Tigers, Bulldogs at ‘home’ for finals
Springfield and Poland will carry the banner for Mahoning County — and for the entire Mahoning Valley — into the third week of the Ohio High School Athletic Association football playoffs, and both will play their regional title games at sites within Mahoning County.
Springfield (12-0) will face Mogadore (11-1) on Friday at South Range in the Division VI, Region 21 title game.
On Saturday, Poland (10-2) will battle Perry (12-0) in the Division IV, Region 13 final at Austintown Fitch.
The Tigers and Bulldogs advanced to the title games in their respective regions with second-round playoff wins. On Friday, Springfield came from behind to defeat Glouster Trimble, 20-19. On Saturday, Poland trounced Indian Creek, 35-0.
Two area teams did not survive the second round of playoff football.
Warren John F. Kennedy bowed out in a 33-14 loss to Cuyahoga Heights on Saturday. It marked the third straight year the Eagles were bounced from the playoffs by the Redskins.
South Range fell 38-7 to a Kirtland team which is seeking its fifth state title since 2011.
Mogadore has a rich history against area schools, both in the regular season and the playoffs. They are 32-5 all-time against schools from the Mahoning Valley, including 18-2 in the post-season.
Mogadore opened the playoffs with a 49-28 win over Brookfield. Ironically, Springfield defeated Brookfield by the identical 49-28 score on Sept. 6. Brookfield is the lone common opponent this year.
With its victory over Trimble, Springfield matched a school record for most wins in a season. In 2000, the Tigers went 10-0 in the regular season. Playoff wins followed against Windham and Massillon Tuslaw before the Tigers fell to St. Peter Chanel in a Division V, Region 17 title game.
Springfield is one of just 14 schools statewide with a 12-0 record. The Tigers are seeking their first-ever regional title.
Mogadore’s lone loss of the season occurred Sept. 21 when the Wildcats fell to Lima Central Catholic, 27-21,
Mogadore owns a 2-0 record against Springfield. The two teams last met in 2007 with the ‘Cats winning 42-0.
This season marks the second straight year Perry will visit the Mahoning Valley for a playoff game against an area school. In 2018 the Pirates lost to Girard, 42-33, in a second-round game at Bo Rein Stadium in Niles.
Perry is averaging 49.2 points-per-game. It opened the playoffs with a 48-7 home win over Girard. On Saturday, the Pirates downed Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, 34-14.
Poland will enter the game riding a nine-game winning streak. During the stretch, the Bulldogs have surrendered just 48 points. The ‘Dogs have outscored their two playoff opponents (Struthers, Indian Creek) by a score of 66-0.
Poland is playing in its first regional final since 2009. The Bulldogs won regional championships in 1995 and 1999. In ’99, the ‘Dogs became the first-ever Ohio high school team to go 15-0 en route to a Division III state championship.
Of the 56 teams that have advanced to the regional finals, there are 17 No. 1 seeds, 14 No. 2 seeds, seven No. 3 seeds, six No. 4 seeds, two No. 5 seeds, four No. 6 seeds, three No. 7 seeds (Trotwood-Madison, Bloom Carroll and Germantown Valley View) and three No. 8 seeds (Clyde, Carey and New Bremen) … There are three schools in the regional finals that are making their first appearance in the playoffs this decade, including New Bremen (last appearance was 2004), Howard East Knox (last appearance was 2005) and Groveport Madison (last appearance was 2007) … There are five regional final games which feature rematches of regular-season contests … Six teams with 5-5 records qualified for the playoffs. Two of those teams — Lewis Center Olentangy in Division I and Carey in Division VI — have advanced to the regional finals …. Springfield owns the state’s second-longest current overall winning streak at 17 games. Kirtland and Cincinnati Wyoming are both riding 27-game winning streaks.