Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, Massillon Washington High School, 1 Paul E. Brown Drive S.E., Massillon.

Records: Boardman 6-4; Massillon 7-3.

Coaches: Joe Ignazio for Boardman; Nate Moore for Massillon.

Playoff appearances: Boardman 10; Massillon 24.

Notable: As unbelievable as it sounds, this will be the first meeting between the Spartans and Tigers. ... Boardman is still trying to recapture the offensive consistency that led to a 3-0 start, but the Spartans did win three of four to close the regular season. QB Mike O’Horo has passed for 1,109 yards and seven TDs and has run for 589 yards and 12 TDs. RB Domonhic Jennings leads the Spartans with 751 rushing yards. O’Horo spreads he ball around. Six Boardman receivers have at least 10 catches and Jajuan Forte has four TDs. ... Massillon has given up 28 or more points four times, but the Tigers allowed an average of just 11.3 points in their final three games. ... The teams had three common opponents this season — Austintown Fitch, Ursuline and Warren Harding. Massillon beat all three by at least 10 points. Boardman beat Harding by a TD and needed OT to get past Ursuline. The Spartans were beaten soundly by Fitch.



Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Bob Dove Field, Canfield High School, 100 Cardinal Drive, Canfield.

Records: Aurora 6-4; Canfield 10-0.

Coaches: Bob Mihalik for Aurora; Mike Pavlansky for Canfield.

Playoff appearances: Aurora 15; Canfield 10.

Notable: The Greenmen overcame an 0-3 start, which included narrow losses to D-I Solon and Euclid and an OT defeat against Twinsburg. The playoffs were a longshot with Aurora at 2-4 after a Sept. 29 loss to unbeaten Barberton, but the Greenmen won their last four games. ... The Cardinals dominated all season, with their closest game a 17-7 win over Boardman in Week 6. QB Vinny Fiorenza is one the area’s top dual-threat players with a team-leading 1,176 rushing yards and seven TDs. He has passed for 723 yards and eight TDs, with just two interceptions. Canfield picks its spots in the passing game, but Matt Zaremski (28 catches, 400 yards, four TDs) is Fiorenza’s favorite target. RB Paul Breinz has 492 yards (6.3 per carry) and 12 TDs.



Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Dave Pavlansky Field, 3199 Dobbins Road., Poland.

Records: Cardinal Mooney 6-4; Poland 8-2.

Coaches: P.J. Fecko for Cardinal Mooney; Ryan Williams for Poland.

Playoff appearances: Cardinal Mooney 29; Poland 16.

Notable: These two teams ended the season going in different directions. The Cardinals overcame an early three-game losing streak and won five of their last six. The only loss in that stretch came in Week 7 when Akron Buchtel kicked a field goal on the game’s final play for a 10-9 win. Mooney closed with narrow wins over D-II Warren Harding and D-I Austintown Fitch sandwiched around a rout of Ursuline in the Holy War. QB Antonio Page triggers the Cardinals’ offense. He has rushed for more than 1,000 yards, but in typical Mooney fashion, Page doesn’t throw much. ... The Bulldogs won their first seven games with ease and scored at least 30 points each week in the process, then blew a 23-7 first-half lead and fell to Lakeview 35-30 at home. They rebounded on the road against Hubbard a week later, but were steamrolled 38-0 at home in their regular-season finale by rival Canfield. ... Dante Romano (822 yards, 11 TDs) and Jonah Spencer (747 yards, 10 TDs) have been the Bulldogs’ top rushing threats. QB Cole Kosco has passed for 864 yards and 10 TDs.


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Don Richards Field, Lakeview High School, 300 Hillman Drive, Cortland.

Records: Girard 9-1; Lakeview 9-1.

Coaches: Pat Pearson for Girard; Tom Pavlansky for Lakeview.

Playoff appearances: Girard 8; Lakeview 9.

