By Tom Gamble, GCL South Commissioner
This is the final day of the high school football regular season, and there are playoff implications for all four Greater Catholic League South Division football teams. St. Xavier hosts Louisville St. Xavier in a game the Bombers must win in order to qualify for the Ohio High School Athletic Association State Football Tournament, while La Salle needs to win on the road at Elder and hope for some help from other teams to earn a berth. Both Elder and Moeller have earned postseason berths but are both attempting to earn a first-round home game with victories.
St. Xavier (4-5) appeared on its way to locking up a playoff berth last Saturday, when the Bombers led Cleveland St. Ignatius, 20-10, in the third quarter before the Wildcats reeled off 17 unanswered points in the second half to emerge with a 27-20 win over St. Xavier on the road. As a result, St. Xavier needs to defeat Louisville St. X (7-2), winner of seven consecutive games, to earn a playoff spot. Kickoff is 7 tonight at St. Xavier Stadium. The last time St. Xavier finished 5-5 in the regular season was two years ago, when the Bombers became the first team in Ohio prep football history to earn a playoff spot at 5-5 and go on to win the state title.
The Bombers are No. 11 in this week’s DI, Region 4 Harbin computer ratings that are used by the OHSAA to qualify teams for the postseason. The top eight teams in each region qualify for the state playoffs. Tonight’s game at St. Xavier is also part of the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown, which celebrates its 21-year anniversary this season as the nation’s premier high school football showcase.
La Salle (4-5, 0-2 GCL South) is attempting to qualify for the DII state playoffs, but it will be more difficult for the Lancers – who have dropped three straight games since starting the season 4-1. La Salle, which currently sits at No. 10 in the DII, Region 8 Harbin ratings, needs a road victory at Elder and then some help from other teams in the region with the outcomes of games tonight. La Salle entered GCL South play riding a three-game winning streak back in week six, but the Lancers fell in overtime at home to Moeller, 21-14, and then lost to St. Xavier and – most recently – Trinity Catholic from St. Louis last Friday.
Elder (5-4, 1-1) and Moeller (6-3) are both in the DI state playoffs, but are looking to finish the regular season holding down one of the region’s top four spots in order to host a first-round game when the OHSAA state playoffs begin next Friday. Elder is currently No. 4 in the regional computer rankings, while Moeller is at No. 5. The Crusaders, though, could likely pick up the necessary points to host a first-round game if they win tonight against Winton Woods (8-1), winner of eight straight games and No. 1 in the Region 8 ratings. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Lockland’s Roettger Stadium.
Elder hosts La Salle at 7 tonight at The Pit in Price Hill.
The OHSAA state football pairings will be announced Sunday.