By Josh Brown
MIAMI COUNTY — Week 8 could very well decide two conference championships.
It did last season in the Cross County Conference, as Miami East and Covington ended up sharing the title after a Week 8 upset — one that the Buccaneers will be looking to avoid this season. Milton-Union, meanwhile, has the chance to knock off the only other team unbeaten in Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division play at Carlisle, putting itself in prime position to win the title heading into the final two weeks.
Last season, Covington (7-0, 5-0 CCC) held off Miami East (5-2, 5-1 CCC) in overtime in Week 7, only to be upset 34-30 by Twin Valley South in Week 8. The Vikings were able to win out, rebounding from the loss by routing Tri-County North in Week 8 and forcing the tie for the championship.
The Buccaneers won the head-to-head matchup again last week, holding off the Vikings 28-17 to take a one-game lead in the standings. Covington will look to avoid the upset this season at Twin Valley South (3-4, 3-2 CCC), which was doubled up by Bethel in Week 7. Covington has a secret weapon, though — new coach Ty Cates came from Twin Valley South.
The Vikings, meanwhile, will host Tri-County North (4-3, 4-1 CCC) in a battle for second place in the league. The Panthers enter the game on a two-game losing streak, having been blasted 41-13 by Covington and 35-7 by Troy Christian, and will be hungry for a quality performance. The Vikings, meanwhile, built some momentum in the second half against Covington after a slow start, and they’ll need to keep winning and get help from any of Covington’s remaining opponents to have a shot at the CCC.
The game also has big playoff implications for Miami East, too. The Vikings currently sit in the eighth and final spot in Division VI, Region 22, with Tri-County North in 13th. The Vikings still have enough games left against quality teams to move up, but they need wins in all three remaining games to have a shot at hosting a playoff game. Covington, meanwhile, has an iron grip on the No. 1 spot in Division VII, Region 28 and has already clinched a playoff spot.
For Milton-Union (5-2, 3-0 SWBL Buckeye), it doesn’t get any bigger than Friday’s showdown at Carlisle. The Indians enter the game also at 5-2, but at 4-0 in the SWBL Buckeye, entering the week off of a narrow 21-19 victory over Madison — which the Bulldogs had defeated the week before. In last season’s matchup, the Bulldogs pulled away from the Indians and won 28-7, but with the league title on the line, don’t expect either team to back down.
It’s also a game with playoff implications in Division V, Region 20. Milton-Union currently holds the No. 3 spot, with Carlisle right behind at No. 4. Neither controls its own destiny, though — Brookville at No. 5 does — so Friday’s game could decide which team hosts a playoff game.
In Division III, Region 12, Tippecanoe (5-2, 1-1 Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division) bounced back from a loss to Troy and won its first ever division game as a member of the GWOC by holding off Sidney last week. This week, the Red Devils travel to a familiar opponent in Greenville (3-4, 0-2 GWOC American North) — the last time Tippecanoe lost to the Green Wave was 2005. Tippecanoe is currently in the eighth and final spot in the playoff race and needs every win it can get the rest of the way.
Troy Christian has a solid hold on the No. 2 spot in Division VII, Region 28 playoff race, but they face a tough matchup this week in 3-4 Arcanum. The Trojans have been competitive against some of the toughest teams they’ve faced and enter on a three-game winning streak, while the Eagles have won two straight after a narrow loss to Covington.
Bethel (4-3, 2-3 CCC) can seal at least a .500 finish this season with a win at National Trail (2-5) Friday night — and the Bees have a solid chance to finish with a winning season. They’ll host 1-6 Ansonia and travel to 3-4 Arcanum in the final two weeks. The Bees are currently 12th in Division VI, Region 22, as well, and have an outside shot to get into the playoffs still.
Piqua (5-2, 2-0 GWOC American North) also has an outside shot to get in, sitting in 11th in Division III, Region 12. The Indians have won four straight and travel to defending division champion Butler (4-3, 1-1 GWOC American North), which was blown out by Troy last week.
Bradford (2-5) is on a two-game winning streak after dropping its first five, and the Railroaders host 3-4 Tri-Village Friday night. And Lehman (5-2, 4-0 Northwest Central Conference), winner of five straight, hosts 3-4 Fort Loramie in a rivalry matchup.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.