Notable: This might be the most interesting first-round matchup involving Mahoning Valley teams. Both teams are 9-1, both feature high-powered offenses with impressive skill-position people and both are part of a loaded Division IV Region 13. Also, Girard’s prolific QB Mark Waid once attended Lakeview schools. ... Waid has put up video game-like numbers for the Indians with 156 completions in 251 attempts (62.2 percent), 2,741 yards and 31 touchdowns against just three interceptions. He gets rid of the ball quickly and has great protection — he has been sacked just three times. He also leads Girard with 1,019 rushing yards and 17 TDs. RB Morgan Clardy (739 yards, 12 TDs) is another threat on the ground. WR Michaelm Belcik has 56 catches for 1,124 yards and 13 TDs, but Anthony Backus (35 catches, 952 yards, 6 TDs) also has big numbers. Devin Wilson and Nick Malito have combined for 45 receptions and six TDs. The Indians won their first nine games with ease, then ran into rival Liberty in Week 10 and lost 41-28. ... The Bulldogs lost their opener to Howland, then reeled off nine straight wins, including three over eventual playoff teams (Liberty, Poland and Struthers). ... Lakeview has its own prolific passer in QB Zach Rogers (106 of 174 for 1,755 yards and 16 TDs). He also has thrown just three picks. Rogers is not the running threat Waid is, but the Bulldogs get production there from RBs Tony Crish (525 yards, 4 TDs) and Evan Adair (317 yards, 11 TDs). Drew Munno leads Lakeview with 29 catches and Adair and Crish have combined for 32 receptions. But the most eye-popping numbers come from WR Noah Olejnik, who averages 35 yards per catch and has five TDs among his 10 receptions.


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Alumni Stadium, Perry High School, One Success Blvd., Perry.

Records: Struthers 7-3; Perry 10-0.

Coaches: Curt Kuntz for Struthers; Matt Rosati for Perry.

Playoff appearances: Struthers 7; Perry 14.

Notable: This is a diverse matchup in terms of offense. The Wildcats like to control the line of scrimmage and run the ball. The Pirates throw it a lot. ... Struthers is going to want to run effectively with Willie Mitchell (781 yards, 11 TDs), Nick Adams (380 yards, 5 TDs) and others to keep Perry off the field. The Wildcats aren’t Mooney-like in their aversion to the pass. First-year starting QB J.D. Hall (80 of 138 for 998 yards, 8 TDs, 6 interceptions) has been effective. Adams (20 catches, 344 yards, 3 TDs) and Tommy Kopnicky (15 catches, 192 yards) are Hall’s top targets. Struthers’ three losses came against Canfield, Poland and Lakeview, who are a combined 27-3. ... Perry QB Kolston Brewster (151 of 219 for 2,249 yards and 27 TDs) is prolific and accurate, with just four interceptions. The Pirates have seven receivers with at least 13 catches, led by the trio of Josh Martin, Jaylen Anderson and Jacob Peteritis. All three have 31 receptions and they’ve combined for 19 TDs. Anderson is the Pirates’ leading rusher with 796 yards and 11 TDs. Tyler Horvath and Allen have combined for 863 yards and 18 TDs. Perry has not scored fewer than 35 points in any game and put up at least 58 points four times.


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Harding Stadium, Steubenville High School, 2002 Sunset Blvd., Steubenville.

Records: Salem 7-3; Steubenville 10-0.

Coaches: Ron Johnson for Salem; Reno Saccoccia for Steubenville.

Playoff appearances: Salem 4; Steubenville 30.

Notable: These teams met in a regional semifinal in 2015 and the Big Red won, 46-7. ... The Quakers again quietly put together one of the Mahoning Valley’s most prolific offenses this season behind QB Mitch Davidson. A year ago, Davidson was somewhat overshadowed by Columbiana’s QB of the same name, but this time there was no missing the Quakers’ star. Davidson was 167 of 298 for 2,262 yards and 30 TDs in the regular season. He threw just seven interceptions. Davidson spreads the ball around between four primary targets — Chase Ackerman (65 catches, 995 yards, 15 TDs), Turner Johnson (37 catches, 482 yards, 6 TDs), Zach Bezon (28 catches, 377 yards, 3 TDs) and Luke Weingart (21 catches, 243 yards, 4 TDs). ... Salem opened with four straight wins, then lost three in a row before closing the regular season with a three-game winning streak. This will be the Quakers’ biggest test. They will be physically challenged by the Big Red, whose closest game was a 21-10 win at Dover in Week 6. Steubenville was the Division IV state runnerup in 2016 after a 24-21 loss to Columbus Hartley in the title game.



Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Ralph Witmer Field at Romminger Sports Complex, South Range High School, 11300 Columbiana-Canfield Rd., Beaver Township.

Records: Crestvuew 6-4; South Range 10-0.

Coaches: Paul Cusick for Crestview; Dan Yeagley for South Range.

Playoff appearances: Crestview 15; South Range 16.

Notable: This is a rematch of a Week 6 game at Crestview, won by South Range 34-7. These two teams were the chief victims of the demise of the ITCL, whose other members secured membership elsewhere was the league crumbled and died after the 2016-17 school year. They were independents, although Crestview is headed to the All-American Conference and South Range will join the new Eastern Ohio 8. ... The first game between these teams was a turning point for the Rebels, who were 2-4 after the defeat, but won their last four games. Crestview needs to control the game on the ground with RBs Andrew Yanssens (1,064 yards, 10 TDs) and Ethan Powell (683 yards, 5 TDs), one of the Valley’s most productive freshmen. QB Caleb Hill has passed for 1,020 yards and 10 TDs, but has thrown 14 interceptions. ... Raiders QB Aniello Buzzacco is another of the area’s deal-threat standouts. He is 78 of 136 for 1,524 yards and 19 TDs (5 interceptions) through the air, but he has also rushed for 803 yards and 13 TDs. Buzzacco’s favorite targets are Mathias Combs (44 catches, 835 yards, 12 TDs) and Josh Stear (20 catches, 470 yards, 5 TDs). RB Peyton Remish leads South Range with 1,312 rushing yards and 15 TDs. The Raiders scored at least 31 points in nine of 10 regular-season games. Their game with the lowest production was a 27-20 win over Brookfield in Week 5.



Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Wildcat Stadium, Mogadore High School, 139 S. Cleveland Ave., Mogadore.

Records: East Palestine 8-2; Mogadore 8-1.

Coaches: Tony Foster for East Palestine; Matt Adorni for Mogadore.

Playoff appearances: East Palestine 4; Mogadore 31.

Notable: Think of this as a small-school version of the Salem-Steubenville matchup. The Wildcats are the “name” team with all those playoff appearances, including eight finals appearances and three state championships. Mogadore’s overall playoff record is 57-27. The Bulldogs are the postseason neophytes, playing in Week 11 for just the fourth time with a playoff record of 1-3. But East Palestine has something going for it — it has QB Parker Sherry, one of the top players in northeastern Ohio. Sherry is a 1,000-yard passer and rusher. He has completed 146 of 216 passes for 2,010 yards and 24 TDs, with just 6 interceptions. He also has rushed for a team-best 1,300 yards and 16 TDs. The Bulldogs actually have two go-to guys in the running game, with RB Dominic Posey (1,061 yards, 16 TDs) also a threat. Like Sherry, Posey is a dual threat. He has a team-best 48 catches for 717 yards and 3 TDs. WR Branden Kemp has 46 receptions for 786 yards and a team-high 16 TDs.


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Robert C. Dunn Field, Rootstown High School, 4190 State Route 44, Rootstown.

Records: Columbiana 7-3; Rootstown 10-0.

Coaches: Bob Spaite for Columbiana; Mark Geis for Rootstown.

Playoff appearances: Columbiana 11; Rootstown 3.

