Record-setting Wildcats top seed in Division I football playoffs

A record-setting regular season already secure in Springfield High School football history, the Wildcats take their considerable game to the next level this week.

Joining Springfield in the first round of the playoffs are Shawnee, West Liberty-Salem and Mechanicsburg. All were named qualifiers by the Ohio High School Athletic Association on Sunday.

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“I’m happy for the kids hosting back-to-back years and happy for the seniors,” Springfield coach Maurice Douglass said following Friday’s 21-20 Week 10 defeat of visiting Trotwood-Madison, his former team. “They’ll get another chance to play in front of their family and their friends. We just have to take advantage of these next couple days and get the bumps and bruises taken care of and be ready to go.”

Springfield (9-1) posted its best record since the merger of North and South high schools and surpassed last season’s 8-2 team. A No. 1 seed, the Wildcats will host No. 8 seed Marysville (6-4) in a Division I, Region 2 first-round game on Friday.

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It’s the fifth playoff for Springfield, all since 2009. The Wildcats are one of four Greater Western Ohio Conference team to qualifying, joining Springboro (9-1) and Northmont (6-4) in the D-I, Region 2 field. Trotwood (7-3) made it in D-III, Region 12.

Also playing on Friday is No. 6 seed Mechanicsburg (8-2) at No. 3 Frankfort Adena (8-2) in D-VI, Region 24. Mechanicsburg lost 35-15 at West Liberty-Salem in Week 10, which cost the Indians a playoff home game. It’s the 16th appearance by Mechanicsburg in the postseason and seventh straight.

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Shawnee and WL-Salem are bunched in the D-V, Region 20 field and landed Saturday home games. Shawnee (8-2) defeated Kenton Ridge 35-20 in Week 10 to secure a No. 3 seed and will host Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy (8-2). It’s the second straight season Shawnee has qualified for the playoffs and ninth overall.

WL-Salem (9-1) swept West Jefferson (9-1) and Mechanicsburg and landed the No. 4 seed. The Tigers will host Cincinnati Madeira (8-2). This is the 12th playoff season for WL-Salem, all since 2004. The Tigers were 7-3 last year but failed to qualify.

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The football playoffs began in 1972 and last expanded to the present format of seven divisions in 2013. Based on the Harbin system, teams amass computer points throughout the regular season based on wins and wins by a defeated opponent. Matchups are no factor in the formula.

The top eight teams in each region qualify and those top four host Week 11 first-round games. The playoffs shift to neutral sites in Week 12 beginning with the regional semifinals.

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Divisions I, II, III and VI will play on Fridays through the state semifinals and Divisions IV, V and VII on Saturdays. It takes five postseason games to win a state title. All games through the state semifinals are at 7 p.m. State championship weekend will be held at Canton’s Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on Dec. 5-7.

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The Associated Press will announce the state poll champions on Monday.

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