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Four area teams set for next round

For Warren G. Harding, Girard, Struthers, Hubbard, Garrettsville Garfield, Western Reserve, Brookfield and McDonald, it’s time to look forward to 2020.

For Warren John F. Kennedy, Poland, South Range and Springfield, the march through the postseason moves forward. The Eagles, Bulldogs, Raiders and Tigers all logged wins in the opening round of the postseason.

Eight of the 12 area schools which qualified for the Ohio High School Athletic Association playoffs were eliminated in first-round games. The four which advance will play in regional semifinal games this weekend.

For Kennedy, the hope is that the third time is the charm. JFK will face Cuyahoga Heights in the postseason for a third straight year. The Eagles and Redskins will meet Saturday at Gilchrist Field in Ravenna.

In 2016, Cuyahoga Heights lost to Marion Local in the Division VI state title game, the same year that JFK won the Division VII state championship. The Redskins then moved down to D-VII in 2017. That year, they defeated Kennedy 40-12 in a first-round game. The Redskins again advanced to the state final before falling to Minster.

A year ago, Cuyahoga Heights downed JFK 35-20 in the region 25 title game.

Over the weekend Cuyahoga Heights (9-1) downed Malvern 49-6 while JFK (8-3) defeated Independence 41-7 to advance to the region 25 semifinal.

After starting off its season 1-2, Poland (9-2) has won eight straight to advance to the Division IV, region 13 semifinals. The Bulldogs will play Wintersville Indian Creek (10-1) Saturday at Sebo Stadium in Salem. Poland advanced thanks to 31-0 win over Struthers. Indian Creek won its first-ever playoff game in a 35-29 victory over Hubbard. The Redskins were previously 0-6 in postseason games.

Poland’s win over Struthers marked its first playoff victory since 2014. The ‘Dogs have outscored opponents 295-48 during their eight-game winning streak.

Indian Creek has also won its last eight games.

Also on Saturday, South Range (8-3) and Kirtland (11-0) will face off in a Division V, region 17 semifinal at Bo Rein Stadium in Niles. The Raiders advanced with a 30-7 win over Bellaire while the top-seeded Hornets downed Sandy Valley 38-24.

South Range and Kirtland previously met in the playoffs in back-to-back years in 2007 and 2008. The Raiders prevailed in the first meeting 45-30. The Hornets gained revenge a year later, 63-7.

Since 2011, Kirtland has appeared in seven state title games, winning four. In that span, the Hornets own an overall record of 123-6.

South Range will be making its second appearance this year at Bo Rein Stadium. On Oct. 4 the Raiders fell to Niles 35-34 in overtime. They have since won five straight.

The lone Friday game involving an area team will take place at Red Devil Stadium in St.Clairsville. It will also be one of three second-round games statewide which feature a pair of 11-0 teams. Springfield, which finished atop the Division VI, region 21 standings takes on Glouster Trimble.

Springfield advanced with a 34-7 win over Western Reserve while Trimble downed previously-unbeaten Southern Local 26-14.

Trimble has outscored opponents this year 478-20.

PLAYOFF NOTES

Higher-seeded teams (host teams) went 85-27 in the first round of the playoffs. Five No. 8 seeds defeated No. 1 seeds … In Division IV, four of the state’s Top 10-ranked teams (AP) were defeated … Five schools (Streetsboro, Indian Creek, Cuyahoga Falls CVCA, Cincinnati Taft, Lima Perry) recorded their first-ever playoff wins … Coldwater lost to Sherwood, snapping the Cavaliers’ 21-game first-round winning streak dating back to 1998 … Xenia, Delaware Olentangy, Berlin, Columbus Centennial and Worthington Christian all made the playoffs this year for the first time. All five schools suffered first-round defeats … Six teams qualified with 5-5 regular-season records. Of those, Lewis Center Olentangy and Carey were victorious.

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