town and be just impressive,” said first-year Centerville coach Brent Ullery, a senior during the 2002 Centerville-South matchup that the Elks won 42-41 in the final minute.

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Centerville and Springfield have been high achievers through three games. Centerville, a frequent playoff participant, missed the postseason the last two seasons. The Elks appear to have re-found the winning mojo that eluded former coach Rodney Roberts after going 10-0 in his debut 2014 season.

Springfield is coming off a playoff season and appears to have its best team since Maurice Douglass left an ultra-successful program at Trotwood-Madison and took over the Wildcats in 2014.

Both teams are loaded on the lines and at the skill positions. Springfield senior quarterback Leonard Taylor, a 6-foot-6, 238-pounder who also doubles as a defensive end, is second in the GWOC in passing: 44 of 81 for 654 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s being recruited by many major programs, especially the University of Kentucky.

Centerville counters with Alec Grandin: 42 of 69 for 589 yards, five TDs and no INTs.

All five National East teams — Beavercreek, Centerville, Fairmont, Springfield and Wayne — are in D-I, Region 3. Incredibly, only Wayne (2-1) has suffered a loss heading into Week 4 play. That means all of these teams could land playoff rematches should they advance. The top eight in each region qualify for the postseason.

“The big-time games like this is why Centerville football is the way it is,” Ullery said. “It’s big-time games and there’s big-time expectations. Even though you’re going to play a great team, the expectations are you’re going to win and that’s what makes it so special.”

Springfield won 26-20 last season on a Hail Mary pass in the final seconds. Centerville won 35-32 in 2015.

Prior to the game at Evans Stadium, Springfield will honor the 1992 North team that won a Western Ohio League title and participated in the playoffs. This year’s game will be televised at 11 p.m. Friday on tape delay by Spectrum channels 1311, 311 and 99.

• This is the fourth straight season Miamisburg has been undefeated when playing Wayne. But none of the three previous matchups worked out for the Vikings, who lost all three by a combined 139-29.

This is the first time Wayne (2-1) will have played an area team. The Warriors were blown out in a season opener at Pittsburgh on ESPN, won at Olentangy Liberty and last week took out another Canadian club. Miamisburg (3-0) is coming off a 41-6 walloping of Loveland.

• The 50/50 ticket raffle should be a hot item when Marion Local hosts Minster at Maria Stein on Friday if last week’s game at Coldwater is any indication.

Marion Local and Minster are 3-0, have impressive wins and are ranked No. 1 in the first Associated Press state polls that made their debut this week. Marion Local, coming off a 13-7 win at Coldwater, is No. 1 in D-VI and Minster No. 1 in D-VII. Minster allowed its first points in last week’s 41-14 blowout of Delphos St. John’s.

Here are some impressive MAC stats: In the last three regular-season games between Marion Local and Coldwater, a combined $78,830 in the 50/50 raffle drawings has been collected. That means $39,415 has been given to lucky winners. The schools split the other half between the athletic departments.

• Sidney senior running back Isaiah Bowser is among the state leaders in rushing with 830 yards on just 94 carries (8.8). He’s also tallied 10 touchdowns. Sidney (3-0) is at Xenia (0-3) on Friday.

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