Ohio high school football playoff projections analyst Steve Shuck offers insight entering Week 8

Posted at 12:08 PM, Oct 10, 2018

CINCINNATI -- With just three games remaining in the Ohio high school football regular season, there is obviously plenty at stake.

Longtime playoff projections Steve Shuck continues to assist WCPO this month before the Ohio High School Athletic Association officially announces the postseason pairings Oct. 28.

The top eight teams in each region qualify for the postseason while the top four host first round games.

In Division I, Region 4, Moeller's win over Elder Oct. 5at Nippert Stadium created some change in the projected top eight.

Moeller, the No. 4 seed and winners of the Greater Catholic League South Division title outright for the first time since 2013, is projected to host a first round game.

Moeller (6-1) plays at Cleveland St. Ignatius (5-2) Saturday afternoon. The Crusaders also play Lakewood St. Edward Oct. 20 and Winton Woods Oct. 26 so there is still plenty to be determined.

Milford (6-1) has an opportunity to compete for a home game if it can defeat Region 8 leader Kings (6-1) Friday night on the Knights' home field. The winner would also be in first place in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference.

"Kings is very good," Milford coach Tom Grippa said. "They're legit. They are well coached."

The Eagles, which made the playoffs in 2017 for the first time since 1986, continue to enjoy a memorable season with meaningful games in October.

"This is a new experience here in Milford," Grippa said. "The fans are packing it in at games. It's been really fun."

Kings coach Andy Olds is expecting a playoff atmosphere Friday night.

"We should have a huge crowd," Olds said. "Looking forward to a great, great game."

If Western Hills (5-2) can defeat visiting Taft (5-1) Friday night, the Mustangs could reach 16-plus points. Western Hills, which hasn't reached the postseason since 2000, is projected at No. 10 but could move up significantly with a win this week.

"The Mustangs are definitely an underdog but if you are on the bubble, you might have some interest in that result," Shuck said.

St. Xavier (3-4) has nine consecutive postseason appearances -- the longest active streak among area large school programs -- but the Bombers have work to do to reach the playoffs again.

The Bombers' projected final number is 15.7, based upon projected wins over Clarkson North (Ontario) Friday night and against visiting Louisville St. Xavier Oct. 26. Shuck projected the Bombers to lose to visiting Cleveland St. Ignatius Oct. 20, but if St. X wins the numbers project to just below 20 and would qualify them in the Nos. 6-7 range.

Unless St. X defeats St. Ignatius, the Louisville St. Xavier result could be the determining factor. Second-level points must also be considered and the Sycamore at Lakota East Week 10 game could also impact St. X.

Winton Woods (6-1), a Division II, Region 8 program, will also have a significant impact on how Region 4 is organized. The Warriors play at Elder (4-3) Friday night.

Besides the Warriors, who are projected No. 3 in Region 8, there is still plenty to be determined around the area in Division II.

Little Miami (6-1) lost at Harrison (4-3) last week and dropped three places in the projected finish. The Panthers, trying to reach the postseason for the first time since 1992, are part of a large group on the bubble with three games remaining. Little Miami needs to win at least two, according to Shuck. The Panthers play host to Ross (3-4) Friday night.

Even if Kings (6-1) loses to Milford Friday night, the Knights are projected to maintain a home game.

Another ECC game to watch closely is Turpin (5-2) at Anderson (5-2). If Turpin wins, the numbers won't change a lot. If Anderson can win, the Redskins' projected final number will climb to around 21.

In Division III, Region 12, Badin (5-2) and Mount Healthy (4-3) are competing for the final spots. The most important game this week is Piqua (5-2) at Vandalia Butler (4-3).

In Division IV, Region 16, the top four -- Wyoming (7-0), Clinton-Massie (6-1), Indian Hill (6-1) and Taft (5-1) have a wide margin over the rest of the field. Batavia (5-2) and Aiken (5-2) are in the hunt. Aiken could pick up a couple of points with a win at Division VII opponent Lucas (5-2) Friday.

The Madeira (4-3) at Deer Park (6-1) game will be watched by Divisions V and VI. Madeira is projected at No. 6 in this region in Division V. A Madeira loss will drop its final points total to 12-plus, which is dangerously close to the cut-off spot.

A Deer Park win would be worth more than three points. That would raise their total to more than 16. The Wildcats are projected to be No. 10 in Region 24.

Of the 718 OHSAA member schools playing varsity football this fall, the largest 72 schools are in Division I, while the remaining schools are divided equally in Divisions II through VII (approximately 108 schools in each division). There will be 224 playoff qualifiers when the OHSAA announces the final computer points Oct. 28.

WCPO will continue to update Shuck's projections through the final weekend of the regular season Oct. 26-27. Shuck's information is independent and unofficial. It has no official connection to the Ohio High School Athletic Association computer points.