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Fighting Tigers set sights on home playoff game

With a playoff berth a virtual lock, the Ironton Fighting Tigers will now turn their sights toward another goal.

After a one-year hiatus, Ironton virtually locked up a playoff spot in Region 15 of Division IV following its 54-6 win over Jackson last week. Ironton’s next goal is to get a first-round home game.

Ironton (4-3) jumped from No. 8 to third in the region with an 11.5410 average. Martins Ferry remains the leader at 12.3465 followed by New Lexington at 12.1678.

The rest of the top 10 has Belmont Union Local in fourth place followed by St. Clairsville, Westfall, Gallipolis, Columbus Bishop Hartley, Meigs and Licking Heights.

Martins Ferry (6-1) should win its final three games against St. Clairsville, John Glenn and Bellaire. But even if the Purple Riders win out, Ironton could be the regional champion by winning its last three games against Portsmouth, Nelsonville-York and Warren.

New Lexington is 7-0, but the Panthers have their toughest games ahead. They should beat John Glenn (5-2) this week, but it’s doubtful they can beat Tri-Valley and Sheridan the final two games.

Union Local is expected to beat Buckeye Local this week and Barnesville (1-6) the final week, but they are underdogs next week against Harrison Central.

Union Local’s only loss was 60-18 to Martins Ferry.

St. Clairsville has a tough finish, too. The Red Devils (5-2) must play Steubenville Catholic next week and close with Harrison. They are underdogs to Martins Ferry and Harrison.

Westfall (4-3) has three wins ahead, but none of the teams will provide many points. Huntington Ross is 1-6, Piekton 4-3, and Unioto 0-7.

Gallipolis (4-3) should beat Wellston (3-4) this week and Marietta (2-5) in week 10, but it’s doubtful the Blue Devils can beat Zanesville next week.

Much like Westfall, Hartley (5-2) has three wins ahead but those teams don’t have a lot points: Madison Plains (4-3), Spencerville (3-4) and Bishop Ready (3-2).

Meigs (5-2) will probably qualify by default as teams above them lose. The Marauders had three teams ahead they should beat, but not with many points. Meigs plays Alexander (3-43), Wellston (3-4) and Belpre (2-5).

Licking Heights (5-2) has Grandview Heights (2-5), Millersport (0-7) and West Jefferson (6-1) ahead. The Hornets should lose to West Jefferson.

The top eight teams in each region of all six divisions qualify for the playoffs. A list of the top 10 teams appear under “Scoreboard” on Page 12.