Most of the Valley’s high school football teams know what has to happen for their postseason future.
The OHSAA’s week 9 computer ratings were released on Tuesday, and 16 teams are ranked in top eight of their respective region, which would mean a playoff berth the weekend of Nov. 4-5.
Eight more teams are still mathematically alive, according to the website joeeitel.com, but their degrees of opportunity greatly varies.
This much is known two days before the final weekend of the regular season: Western Reserve and Youngstown Christian (in Division VI), Girard (Div. IV) and Cardinal Mooney (Div. III) have clinched playoff spots. And Crestview (Div. V) is in with a win against Lisbon.
For the rest, there’s two tasks — win and watch the scoreboard. Of course, winning is the most important of the two, and perhaps in no game is that more magnified than the rivalry between Canfield and Poland.
Two weeks ago the Cardinals were sitting in good shape, but back-to-back losses to Northwest and Niles have dropped them to seventh in Div. II, Region 5.
Poland is seventh in Div. III, Region 11, and has the same scenario. Win and the Bulldogs are in; lose, and they’re out.
Columbiana (Div. V) and Mineral Ridge (Div. VI) also meet on Friday night, and the stakes are the same as for Poland and Canfield.
Ridge needs a little help in addition to a win, and the Rams’ chances took a hit on Tuesday when the game was moved to the Clippers’ home field, Firestone Park, because the field at Mineral Ridge was deemed unplayable.
For many other schools, not only must they win, but there must be an arrangement of other outcomes that can be extremely complicated.
As in past years, there could be a game played out-of-state that will determine a playoff berth.