The Ohio High School Athletic Association football playoffs don’t start for another week. But for teams like the Springfield Wildcats, the postseason might as well start Friday night.
Springfield needs to win to guarantee a spot among the top eight teams in Division I, Region 3. Six of the eight playoff spots have been clinched according to joeeitel.com . That leaves five teams battling for the final two spots.
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“Win next week, and we’re in,” Springfield coach Maurice Douglass said after last week’s loss at Wayne .
Springfield (6-3) is No. 8 in the region and travels to No. 7 Fairmont (6-3) in a Greater Western Ohio Conference National East game. The Wildcats have won the last two meetings, including 21-14 last season .
Also in Region 3 among playoff contenders:
No. 9. Reynoldsburg (6-3) hosts No. 14 Lancaster (4-5).
No. 10. Hilliard Darby is at D-II Dublin Scioto (5-4).
No. 11 Beavercreek (6-3) is at No. 1 Centerville (8-1).
No. 12. Miamisburg (4-5) is at No. 5 Northmont (7-2).
The Wildcats have to like their chances but it won’t be easy against a Firebirds team that grinds it out on the ground. Of Fairmont’s 38 offensive touchdowns, 34 are from rushes. Jesse Deglow leads the team with 941 yards and 15 touchdowns on 154 carries. Through the air, quarterback Braden Miller has attempted 25 passes and the team’s leading receiver has five catches.
Springfield’s defense is ranked No. 7 in the GWOC overall, allowing 295 yards per game, and No. 4 against the run, allowing 135 yards per game. Fairmont averages 304 yards rushing per game, third best in the conference.
The OHSAA will announce the playoff pairings Sunday. A new format will be used this season with all seven divisions playing its postseason games on Friday night (excluding the state finals). In the past the OHSAA split the divisions and playoff games were played on Friday and Saturday night.
Here’s a look at how area teams are faring in the other divisions:
Division II, Region 8: Tecumseh (2-7) sits at No. 16 in the region and has been mathematically eliminated from the postseason. Tecumseh can play spoiler with a victory against rival Shawnee (4-5), which is still playing for a spot in D-IV.
Division IV, Region 16: Seven of the eight playoff spots have been clinched. That leaves five teams fighting for the final spot.
Shawnee (4-5) enters No. 10 and needs to beat Tecumseh (2-7) and get some help.
Also in the hunt are:
No. 8 Waverly (6-3) hosting D-V River Valley (3-6)
No. 9 Franklin Bishop Fenwick (5-4) hosting D-II Carroll (1-8)
No. 11 Oakwood (5-4) hosting D-III Bellbrook (6-3)
No. 12 Cincinnati Aiken at D-VI Riverview East Academy (3-6).
Kenton Ridge (6-3) is No. 13 in the region and out of postseason contention. Northwestern (4-5) is No. 18, Urbana (3-6) is No. 19 and Graham (1-8) is No. 25 in the region.
Division V, Region 20: Greeneview is undefeated and still trying to clinch a playoff spot. The Rams sit at No. 7 in the region, where only West Jefferson has clinched a playoff spot at No. 2. The remaining teams ranked 1-7 – Middletown Madison, Miami East, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, Bethel-Tate, Anna and Greeneview – are all in with a win.
No. 8 Reading, No. 9 Brookville, No. 10 Carlisle and No. 11 Summit Country Day are are still alive and could jump into the playoffs with a win and some help.
Greeneview is at Madison-Plains (5-4).
Greenon (3-5) is No. 22 in the region.
Division VI, Region 24: The first five spots are clinched. Six teams are playing for the final three including Mechanicsburg and West Liberty-Salem.
No. 7 Mechanicsburg (7-2) is in with a victory against visiting Fairbanks (5-4). No. 10 West Libery-Salem (7-2) needs a win at Northeastern (1-8) and some help.
Elsewhere around the region:
No. 6 Dayton Christian (8-1) is at D-VII New Miami (2-7)
No. 8 St. Henry (6-3) is at No. 9 Fort Recovery (5-4)
No. 11 Delphos Jefferson is at D-VI Spencerville (7-20)
Northeastern (1-8) is No. 28.
Division VII, Region 28: It’s been a tough year for area teams in the region. Catholic Central (3-6) sits No. 11 in the region but even with a victory at No. 24 Cedarville (0-9) the points won’t be enough to jump into the postseason.
No. 12 Cincinnati Gamble Montessori, one spot behind the Irish, is still in contention for one of the two remaining spots. No. 14 Southeastern (3-6), No. 22 Triad (1-8) and No. 24 Cedarville (0-9) all conclude their seasons Friday night.