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Football Fever Week 8
October 14, 2011 - Michael Palmer
Week 8 and as they say at the race track, "Here they come down the stretch!"
Several teams are in the drivers seat and headed for week 11 and the playoffs and more are still in the hunt. For many of these local teams, week 8 plays a key role in that decision.
Ohio Division V Region 17 number 2 ranked Monroe Central and number 4 ranked Barnesville face off tonight and it is the premier ticket in the valley for Friday Night football.
While Barnesvile still has Magnolia and Shadyside on their schedule, this is the last test for the Seminoles and may be the last opportunity to pick up points for the playoff computer rankings. If the Noles win they can start making plans for a home game in week 11, if they come up short they will be in a battle for the coveted home field advantage.
Barnesville is currently undefeated, but with a schedule weak in points they need a win tonight to feel secure about their playoff spot.
Drive east on I-70 to St. Clairsville where their team sits atop D IV Region 15 and are number 7 in the AP coaches poll, the only local team ranked besides Steubenville's Big Red. According to compliments from opposing coaches the Red Devils are on track to make some noise in the playoffs. They are fast but they are young at a lot of spots, so looking ahead is one thing their coaching staff is likely to be battling with a road contest with Buckeye Local tonight and the Purple Riders next Friday. If they can stay focused and healthy, St. C has a very good shot at finishing in that first place spot and maybe even moving up in the coaches poll over the next two weeks.
Martins Ferry sits at number 6 in that same division and after a tough loss to Indian Creek last week, the Riders need to win tonight at Edison. The game against St. C next week is followed by the rivalry contest with Bellaire in week 10, so Martins Ferry is fighting to stay in the top 8 every snap from now until the final whistle that Saturday afternoon in Bellaire.
Edison and Harrison Central are 14 and 15 in this region, basketball coaches may want to take note that they are down in the polls but are not yet mathematically eliminated from the hunt.
Bridgport is in the same predicament in Division VI. The Bulldogs are sitting at number 18 with a 3-4 record. The Shadyside Tigers are 4-3 and in the top 8, currently filling the number 6 spot.
In region 23 River is 3-4 and sits just outside the playoffs at number 9 and Beallsville is in fourth place at 5-2.
The Bulldogs travel to Blue Devil country tonight to try and heep their playoff hopes alive while Dave Caldwell is hoping to keep his team eligible for a home game in the playoffs.
River needs a win over Shenandoah tonight if the Pilots are to have any shot at the playoffs. With 1-6 Buckeye Trail and 0-7 Frontier remaining on their season ledger, if they lose to the Zeps .....cue the fat lady.
Shadyside will need to step it up, Fairfeild Christian this week, followed by a Bridgeport squad hungry for some payback from last season and finally Barnesville. It is gut check time for the Tigers.
Buckeye Local is in an extremely tough division for the playoffs, D III region 11.
Minerva, Dover, Steubenville, Youngstown Cardinal Mooney and Sheridan fill the top 5 in that region. The Panthers are 5-2 but are dwelling in the lowly number 19 spot, while Indian Creek sits at number 9 with an identical 5-2 mark. A loss to the Red Devils can seal the fate of Buckeye Local this week, but if the Panthers could pull off an upset this week and beat Creek next week, there could be a reversal of fortune for the boys from WWII Memorial Stadium.
Remembering this is high school football and anything can happen, it makes for a fun three weeks ahead.
I am beginning my night at Beallsville and then driving north on 800 for the battle in Barnesville/ The forecast says that the rain should be mostly gone by then, let's hope so.
What are you doing tonight? How about coming out for some fall classic fun and attending a high school football game!
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