High school football: Analyzing GWOC, CBC, OHC races as conference play heats up

Springfield looks like team to beat in its division

As high school football teams near the midway point of the regular season, it’s a good time to analyze the league races that will heat up in the weeks ahead.

» POWER RANKINGS: Springboro atop Division I

Here’s a glance at the Greater Western Ohio Conference, Central Buckeye Conference and Ohio Heritage Conference entering Week 5:

GWOC American Division

Favorite: The Springfield Wildcats (3-1) have the best record in the division, and they have the best playoff position. They ranked sixth in Division I, Region II in the first computer ratings released this week.

Beavercreek (2-2) ranked eighth, and Centerville (2-2) ranked 10th. Fairmont and Wayne (both 0-4) were tied for last in the region.

Biggest game: Beavercreek plays at Springfield in Week 6 on Oct. 4. The Wildcats have won three straight games in the series, beating Beavercreek 21-14 last season.

Standout player: Springfield quarterback Te'Sean Smoot ranks second in the GWOC in passer rating (177.0) with six touchdowns and one interception. He averages 210.3 yards per game.

» RELATED: Week 5 football schedule

Last year's race: Springfield and Wayne tied atop what was then called the National East Division with 3-1 records.

CBC Kenton Trail Division

Favorite: Jonathan Alder (4-0) may be the best team in a strong division. London is 4-0. Bellefontaine, Shawnee and Kenton Ridge are 3-1. Only Tecumseh (0-4) has more than one loss. Alder ranks second in Division III, Region 11 and has outscored its opponents 150-64.

Biggest game: Alder plays at London, which ranks eighth in the same region, in Week 10.

Standout player: Kenton Ridge senior Dylan Lemen leads the CBC in passing yards (918) and broke two school records last week. He threw for a school-record 388 yards in a 49-21 victory at Graham and increased his career passing yards total to 4,439, passing Thor Bisher (4,372 from 1994-97) in the record book.

Last year's race: Bellefontaine has won the division three years in a row. It finished 3-1 last season. That put it a game ahead of Alder, Shawnee and Tecumseh.

CBC Mad River Division

Favorite: Indian Lake (3-1) has the best record and ranks 11th in Division V, Region 20.

North Union and Northwestern (both 2-2) could also contend. Graham is also 2-2 but has been outscored 141-88.

Biggest game: Indian Lake plays at North Union on Oct. 4.

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Standout player: Northwestern junior Ben Van Noord has five rushing touchdowns, five receiving touchdowns and a punt return touchdown.

Last year's race: Northwestern, Urbana and Indian Lake all tied atop the division at 3-1. Indian Lake has won or shared the title four years in a row.

OHC North Division

Favorite: This division is stacked with three 4-0 teams, but West Liberty-Salem has the slight edge over Mechanicsburg and West Jefferson. The Tigers have outscored their opponents 214-22.

» AREA QUARTERBACKS: Shawnee’s Glass | Greenon’s Rice | Northwestern’s Thomas | KR’s Lemen

Biggest game: West Liberty-Salem closes the regular season with a home game against Mechanicsburg on Nov. 1. Mechanicsburg won 28-7 last season and has won four straight games in the series.

Standout player: West Jefferson quarterback Tyler Buescher leads the OHC in quarterback rating (281.4). He has 12 touchdown passes, no interceptions and a 76 percent completion rate (38 of 50).

Last year's race: West Jefferson and Fairbanks tied at 4-1.

OHC South Division

Favorite: Greenon is 3-1 and has outscored its opponents 207-100, though it suffered its first loss in Week 4, 48-42 at home to Fairbanks.

Biggest game: Madison Plains is also 3-1 and plays at Greenon on Oct. 11. Madison Plains ranks ninth and Greenon 10th in Division V, Region 20.

Standout player: Greenon quarterback Cade Rice leads the CBC in passing yards (1,170) and ranks fifth in rushing (375).

Last year's race: Greeneview finished 5-0, a game ahead of Greenon.

Top Week 5 games

Springfield (3-1) at Fairmont (0-4): The Wildcats have lost two straight close games in this series: 7-3 in 2017 and 14-7 in 2018.

Greenon (3-1) at Mechanicsburg (4-0): These teams meet for the first time since 2003 when Mechanicsburg won 27-7.

» WEEK 4: Springfield wins | Shawnee beats Northwestern | Roundup

Urbana (0-4) at Shawnee (3-1): The Braves rank second in the CBC in points scores (167), while Urbana ranks second to last (33).

Northwestern (2-2) at Kenton Ridge (3-1): The Cougars have won three straight games, while Northwestern has lost two in a row. Kenton Ridge won five straight games in the series before losing 21-14 last season.

West Liberty-Salem (4-0) at Greeneview (2-2): Greeneview won the last meeting 27-13 in 2016.

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