Miamisburg (7-2), Fairmont (6-3) and Wayne (6-3) all are seeking what Springfield (8-1) and Northmont (8-1) already have done: qualify for the high school football playoffs.
The Week 9 fireworks that jumbled the Division I, Region 3 computer rankings were confirmed by the Ohio High School Athletic Association on Tuesday. That makes Friday’s regular season-ending Week 10 games do or die for the area’s big-school programs.
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The top eight teams in each of the seven divisions and 28 regions throughout the state qualify for the playoffs. The OHSAA will release first-round pairings on Sunday.
Here’s what we think we know about the five Greater Western Ohio Conference teams that are lumped in D-I, Region 3:
• Springfield is No. 2 and can clinch a rare first-round home game by beating visiting Fairmont on Friday.
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• Fairmont, No. 6, must beat Springfield or is eliminated from the postseason. Last year Fairmont defeated Springfield in Week 10 to knock the Wildcats out of the playoffs.
• Northmont, No. 3, also can secure a rare first-round home playoff game, but will have to win at Miamisburg to do so.
• Miamisburg, No. 7, likely must beat Northmont to secure a top-8 spot.
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• Wayne, No. 10, has the most ground to make up after falling at Springfield 33-26 in OT last week. Wayne must defeat visiting Trotwood-Madison (6-3) to have a postseason chance, and that still might not be enough.
What continues to hurt Wayne is a Week 2 defeat of Columbus COF Academy that isn’t recognized by the OHSAA because COF isn’t an association member. That means Wayne is credited with just five wins by the OHSAA.
Also, even if Wayne defeats Trotwood, the Rams are a D-III program, which will minimize second-level points.
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Wayne’s most stunning stat of all? The Warriors would currently rank No. 3 in D-I Regions 2 and 4 – and already had clinched a playoff spot – and No. 8 in Region 1.
A sixth D-I GWOC team, Lebanon (6-3), is No. 9 in Region 4 and must defeat visiting Springboro and get help to advance.
• There are four area football games scheduled for Thursday: Belmont vs. Meadowdale at Dayton Welcome Stadium (7 p.m.), Cincinnati Hillcrest Academy at Jefferson (6 p.m.), Fairborn at Xenia (7 p.m.) and Lehman Catholic vs. riverside at Sidney (7 p.m.).
Xenia (6-3) is coming off a 29-28 double-OT win at Trotwood-Madison. The Bucs have clinched at least a share of the GWOC American South title and can win it outright with a season-ending win. Xenia hasn’t won seven games in a season since the 2003 team went 7-3.
The Bucs are still seeking their first postseason after being eliminated for D-II, Region 8 contention last week.
• Alter (8-1) is the new No. 1 in the D-III Associated Press state poll. The Knights have steadily climbed up the leader board while on an eight-game win streak and jumped over Bellbrook (9-0), which remained No. 2 for the third straight week. Marion Local (D-VII) is the only other area poll leader. The Flyers are 9-0.
• Springboro landed a 3-2 double-overtime upset of second-seeded Centerville to highlight Monday’s many boys soccer sectional finals throughout the area. Tommy Mitchell’s goal knotted the GWOC teams at 2-all with 1:43 left in regulation and Mitchell assisted on the winning goal by Joe Ionescu with 3:51 left in the second OT.
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Springboro (11-7-1) advances to a D-I district final against Cincinnati Turpin at Princeton at 7 p.m. Thursday. Centerville (14-3-2) defeated Springboro 2-0 in the regular season.
• All of the girls soccer sectional finals were scheduled at neutral sites on Tuesday. All of the top seeds in the three divisions have easily advanced through two rounds. The winners move on to Saturday’s district finals, also at various neutral sites.
• Julia Bays (Beavercreek) and Lily McCloskey (Oakwood) both lost in their first-round matches of last weekend’s girls state tennis tournament at the Lindner Center in Mason.
A junior, Bays lost 6-0, 6-0 to Anna Roggenburk (Rocky River Magnificat), who also won her second D-I singles state championship. A sophomore, McCloskey lost to Rylie Hanford (Chesterland West Geauga) 6-2, 6-2. Hanford finished third.
• The boys and girls regional cross country meets are Saturday at Troy on the Great Miami River levee next to Memorial Stadium. The boys are first up, with the D-III race at 11 a.m. Troy has one of the oldest regional records in the state: Brad McClean’s (Miami East) D-II winning time of 15:39 way back in 1987.
Top regional teams and individuals not on those teams advance to the following week’s season-ending state championships at National Trail Raceway in Hebron.
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