The schedule is littered with make-or-break games in Week 9. Teams are going to either play themselves in or out of the playoff picture. Right now there are plenty of squads already scratching their heads about what could have been in 2013. By Saturday morning that list is going to grow even bigger. It is separation Friday, time to find out who wants to pull away from the pack.
Here is a look at this week’s Best Bets
Harrison (5-3, 4-1) at Northwest (8-0, 5-0) – 7 p.m. - Harrison can throw a monkey wrench into the SWOC title race with a victory against the Knights. Northwest would like nothing more than to avenge last season’s loss to the Wildcats and get to 9-0 for the first time in school history. Harrison desperately need this big win as the currently sit at No. 8 in the most recent Division II, Region 6 Harbin Ratings.
Norwood (4-4, 2-1) at Williamsburg (6-2, 6-0) – 7:30 p.m. - A SBAAC crossover matchup between two of the league's hottest teams. Norwood has shown great resiliency after four heartbreaking losses in its first five games all by seven points or fewer, including three by two or less. The Indians have taken out their frustrations on their last three opponents, scoring at least 40 points in victories over all of them. Williamsburg has put itself in position to host a home playoff game. The Division VI Wildcats are seeking their seeking their fifth straight victory over a larger school during their current six-game winning streak.
North College Hill (4-4, 4-1) at Cincinnati Country Day (8-0, 5-0) – 7 p.m. - The CCD Indians have to be cognizant of a potential let-down game after last week’s excellent win over Summit Country Day. North College Hill could make its season by knocking CCD from the ranks of the unbeaten. The Trojans are playing their best ball of the season, having won four of their last five contests, with the only loss a 28-11 defeat at the hands of SCD.
Oak Hills (5-3, 4-1) at Lakota West (7-1, 6-0) – 7:30 p.m. - Oak Hills is averaging 50.3 points per game during its current three-game winning streak. Quarterback Matt Elliott has accounted for 10 touchdowns (six passing, four rushing) during that span. Lakota West has posted 46 points per contest over their last three wins (so expect a 7-6 nail-biter, haha). Oak Hills’ success on defense has come from its ability to stop teams on third down. The Firebirds are one of the GMC’s top teams at converting, with a 41.4 percent rate on third down and 66.7 percent clip on their fourth down attempts.
Glen Este (5-3, 4-1) at Kings (5-3, 3-1) – 7:30 p.m. - As it stands right now, both teams would make the playoffs, but a loss would be crippling to either squads postseason hopes. Glen Este sophomore quarterback Tyler Pilcher is “en fuego”, having thrown 11 touchdowns passes with zero interceptions during the Trojans current four-game winning streak. Glen Este has gotten great balance from the run game during that span, as the team has had a running back gain at least 90 yards in each of those victories. Kings wants to turn this into a defensive drag out. The Knights must establish the run and control of the clock if they are to be successful on both sides of the ball.
Moeller (8-0, 3-0) at Cleveland St. Edward (6-1) – Saturday, 2 p.m. - This matchup between two of the Ohio’s top heavyweights could be a preview of the state championship game. Enough can’t be said about a Moeller offensive line that is leading the charge for an offense that is averaging 400 yards and 38 points per game. St. Edward is coming off its first loss of the season to rival St. Ignatius by six. You can bet the Eagles will be ready for Big Moe.
St. Xavier (4-4, 1-2) at St. Ignatius (5-3) – Saturday, 2 p.m. - St. Xavier is in dire need of a big win. Iowa-bound Bomber C. J. Hilliard had his coming out party two years ago at St. Ignatius. Having Hilliard put on an encore performance would greatly enhance St. Xavier’s shot to win.
Columbus Bishop Hartley (7-1) at Withrow (7-1, 5-0) – 7:30 p.m. - Even though Bishop Hartley is a Division V school, Withrow can help itself big-time with a win. The Division II Tigers are roaring right now and a signature non-conference W would put them one step closer to solidifying a rare Home playoff game. Withrow loves to bring the heat on defense. The Tigers have registered 25.5 sacks on the season.