Rare home playoff game at stake for Wildcats

Springfield’s Trey Harper and Alex Temple hug after a victory against Wayne on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, at Evans Stadium in Springfield. David Jablonski/Staff

Springfield (8-1) already has clinched a spot in the Division I, Region 3 high school football playoffs. The Wildcats can top that by securing a rare home playoff game.

To do that, Springfield must defeat visiting Fairmont (6-3) in a Week 10 regular season-finale at Evans Stadium on Friday night.

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Springfield’s 33-26 overtime defeat of rival Wayne last week bumped the Wildcats up to No. 2 in the computer rankings. That was good enough to clinch a playoff spot, but not a home game. First-round playoff match-ups are home games for the top four seeds. The playoffs shift to neutral sites the following week.

Springfield (3-0) also has clinched at least a share of the Greater Western Ohio Conference National East title and can win it outright by defeating Fairmont. That also likely would knock Fairmont out of D-I, Region 3 playoff contention.

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If that sounds familiar, it should. Fairmont defeated Springfield 7-3 in Week 10 last season. That put Fairmont in the playoffs and knocked out Springfield from the postseason.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association will announce first-round playoff pairings on Sunday. The top eight teams in each of the seven divisions and 28 regions earn playoff berths.

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• Other area teams to have already qualified for the playoffs are Greeneview (D-V, Region 20) and Mechanicsburg (D-VI, Region 24).

Shawnee (5-4) snapped a three-game losing streak by blanking Bellefontaine 34-0 in Week 9. That also shot the Braves back into D-IV, Region 16 playoff contention. Currently No. 7 in the region, Shawnee must defeat visiting Jonathan Alder (6-3) on Friday to earn a playoff spot.

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Northwestern (6-3) and Kenton Ridge (5-4) are long shots to make the Region 16 playoff cut as is West Liberty-Salem (6-3) in D-VI, Region 24.

• Greenon (5-4, 3-1) has matched its entire win total over the last six seasons and takes a three-game win streak into its Ohio Heritage Conference season finale at Southeastern (3-6). Playing a big part in the Knights’ success is underclassmen Cade Rice, Kameron Cox, Luke Downing and Nathan Hawks.

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Rice, a sophomore QB, is second in the OHC with 1,1675 yards passing and 15 touchdowns. He also leads Greenon with 853 yards rushing and 11 more TDs. Cox, a sophomore running back, has 477 yards rushing and eight TDs. Downing, a junior receiver, has a team-high 32 catches for 529 yards (16.5) and six scores.

Hawks, another sophomore, has converted eight of nine field goals. He had field goals of 43, 43 and 42 yards in a Week 9 defeat of Cedarville.

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Greenon was a combined 5-53 in the previous six seasons. The Knights have been eliminated in D-V, Region 18 playoff contention, but should be playoff worthy in coming seasons.

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