CINCINNATI – La Salle football coach Pat McLaughlin was eager for any information Saturday about the Lancers first-round playoff opponent.
It certainly didn’t help that Harrison and Chillicothe were tied for the No. 7 spot in Division II, Region 8 entering late Saturday night.
That put the Ohio High School Athletic Association to work on breaking the tie. And it made for some anxious moments for the teams involved.
Harrison coach Derek Rehage found out the Wildcats were No. 8 at 6 a.m. Sunday when he woke up and checked the OHSAA website.
Harrison traded film with La Salle at 9 a.m.
“We knew all week that if we won against Northwest (Friday) we would be in,” Rehage said. “The kids just wanted a chance to be in.”
With the reigning three-time Division II state champion Lancers firmly projected as the No. 1 seed in the region, the waiting game was on to find out who La Salle would host Nov. 3.
In the end, Chillicothe finished No. 7 due to their opponents having 55 wins. Harrison finished No. 8 due to 51 wins by its opponents.
The third-level points did not apply in the tiebreaker scenario because Harrison defeated two Indiana programs (East Central and Franklin County).
La Salle first exchanged film with Chillicothe and eventually Harrison too. Instead of a scheduled 7:30 a.m. Sunday staff meeting, the La Salle coaching staff will watch the Harrison film at 6 p.m.
The urgency is palpable for every area team in the playoffs this upcoming Friday.
“Right now, there is no next week,” McLaughlin said.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association formally announced the final computer points and brackets early Sunday morning.
Twenty-three area teams will begin the postseason journey at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Each of the playoff games in the seven divisions will be played Friday night leading up to the state finals in Canton Nov. 30 to Dec. 2.
It is the first time since 1973 the Ohio high school football playoffs will be played exclusively on Fridays leading up to the state finals.
There are 224 playoff qualifiers among the 719 football teams in Ohio this season.
In Division I, Region 4, Moeller (4-6) and Fairfield (6-4) captured the Nos. 7 and 8 spots late Saturday night.
Fairfield plays No. 1 seed St. Xavier (9-1) for the second straight season in the first round. St. X, the reigning Division I state champion, defeated host Fairfield 35-14 in the 2016 playoffs.
Moeller (4-6) and Colerain (8-2) will play for the first time since the 2013 regional semifinal at Mason in which the Crusaders won 35-26.
Colerain leads the all-time series 7-6, according to Moeller Sports Information Director Steve Albrinck.
The Cardinals are also 18-0 in first-round games although its 1995 game was later forfeited, according to the OHSAA.
Moeller is making its 34th playoff appearance. Entering the 2017 season, the Crusaders were tied for second all-time in Ohio for the most postseason appearances.
Despite a 4-6 record, Moeller coach John Rodenberg told his team Saturday it deserved to be in the postseason.
"We've played a killer schedule so we feel like we can play with anyone," Rodenberg said. "I do feel like the system is failed but I can only go with what it is. A lot of our guys watched the game via the website and they were excited at the outcome."
Milford (8-2), making its first postseason appearance since 1986, plays a Sycamore team (8-2) that has won four consecutive games.
West Clermont (7-3) makes the program’s first postseason appearance in the first year of the high school. The Wolves clinched a berth with a significant win over Milford Friday night.
West Clermont plays at Mason (8-2) Nov. 3. Mason, making its third consecutive postseason appearance, has won four consecutive games including three shutouts entering this week.
Other area storylines include:
In Division II, Region 8, Winton Woods (9-1) plays host to Chillicothe (8-2). Anderson (9-1) plays host to Troy (8-2) in a rematch of the 2016 first round in which Troy won. Winton Woods and Anderson could meet in the second round for what would be a very intriguing matchup.
In Division III, Region 12, Goshen (9-1) is making its first postseason appearance since 2009. Goshen plays host to Dayton Dunbar (7-3). New Richmond (8-2), which clinched a berth with a win over Goshen Friday, travels to Franklin (8-2).
In Division IV, Region 16, Taft (8-2) plays host to Indian Hill (8-2) at Stargel Stadium. The winner could play Wyoming (10-0) in the second round. Wyoming plays host to London (8-2).
Clinton-Massie (9-1) is making its 16 consecutive postseason appearance. The Falcons host Jonathan Alder (8-2).
In Division IV, Region 20, No. 8 Reading (7-3) plays at No. 1 Miami East (9-1). Undefeated Bethel-Tate (10-0) makes its second postseason appearance in school history when it plays host to West Jefferson (9-0).
Middletown Madison (8-2) plays host to Anna (7-3). The Mohawks are making their first playoff appearance in school history. The school opened in the fall of 1960.
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (7-2) plays host to Greeneview (10-0). CHCA is making its eighth consecutive postseason appearance.
Ohio high school football playoffs schedule:
(All first-round games 7:30 p.m. Friday)
Division I, Region 4
Fairfield (6-4) at St. Xavier (9-1)
Milford (8-2) at Sycamore (8-2)
Moeller (4-6) at Colerain (8-2)
West Clermont (7-3) at Mason (8-2)
Division II, Region 8
Harrison (8-2) at La Salle (8-2)
Belmont (9-0) at Sidney (9-1)
Chillicothe (8-2) at Winton Woods (9-1)
Troy (8-2) at Anderson (9-1)
Division III, Region 12
Elida (8-2) at Trotwood-Madison (10-0)
Dayton Dunbar (7-3) at Goshen (9-1)
Chaminade Julienne (7-3) at Alter (9-1)
New Richmond (8-2) at Franklin (8-2)
Division IV, Region 16
Waverly (7-3) at Valley View (10-0)
Jonathan Alder (8-2) at Clinton-Massie (9-1)
London (8-2) at Wyoming (10-0)
Indian Hill (8-2) at Taft (8-2)
Division V, Region 20
Reading (7-3) at Miami East (9-1)
West Jefferson (9-0) at Bethel-Tate (10-0)
Anna (7-3) at Middletown Madison (8-2)
Greeneview (10-0) at CHCA (7-2)
Division VI, Region 24
Dayton Christian (9-1) at Lima Central Catholic (9-1)
Tipp City Bethel (9-1) at Coldwater (7-3)
Fort Recovery (6-4) at Marion Local (10-0)
Mechanicsburg (8-2) at Spencerville (8-2)
Division VII, Region 28
Ansonia (6-4) at Crestview (9-1)
Fort Loramie (8-2) at Minster (6-4)
Lima Perry (6-4) at Lehman Catholic (9-1)
Riverside (6-4) at St. John’s (6-4)