Ohio high school football playoff outlook: Who's in, who's out, according to WCPO projections

Expert Steve Shuck sets up the field

CINCINNATI – The Elder, Fairfield and Moeller football teams are involved in a scenario for the final two playoff spots in Division I, Region 4.

That is the most significant unresolved issue early Saturday afternoon for the area’s playoff picture, according to longtime projections analyst Steve Shuck.

Other updates Saturday afternoon include the fact that Reading (7-3) is projected to qualify in Division V, Region 20, according to Shuck.

McNicholas (5-4) is likely out of the picture in Division III, Region 12, Shuck said. The Rockets play host to Badin (5-4) at 1 p.m. today.

Fairfield, Elder and Moeller will look closely at two out-of-area games Saturday night including Cleveland St. Ignatius at Lakewood St. Edward (7 p.m. kickoff) and International School of Broward (Hollywood, Fla.) playing at Goleman (Miami Lakes, Fla.) at 7 p.m.

There are multiple possibilities depending on the results of these two games.

WCPO.com learned early Saturday afternoon there is also a question of whether International School of Broward has a 2-4 record this season or whether it is 1-4.

Joe Eitel, of joeeitel.com, has Broward’s Oct. 6 game at Village Academy (Delray Beach, Fla.) as a canceled game and therefore a 1-4 record.

However, MaxPreps listed Broward as 2-4. Elder also contends Broward picked up a win due to the forfeit.

Elder defeated visiting Broward 62-6 Oct. 20.

That Oct. 6 game could impact who gets in from hose two spots in Region 4.

Of the four scenarios involving the St. Ed’s-St. Ignatius and Broward-Golmean games tonight, Elder is in the playoffs in three of those.

If Broward’s record officially stays at 1-4, Elder would likely be out of the picture if Broward loses and St. Ignatius wins.

The bottom line for Moeller (4-6) is that it needs 2016 Division I state runner-up St. Ignatius to win its game in order for the Crusaders to qualify, according to Shuck. The Crusaders are at 16.80 points and would reach 17.45 if St. Ignatius wins.

Fairfield (6-4) will end its computer points at 17.35 points, according to Shuck. The Indians have three favorable scenarios to qualify if Broward’s record stands at 1-4.

The Indians would likely be out of the playoff picture if Broward and St. Ignatius win tonight, assuming Broward’s game Oct. 6 is counted as a canceled game.

St. Ed’s (9-0) is ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press state poll and St. Ignatius (8-1) is No. 2.

Elsewhere in Region 4, West Clermont’s 35-28 win at Milford Friday night propelled the Wolves into a projected playoff spot and shook up much of the playoff picture.

The Wolves (7-3) are projected at No. 6 by longtime analyst Steve Shuck.

West Clermont, in its first season after Amelia and Glen Este merged, also clinched a share of the Eastern Cincinnati Conference title with Milford (8-2).

“I’m so happy for the kids,” West Clermont coach Nick Ayers said. “They have committed to our program and have been so selfless. A lot of people didn’t give us a chance. But our staff and kids have so much faith in our program.”

St. Xavier (9-1), Colerain (8-2), Mason (8-2) and Sycamore (8-2) are projected to host first-round games in that Nos. 1-4 order, respectively.

St. X, the reigning state champion, will make its ninth consecutive playoff appearance - the most consecutive appearances for any large school in the area.

Milford (8-2) is projected to be No. 5. The Eagles will make the postseason for the first time since the 1986 season.

Here is the projected order for Division I, Region 4:

1.   St. Xavier (9-1)

2.   Colerain (8-2)

3.   Mason (8-2)

4.   Sycamore (8-2)

5.   Milford (8-2)

6.   West Clermont (7-3)

7.   To be determined

8.   To be determined

In Division II, Region 8, La Salle (8-2), Winton Woods (9-1) and Anderson (9-1) are projected to be the top qualifiers in that order.

La Salle and Winton Woods may have to wait a while to figure out their first-round matchup. That’s because Harrison (8-2) and Chillcothe (8-2) are tied for No. 7.

