By Josh Brown
MIAMI COUNTY — For Covington, things got truly serious last week.
For Miami East, they’re about to.
The Buccaneers will travel to Casstown to face the Cross County Conference rival Vikings Friday night, the second consecutive team unbeaten in conference play that Covington will have faced, a matchup that highlights a big Week 7 slate of critical league tests after a surprising Week 6.
Before Week 6’s games, there were four teams — Covington, Tri-County North, Miami East and Twin Valley South — still unbeaten in CCC play. The Buccs (5-1, 4-0 CCC) faced Tri-County North in Week 6, winning 28-21 on a last-minute touchdown with a halfback pass with 26 seconds left on the clock. The Vikings, meanwhile, routed Bethel, scoring 48 uanswered points to start the game and coasting to a 48-7 victory to remain unbeaten.
Last year, the Viking shut out Covington 20-0 in Covington, their first victory over the Buccs since 2009. Miami East (5-1, 5-0 CCC) has scored at least 42 points in its last five games — but against teams with a combined record of 6-24. The Buccs, meanwhile, have handed Troy Christian its first loss of the year and the Panthers their first CCC loss in back-to-back weeks. And thanks to those wins, Covington has shot up to the top spot in the Division VII, Region 26 playoff standings.
Miami East currently sits in 11th in the Division VI, Region 22 standings, but with four games left — and those teams holding a combined record of 18-5 — there are still plenty of computer points on the table for the Vikings to grab.
The Buccs are battle-tested already. The Vikings will get their first true test. Week 7 will go a long way to deciding the CCC champion — with Twin Valley South still waiting in the wings for both the Buccs and Vikings.
Speaking of Twin Valley South, that’s who Bethel (2-4, 1-3 CCC) will look to snap its three-game losing streak against. Those three losses have been at the hands of the rest of the CCC’s unbeaten teams, meaning the Bees’ toughest stretch of the season is finally coming to an end.
And Tri-County North will host Troy Christian (4-1), with the Eagles looking to solidify their playoff chances as they currently sit in seventh in D-VII, Region 26.
For other Miami County teams, Week 6 was a big disappointment.
Tippecanoe, which entered the week undefeated after a narrow victory over Ben Logan, thought it would have an easy time with 1-4 Springfield Shawnee. But the Braves had just gotten back a couple of key players from injury, and they made the difference as the Red Devils fell behind in the first half. As it did against Ben Logan, Tippecanoe rallied and even took the lead in the fourth quarter, but Shawnee was able to convert a long fourth down, score to take a 35-28 lead and then hold off the Devils at the game’s end.
Even with the loss, the Devils remain in third in the Division III, Region 10 playoff standings. But it was not the way the Devils wanted to begin their final run in the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division before joining the Greater Western Ohio Conference next year — and the only saving grace of the week may be that Stebbins, which was the division’s only other undefeated team, also lost to a 1-4 team, falling to Bellefontaine.
Then again, the Devils now face those same Chieftains on the road. Now, though, Tippecanoe has been reminded never to overlook anyone, so expect them to be refocused and looking to rebound in a big way heading into a Week 8 matchup against Stebbins.
Milton-Union entered Week 6 on a roll, too, winning four of five to start the season and holding the top spot in the Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division. But on a rainy, dreary night at Middletown Madison, the Bulldogs simply couldn’t hold onto the football, falling behind 14-6 in the first half and then slogging through a scoreless second to fall to 4-2, 2-1 in the Buckeye.
The Bulldogs play their final non-league game of the season in Week 7 — at home against 6-0 Brookville. The Blue Devils have yet to play a close game, with the smallest margin of victory being 21 points on three separate occasions. Milton-Union is still in fifth in the D-V, Region 18 playoff standings, and a win over Brookville would all but lock up a spot — and possibly even a home game.
Playoff position and pride, bouncing back from a tough loss. There’s plenty of things to motivate the Bulldogs Friday.
Piqua (3-3, 0-1 GWOC North) had plenty of chances to tie Week’s 6’s game against Butler, but the Indians fell 28-21 and dropped out of the D-III, Region 10 playoff standings, now sitting in ninth. The Indians travel to 3-3 Greenville, which snapped a two-game winning streak at Troy last week, and the Indians need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Lehman entered Week 6 with little playoff hope, sitting at 2-3 and about to face previously unbeaten Riverside. So the Cavaliers defeated the Pirates 26-21, bringing their record to .500 and shooting them up to ninth in the D-VII, Region 26 standings. The Cavs host 3-3 Hardin Northern this week in their final non-Northwest Central Conference game of the year.
And the Bradford Railroaders (2-4) won for the second time this season, defeating Dohn Community 20-6. They now host 2-4 Jefferson, which is coming in on a two-game winning streak after going winless last season.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.