By David Fong
MIAMI COUNTY — The postseason may be two weeks away, but a pair of Miami County teams will square off tonight in what could serve as a de facto playoff contest.
Miami East (6-2) travels to Troy Christian (4-3) in a game that features two teams on the fringe of a postseason berth. Miami East currently is eighth in the Division VI, Region 22 computer points standings — the top eight teams in each region make the playoffs — while Troy Christian is No. 10 in Division VII, Region 26. With both teams sporting winning records, the winner should pick up a decent amount of computer points.
For Troy Christian, it’s almost a must-win game if it wants to make a return trip to the playoffs. The Eagles would get very few points with a win over Mississinawa Valley (0-8) the final week of the season, so they have to make their move this week. Miami East does face Twin Valley South (6-2) the final week of the season, but with the Vikings clinging the final playoff spot in their region, every win counts.
There’s some added intrigue to this game, as well. Troy Christian head coach Steve Nolan and Miami East head coach Max Current aren’t exactly strangers. The two waged some classic battles in the past when Nolan was the head coach at Troy and Current was the defensive coordinator at Greenville and the two would face off yearly in the now-defunct Greater Miami Valley Conference.
Also, Nolan coached Current’s son, Jake, an All-Ohio offensive lineman who went on to play at the University of Wisconsin.
For Tippecanoe (7-1, 2-1 in the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Division), the formula remains simple — if the Red Devils win this week at Tecumseh (4-4, 1-2) and then in Week 10 at Kenton Ridge (7-1, 3-0), they are assured both a playoff berth and a share of the CBC Kenton title. Already No. 2 in the Division III, Region 10 standings, Tippecanoe might be able to wrap up a playoff berth with a win tonight — but would still have to wait until at least Sunday to find out for sure.
Covington’s (6-2, 5-1 in the Cross County Conference) playoff future is certain — the Buccaneers have clinched a postseason berth — but the path to the conference title took a slight turn with a 34-30 loss to Twin Valley South last week. Covington had been in the driver’s seat prior to that loss, but now Covington, Miami East and TV South all have one loss within the CCC. Still, though, Covington can clinch at least a share of the CCC title with a wins at National Trail (3-5, 2-4) tonight and at home against Ansonia (2-6, 1-5) in Week 10.
Miami East also could clinch at least a share of the CCC title with a victory over TV South the final week of the season.
Mathematically speaking, Milton-Union (5-3, 3-1 in the Southwest Buckeye League Buckeye Division) does not control its own destiny in terms of playoff berth, but at No. 4 in Division V, Region 18, the Bulldogs are in good shape. Wins on the road against Dixie (1-7, 1-3) tonight and Waynesville (3-5, 2-2) in Week 10 won’t get Milton-Union a ton of computer points, but very likely would be enough to get the Bulldogs into the playoffs.
In terms of the race for the SWBL Buckeye Division title, Milton would need either Waynesville or Northrdige (3-5, 1-4) to upset division leader Middletown Madison (5-3, 4-0) to claim a share of the crown.
Bethel (4-4, 3-3 in the CCC) can’t win the CCC and is all but officially eliminated from the postseason, but the Bees have been impressive the last two weeks, first upsetting TV South 22-21 and then pounding National Trail 72-15 last week. The Bees will be favored the final two weeks, beginning tonight at Ansonia and then at home in the final week against Arcanum (3-5, 2-4). Finish out the season with four wins and a winning record would be a huge step forward for the program.
Piqua’s (5-3, 2-1 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division) playoff future is looking much brighter after a 28-7 win over Trotwood-Madison last week, which moved the Indians up to No. 6 in the Division III, Region 10 standings. Piqua closes the regular season at home tonight against Sidney (5-3, 1-2) and then at rival Troy (2-6, 1-2). The Indians would need Troy or Trotwood (5-3, 1-2) to knock off Butler (6-2, 3-0) the final two weeks to have a chance at a share of the GWOC North title.
Lehman (4-4, 3-2 in the Northwest Central Conference) continues to hold onto a potential playoff spot, currently sitting at No. 7 in Division VII, Region 26. The Cavaliers close the regular season with home games against Ridgemont (3-5, 2-3) and Waynesfield-Goshen (0-8, 0-5). With three teams — Riverside, Upper Scioto Valley and Fort Loramie — sitting atop the NWCC with one conference loss, Lehman’s chances of winning a share of the conference title are slim, but not mathematically impossible.
Considering it didn’t play a varsity schedule last season, what Bradford (4-4) has done this season has been nothing short of remarkable. The Railroaders — No. 12 in Division VII, Region 26 — will close the regular season at Fairview (2-6) and at home against Danville (8-0), the top-ranked Division VII team in the state. In its last six games, Danville has outscored its opponents by a combined score of 334-6 — or an average score of 55.7 to 1.0.
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong