Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
Teams lock up playoff spots; some still fighting
By Bruce Monnin
Only two weeks remain in the high school football regular season. The Western Buckeye League seemed to settle out into two guaranteed playoff teams and four unlikely ones. The Midwest Athletic Conference refuses to resolve itself, as three teams (Coldwater, Marion Local and Minster) have pretty much locked down their postseason invitations, but five others are fighting each other for the one to three spots available in the playoffs.
Just two WBL teams (Wapakoneta and Kenton) are still in the top eight of their regions this week. Ottawa-Glandorf still has a decent chance of playing its way in, while Bath, Celina and St. Marys still have slim postseason hopes remaining.
In the MAC, six schools are currently still in the top eight of their regions (Coldwater, Minster, Versailles, Delphos St. Johns, Marion Local and Fort Recovery). Anna and St. Henry are not far behind them and still have realistic hopes of their own. Unfortunately for the conference, the last two weeks of the season are full of games that both teams need to win to help their tournament chances. It is likely the number of MAC playoff teams will drop to five (give or take one either way) during these last two weeks of the season.
The biggest game in the WBL this week involves Ottawa-Glandorf visiting St. Marys. The loser is out, while the winner still has some playoff hopes. Celina, likewise, faces an elimination game on the road at Kenton, owners of a six-game winning streak.
The MAC has four crucial games this week. Versailles desperately needs to upset Marion Local at home, as does Delphos St. John's as it hosts Coldwater. Anna becomes an underdog to reach the postseason unless it goes on the road and defeats Minster, while the Wildcats need that win to secure a home playoff game. Finally, St. Henry faces another elimination game at home against a Fort Recovery squad who can remove all doubt as to its first ever playoff appearance with a win.
The complete computer points for the four regions involving most area teams can be found throughout the season at: http://www.nktelco.net/bdmonnin/football.htm
Team - Ranking (Computer Points)
Wapakoneta - 1st (22.60)
Bellbrook - 8th (11.80)
Cincinnati Taft - 9th (11.41)
Celina - 14th (9.41)
St. Marys - 17th (7.56)
Wapakoneta should end up as the top seed in this region, though a loss to Van Wert this week could drop it to the second position. The team everyone wants to avoid in this region is Trotwood-Madison, and the Redskins should easily do so. However, a sleeper team nobody wants to see in the playoffs is 11th-ranked Thurgood Marshall, who currently looks to be one of Wapakoneta's most likely first round opponents.
Celina actually fell one spot in the standings after defeating Lima Shawnee. The Bulldogs' big game is against Kenton this week. A loss ends Celina's postseason hopes. The odds are still not in the Bulldogs' favor even with two wins to end the season, but a few upsets elsewhere in the region could earn Celina a playoff rematch with Wapakoneta.
St. Marys is not yet mathematically eliminated, but the Roughriders will need to defeat both Ottawa-Glandorf and Van Wert and then be on the receiving end of several lucky breaks.
Coldwater - 3rd (17.64)
Colombia - 8th (12.39)
Elyria Catholic - 9th (12.18)
Ottawa-Glandorf - 10th (10.54)
Van Wert - 18th (3.71)
Coldwater's win over Versailles moves the Cavaliers up one spot to third place. However, fewer computer points are available the last two weeks from 4-4 Delphos St. John's and 0-8 New Bremen, so Coldwater will likely end the season right on the line between the fourth seed and fifth seed, which determines whether it gets to host its first playoff game.
Ottawa-Glandorf remains outside the top eight after defeating Elida. Wins over St. Marys and Lima Bath should help the Titans rise a little higher, but they will need several breaks to go their way to crack the top eight.
Minster - 2nd (12.40)
Versailles - 7th (8.71)
Ada - 8th (8.60)
Anna - 9th (8.56)
St. Henry - 13th (6.86)
New Bremen - 22nd (0.00)
Parkway - 22nd (0.00)
Minster only fell one spot after its loss to St. Henry, as the Wildcats continue to benefit from none of their five victims having a losing record (and having a combined mark of 25-15). Minster will reach the postseason no matter what, but it needs to beat Anna this week to host its opening playoff game.
Versailles fell one spot to seventh after losing to Coldwater. The Tigers play the second half of the top of the MAC gauntlet against Marion Local this week. A loss means Versailles will need to defeat Fort Recovery the week after just to have a 50-50 shot at the playoffs.
Anna dropped two positions to ninth after an almost computer-point-free win over 0-8 New Bremen. Two wins over Minster and St. Henry get the Rockets into the postseason. One loss drops their chances into the 50-50 range.
St. Henry gained a lot of computer points by beating Minster, but it only moved up one position to 13th in the standings. Minster is the Redskins' only victim to have a winning record, as these five opponents have a combined record of just 11-29. Fort Recovery and Anna remain on the schedule, and wins in both games most likely will get St. Henry into postseason play.
Marion Local - 1st (17.19)
Fort Recovery - 5th (7.90) was 3rd
Riverside - 8th (5.49)
Gamble Montessori - 9th (5.14)
Marion Local is mathematically guaranteed to end up as the top seed in the region. The Flyers will host their first round playoff game against the eighth seed, a position everyone else in the region is desperately trying to avoid. If the season ended today, the opponent would be Riverside. Covington, Gamble Montessori, Triad and Fort Recovery are also all candidates to make the trip to Booster Field right now.
It now appears Fort Recovery may end up in the dreaded eighth position if it loses to both St. Henry and Versailles, so the Indians desperately want to win at least one of those games. A win in one of those two games gives the Indians about a 50-50 chance to play their first playoff game at home. Two wins earn Fort Recovery a home game and likely a third seed, thus avoiding Marion Local for the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Other Regions of Interest
Kenton rises to fourth in Region 12 thanks to defeating Lima Bath. The Wildcats have already clinched a spot in the playoffs but need to beat Celina next week to have a better chance to host its first round game. Kenton is likely to be slightly favored to win its first three playoff games and compete in the state semifinals. Bath is mathematically alive but realistically out of contention.
In a weak Region 24, 4-4 Delphos St. John's needs one more win to qualify for the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, it is their turn to run the Coldwater-Marion Local gauntlet to finish the season.