Playoff teams start to surface
With just two weeks remaining in the high school football regular season, several area teams are looking to make one last playoff push.
Perhaps the matchup with the biggest playoff implications for Week 9 is a Division III, Region 9 matchup between All-American Conference rivals Howland and Canfield.
Howland (6-2, 5-0 AAC Red Tier) has won six straight games following an 0-2 start. The Tigers are ranked seventh in Region 9, and according to joeeitel. com, they control their own destiny.
However, that’s easier said than done, as they play on the road in their final two games, first tonight at Canfield, and then next week at Warren G. Harding. The Cardinals, meanwhile, also are 6-2, 4-1, but they’re ranked 11th in Region 9, as they have yet to beat a team with a winning record this year.
In Division IV, Region 13, Hubbard and Lakeview each find themselves on the edge of the postseason, as they’re ranked seventh and eighth, respectively. Hubbard (6-2), coming off of a tough loss to Struthers, will play at Poland, and then ends its season at home against East next week.
Lakeview (5-3) travels to Champion tonight, and then faces 7-1 Struthers at home next week. Neither Hubbard nor Lakeview control their own destiny in Region 13, but the six teams all ranked ahead of them, including Struthers and Cardinal Mooney, do.
Over in Division V, Region 17, two local teams also are sitting seventh and eighth. No. 7 Garfield (6-2) has lost two in a row to Crestwood and Mogadore, and much like last season, the G-Men have yet to beat a winning team this year.
As for No. 8 Liberty (4-4), the Leopards have signature wins over Lakeview and Brookfield, but they play Newton Falls and Girard the final two weeks of the season. Both teams have just two wins apiece.
Finally, Jackson-Milton and Windham are ranked sixth and eighth in Division VII, Region 25, but neither team will face a winning team the rest of the way, making computer points hard to come by.
As for teams who could host a first-round game, another team in Region 25, John F. Kennedy, is 8-0 but has dropped two spots to fourth in the region over the past couple of weeks.
The Eagles fell behind undefeated Norwalk St. Paul and Monroeville, which face each other in Week 10. Kennedy, however, could gain some points next week when they take on North Coast League-rival St. Thomas Aquinas (7-1), the four-seed in Division VI, Region 21.
LaBrae (6-2), which lost to the Eagles earlier in the year, are second in Division V, Region 17, only trailing South Range in the standings. They’ll travel to Girard and Jefferson, while No. 4 Grand Valley (7-1) faces Mathews and Conneaut, both of which have winning records.
Harding (7-1) suffered a tough loss to Cardinal Mooney in Week 8, but face one-win East tonight at Mollenkopf, before hosting Howland in Week 10. The Raiders are second in Division II, Region 5, only to Aurora, which faces a Canadian team this week and a two-win team the week after that, giving Harding some hope that it can potentially regain the No. 1 spot in the region.