CINCINNATI – The drama continues.
With two weeks remaining in the Ohio high school football regular season, there is still plenty to be determined before the final pairings are set for seven regions of playoffs.
Longtime playoff projections analyst and Greater Miami Conference Commissioner 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, Colerain (8-0), winners of 73 consecutive Greater Miami Conference games , continues to be projected at No. 1 while Fairfield (6-2) and Moeller (6-2) should qualify.
Beyond that, it is anyone’s guess at this point.
Elder’s home loss to Winton Woods last week dropped the Panthers two spots to a projected No. 4 position. The Panthers (4-4) will host St. John Vianney (St. Louis, Missouri) on Friday night.
St. John Vianney (6-2) lost the first two weeks of the season, yet the team scored 77 points in last week's win.
“Are they very good or is the opposition weak?” Shuck said. “We’ll know soon.”
Other top games to watch this week include Fairfield at Colerain on Friday night along with a pair of Saturday afternoon games: Cleveland St. Ignatius at St. Xavier (2 p.m.) and Lakewood St. Edward versus Moeller at Lockland (4 p.m.).
In Division II, Region 8, Kings (7-1), Winton Woods (7-1) and Troy (7-1) are very likely qualifiers.
“Don’t ask for a specific order,” Shuck said. “Kings has a number that won’t move much, but Winton Woods will finish first if they can win the last two.”
Very little separates Nos. 6-9 in this region, with Little Miami (7-1), Harrison (5-3), La Salle (4-3) and Anderson (6-2) all very close for the final two spots.
“I believe we will enter Week 10 with several spots undecided,” Shuck said. “Oct. 26 could be a stressful night for contenders in this region.”
The situation whereby International School of Broward (Hollywood, Florida) canceled the game against La Salle on Oct. 12 could be a difference-maker, according to Shuck.
“It’s a positive for La Salle because the scheduled opponent had not won a game,” Shuck said. “Too much to explain but having an open date versus playing a team with a poor record added almost a point and a half to the Lancers’ total.”
The significant games to watch in this region include Little Miami at Edgewood, Mount Healthy at Harrison and Trinity Catholic (St. Louis) at La Salle.
In Division III, Region 12, Badin (5-3) moves from No. 8 to No. 6 because Shuck changed a prediction.
“There is a gap after the seventh spot, so if I’m wrong they should have a little edge over those fighting for the last position,” Shuck said.
In Division IV, Region 16, Wyoming (8-0), Clinton-Massie (7-1), Taft (6-1) and Indian Hill (7-1) are solid and should be playing in November. The Nos. 5 and 6 positions have a large margin over the last two spots, so the focus is on five teams battling for two spots.
Aiken (5-3) closes with Taft (6-1), and a win is worth almost five additional points than what the chart shows. If Batavia (6-2) wins over Goshen or Western Brown, it could be enough to advance to the postseason.
In Division V, Region 20, Madeira’s win over Deer Park was very significant. The Mustangs (5-3) will be heavy favorites in the final two weeks and should advance, Shuck said.
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (5-2) needs to win its final two games. There will be a lot of points on the table when the Eagles play Miami Valley Christian Academy (6-1) on Oct. 26.
In Division VI, Region 24, Deer Park (6-2) is very much on the bubble. The Wildcats, trying to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2007, must defeat Mariemont in Week 10 to stay in the hunt.
In Division VII, Region 28, Miami Valley Christian Academy should qualify even with a loss to CHCA in Week 10.
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 OHSAA computer points.