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Computer kind to Cougars this time

Kenton Ridge felt the slight of computer wizardry two seasons ago. And now? Count the Cougars as believers.

“The computer points are there for a reason,” Ridge coach Joel Marratta said on Sunday after learning the Cougars made the upcoming high school football playoffs by the slimmest of margins.

“It works in weird ways. We took the back seat a couple years ago and we were fortunate this year to slide in there.”

The Ohio High School Athletic Association released first-round playoff pairings on Sunday. All higher seeds host openers. Following games shift to neutral sites.

Kenton Ridge (Division III) was one of seven area teams to qualify. Also advancing were Shawnee (D-III), Urbana (D-IV), West Liberty-Salem (D-VI), Mechanicsburg (D-VI), Triad (D-VII) and Cedarville (D-VII).

Kenton Ridge (7-3) was one of four Central Buckeye Conference members to advance. The Cougars drew a rematch with top-seeded and unbeaten Tippecanoe (10-0) on Friday, but just barely.

KR nosed New Richmond (9-1) by .10 of a computer point for the final No. 8 spot in the Region 10 field. Ridge seemed out of the playoff hunt after losing 21-14 to Tecumseh in this past Friday’s final regular-season game. But just one of New Richmond’s beaten opponents posted a Week 10 win, limiting its second-level computer points.

Two years ago KR went 8-2 and missed the playoffs by the same .10 computer-point margin.

Tipp whacked Ridge 35-7 in a Week 9 matchup.

“It’s been a sleepless weekend,” confirmed Marratta. “We knew it was going to be close.”

Playoff noteworthy:

  • Shawnee (9-1) fell to the No. 6 seed in the loaded Region 10 field following last Friday’s 21-7 setback at Tipp in a battle of unbeatens. The Braves will be at Wapakoneta (9-1) on Friday.
  • Urbana (10-0) could do no better than the No. 6 seed in Region 14 and will be at Cincinnati McNicholas (8-2) on Friday.
  • West Liberty-Salem (8-2) is one of four Ohio Heritage Conference teams to make the cut. The Tigers are at Williamsburg (7-3) in a Region 22 game on Friday.
  • Mechanicsburg (8-2) gets the experience edge by hosting first-time qualifier National Trail (8-2) also in Region 22.
  • Like Ridge, Cedarville also drew a No. 8 seed and will be at top-seeded Triad (10-0) on Saturday in a Region 26 contest.

    Divisions II, III, IV and VI will play at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays. Divisions I, V and VII will play at 7 p.m. on Saturdays. It’ll take five games to win a state championship, which culminates Dec. 5-7 at Canton and Massillon for the final year. The state championships move to Columbus next season.

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