High school football: CBC, OHC begin divisional play

With half of the high school football regular season in the books, Central Buckeye Conference and Ohio Heritage Conference teams will now turn their attention to divisional play.

Two OHC squads — Catholic Central, ranked second in this week’s Division VII Associated Press state poll, and D-V 17th-ranked Northeastern — enter divisional play undefeated, while D-IV 13th-ranked Shawnee is 4-1 entering CBC Kenton Trail Division play.

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Entering division play, every team has a fresh start and a renewed chance to bring home a championship.

“Now it’s kind of a new season,” said Jets coach Jake Buchholtz.

In the eight-team Greater Western Ohio Conference, fifth-ranked Springfield (D-1) remains unbeaten at 4-0 and 2-0 in the conference.

Here’s a breakdown of where each division and conference stands entering Week 6:

OHC North

Northeastern is seeking its first conference title since 2003. The Jets have won four of their first five games by shutout, outscoring their opponents 232-20.

The Jets host West Jefferson (3-2) this week before a showdown with defending champion Mechanicsburg (4-1) in Week 7.

“The first five games are definitely important and our kids worked hard for those first five wins, but really nothing we’ve done up to this point makes a difference,” Buchholtz said. “It doesn’t have any implication on the conference. Our guys want to win the OHC. That’s been a goal for us going into this season. Everybody is 0-0.”

The Jets haven’t beaten West Jefferson since it entered the OHC North Division in 2017. A year ago, the Jets trailed 7-0 at the half before falling to the Roughriders 35-0.

ExploreThis week's state football poll

“It doesn’t matter what we’ve done so far,” Buchholtz said. “If we want people to take us seriously, this is the week it has to happen. We can’t overlook anybody because we haven’t beaten a lot of these teams before. It’s one of those things where the top dog is Mechanicsburg until proven otherwise. The teams that beat us are still better than us until we beat them.”

The division has five teams with winning records, including West Liberty-Salem (3-2), which hosts Fairbanks (3-2) on Friday night.

After falling to Greeneview last week, Mechanicsburg will seek to bounce back against rival Triad (2-3). The Indians are seeking their third straight OHC title.

OHC South

Unbeaten Catholic Central is seeking its first title since 2010. The Irish have won each of their last three games by one score or less, including double-overtime victories over West Jefferson and West Liberty-Salem.

“I’m extremely proud of the football team, the kids and the coaches,” said Irish coach Jim Dimitroff. “They’ve been working hard to get to this point. They’ve had to show great character and heart in our last three games. I’m really, really proud of them.”

The Irish currently sit atop the Division VII, Region 28 computer ratings. Their spot in the AP state poll (second) is their highest since 2007.

“Now, you’ve got to go out and prove it,” Dimitroff said. “People across the state of Ohio don’t believe that. They don’t believe you’re the No. 1 team in the region and the No. 2 team in the state. You’ve gotta practice like that, you’ve gotta live up to that expectation. That’s what we’ve been preaching all week.”

Since the OHC split into two divisions in 2017, Greenon and Greeneview are the only two programs to win the South Division championship.

The Irish host Madison-Plains (0-5) on Friday night at Hallinean Field. A year ago, Catholic Central beat the Eagles 28-25.

“There’s nobody on our schedule that we can overlook, including the team we play this Friday night. They proved that to us last year,” Dimitroff said.

After falling to Northeastern in overtime in Week 3, Greeneview has won back-to-back games against Fairbanks and Mechanicsburg. The Rams host Southeastern (3-2) in a key OHC South game this week.

Cedarville (2-3) has already matched its win total from last season. The Indians travel to Greenon (1-4) on Friday night.

CBC Kenton Trail

Shawnee is seeking its first CBC Kenton Trail title since 2011 in its final season in the division. The Braves are moving to the CBC Mad River next fall.

“If we’re going to do it, this has gotta be the year,” said Braves coach Rick Meeks. “We’ve got the talent to do it, we’re just a little banged up here and there, but everybody is going through that. We can’t use that as an excuse. It’s exciting. We’ve been working all winter and spring and now here it is right in front of us.”

Shawnee has finished second in the Kenton Trail six times since its last conference championship.

“We’ve got one last shot at it,” Meeks said.

It won’t be easy. Five of the six Kenton Trail teams have winning records, including Bellefontaine (4-1), Jonathan Alder (4-1), defending champion London (3-2) and Tecumseh (3-2).

Shawnee travels to Kenton Ridge (2-3) on Friday night. Tecumseh travels to Bellefontaine, while London travels to Jonathan Alder.

CBC Mad River

A year ago, Indian Lake and North Union shared the title with a 4-1 conference record.

The Wildcats are 5-0 this fall and host Northwestern (1-4) this week.

Urbana (3-2) is seeking its first title since earning a share in 2018. They travel to rival Graham (2-3) this week.

GWOC

Springfield is seeking its second straight GWOC title and fourth in the last five years. They improved to 4-0 and 2-0 in the GWOC after beating Beavercreek last week.

The Wildcats earned a key victory over Wayne in their GWOC opener. They host Fairmont (3-2) this week. The Wildcats beat the Firebirds 17-0 last year.

Centerville (5-0) and Springboro (4-1) are also 2-0 in the GWOC race. Springfield hosts the Panthers next week and travels to Centerville on Oct. 7.

Week 6 Schedule

Friday’s games

Fairmont at Springfield

Shawnee at Kenton Ridge

Madison Plains at Catholic Central

West Jefferson at Northeastern

Tecumseh at Bellefontaine

Southeastern at Greeneview

Cedarville at Greenon

Northwestern at North Union

Urbana at Graham

Triad at Mechanicsburg

Fairbanks at West Liberty-Salem

(All games at 7 p.m.)

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