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Seven, maybe eight, headed to playoffs

The usual forecasting methods for the Ohio high school football playoffs have been disrupted due to the pandemic but now that it’s the final week of the regular season, some educated guesses can be made as to the playoff status of area teams.

Since the playoffs have expanded to 16 teams per region, making predictions on who is in and who is out is not as difficult as when the state ran with eight teams per region.

With COVID cancellations present on most schedules, it’s much harder to predict first round playoff opponents and seedings.

So, with that said, we’ll just stick with who is likely in and who is likely out.

Div. IV, Region 13

West Branch (9-0) is looking at a No. 1 or No. 2 seed depending on what happens against Salem (7-2) on Saturday.

The Quakers, who sit fourth in the region, are also in and are a strong bet to have a home game in the first round of the playoffs regardless of what happens against the Warriors. A win would lock in a top four seed for the Quakers.

Beaver Local (7-2) sits 10th and will make the playoffs. Beaver will have to beat Div. VII-equivalent Wheeling Central Catholic on Friday to be in the discussion for a first-round home game. What is holding the Beavers back from a possible home game is the seven opponents the Beavers have beat have a total of 18 wins this season, including one with no wins and two with one win each.

East Liverpool (2-5) will not make the playoffs and plans on hosting Warrensville Heights in regular-season game on Oct. 29.

Div. V, Region 17

South Range (9-0) hosts Hubbard (9-0) in the Northeast 8 championship game on Friday, but a win there might not even be enough to overcome defending state champion Kirtland (8-0), which sits at the top of the region.

With five unbeatens in the region, the Raiders might not be guaranteed a spot in the top four even with a loss to Hubbard.

Crestview (4-4) is very likely to be in the playoffs but needs to beat Newton Falls on the road to make that certain. The Rebels, who are 11th in the region, have an uphill battle to get a home game in the first round.

Div. VI, Region 21

United (7-1) is in the playoffs but despite being one of four teams in the region with just one loss, the Eagles are 10th. That’s thanks in part to the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference having so many COVID issues during the season, especially in the non-league portion of the schedule.

If the Eagles beat Southern on Friday, they’ll be in the running for a home game.

Columbiana (1-6) has opted out of the playoffs and East Palestine (0-8) won’t qualify. Both of those schools have plans to play regular season games in the 11th week.

Div. VII, Region 25

Southern Local (7-2) can win the EOAC outright with a win at United on Friday but the Indians are in good shape regarding the playoffs regardless of what happens against the Eagles.

Southern sits sixth in the region and most likely will be hosting a game in the first round.

Valley Christian (6-2) is the other EOAC team in this region who has locked up a spot. The Eagles are 10th in the region.

Wellsville (3-4) is the only area team to be on the bubble. The Tigers are currently 19th in the region and need to beat Leetonia on Friday to have a chance. The teams around the Tigers are mostly underdogs this week, so there is a chance.

The second-level points from wins over East Palestine, Lisbon and Columbiana might not amount to much though.

Leetonia (1-4) and Lisbon (2-6) are likely out.

Sebring (1-6) would have to pull off an all-time upset over Springfield on Friday to have a chance.

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Top 16 schools in each region in the Oct. 24 final rankings will qualify for the playoffs:

DIVISION IV

Region 13–1. Beloit West Branch (9-0) 21.4977, 2. Cle. Villa Angela-St. Joseph (6-1) 19.8312, 3. Youngstown Ursuline (5-3) 18.2619, 4. Salem (7-2) 16.8351, 5. Gates Mills Gilmour Acad. (6-2) 15.6448, 6. Navarre Fairless (8-1) 15.6019, 7. Perry (7-2) 14.6349, 8. Cle. Glenville (6-3) 14.1487, 9. Peninsula Woodridge (6-3) 12.3877, 10. Beaver Local (7-2) 12.0877, 11. Poland (6-3) 11.3232, 12. Gates Mills Hawken (5-4) 10.7573, 13. Canal Fulton Northwest (5-4) 10.2955, 14. Girard (5-4) 9.5125, 15. Canton South (6-3) 8.9596, 16. Cuy. Falls Cuy. Valley Christian Acad. (5-4) 8.5088, 17. Chagrin Falls (4-5) 6.3895, 18. Struthers (4-5) 5.883, 19. East Cle. Shaw (2-7) 3.5024, 20. Mentor Lake Cath. (1-8) 3.1667, 21. East Liverpool (2-5) 3.1571, 26. Minerva (0-9) 0.0000.

