By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
If the Ohio High School Athletic Association were to kick off its state football playoffs today, all four members of the Greater Catholic League South Division would qualify, and two teams would hold down No. 1 seeds in their respective regions and host first-round games. But there is one more week of the regular season before the playoffs begin on Friday, November 3, and that is enough time for the GCL South teams to improve their playoff positioning and possibly four schools earn a home game in the opening round after completion of week 10 games this Friday.
St. Xavier (8-1) and La Salle (7-2) currently hold down the top spots in Regions 4 and 8, respectively, and, as a result, have locked up home games in the first round of the OHSAA State Tournament. The top eight teams from each region in the Harbin computer ratings qualify for postseason play, and the top four finishers earn the right to host a first-round game. The remaining rounds are all played at neutral sites selected each week by the OHSAA.
GCL South members Elder (6-3) and Moeller (4-5) are sixth and seventh, respectively, in this week’s Region 4 ratings released Tuesday by the OHSAA – with both need wins in their final games to be absolutely certain that they earn a postseason berth. And, depending on outcomes of the games Friday involving teams vying for the Region 4 spots, one or both could potentially host a first-round game. But it won’t be easy.
Elder, which has won two straight, travels to La Salle in a game that will determine second place in the GCL South behind champion St. Xavier. Moeller, which has faced Elder, Cleveland St. Ignatius (neutral) and Lakewood St. Edward on the road the last three weeks, now travels to Winton Woods (8-1). The Warriors won at La Salle, 18-15, and lost to Elder, 35-34, in overtime on a missed extra point earlier this season.
St. Xavier, the defending Division I state champion, had its 14-game winning streak snapped last Saturday in a rematch of last year’s state title game – falling 28-14 to Cleveland St. Ignatius on the road. The Bombers close the regular season at Louisville St. Xavier at 7:30 p.m. Friday, looking to start another winning streak. The Bombers won this game, 29-3, a year ago to earn a state playoff berth. St. Xavier, according to the website JoeEitel.com that projects the weekly Harbin ratings, St. Xavier has locked up the top seed in Region 4. Colerain is the only other team in that region to have secured a home game, meaning that Elder and Moeller are still alive to potentially host.
In Region 8, La Salle and Winton Woods are the only schools to have locked up first-round home games.
The outcome of Friday’s Greater Miami Conference game between Lakota East and Moeller is a key game for those teams competing for playoff spots in Region 4. Mason is fifth in the latest Harbin ratings, while East is No. 10. Milford and Sycamore are third and fourth, respectively, entering games against West Clermont and Princeton on Friday.
The final Harbin ratings and officials playoff pairings will be released by the OHSAA on Sunday.
Here are top teams in this week’s Harbin computer ratings:
Region 4 - 1. St. Xavier (8-1) 30.8131, 2. Colerain (7-2) 24.3056, 3. Milford (8-1) 19.3944, 4. Sycamore (7-2) 18.0889, 5. Mason (7-2) 17.2, 6. Elder (6-3) 16.9132, 7. Archbishop Moeller (4-5) 16.4389, 8. Fairfield (5-4) 15.7611, 9. West Clermont (6-3) 14.0111, 10. Lakota East (6-3) 13.7278, 11. Springboro (4-5) 11.3333, 12. Princeton (4-5) 6.1389
Region 8 - 1. La Salle (7-2) 28.9833, 2. Winton Woods (8-1) 27.1616, 3. Anderson (8-1) 24.8333, 4. Sidney (8-1) 22.7944, 5. Dayton Belmont (9-0) 20.644, 6. Harrison (7-2) 20.6056, 7. Troy (7-2) 19.3056, 8. Edgewood (7-2) 17.8444, 9. Chillicothe (7-2) 17.6333, 10. Ashville Teays Valley (7-2) 15.2556, 11. Marion Harding (6-3) 12.4949, 12. Lima Senior (4-5) 9.2722