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Cedarville aiming for rare playoff spot

Jason Christian can recall when 7-3 was a “down” year for Cedarville High School football.

“We went 7-3 my junior year and that wasn’t a very good season,” recalled Christian, a 1992 Cedarville grad who’s in his second season as head coach. “Now, that’s what we’re shooting for.”

Cedarville (6-3) must win at Northeastern (3-6) in Friday’s regular-season finale to do that. That will also punch a rare Indians’ playoff ticket.

At least seven area teams are in postseason contention. Shawnee (9-0) and Triad (9-0) are the only teams to have already clinched a home playoff game.

First-round pairings will be announced by the Ohio High School Athletic Association on Sunday. There will be only two regions for Division I, with 16 teams in each region advancing. The other six divisions are comprised of four regions each, with eight teams in each region advancing.

Teams earn computer points for wins and secondary points from wins by a beaten opponent.

Of the select seven, Cedarville owns the longest playoff drought (2001). The Indians could lose to Northeastern and possibly still make the postseason cut.

That’s a long way from last season’s 1-9 team. Junior running back Caleb Coe has rushed for 1,300-plus yards. Pounding his running room are senior linemen Matt McMahan, Josh Rogers, Justin Liming and Jacob Leightenheimer.

Former Indians head coach Jim Villinger will be the team’s featured speaker on Thursday. Villinger’s teams often were undermanned and full of gritty two-way starters, kind of like this year’s squad.

Christian labeled a Week 4 defeat of previously unbeaten Jamestown as key.

“When we beat them it shot our confidence up a bunch,” he said. “We felt like we are for real, then.”

Shawnee (D-III, Region 10) probably must win at Tippecanoe (9-0) in a rare Week 10 showdown of unbeatens. That’ll also decide the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Division title.

Kenton Ridge (7-2) is clinging to No. 8 in Region 10. Even if the Cougars beat Tecumseh (3-6) they’ll likely be overtaken by No. 10 Trotwood-Madison (6-2) should the Rams beat Vandalia Butler (6-3).

Urbana (9-0) is the only unbeaten D-IV, Region 14 team, but that’s only good for the No. 6 spot. The Hillclimbers must win at Graham (2-7) to advance.

Mechanicsburg (7-2) could leap over West Liberty-Salem (7-2) in D-VI, Region 22 should the Indians beat Greeneview (6-3). Currently No. 4, WL-Salem hosts Southeastern (1-8).

Triad (D-VII, Region 26) finishes at Catholic Central (0-9).

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