It's extremely hard to believe, but it's true.
There are just two weeks remaining in the regular season.
With that, scoreboard watching is getting to its highest point. Several area teams have wrapped up playoff berths, according to unofficial rankings that are posted around the Internet, but some have work to do before being declared in the postseason.
Now, the big question for many is whether or not they'll play host to a game?
We feel confident in thinking that Shadyside has basically locked up a Week 11 game at Fleming Field. The Tigers appear to be well on their way to wrapping up the top seed in Region 25 as well, which means Glouster-Trimble and Steubenville Central would both be on the opposite side of the bracket.
St. Clairsville and Martins Ferry are currently sitting in the third and fourth spots, respectively. Bonus points are going to be critical and if you look at remaining schedules, the Red Devils play teams with a combined four victories, while the Riders play teams with eight the rest of the way.
Bellaire - playing in Division VI - is the beneficiary of playing a bigger schedule. The Big Reds play two Division VII teams and everything else was bigger than them, which is huge for points on the first level. Plus, the teams in the Buckeye 8 beat up on each other, so there are bonus points to be had.
The Big Reds will enter this week's trip to Union Local in third of Division VI, Region 21.
In case you're wondering, the OHSAA has a stipulation for teams that play on fields that aren't lighted. Even though Division VI is scheduled for Friday nights in the tournment, the Big Reds would be able to play at Nelson Field. The game would be played at 1:30 p.m.
Monroe Central is a team that's turned the corner. Coach Jay Circosta's club is currently 5-3 and finds itself right in the thick of the chase in Division VI, Region 21 in seventh place. The Seminoles finish with Frontier and Buckeye Trail, both of which are highly winable games.
Could a possible Bellaire vs. Monroe Central meeting be on the horizon?
In Division VII, Beallsville is also in the mix of earning a spot. The Blue Devils are one of the best stories of the season. They're currently 5-3 and find themselves in seventh place. They have a tough game against Bishop Donahue this week before closing against winless St. John Central.
It's really entertaining to try to predict who will be seeded and playing where, but in the end, it comes down to what transpires on the field.
So, once again, we can't until Friday and Saturday!
A pair of highly intriguing games are on the card in the area this weekend. On Friday, Steubenville visits Wheeling Park. Could this be the season that the Patriots get the Big Red monkey off their backs?
They certainly have the capability to do so, but they must overcome the mental part.
Steubenville goes into meetings againt Park, expecting to win. Wheeling Park goes in hoping to win. Both teams need a victory in the worst way. Big Red is chasing a playoff berth in Division IV, while the Patriots are trying to play on their home field for a round or two in the West Virginia Class AAA tournament.
On Saturday night, a rare week 9 meetin' of unbeatens unfolds when Madonna hosts Steubenville Central. This has the makings of a dandy. Both teams have high-powered offenses and stingy defenses.
In a quarterback driven world, the Crusaders and Blue Dons both feature a dandy in Brenton Collabella and Ross Comis, respectively.
I know Ohio State plays Saturday night, but if you're looking for something to do, making a trip to Jimmy Carey Stadium might be well worth the time.
Speaking of Collabella, congratulations are certainly in order. He became just the second quarterback from an OVAC member school to surpass the 7,000-yard barrier. The four-year regular surpassed the milestone on Saturday night against Weir.
Bellaire senior Spencer Badia enters this Friday's game at Union Local needing nine yards. He'd become the third and second from his school.
Keep in mind that whatever coach gets to guide the Ohio side in the Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Charity Football Classic next July could have both of Collabella and Badia at his disposal.
Ironically, it's Class 3A's turn. The top two teams currently? Bellaire and Steubenville Central.
Big Reds' great Nate Davis is the all-time leader with 7,938 yards.
I am all for having the best atmosphere possible at area high school games. That's why I am such a proponent of local teams playing local teams as often as possible.
I don't think the atmosphere should be created at the expense of the school's fight song and marching band. Too often teams are trying to create a college or professional like experience by playing music on the public address system as the teams take the field or during crucial situations in games.
I am for some of that, but when the team takes the field or scores, that's a time for the fight song to be played by the band. Remember, there needs to be school spirit and too many people - kids and adults - don't even know their school's fight song.
On top of that, those students in the band invest a lot of time in their honing their craft as well.
There's a happy medium to be found, but I don't think any of that should come at the expense of the school's fight song.
CHECKING IN ON THE LOCALS
WESTERVILLE CENTRAL played a rare Thursday game against city-rival Westerville South. Coach John Magistro's team kept scoring points at will and more importantly, kept winning. The Warhawks are now 7-1 on the season and will receive a stern test this week when they take on 7-1 Hilliard Darby.
CANTON McKINLEY stayed unblemished on the season with an easy 43-21 victory against Massillon Perry. Coach Todd Filtz' Bulldogs are 8-0, have climbed to number four in the OHSAA rankings and will host 1-7 Youngstown Boardman this week.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org