By Tom Williams
If the high school football playoffs began this weekend, most Mahoning Valley stadiums would be dark.
In the first round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association postseason, the top four teams in each of the 24 regions get home games.
In this week’s computer ratings released Tuesday, Niles, Brookfield, Crestview and Warren JFK are in position to be at home in Week 11.
Fifteen other teams are in contention, but several are going to need winning streaks to extend their seasons. The top eight teams in each division qualify for the playoffs.
In Division III, Niles (6-1) is ranked third in Region 9. This week, the Red Dragons play Howland (6-1), the seventh-ranked team in Div. II Region 5.
Also in Div. III, Hubbard (5-2) is ninth in Region 9 and faces a challenge against Poland (4-3). In Region 11, Struthers (4-3) is eighth in Region 11.
Brookfield (7-0) is the only Mahoning Valley team ranked at the top of its region. The Warriors are first in Div. IV Region 13 while Liberty (6-1) is seventh.
Two of Brookfield’s remaining three opponents are a combined 1-13 (LaBrae and Conneaut). The other is Youngstown Christian (5-1). The Leopards also only face one remaining opponent with a winning record (Champion at 4-3).
Div. V is the most active level for area teams trying to scramble into the postseason. Unbeaten Crestview (7-0) remains the third-ranked team in Region 17, trailing only Sugarcreek Garaway and Kirtland.
Coming off a big 31-7 win at Steubenville, Ursuline (4-3) moved up to seventh in Region 17. Columbiana (6-1) moved up to eighth.
On the outside looking in are Campbell Memorial (4-3) at number nine, South Range (5-2) in 11th place and Southern (5-2) in 12th.
In Div. VI Region 21, Warren JFK (6-1) maintained its number four seeding after a 31-14 win over Parma Heights Holy Name.
Youngstown Christian dropped from fifth to sixth after being idle last weekend.
Battling for the final spot are Western Reserve (5-2) in eighth and Leetonia (4-3) in ninth.
In Div. I, Austintown Fitch (6-1) will try to rebound from last week’s 34-14 loss to Massillon. The Falcons, last week’s number four team in Region 1, dropped two spots in this week’s poll.
Also in Region 1, Warren Harding (6-1) is seventh and Boardman (4-3) remains the number 12 team despite losing to North Canton Hoover, 42-14.