Ohio high school football Best Bets: Week 8

Make-or-break week for playoff contenders

Go to the video player above to watch 9 On Your Side's John Popovich and Greg Shoemaker of TriStateFootball.com discuss this weekend's games.

The schedule is full of make-or-break games in Week 8. Teams are going to 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

OHIO

Elder (5-2, 1-1) @ Winton Woods (6-1) – 7:30 PM - As well as Winton Woods has played, another loss would drop the Warriors so far in the Harbin Ratings that they would have to play on the road in round one of the playoffs. The Warriors defensive front is outstanding. Elder has to establish the run - something they did not do last week against Moeller. The veteran Winton Woods secondary will be too much for sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey to handle if the Panthers have to rely on the passing game.

Madeira (5-2, 2-2) @ Taylor (5-2, 2-2) – 7 PM - Neither team can win the CHL title but both are in tremendous battles for playoff berths. Taylor sits ninth in the Division IV, Region 14 Harbin Ratings. Less than .4707 separates the sixth through the 10th spots. Madeira is seventh in Division V, Region 18. The Mustangs might be able to absorb a loss and still be in the playoff hunt, but a win would really solidify their place.

Ross (4-3, 2-2) @ Harrison (4-3, 3-1) – 7:30 PM - Opportunity knocks for both schools. The loser  will see its playoff hopes end. Speed has given the Ross offensive line problems. If Harrison can send some overloaded fronts and use their speed on defense to negate the Rams ground game, it will keep them around until the end. Ross has to slow down quarterback Jake Weber. He has been equally effective running and passing. The Rams have to pick their poison and make him one-dimensional.

Sycamore (5-2, 2-2) @ Fairfield (6-1, 3-1) – 7:30 PM - Sycamore has some heavy work to do to make the post-season. The Aviators have lost the two biggest games on their schedule and can ill afford to go down in their third. Fairfield is sitting 10th in the Division I, Region 2 Harbin Ratings with the top 16 squads getting in. There is no reason the Indians can’t finish 9-1.

Withrow (6-1, 4-0) @ Western Hills (4-5, 4-0) – 7:30 PM - All of the sudden Western Hills has emerged with four straight wins and is now playing for the CMAC championship. The Mustangs will have their hands full versus Withrow. Western Hills has not faced an offense as balanced and potent as the Tigers. The run opens up the pass for Withrow and that usually allows them to get ahead and then finish games off on the ground. 

Anderson (3-4, 2-2) @ Glen Este (4-3, 3-1) – 7:30 PM - Believe it or not, Anderson sits 11th in the Division II, Region 6 Harbins  less than .7 behind No. 8 Glen Este, which is holding on to that final playoff berth right now. Glen Este is playing with a ton of confidence, having won three in a row. The combined record of the three teams that beat the Trojans is 19-2. Anderson is coming off its second straight loss, 6-0 to rival Turpin.

INTERSTATE

Center Grove, Ind. (7-1) @ La Salle (3-4, 0-2) – 7:30 PM - In topsy-turvy Division II, Region 6, La Salle has lost four in a row by a grand total of 23 points and still has a shot to make the post-season. The Lancers can make up some ground with a win over a larger and very good Center Grove squad. LaSalle has the talent to do damage come Week 11 if they learn to close out games and play error-free football. But they haven't been able to do that in a month.

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