Playoff picture clearing up

Published 1:40 am Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The playoff picture is starting to take focus.

Ironton, Martins Ferry, New Lexington, Belmont Union Local, Westfall and Bishop Hartley have all virtually clinched a playoff spot in Region 15 of Division IV, but the order of finish remains unclear.

If Ironton and Martins Ferry win their final two games, it will be a photo finish as to which team wins the region.

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Ironton has a huge points game at Nelsonville-York on Friday. The Buckeyes are leading Region 19 of Division V. The Fighting Tigers close with Warren, a Division III school that is currently worth 24 points.

Martins Ferry leads the region and should win its last two games against John Glenn (5-3) and Bellaire (3-5).

New Lexington (8-0) is second this week, but the Panthers have their toughest two opponents left, Tri-Valley and Sheridan, and both are potential losses.

Union Local (7-1) is third but will be an underdog against Harrison Central this week before finishing with 1-7 Barnesville.

Westfall should get some points with a win over Piketon this week, but they will be hurt in their final total due to the season finale against winless Unioto.

Hartley has Spencerville and their last game is against rival Bishop Ready, also in the playoff hunt in Division V.

Gallipolis is seventh but is not out of the woods. The Blue Devils will have to play well to beat Zanesville before ending the season with Marietta.

Although Gallipolis will probably split of their two games, they may still qualify if two of the next three teams lose and that is very possible.

St. Clairsville has Steubenville Catholic and Harrison Central left. The Red Devils should win this week but lose to Harrison.

If that happens, Licking Heights or Meigs will grab the last spot.

Licking Heights should beat 0-8 Millersport, but they don’t figure to get past West Jefferson (7-1).

Meigs has two easy games remaining against Wellston and Belpre, but not many points are available.