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Local teams face familiar foes in playoffs

Ironton senior fullback Brian Warner (33) drags a Portsmouth defender during Friday’s 45-25 win over the Trojans. (The Ironton Tribune / Tony Shotsky of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

It’s the rematch round.

The teams who ended the playoffs last year against the Ironton Fighting Tigers, Coal Grove Hornets, and Symmes Valley Vikings will be the opponents in the first round games this season.

Ironton — top seed in Region 15 of Division IV — lost 20-14 in overtime last year in the regional championship game to the Coshocton Redskins. Ironton (8-2) will host Coshocton (8-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the first round of the Ohio High School Athletic Association playoffs.

Coal Grove (8-2) lost 42-14 in the first round of the Region 19 Division V playoffs at Oak Hill last season and they will make a return trip at 7 p.m. Saturday to face the 9-1 Oaks, top seeded in the region.

Symmes Valley (9-1) made the long four-hour trip to Malvern and lost 43-0 in the first round of the playoffs last year. The Hornets (7-3) will make the trip to the Vikings’ home field this time as the two teams meet at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Region 23 Division VI playoffs.

Quarterfinal winners advance to play next week in the regional semifinals.

The Ironton-Coshocton winner will play the Portsmouth West-Sparta Highlands winner, the Coal Grove-Oak Hill winner faces the Minford and Nelsonville-York winner, and the Symmes Valley-Malvern winner will meet the Shadyside-Trimble winner.

This marks Ironton’s 28th playoff appearance, third most in state history. Coal Grove qualified for the ninth time and Symmes Valley has now reached the postseason on eight occasions.

Coshocton is making its 11th playoff appearance, Malvern is making its seventh trip to the postseason while Oak Hill has qualified twice.

NOTE: Tickets for all regional tournament games are $7 in advance and $9 at the gate. Schools receive only a percentage of the presale. All sales at the gate go to the OHSAA.

Symmes Valley will sell tickets during school hours until 2:30 p.m. Friday.

Fans are encouraged to buy tickets in advance to not only help the schools but to save themselves $2 a ticket.