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Ironton back in Cincinnati

Two teams unsure if they would make the playoffs are now one step from the Final Four.

Monday, November 15, 1999

Two teams unsure if they would make the playoffs are now one step from the Final Four.

Going into the final week of the regular season, the Ironton Fighting Tigers thought they might need a win in order to make the Ohio High School Athletic Association postseason football playoffs.

Ironton lost to Columbus St. Francis DeSales 27-13 but still qualified at No. 8.

The same held true for the Germantown Valley View Spartans who pounded a once-beaten Eaton 38-0 to claim the No. 7 spot.

But come 7 p.m. Saturday at Cincinnati Princeton’s Viking Stadium, the two lowest seeds will meet for the Division IV Region 16 championship.

Valley View played at Princeton Saturday night against Wheelersburg.

Ironton, 8-3, and Valley View, 11-1, will be meeting for the fourth time, all in the postseason.

The Fighting Tigers won the first two meetings in the state semifinals in 1992 and 1993 by scores of 24-0 and 29-9, but Valley View used a big fourth quarter last season to win 50-20 after leading just 22-20 after three quarters.

Germantown will be a heavy favorite after blasting Wheelersburg 36-12 in the regional semifinals.

The Spartans finished ranked fourth in the Associated Press poll with 196 points, just five behind Campbell Memorial which has already been eliminated from postseason play.

Wheelersburg finished ranked fifth in the poll.

Ironton barely earned enough points to be considered in the final poll. The Fighting Tigers had a mere 17 points and placed 17th among the final 19 teams ranked.

However, Ironton did upset Cincinnati Wyoming 28-14 in the first round. Wyoming was ranked eighth in the final poll and was the top-seeded team in Region 16. Wyoming also holds the distinction of knocking off Valley View 28-7 last year in the second round of the playoffs.

The other Division IV games have Wickliffe (10-2) playing No. 2-ranked Sandusky Perkins (12-0) at Lakewood Stadium for the Region 13 title, Coldwater (9-3) going against Oak Harbor (11-1) at Findlay Donnell Stadium for the Region 14 championship, and Coshocton (10-2) playing top-ranked Youngstown Cardinal Mooney (11-1) at Canton Fawcett Stadium in the Region 15 title game.

Unofficially, the Ironton-Valley View winner would be paired against Coldwater if it beats Oak Harbor. However, if Coldwater would lose, Ironton or Valley View would play Coshocton or Mooney.

The OHSAA does not announced state semifinal paring possibilities in advance.