CINCINNATI -- The area high school football weekend gets an early start as six games highlight the Thursday night schedule.
Two marquee games include Fairfield (3-2, 3-0 Greater Miami Conference) at Sycamore (4-1, 2-1 GMC) and Mariemont (4-1, 2-0 Cincinnati Hills League) at Indian Hill (4-1, 2-0 CHL).
There will be plenty of computer points at stake when Fairfield visits Sycamore in a game shown live by Spectrum Sports at Sycamore Junior High School (7 p.m. kickoff).
Sycamore is rated No. 2 in the latest Ohio High School Athletic Association computer points standings for Division I, Region 4. Fairfield is rated No. 5. The top eight teams in each region make the postseason.
Fairfield continues to be one of the most successful teams lately, having won three consecutive games. Indians coach Jason Krause wants his squad to simply stay the course.
"Obviously, this is a big opportunity for our team," Krause said. "With the 0-2 start we have gotten ourselves back on track. At this point it’s about where we finish in the GMC. This game presents an opportunity to stay unbeaten in the league and stay in the hunt for the postseason."
Fairfield sophomore running back Juthan McClain continues to play well. He had 16 carries for 126 yards in a 27-0 win over Princeton. That was his second straight week of 100-plus rushing yards. Krause wants to continue to run the football and for his team to value the football each possession.
Senior defensive end Malik Vann (UC commit) had a season-high six tackles including a sack last week against the Vikings.
"A big key to me is going to be special teams and turnovers," Sycamore coach Scott Dattilo said. "Our cover teams need to be up to the task Thursday due to their explosive returners and turnovers are always important."
Krause understands the Aviators have big-play potential, so tackling well is key. Sycamore senior Myron Williams had five receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns last week in a win over Middletown. Sophomore quarterback Drew Altemuehle had a season-high 207 yards passing last week.
Defensively, senior defensive back Patrick Tueimeh had six tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception in a 34-14 win over Middletown.
The CHL showdown at Indian Hill also has postseason implications. Indian Hill is No. 3 in Division IV, Region 16 while Mariemont is No. 9 in Division V, Region 20.
"Mariemont is one of the best teams on our schedule," Indian Hill coach Tony Arcuri said. "We are preparing for a fourth-quarter game."
Both teams want a win to keep up with Wyoming (5-0, 2-0) to contend for the CHL title.
"This will be our seniors’ last time they play Indian Hill on the football field and an opportunity they have been waiting for," Mariemont coach Kurry Commins said.
Mariemont has been led by several players including junior quarterback Wally Renie, who threw for 207 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-14 win over Madeira last week. Junior wide receiver Charlie Cowart had three receptions for 98 yards and two touchdowns last week. Commins said Cowart -- listed at 6 feet 3 and 215 pounds -- is a Power 5 school scholarship player.
"Charlie Cowart is playing off the charts," Commins said. "He has been the best player on the field the first five weeks and it is not even close."
Indian Hill is led by several players including junior quarterback Cole Dein, who has thrown for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns.
"Cole Dein is playing well and making good decisions," Arcuri said. Senior wide receiver Colin Shaw had 152 yards receiving and two touchdowns last week in a 41-6 win over Reading.
Defensively, senior defensive end Mick Oakes had 10 tackles including two sacks last week. Junior defensive lineman Jalen Thornton -- the son of former Bengals player John Thornton -- also had 10 tackles.
Lakota East (4-1, 2-1 GMC) plays at Lakota West (1-4, 1-2) in the annual district rivalry game. It is also the WCPO Game of the Week.
Because of the new eight-game GMC conference schedule, this game is being played in Week 6 instead of the traditional Week 10. It will be the first time since 2004 the game hasn’t been played in Week 10. Friday night also marks the 20th year for the series.
East and West opened in 1997 but the school did not play each other that season, according to Lakota District historian Bob Ashby. The overall series record favors West 13-7.
Lakota East is ninth in the latest computer points standings in Region 4.
Another tough opponent
Winton Woods is on the road for the fourth time this season as the Warriors (5-0) travel to Indianapolis Bishop Chatard (3-3) Friday night. Winton Woods defeated La Salle 18-15 last week.
"I think it ranks really, really high up there toward the top because of what (La Salle) accomplished and their state titles," Winton Woods coach Andre Parker said.
The Warriors, who are 5-0 for the first time since 2013, celebrated the win over the Lancers through last Saturday night but have turned the page this week.
"We will play anybody -- we just need to make it all work out," Parker said. The Warriors, rated No. 3 in Region 8, play seven private school teams and Parker said his team is being smarter in practice this season trying to conserve energy for Friday night.
Keep an eye on the two Greater Catholic League South division games Friday night. Elder (3-2) plays at St. Xavier (5-0, 1-0 GCL-S) while Moeller (3-2, 0-1) plays host to La Salle (4-1) at Lockland. The Bombers’ defense continues to improve each week. Senior quarterback Chase Wolf (Wisconsin commit) has thrown for 945 yards and 10 touchdowns. Senior running back Matthew Fox had 116 yards rushing in a 30-7 win over Moeller last week..
Elder played much better last weekend at The Pit in a narrow loss to Cleveland St. Ignatius. It will be interesting to see if the Panthers can run the ball against the St. X defensive front.
La Salle wants to bounce back after an 18-15 home loss to Winton Woods last week. The reigning three-time Division II state champions know they have to be ready for the GCL schedule.
Moeller junior quarterback Miles McBride (mid-foot sprain) is out for probably three months, according to his father, Walt McBride.
The Crusaders know how to regroup and coach John Rodenberg says Moeller’s schedule is too tough to dwell on last week’s result. Junior Mitch McKenzie took over the quarterback duties in the second half against St. X last week.
“We expect a well-coached team as they always are and a team that is going to rise up around the new quarterback,” La Salle coach Pat McLaughlin said. “We expect no let down without Miles.”
Intriguing GMC matchup
Colerain (3-2, 3-0 GMC) plays host to Mason (4-1, 2-1) Friday night.
“It’s a great opportunity to play one of the best teams in the state of Ohio,” Mason coach Brian Castner said.
Mason is rated No. 6 in the Region 4 rankings while Colerain is No. 8. Mason senior quarterback Will Adams is third in the GMC in passing yards (588 and two touchdowns). He’s also rushed for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
Colerain senior linebacker Dan Bolden is second in the conference in tackles (46). His cousin, junior linebacker Luke Bolden, is third with 38 tackles. Colerain has a 64-game home winning streak against GMC opponents since 1999.
Fairfield senior offensive tackle Jack Carman is scheduled to visit Wisconsin this weekend. Carman, rated the nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle in the 2018 class, also plans to take official visits to Florida State, Ohio State, Clemson and University of Southern California in the upcoming weeks.