The OHSAA will use third-level points to determine the Nos. 7 and 8 seeds. That may not be known until late Saturday night. 

First-level points refers to the number of points you get for your own wins. The second level refers to of the teams you beat, add up the numbers of wins those teams had. The third level is in the games you, add up the wins of the teams your opponents won.

Here is the projected finish in Division II, Region 8:

1.   La Salle (8-2)

2.   Winton Woods (9-1)

3.   Anderson (9-1)

4.   Sidney (9-1)

5.   Belmont (9-0)

6.   Troy (8-2)

T7. Harrison (8-2)

T7. Chillicothe (8-2)

In Division III, Region 12, Trotwood-Madison (10-0) is projected to win the region after a win over Huber Heights Wayne Friday.

Goshen (9-1), Alter (9-1) and Franklin (8-2) are projected to be hosting first-round games.

New Richmond (8-2) is also projected to be No. 6 after Friday night’s win over Goshen.

Here is the projected order in Division III, Region 12:

1.   Trotwood-Madison (10-0)

2.   Alter (9-1)

3.   Franklin (8-2)

4.   Goshen (9-1)

5.   Dayton Dunbar (7-3)

6.   New Richmond (8-2)

7.   Chaminade Julienne (7-3)

8.   Elida (8-2)

In Division IV, Region 16, the projected order is:

1. Valley View (10-0)

2. Wyoming (10-0)

3. Taft (8-2)

4. Clinton-Massie (9-1)

5. Jonathan Alder (8-2)

6. Indian Hill (8-2)

7. London (8-2)

8. Waverly (7-3)

Wyoming defeated Indian Hill 31-24 Friday night to clinch the Cincinnati Hills League title. It’s possible the teams could play again in the second round at a neutral location.

In Division V, Region 20, the projected order is:

1.   Miami East (9-1)

2.   Middletown Madison (8-2)

3.   CHCA (7-2)

4.   Bethel-Tate (10-0)

5.   West Jefferson (9-0)

6.   Greeneview (10-0)

7.   Anna (7-3)

8.   Reading (7-3)

In Division VI, Region 24, no area teams are projected to qualify. The projected order:

1.   Marion Local (10-0) or Lima Central Catholic (8-1)

2.   Marion Local or Lima Central Catholic

3.   Spencerville (8-2)

4.   Coldwater (7-3)

5.   Tipp City Bethel (9-1)

6.   Mechanicsburg (8-2)

7.   Fort Recovery (6-4)

8.   Dayton Christian (9-1)

In Division VII, Region 28, Lockland missed by .074 points, according to Shuck. Here is the projected order:

1.   Crestview (9-1)

2.   Sidney Lehman Catholic (9-1)

3.   Minster (6-4) or Delphos St. John’s (6-4)

4.   Minster or Delphos St. John’s

5.   Fort Loramie (8-2)

6.   De Graff Riverside (6-4)

7.   Lima Perry (6-4)

8.   Ansonia (6-4)

Shuck’s projections are considered unofficial and the Ohio High School Athletic Association will formally announce the final computer points ratings late Saturday night.

The OHSAA’s official playoff pairings will be announced Sunday afternoon.

The top eight teams in each of the seven regions qualify for the postseason, with the top four teams hosting first-round games Nov. 3.

Second-round games will be played at neutral locations.

Shuck, who is also the Greater Miami Conference Commissioner, has formally made football playoff projections since 1996.

All playoff games are on Friday nights this season until the state finals at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton Nov. 30 to Dec. 3.

The state finals schedule will be announced after the state semifinals the weekend of Nov. 24.

This season will the first time since 1973 that the Ohio high school football playoffs will be played exclusively on Friday until the state finals, according to OHSAA Commissioner Bob Goldring.

Of the 719 OHSAA member schools playing football, the largest 72 schools are in Division I, while the remaining schools are divided equally in Divisions II through VII (about 108 schools in each division).

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