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Area teams hit the road to open playoffs

Get out the road maps.

Three area football teams have joined the postseason party, but they will all be on the road when the first round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association playoffs begin Friday and Saturday.

The Ironton Fighting Tigers (7-2) finished fifth in Region 15 of Division IV, which sends them to Lancaster Fairfield Union to play the No. 4 seeded Falcons (9-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. It is Ironton's 21st playoff appearance.

Also finishing fifth were the Symmes Valley Vikings in Region 23 of Division VI. The Vikings have a 7:30 p.m. Friday date at Newark Catholic (6-4), which climbed to the No. 4 spot by beating Dayton Colonel White last Saturday.

The Vikings' last trip to the playoffs three years ago was an opening round game at Newark Catholic.

Making the longest bus ride of the area teams will be the Chesapeake Panthers.

Chesapeake (7-3) ended fifth and plays at No. 4 seed Steubenville Catholic at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Fairfield Union is one of four teams from its conference to make the playoffs, along with Circleville and Hamilton Township in Division III, and Amanda-Clearcreek in Division V.

The bracket for Region 15 has Waverly (8-2) at top-seed Portsmouth (9-1), Portsmouth West (8-2) at New Lexington (10-0), and Martins Ferry (10-0) playing at Coshocton (10-0).

The Ironton-Fairfield Union winner plays the Waverly-Portsmouth winner and the West-New Lex winner takes on the Martins Ferry-Coshocton survivor.

In Region 19, the Chesapeake-Steubenville Catholic winner faces the Johnstown-Woodsfield winner, and the Northridge-Amanda winner faces the Shenandoah-Barnesville winner.

In Region 23, the Symmes Valley-Newark Catholic winner goes against the Frontier-Strasburg winner while the Waterford-Danville winner goes against the Millersport-Shadyside victor.

Several teams making the playoffs did so with .500 records, and Hamilton Badin was eighth in Region 16 of Div. IV despite a 4-6 record. Youngstown Ursuline, the state champion two years ago in Division IV, qualified in Region 13 with a 5-5 record.