Notable: The Clippers avoided an 0-3 start by gutting out a 38-37 win over McDonald in OT in Week 2, then won six in a row before a Week 10 loss at East Palestine. Columbiana QB Jakob Cross had big shoes to fill after the graduation of Mitch Davidson, who holds virtually every Clippers passing record. But Cross led them back to the playoffs after year’s 7-3 mark didn’t get them into the postseason. Cross was 86 of 162 for 1,264 yards and 15 TDs, with six interceptions. He also ran for a team-best 735 yards and 4 TDs. Zach Phillips (413 yards, 3 TDs) is a ground threat and has 20 catches for 277 yards. Chase Franken leads Columbiana with 24 receptions for 486 yards and 9 TDs. ... The Rovers are one of northeastern Ohio’s feel-good stories, going 10-0 just a few years after an 0-10 season in 2013 and a 19-game losing streak spanning 2012-14. QB Scott Seger is a player to watch.


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Community Stadium, Norwayne High School, 350 S. Main St., Creston.

Records: Western Reserve 8-2; Norwayne 9-1.

Coaches: Andy Hake for Western Reserve; Adam Indorf for Norwayne.

Playoff appearances: Western Reserve 11; Norwayne 7.

Notable: Football in Berlin Center is great again after the Blue Devils’ streak of eight consecutive playoff appearances ended in 2016. Western Reserve lost three of its last four games a year ago and despite winning six in a row after that, the Blue Devils didn’t make the postseason. They secured their return in a stunning finish of a Week 8 game at McDonald. Western Reserve’s Todd Henning returned a kickoff for a touchdown in the closing moments for a 13-8 win just after their bitter rivals had scored a TD to take an 8-7 lead. QB Dominic Velasquez (109 of 198, 1,615 yards, 18 TDs, 4 interceptions) directs a well-balanced offense with Kade Hilles (34 catches, 648 yards, 5 TDs) and Ryan Demsky (32 catches, 390 yards, 5 TDs) the top receivers. The rushing leaders are Adam Gatrell (778 yards, 11 TDs) and Ohio State preferred walk-on Jack Cappabianca (530 yards, 9 TDs). Henning leads the Blue Devils’ defense with three interceptions. Western Reserve allows just 75.1 passing yards per game. ... The Bobcats’ only loss came in Week 5, when they fell to unbeaten Dalton 27-21. Norwayne played just two other teams with winning records — Smithville (6-4) and Hillsdale (7-3).


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Rogers Field, Kirtland High School, 9150 Chillicothe Rd., Kirtland.

Records: Liberty 8-2; Kirtland 10-0.

Coaches: Chet Allen for Liberty; Tiger LaVerde for Kirtland.

Playoff appearances: Liberty 9; Kirtland 13.

Notable: The Leopards might have drawn the toughest assignment among Valley playoff teams with a first-round road game against the Hornets, who have won 113 of their last 118 games. Just think of their success as the Cleveland Browns in reverse. But you can make a case for Liberty as the area’s most improved team since the start if the season, when they were 0-2 after losses to Struthers (41-8) and Lakeview (30-20). QB Dra Rushton is a major reason for that, with 1,339 rushing yards and 23 TDs. He also has passed for 907 yards and 9 TDs and averages 37.6 yards per punt return. Brian Maddox and Charles Pickard have combined for 952 rushing yards and 10 TDs. WRs Capone Haywood and Quaishon Campell have combined for 40 catches for 639 yards and 7 TD receptions. Chris Edmonds (94 tackles, 11 sacks, 4 blocked kicks) is a defensive force. Haywood has three interceptions. ... Kirtland essentially has two 1,000-yard backs in Joey Torok (1,054 yards, 13 TDs) and Jake Neibecker (987 yards, 15 TDs. The Hornets are big up front with RG Brett Diemer (5-11, 260), LT Jack Bailey (6-2, 270) and C Austin Fulco (6-1, 240). QB Dylan Fulco doesn’t throw much.



Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Foltz Stadium, East Canton High School, 310 Browning St., East Canton.

Records: Valley Christian 5-5; East Canton 8-2.

Coaches: Jeff Hether and Jomont Ware for Valley Christian; John Miller for East Canton.

Playoff appearances: Valley Christian 3; East Canton 6.

