The best of the best will be squaring off on Friday night. The GCL South is in full swing. Loveland and Winton Woods face off in what could be a preview of the Division II regional championship game. The GMC has a pair of heavyweight games. Small school football also has its share of tilts that are going to have playoff implications.
Here is a look at this week’s Best Bets:
Loveland (6-0, 3-0) @ Winton Woods (6-0) – 7:30 p.m. - Everyone has had this game circled on their calendars since the season started. Winton Woods may have the best defensive front in all of Division II. The Warriors have been able to get the push up front in every game. Loveland has an offensive line that is more than capable of handling what the Warriors bring. The Tigers are averaging 337 yards and 6.5 touchdowns per game rushing.
Moeller (6-0, 2-0) @ Elder (5-1, 1-0) – 7:30 p.m. - The GCL South title is on the line. Moeller is looking for a share of its third crown in four years, and Elder hasn’t won a league title since 2008. Big Moe spreads the wealth on offense. Quarterback Gus Ragland and running backs Dean Meyer and Jack Gruber have rushed for more than 350 yards. The Panthers are content to run the ball with Chris Schroer, but he hasn’t been the same since an injury three weeks ago. He is averaging just 2.5 yards on 58 carries the past two games.
Sycamore (5-1, 2-1) @ Colerain (6-0, 3-0) – 7:30 p.m. - This was a close affair last year with Colerain winning, 28-21. Many of the key players are back and both teams know how deep they are going to have to dig to come away with a victory. The Sycamore defense is giving up just 11.2 points per game, but the Aviators haven’t seen near the firepower that the Cardinals bring. Kelvin Cook and DeTuan Smith each have more than 800 yards rushing for Colerain.
Fairfield (6-0, 3-0) @ Lakota West (5-1, 3-0) – 7:30 p.m. - Fairfield continues to pass each test with flying colors. This Friday will be different as Lakota West has more depth and firepower at the skill positions than any team the Indians have faced. But the Firebirds will give up yards and have allowed opponents to convert 43.5 percent of their third down attempts. That could play into Fairfield’s favor if the Indians can keep the game close in the fourth quarter.
Harrison (4-2, 2-1) @ Mount Healthy (5-1, 3-0) – Thursday, 7:30 p.m.- The Mount Healthy defense is very good. The Owls have given up seven points or fewer five times with three shutouts. They have yielded just 23 points this entire season. The common denominator is Anderson. Harrison lost to the Redskins at home by seven. Mount Healthy beat Anderson 22-0 in the opener at the Sheakley Center.
Mariemont (4-2, 2-1) @ Madeira (5-1, 2-1) – 7 p.m. - This is a pivotal battle for one of the eight playoff spots in Division V, Region 18. Madeira can rack up yardage in a hurry, but if it doesn’t clean up its sloppy play with turnovers and penalties it won’t get out of this game unscathed. Mariemont has found an identity with its defense. The Warriors have not given up more than 15 points in a contest since their Week 1 loss to Oakwood.
North College Hill (3-3, 3-0) @ Summit Country Day (5-1, 2-1) – 7 p.m. - Summit Country Day quarterback Antonio Woods has done a great job of bringing balance to the Knights offense. The senior has run for 10 scores and thrown for 14 more, with touchdown passes to six different receivers, and he caught one himself. Stopping him will priority No. 1 for North College Hill. The Trojans have had trouble with keeping quality teams out of the end zone. They were outscored in non-conference play, 139-47, going 0-3 to start 2013. NCH has won three in a row over teams who are a combined 5-13.
La Salle (3-3, 0-1) @ St. Xavier (3-3, 0-2) – 7:30 p.m. - Both teams come into this affair with battered and bruised egos, and the loser is going to be hurting even worse on Saturday. A loss will put one of these squads in a fight for their postseason lives. The offensive line has to hold up for St. Xavier. The Lancers will blitz every chance they get. La Salle quarterback Nick Watson has to do a better job making decisions in the passing game. He has thrown seven interceptions during the team's current three-game losing streak.