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Playoffs at stake as season heads into final three weeks

Get ready for another wild finish. The final three weeks of the high school football season should be intriguing when trying to determine the postseason playoff participants.

In Region 15 of Division IV, Amanda Clearcreek appears to have first place secured. The Aces have a huge lead and they close with 2-5 Teays Valley, 4-3 Fairfield Union and 2-5 Bloom Carroll.

West Muskingum should be second this week, but their final three games don’t have many points with 0-7 Morgan and both Philo and Claymont at 2-5.

Coshocton has a chance to move up from third place if the Redskins beat 6-1 Dover next week. Their other two games are against 2-5 Claymont and 0-7 River View.

Ironton is fifth this week but could be the biggest mover. The Fighting Tigers finish with 5-2 Portsmouth, 6-1 Nelsonville-York and 6-1 Warren. If Ironton wins out, it could climb all the way to second in the region.

Heath is fourth and faces a big game with 6-1 Granville this week. They finish with 3-4 Bexley and 0-7 Lakewood.

Portsmouth is sixth this week and their hopes lie with beating Ironton. The Trojans final two games are 1-6 Marietta and 3-4 Western Brown.

Bishop Hartley is seventh and must win out. The Hawks visit Gallipolis this week and then take on 0-7 Spencerville and5-1 Bishop Ready who is fighting for a Division V playoff spot.

Alexander is eighth this week and has a woeful schedule the rest of the way. Meigs is 2-5, Vinton County is winless and Wellston is 2-5. The scary part for Alexander is Meigs is capable of beating the Spartans.

Zane Trace, Portsmouth West, Sparta Highland and Fairland are next and need a lot to happen.

West is 5-2 and still has Lucasville Valley and Wheelersburg to play.

Fairland is 5-2 and must win out including a season-ending battle with Coal Grove.

Speaking of Coal Grove, the Hornets’ hopes of making the playoffs for the first time since 1992 rest in winning their final three games, mainly the Fairland showdown for the Ohio Valley Conference championship.

Coal Grove’s other two teams are against 1-6 Rock Hill and River Valley.

If the Hornets falter, Wheelersburg and West Lafayette Ridgewood are ready to leapfrog.

Coal Grove is seventh this week, one spot ahead of Nelsonville-York. However, N-Y must beat unbeaten Athens this week and Ironton the following week in order to make the playoffs.

The Buckeyes’ final game is against winless Vinton County.

In Division VI, Symmes Valley is sixth this week and should qualify for the playoffs by winning two of its final three games. That’s good since the Vikings play at unbeaten Oak Hill this Friday.

The Vikings still have a chance at hosting a first round game if they can upset Oak Hill.

Enjoy the final three weeks. It will be exciting each week.

—— Sinatra ——

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.