Notable: Life in the Portage Trail Conference’s County Division suited the Eagles just fine. They beat conference rivals Garfield, Southeast and Crestwood and lost to D-VI powers Rootstown (10-0) and Mogadore (8-1) also helped in the playoff chase. So did non-conference defeats against eventual D-V playoff teams Grand Valley (10-0) and Gilmour Academy (6-4). Key players for Valley Christian include QB Milan Square, WR Jordan Trowers and WR-CB Jamynk Jackson. The Eagles are also uncommonly big up front for a D-VII team with OL Terell Walker (6-4, 275) and Tavares Hodge (6-2, 320). ... The Hornets overcame a 1-2 start to make the playoffs and host in the first round, but they beat only one team with a winning record (West Lafayette Ridgewood).


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Where: McFarren Field, Dalton High School, 177 N. Mill St., Dalton.

Records: Mathews 6-4; Dalton 10-0.

Coaches: John Protopapa for Mathews; Broc Dial for Dalton.

Playoff appearances: Mathews 5; East Canton 6.

Notable: The Mustangs won all the games they needed to win, going 6-0 against teams with a combined record of 11-48, but they were 0-3 against Ohio playoff teams Windham, Rootstown and Grand Valley with their other defeat coming against Weirton (W.Va.) Madonna. Those four teams have a combined record of 35-4. Still, Mathews has qualified for the postseason three of the last four years. The Mustangs’ top players are RB Daniel Canter, QB Dillon Canter and WR Tanner Hunt. Mathews runs a ground-oriented offense, but Dillon Canter and Hunt are a dangerous connection. ... The Bulldogs went 10-0 against a schedule that included only one D-VII opponent. Four of their foes were two divisions above them. Dalton finished 1-9 just two years ago.


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Ralph Adams Stadium, Cuyahoga Heights High School, 4820 East 71st St., Cuyahoga Heights.

Records: Warren JFK 4-6; Cuyahoga Heights 8-1.

Coaches: Jeff Bayuk for Warren JFK; Al Martin for Cuyahoga Heights.

Playoff appearances: Warren JFK 22; Cuyahoga Heights 20.

Notable: There was going to be some rebuilding after the Eagles’ epic state championship run in 2016, but no one expected JFK to slip to 4-6 and endure a five-game losing streak. There were clues early, despite a 3-1 start. The Eagles gave up 98 points in those first four games after allowing 98 points all season in 2016. QB Greg Valent was banged up earlier, but finished strong with a 12-of-13, 178-yard effort in a Week 10 rout of Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas to get the Eagles in the playoffs. WR Hyland Burton and RB Isaac Hadley are also players to watch for JFK. ... The Redskins took a 14-0 record into last season’s D-VI state title game and gave powerul Maria Stein Marion Local all it wanted in a 21-17 loss. Cuyahoga Heights’ only loss this season came against unbeaten Kirtland, 42-35.


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.

Where: Ed Little Field, Windham High School, 9530 Bauer Ave., Windham.

Records: Lisbon 6-4; Windham 8-2.

Coaches: Jim Tsilimos for Lisbon; Anthony Maiorca for Windham.

Playoff appearances: Lisbon 8; Windham 11.

Notable: The Blue Devils were 6-1 and poised to perhaps host a first-round game at one point, but they backed into the playoffs with three straight losses. More troubling was the manner of the defeats, with East Palestine and United outscoring Lisbon 106-61 in Weeks 9 and 10. RBs Justin Sweeney, Seth Stokes and Cameron Summers are part of the Blue Devils’ ground attack, along with QB Logan Bell. Dougie Minor is a receiving threat. ... Unlike the Blue Devils, the Bombers, well, bombed their final three regular-season opponents. Windham outscored Newbury, Southington and Pymatuning Valley by a combined score of 175-60. The Bombers’ only loss came against unbeaten Grand Valley. Windham runs the wing-T with RBs Phil Maoirca (1,258 yards), Mason Angle (904) and Hunter Shackelford (826). QB Blaze Angle has passed for 1,328 yards and 17 TDs.

Staff report

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