CINCINNATI - As many Ohio teams enter Week 3, they will be trying to take advantage of their last opportunity to pick up a meaningful non-conference win in their quest for a playoff berth.
Here is a look at this week’s Best Bets
Mason (1-1) @ Winton Woods (2-0) – 7:30 PM - This is going to be a dogfight. Mason is playing better than its record might indicate. The Comets are running the ball well between the 20s, but only have two rushing touchdowns. Winton Woods, looking to go 3-0 against the GMC in non-conference play, has relied on a strong running game with quarterback Shemar Hooks and Marcus Davis leading the way. The Comets have given up 5.5 yards per carry, but have only allowed opponents to convert on 24 percent (6/25) third- and fourth-down attempts. They will need to continue that success if they are to stay in this tilt.
Princeton (1-1) @ LaSalle (2-0) – 7:30 PM – The biggest two names that moved down a division this season square off in their first campaign at the Division II level. LaSalle is oozing with confidence, especially on defense. The Lancers’ offense is just starting to scratch the surface. Keeping Princeton quarterback Tyrell Gilbert contained between the tackles will be a top priority for LaSalle. Gilbert has run and thrown for more than 100 yards in each of the Vikings’ contests. He is an even more dangerous dual threat when he gets outside the pocket.
Centerville (2-0) @ Withrow (2-0) – 7:30 PM - Talk about a golden opportunity to hop on some big Harbin points. The winner here puts themselves in not only great shape for a playoff berth, but in the driver seat to host a first-round post-season battle. Withrow won’t back down from Centerville. The Tigers still have to prove they can stay focused and close out big games. Withrow hasn’t seen anything like electrifying Centerville running back Damian Popp, who has rushed for 215 and 268 yards with seven touchdowns in the Elks’ wins over Pickerington Central and Springboro, who both made the playoffs last year.
Lakota West (1-1) @ Wayne (2-0) – 7 PM - Here is a chance for Lakota West to catch Wayne in a letdown game after the Warriors beat their biggest rival last week, Trotwood-Madison. The Firebirds can elevate their playoff hopes with a road win. The big matchup in this game is West running back Mikel Horton going up against a Wayne defense that is allowing just 67 yards rushing per game. On the flip side, the Warriors are giving up 219 passing yards per game and that plays into Firebirds’ quarterback Malik Grove’s favor. That can only happen if his offensive line can hold up against a Wayne defensive front that already has nine sacks.
Northmont (1-1) @ Lakota East (2-0) – 7:30 PM - To this point Lakota East has played very good football against a pair of teams that weren’t GMC caliber. Now the Thunderhawks will get a real test from speedy Northmont. The Thunderbolts' passing game was clicking on all cylinders last week. Lakota East will try to dominate time of possession by running the football. You can bet head coach Rick Haynes will give Northmont its fill of the triple option until the T’bolts can figure out how to stop it.
Northwest (2-0) @ Tecumseh (1-1) – 7:30 PM - The Knights have scored 73 first-half points in two games. Tecumseh has yet to prove it can pass or score big to come from behind. The Arrows have to prove that they are more than a one-man show on offense with Christian Evans.
Ross (2-0) @ Western Brown (2-0) – 7:30 PM - This is a matchup between two Division III, Region 10 playoff hopefuls who go about things quite differently on offense. Western Brown likes to spread the wealth and air it out behind the arm of quarterback Devyn Wood. Ross will pound opponents into oblivion with its running game, and the Broncos have yet to prove they can stop that over the past two seasons. Look for the Rams to limit possessions. The less time that Wood has on the field, the less damage he can do.
Thurgood Marshall (1-1) @ Alter (2-0), Centerville Stadium – 7:30 PM - Two Novembers ago Thurgood Marshall took down then undefeated Alter in a Division III playoff game. It lifted the shield of invincibility that the Knights had and shifted the balance of small-school power in the Gem City to the Cougars. Alter gets its shot at reclaiming their throne, but it won’t be easy. Marshall is averaging 512 rushing yards per game. They’ve converted 65 percent of their third downs and are averaging 30 plus minutes of possession.
Springboro (1-1) @ Fairmont (1-1) – 7 PM - Springboro has played Jekyll and Hyde with a great win over Mason and blow-out loss against Centerville. The Panthers have to stop the run. They are allowing an eye-popping 401 rushing yards per game and 529 overall. Fairmont has shown big-play capability with eight plays of 22 yards or more in two tilts. Springboro has allowed 10 plays of 36 or more yards, six of those are longer than 45 yards.
Turpin (1-1) @ Dixie Heights (1-1) – 7 PM - Both squads come into this week feeling
good about themselves after beating quality, but smaller opponents. Turpin has a matchup with another big-time quarterback. The Spartans will try to keep Colonels’ signal caller Drew Moore at bay. Dixie Heights got production out of many players in its win over Beechwood. Another collaborative effort will have the Colonels in it until the very end.
Brentwood Academy (2-0) @ St. Xavier (1-1) – 7:30 PM - It all comes down to offensive line play for St. Xavier. The Bombers have to do a better job protecting their quarterback and opening holes for the running game. Brentwood Academy will not make that an easy task. The Eagles have allowed just 12 points in two games.
Colerain (2-0) @ Louisville Trinity (1-2) – 8 PM -Life isn’t getting any easier for Colerain on the road at Kentucky big-school power Trinity. Don’t let the home team’s 1-2 record fool you. The Shamrocks lost by one and four points. Quarterback Reggie Bonnafon may be the best offensive player the Cardinals face all season. Head coach Tom Bolden needs to keep his boys grounded and focused after last week’s win over St. Xavier.
Lawrenceburg (2-1) @ Greensburg (2-1) – 7 PM - This has turned into quite an EIAC rivalry. Last year Lawrenceburg won by a point and in 2011 the Pirates claimed a three-point victory. The Tigers have given up 66 total points the past two games. They will need to cut that way down or be in jeopardy of heading home with a loss.