By David Fong
MIAMI COUNTY — With three weeks left in the regular season, the high school football playoff picture is starting to take shape within Miami County.
While none of Miami County teams have clinched playoff spots and none have been mathematically eliminated, there’s enough data out there to make some accurate predictions going into the regular season home stretch. A pair of teams, Tippecanoe and Covington, control their own destiny. Should the Red Devils and Buccaneers both win their final three games, both are guaranteed spots in the postseason.
For the rest of Miami County, the picture is a little murkier.
Here’s a look at how the push for the playoffs should shape up in Miami County over the next three weeks:
There are no Division I football teams in Miami County.
Troy is the lone Division II team in Miami County. Even with a big win over Trotwood-Madison last Friday, the Trojans (2-5) only moved up to 17th in the Division II, Region 6 computer points standings. The top eight teams in each region make the playoffs.
Even if the Trojans can close the season with three wins — which would raise their final record to 5-5 — it seems almost impossible for the Trojans to pick up enough points to sneak into the playoffs.
Tippecanoe and Piqua both compete in Division III, Region 10.
As stated earlier, if Tippecanoe (6-1) — currently fourth in the region — can win its final three games against Stebbins (6-1), Tecumseh (3-4) and Kenton Ridge (6-1), the Red Devils are making a return trip to the postseason. Wins over a pair of one-loss teams in Stebbins and Kenton Ridge almost certainly would give the Red Devils enough computer points to host a first-round game (the top four teams in each region host first-round games).
Piqua (4-3) currently is sitting outside the top eight in the region at No. 11, but have a large number of computer points available to them with three games remaining against Trotwood (5-2), Sidney (4-3) and Troy (2-5). If the Indians can win all three of those, they likely would get into the playoffs. A loss in any of those three games would put a serious dent in the Indians’ playoff hopes.
Miami County has no Division IV teams.
Even with a loss to undefeated Brookville last Friday, Milton-Union (4-3) still is sitting in fifth place in Division V, Region 18. The Bulldogs are not guaranteed a playoff spot with wins against Carlisle (4-3), Dixie (1-6) and Waynesville (3-4) the final three weeks, but its hard to imagine them not getting into the playoffs at 7-3 if they can win those three games.
A loss in the final three weeks puts the Bulldogs in a deep hole in terms of maintaining its spot in the top eight in the region.
Miami East and Bethel both compete in Division VI, Region 23.
The Vikings (5-2) currently are 13th in the region, but have a potential to pick up huge points the final three weeks with games against Tri-County North (5-2), Troy Christian (4-2) and Twin Valley South (5-2). Wins against three teams with winning records could very well provide Miami East with the points needed to get into the playoffs.
Bethel (3-4) jumped up to No. 15 in the Division VI, Region 22 standings with a huge win over Twin Valley South (5-2) last Friday. Still, though, the Bulldogs would be a longshot to make the playoffs, even with wins over National Trail (3-4), Ansonia (1-6) and Arcanum (2-5) to close the season.
Covington (6-1) sits atop Division VII, Region 26 with games remaining against Twin Valley South (5-2), National Trail (3-4) and Ansonia (1-6). The math is simple: Three wins guarantee a spot in the postseason and almost certainly gives the Buccaneers a home game in the first round.
Lehman (4-3) currently is sixth in the region. The Cavaliers do not control their own destiny, but wins over Fort Loramie (3-4), Ridgemont (2-5) and Waynesfield-Goshen make it very likely Lehman returns to the playoffs again this year.
Troy Christian (4-2) is ninth in the region, just on the outside looking in. The Eagles’ game with Miami East (5-2) in two weeks will be huge for both teams in terms of playoff points. The Eagles also play Arcanum (2-5) and Mississinawa Valley (0-7) in the final three weeks. Troy Christian can’t afford another loss — the Eagles must win out and see where things fall.
Bradford (3-4) is 12th in the region. Wins over Manchester (1-6) and Fairview (1-6) the next two weeks wouldn’t be of much help to the Railroaders in terms of computer points, but an upset win over Danville (7-0) in Week 10 could make things interesting.
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong