Best Bets: Week 9

Ross OL Landon Herrmann (photo by Shelby Frieszell/

With only two games left to go in the regular season in Ohio, it’s all or nothing for teams on the brink of winning a conference title, trying to gain ground in the computer rankings, and squads fighting to make the playoffs. The next few weeks will be extremely enticing as collision courses we’ve been waiting for are finally upon us. Here are the matchups to look out for around the Tri-state area in this week’s edition of the Best Bets.

The SWOC Championship will be on the line between two teams playing their best ball of the season. Ross, the reigning conference champs, are in the midst of arguably the best stretch of football in program history. Dating back to last season, they have won 11 of their last 13 games and averaged over 45 points per game in that time. 

Last year was no one-year wonder, as head coach Kenyon Commins has instilled a culture of playing hard and winning. After a tough Week 4 loss to an excellent Badin team, Ross has won three straight games by a combined margin of 122-51. 

Senior leader and playmaker Brayden Fraasman paired with sophomores, Aiden Brown and Riley Caldwell, have led the charge as they all have had multiple 100-yard rushing performances throughout the year. Fraasman is second in the SWOC with 818 yards on the ground, Caldwell is sixth (569), and Brown is ninth (533). 

Edgewood, who started the season 0-2, has been on a path of destruction since. The difference has been the offensive surge. In their first two losses, they had outputs of 15 and 14 points. Since then they have scored at least 34 points in every game, including tallying 40 points three times and even dropping 50 against Mount Healthy. The defense has been just as good, as no opponent has reached more than 14 points on this five-game winning streak. 

This contest will ultimately come down to the trenches and who can sustain drives and convert in the red zone. Defensively, this game features four of the five leading tacklers in the conference. Edgewood has to come ready to stop a potent Rams’ ground game. Edgewood hasn’t played the strength of schedule Ross has, which will do them no favors. Although with so much on the line and both teams flourishing, this matchup has all the makings to be a classic.

When discussing the most impressive teams in the Tri-state area during the 2021 season, you don’t get very far without mentioning the Knights. They can all but wrap up an outright ECC title for the first time since 2018 with a win here. 

Alex Garvin’s crew comes into this game undefeated and have thoroughly taken care of their opponents all year. They rose up to the challenge and defeated Winton Woods and Anderson in back-to-back weeks and are rolling full steam ahead as the season winds down. 

Turpin on the other hand, is coming off a tough 41-19 loss in a game where they allowed 200 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. They just haven’t been able to play up to the level of their competition. Senior signal caller Will Schulok is extremely solid, but outside of that the Spartans just haven’t had the firepower to keep up with talented teams. 

Look for junior Kings’ quarterback Will Kocher to have a big game. He is top 10 in the conference in both passing and rushing. Turpin has been susceptible to the passing and ground attack. For the Spartans to have any chance here, they have to come out fast and throw the first punch. A big turnover could also help swing the momentum in their favor. Although after what happened last week, expect nothing less than the Knights continuing their magical 2021 run with another victory.

The Firebirds didn’t play last week due to COVID, but their opponent was Middletown, so we can all make an educated guess on how that game would have played out. Nonetheless, Tom Bolden has made his former team pay in the two meetings since his departure, defeating the Cardinals by a combined score of 33-7. This isn’t horrible on the Cardinals end, but their offense has been absolutely shut down by this West team.

Since the Week 1 loss to St. Xavier, the Firebirds have been dominating each opponent as they are clicking on all cylinders. Colerain comes into this game after a solid 27-6 win against Hamilton. This was good to see from the Cardinals as the week before they were handed a grueling 7-6 loss to Lakota East at the hands of a missed PAT. 

Overall, Colerain has an uphill climb if they want any chance in this game. It all starts with Senior tailback MJ Flowers. He has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in six straight games and has now gone for over 1,000 yards on the year. He has to continue this trend and take over in the game. Defensively, the Cardinals have been playing much better as of late, allowing less than 14 points in five consecutive games. They have to focus on stopping the run game and force Junior quarterback Mitch Bolden to be a passer. 

Winning the turnover battle and controlling time of possession will be the deciding factors in this game especially on the Colerain side. Lakota West is bigger and more talented, so giving them extra possessions will eventually wear out the Colerain defense. With the Firebirds coming off a bye week and having fresh legs, look for them to come out hot and try to put this game on ice earlier rather than later. Anything is possible when it comes to conference opponents who know so much about each other, but this hill will prove too high of a hill to climb for Colerain.

Showing some love to the CMAC here as the top two teams battle it out for first place. If Taft wins this game, they are all but conference champs with a date against a 2-4 Woodward team next week. Meanwhile, Hughes plays a really good Withrow team whose only loss was a 13-7 nail biter to Taft. 

Hughes comes into this game undefeated and they are throttling opponents this season. The Big Red have won every game by at least 30 points or more. Led by quarterback Marvin Good, who is second in the conference with 1069 passing yards. More importantly, he does not turn the ball over, tallying 18 total touchdowns and only two Interceptions with no fumbles. He is a complete playmaker and Hughes will continue to rely on him come playoff time. Senior Running Back Keyontrez DeVaughn has also been a bright spot, sitting fifth in the conference with 492 rushing yards and accounting for seven touchdowns. 

Taft is also having an excellent season with first year coach Tyler Williams at the helm. After losing their first two games to Roger Bacon and Wyoming, the Senators have reeled off five wins in a row and are oozing with confidence going into the most important game of the season. This team is at their best when the defense is flying around and making plays. They have shut out their last two opponents and have only allowed 29 points total in their last four games. Three of the four leading tacklers in the conference and the top two ballhawks (Interception leaders) all reside with the Senators. 

Hughes’ defense has been excellent as well, allowing only nine points per game on the season. In totality, this matchup is as even as it gets. Both teams have athletes all over the field and play stifling defense. The team who plays the most disciplined and executes will win. Points will come at a premium, so expect this game to be played between the 20s. All in all, it could ultimately take some last-minute heroics to decide a winner here.

Make sure to check out the COMPLETE PREVIEW for this week’s featured game on the Blitz 5 Comeback Tour, No. 24 Ryle at Dixie Heights.

Here are some other games for teams ranked inside the Blitz 5 Top 25:

No. 1 St. Xavier at Cleveland St. Ignatius (Saturday)
No. 3 Moeller at Lakewood St. Edward
No. 4 Princeton at No. 16 Mason
No. 13 Fairfield at No. 5 Lakota East
No. 6 La Salle at Trotwood-Madison
Football North Ontario at No. 8 Elder
Loveland at No. 14 Anderson
Walnut Hills at No. 15 Winton Woods
No. 18 Hamilton at No. 17 Sycamore
No. 19 Badin at No. 23 McNicholas
No. 21 Wyoming at Finneytown
Chaminade Julienne at No. 23 McNicholas

No. 11 Beechwood at Lloyd
No. 12 Covington Catholic at Highlands

No. 10 East Central at Indianapolis Roncalli
South Dearborn at No. 25 Lawrenceburg 


You must be logged in to post a comment Login