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DIVISION V

Region 17–1. Kirtland (8-0) 27.6721, 2. South Range (9-0) 21.4353, 3. Sugarcreek Garaway (9-0) 21.1007, 4. Bellaire (8-1) 19.816, 5. Garrettsville Garfield (9-0) 19.2182, 6. Ravenna Southeast (8-0) 15.983, 7. Mantua Crestwood (5-3) 11.5247, 8. Akron Manchester (5-4) 10.6736, 9. Burton Berkshire (6-3) 10.6111, 10. Richmond Edison (6-3) 10.348, 11. Columbiana Crestview (4-4) 8.8807, 12. Magnolia Sandy Valley (5-4) 8.1181, 13. Conneaut (4-5) 7.1705, 14. Cle. Hts. Lutheran East (4-5) 6.7885, 15. Youngstown Liberty (5-4) 6.7323, 16. Cadiz Harrison Central (4-5) 6.6389, 17. Rootstown (4-5) 5.8043, 18. Jefferson Area (3-6) 5.0687, 19. Rayland Buckeye Local (2-5) 4.8961, 20. Warrensville Hts. (2-5) 3.9402.

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DIVISION VI

Region 21–1. Leavittsburg LaBrae (8-1) 17.4826, 2. Mogadore (7-2) 16.2778, 3. New Middletown Springfield (8-1) 16.0848, 4. Columbia Station Columbia (8-1) 15.7446, 5. Creston Norwayne (7-2) 12.8696, 6. Sullivan Black River (6-3) 11.4965, 7. Middlefield Cardinal (6-3) 10.9232, 8. East Canton (5-2) 9.7922, 9. Brookfield (5-3) 9.2045, 10. Hanoverton United (7-1) 9.0844, 11. Berlin Center Western Reserve (5-4) 8.5785, 12. Canton Central Cath. (3-6) 8.4072, 13. Jeromesville Hillsdale (5-4) 7.6458, 14. Andover Pymatuning Valley (5-3) 6.3873, 15. Garfield Hts. Trinity (3-6) 4.4232, 16. Wellington (4-5) 4.3865, 17. Newton Falls (3-6) 3.5729, 18. Mineral Ridge (3-5) 3.261, 19. Oberlin (2-7) 3.0143, 20. Wickliffe (1-7) 1.9816, 22. Columbiana (1-6) 1.5000, 26. East Palestine (0-8) 0.0000.

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DIVISION VII

Region 25–1. Norwalk St. Paul (7-1) 17.673, 2. Lucas (7-1) 15.9653, 3. Independence (7-2) 13.5531, 4. Dalton (7-2) 12.2468, 5. Cuyahoga Hts. (4-3) 11.8052, 6. Salineville Southern (7-2) 11.2203, 7. Warren John F. Kennedy (5-2) 10.6948, 8. Lowellville (7-2) 9.0326, 9. Malvern (7-2) 8.6593, 10. Youngstown Valley Christian (6-2) 7.5, 11. Plymouth (4-4) 7.2784, 12. Vienna Mathews (6-2) 7.1372, 13. Toronto (4-5) 6.8321, 14. Ashland Mapleton (3-5) 5.1985, 15. Windham (4-4) 5.003, 16. Greenwich South Central (3-5) 4.702, 17. Monroeville (3-6) 4.5906, 18. Steubenville Cath. Central (3-6) 3.8889, 19. Wellsville (3-4) 3.1293, 20. Fairport Harbor Fairport Harding (2-5) 2.8182, 22. Lisbon (2-6) 1.4375, 25. Leetonia (1-4) 0.8000, 26. Sebring (1-6) 0.5000.

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