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With three weeks left in the season, the margin for error for area teams is getting smaller and smaller. On the other hand it also a time for programs to step up and rise to the occasion with what lies ahead on their schedules. There will be plenty to reflect on Saturday morning as the playoff picture in Ohio looks as if it only going to become more muddled this weekend.
District races continue to take shape in Kentucky and the regular season is reaching its finale in the Hoosier State. Let’s talk some football!
Here is a look at this weekend’s Best Bets
Middletown (2-5, 1-3) @ Lakota West (7-0, 4-0) – 7:30 PM - Lakota West has been a model of consistency on both sides of the ball. The defense has given up 18 points or fewer in each of their last six games. The Firebirds’ offense has yet to score less than 30 this season. Middletown has lost three in a row and has not been the same since getting waxed by Winton Woods. The Middies aren’t going to lie down as head coach Troy Everhart has had winning seasons every year since 2004.
Norwood (6-1, 3-0) @ Blanchester (4-3, 2-1) – 7:30 PM – These are two Region 16 teams. Norwood currently sits at #7 in the Harbin Rankings and Blanchester is at #16. Norwood is flourishing in their first season of SBAAC play after being beat on as the smallest school in the FAVC. Indians junior quarterback, Andrew Conover has thrown for 1,450 yards and has had at least two TD passes in five games. Receivers Jared Peters and Robert Boston are averaging over 20 yards per reception with 12 touchdowns catches between them. Blanchester has struggled with their top peers in Region 16 losing to #2 Clinton-Massie and #11Waynesville by a combined 99-0.
Winton Woods (5-2) @ Elder (4-3, 1-1) – 7:30 PM – In the latest Division I Region 4, Harbin Ratings there are eight teams between #6 and #14 with 5-2 records and #9 Elder sitting at 4-3. Winton Woods is #3 in the Region 8. Loveland catapulted into Region 4’s top eight of the Harbin Rankings after beating the Warriors last week. Elder sees how important this victory can be down the stretch. Winton Woods must play error-free football.
St. Xavier (5-2, 3-0) @ Lakewood St. Edward (7-0) - 2:00 PM, Saturday - St. Xavier is currently ranked #6 in the Region 4. St. Edward is currently ranked #4 in the Region 1 Harbins. The two teams have met every year since 2006. The Bombers are 5-1 against the Eagles in that span. This is usually a defensive struggle, but St. Xavier averaged 37.0points per game the last three weeks as they swept their GCL South foes. St. Edward is averaging 45.0 points per game.
LaSalle (4-3, 0-2) @ Brother Rice, MI (5-2) - 1:00 PM, Saturday - LaSalle’s three losses are to St. X, Moeller and Lakota West, who are a combined, 17-4. The Lancers have to win out but the chances of them making the post season are pretty slim with eight teams to jump in front of them. It all comes down to finishing and taking advantage of opportunities for LaSalle. Last week they forced six St. Xavier turnovers, but the difference in the game was that the Bombers capitalized on two LaSalle errant passes that they returned for touchdowns.
Western Hills (4-3, 3-1) @ Withrow (5-2, 4-0) – 7:30 PM - It is the battle for the CMAC championship. Withrow has won four in a row. The Tigers only two losses are to Turpin by 3 and at Centerville by six. Western Hills has won three straight and averaged 42 points per game in that span. These teams go as their quarterback’s go. Withrow’s Malik Bland has 1,195 yards with 14 touchdown passes and just six interceptions. West High’s Cameron Washington is a dual threat with his arm and his legs. He has games of 195 and 201 yards on the ground this season.
Wayne (5-2, 1-1) @ Centerville (5-2, 2-0) – 7:30 PM – It is the game that everyone in the GWOC has had circled since the beginning of the year. The loser in all likelihood will be knocked out of the Region 4 playoffs. The stakes are high and intensity will be even more elevated in this affair. Wayne has to be more focused than they were last week against Beavercreek.
Franklin (6-1, 3-0) @ Eaton (5-2, 2-1) – 7:30 PM – Eaton has five wins against teams who are a combined 6-29 on the season. The Eagles can make some huge headway in the Region 12 Harbins with a victory over the bigger Franklin squad. The Wildcats have been one of Region 8’s most consistent defensive teams allowing no one to score more than 17 points on them this season.
Holmes (5-2, 2-0) @ Highlands (7-0, 3-0) – 7:00 PM – With Highlands and CovCath still on the schedule Holmes is in a position to control their own destiny. The Bulldogs have played well but know they must find out if they are up to taking things to a new level. Eight different Bluebirds have caught at least two touchdown passes on the season and none of them have more than three. Highlands has had great balance offensively with just under 2,000 yards on the ground and over 1,600 in the air.
Scott (4-3, 1-2) @ South Oldham (6-2, 2-1) – 7:30 PM –The Scott Eagles find themselves in a position to play spoiler the next two games. The Eagles could use a signature for their growing confidence. South Oldham has been a pleasant surprise and has a legitimate shot at eight wins.
Indianapolis Roncalli (6-2) @East Central (7-1) – 7:00 PM – What regular season finale as Roncalli the #6 ranked Team in Class 4A comes to #4 East Central. Nest week the Trojans will host #1 Columbus East in the first round of the Sectional 15 playoffs. Look for East Central to go out with a chip on their shoulder and play with a sense of urgency in this affair.
Greg is a co-founder of TSF and is now entering his ninth season as a Featured Analyst for the website. The Xavier University grad also serves as the Content Manager for the website and is widely considered one of the top high school football experts in the region. If you are interested in covering your team, please CONTACT US.