Historied teams back in the playoffs, heated rematches and even a little uncertainty are all storylines on the slate for the first weekend of the Ohio High School Athletic Association High School football playoffs.
The talk of Warren this season has been the turnaround of the Warren G. Harding Raiders, going from 2-8 to 9-1 in one season and earning a return to the Division I, Region 1 playoffs.
The turnaround the Raiders have made this year might be a surprise to some around town, but not to Warren G. Harding coach Steve Arnold.
Warren G. Harding’s Jalyn Powell makes a move during a game earlier this season.
"Some people I saw in the summer and the fall said success would be 5-5," Arnold said. "I didn't take this job to go 5-5. I expect to win."
The single-season improvement in the Raiders' record ties the biggest single-year turnaround in Harding history. Only two other times in the 120 years of Harding football have teams gone from two wins to nine wins in one season. It happened in 1910-11 and in 1946-47.
If Arnold and the Raiders were to beat Mentor on Saturday night in a Division I, Region 1 quarterfinal in Mentor, the Raiders would make history.
Also making history on Saturday night is the highly anticipated rematch between Hubbard and Niles. The game at Niles' Bo Rein Stadium is the first time in Niles' history that it has hosted a playoff contest. The game, which is a rematch of Week 7, is also on Saturday night.
Completing the Saturday night slate of high school football is Austintown Fitch at St. Ignatius, Poland at Marlington and Ursuline at Sugarcreek Garaway.
While those games are definitely being played on Saturday, the Brookfield Warriors are still waiting to see if they will kick off their second-straight playoff run tonight.
On Thursday, a Cuyahoga County judge issued a restraining order against the OHSAA, affecting games to be played in the Division I, Region 1 bracket, as well as Brookfield's Division IV, Region 13.
The Brookfield Warriors are slated to take on Ashtabula Edgewood Warriors tonight at Girard's Arrowhead Stadium. The outcome of the case - as well as who and when Brookfield will play - is still being determined.
Games that are definitely on the board for Friday include Youngstown Christian traveling to Mollenkopf Stadium to take on John F. Kennedy Eagles. Tonight's game will mark the 19th time JFK has been to the OHSAA playoffs - a Trumbull County record.
Also on tap for Friday night is Howland traveling to Chardon, Liberty heading to Streetsboro and Western Reserve taking on Shadyside.
All games on Friday night begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night games start at 7.
It isn't just the high school kids getting to take the gridiron this weekend, the collegiate players also will see the season starting to come to a close.
The Youngstown State Penguins will return to Stambaugh Stadium on Saturday to take on South Dakota. The Penguins (4-4) will be trying to snap a four-game losing streak against the Coyotes. Game time is 2 p.m.
Also, the Kent State Golden Flashes (7-1) will try to continue their historic season as they take on archrival Akron at 2 p.m. in Kent.