Harding, JFK chasing home playoff games
With just four weeks remaining in the high school football regular season, 13 area teams are in playoff contention with another six teams on the bubble.
Warren Harding (6-0) is on top of Division II Region 5 for the second week in a row after a 48-0 shutout of Ashtabula Lakeside. The Raiders will take on Boardman this week on the road against a Spartans team that hasn’t won since Week 2.
Two local teams are in the top eight in Div. III Region 9. Howland (4-2) got a 42-0 shutout over East last week. The Tigers will play Perry Traditional Academy (Pa.) this Friday at home.
Canfield (4-2) defeated Boardman 24-20 this past week using a powerful running game. The Cardinals will square off against Niles this week. In 12th place, the Red Dragons are within striking distance of a playoff spot. Canfield and Howland will square off in Week 9 in a game that could have major local playoff implications. Howland currently sits in fourth position while the Cardinals are right on the edge in eighth.
In Div. IV Region 13, Struthers (5-1) picked up big computer points two weeks in a row after a home win over Canfield (38-21) in Week 5 and a road win over Poland (28-21) in Week 6.
If the playoffs started today, number three Struthers would take on Hubbard (5-1) which is ranked sixth in the region. These teams will face off in Week 8 at Hubbard in a game that could help one get a foothold on a home playoff game.
Cardinal Mooney (4-1), also in the region, is ranked fifth. Mooney will play an undefeated Canisus team from Buffalo, N.Y., this weekend before what could be an even tougher test the next week when the Cardinals travel to Mollenkopf Stadium to play Warren Harding.
In Div. V, two local teams would have a home game if the playoffs started today. South Range (5-1) is coming off a 34-27 overtime loss to Springfield last Friday yet is still in a strong position in second place in the region.
Springfield currently sits in fourth place in Div. VI Region 21. LaBrae (4-2) is fourth in Region 17 after a 21-0 shutout of Liberty last Friday. The Vikings will travel to Newton Falls to play the Tigers this Friday and will play home against Brookfield the next week.
The Warriors are on the outside looking in at the moment, sitting in 10th place in Region 21.
Division VI features three area teams in Region 21. Lisbon (5-1) rebounded after a blowout loss to South Range with a 44-22 victory over Wellsville.
Columbiana (5-1) is sixth in the region. The Clippers defeated Southern 52-16 last week and have upcoming games against Springfield and Lisbon. If the season ended today, Springfield would host Lisbon in the first round of the playoffs.
Despite being the top-ranked team in the statewide AP poll for Div. VII, Warren JFK (6-0) sits second in Region 25, hot on the heels of Mogadore (5-1).
The Eagles defeated Trinity last week 44-0 and have now recorded five shutouts while only allowing seven points on the season.
The only team to score on the Eagles was Girard in a 28-7 win for JFK.
The Eagles should have few issues with their next three opponents (Valley Christian, Cleveland Central Catholic and Valla Angela-St. Joseph) who boast a combined 5-12 record before a Week 10 matchup with St. Thomas Aquinas (5-1).
Jackson-Milton (4-2) is fifth in the region. They are coming off a 35-7 loss to McDonald and hope to rebound this week when Sebring comes to North Jackson. The Trojans have lost four straight but still have a shot in the region at the moment in their 12th place standing.