CINCINNATI -- The final two weeks in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference will certainly provide intrigue concerning the playoff picture.
While Anderson (8-0) is firmly in place for a playoff berth in Division II, Region 8, there is plenty of interest in what happens with Milford (7-1) and West Clermont (5-3) in Division I, Region 4.
Anderson plays host to Milford Friday night in what Eagles coach Tom Grippa said could be the most significant Milford game in its program history.
Not only is a share of the ECC title on the line, but the Eagles, who haven’t made the postseason since 1986, could vault into the No. 3 position in Region 4 with a win Friday night, according to longtime playoff projections analyst Steve Shuck.
If Milford loses to Anderson and loses to visiting West Clermont in Week 10, it could drop the Eagles below the qualifying line. (The top eight teams in each respective region qualify).
Meanwhile, West Clermont must win against visiting Turpin Friday night to keep its hopes alive, Shuck said.
“It could make the finale at Milford an actual playoff game,” Shuck said.
There are plenty of spots up for grabs below the No. 2 seed in Region 4.
St. Xavier (8-0), ranked No. 12 nationally by the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 and No. 7 nationally by the MaxPreps computer rankings, and Colerain (6-2) are firmly projected to be Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.
Fairfield (5-3) at Mason (6-2) and Lakota East (6-2) at Sycamore (6-2) are noteworthy this week for positioning.
Elder (5-3) and Moeller (4-4) are projected to be in the top eight after significant wins last week.
Elder is a favorite against International School of Broward (Hollywood, Florida) Friday night, while Moeller plays at Lakewood St. Edward Saturday afternoon.
If Elder wins Friday and defeats host La Salle in Week 10, it would likely give the Panthers a first-round home game.
Entering Week 9, it appears Moeller can squeak in with a losing record (4-6), according to Shuck. “If Moeller wins one more game, they can breathe easier,” he said.
If Cleveland St. Ignatius (7-1) was to defeat visiting St. Xavier Saturday afternoon, it could provide an added fraction to the Moeller total. “It may not matter but if it gets close; those second-level points can make a difference,” Shuck said.
In Division II, Region 8, Anderson (8-0) and La Salle (6-2) are safe in the top eight. Winton Woods (7-1) hasn’t reached that point mathematically, though Shuck doesn’t envision any issues with the Warriors’ chances.
Edgewood (6-2) is projected to be at the No. 8 spot but only by 1.1 points over Teays Valley (6-2). The bigger issue is Chillicothe (6-2), which is projected to lose to Jackson in Week 10. If Chillicothe wins, it would likely eliminate the Cougars.
In Division III, Region 12, Goshen (8-0) vaulted from seventh to first after a big win over Clinton-Massie (7-1).
McNicholas (5-3) is on the bubble at No. 8 after a loss to Chaminade Julienne. Less than half a point separates eighth and ninth.
New Richmond (7-1) needs a win over Goshen or Clinton-Massie to get back into contention.
In Division IV, Region 16, Shuck doesn’t expect any area teams to drop from contention.
Wyoming (8-0) could host Indian Hill (7-1) in the first round after the teams play in Week 10 at Wyoming.
In Division V, Region 20, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (5-2) and Bethel-Tate (8-0) should win their final two games and advance.
Reading (5-3) is on the bubble but is projected at No. 8 entering Friday night.
In Division VI, Region 24, there are no area teams in contention.
In Division VII, Region 28, Miami Valley Christian Academy (4-4) must win this week at North College Hill to keep its hopes alive.