Winning only certain way to playoffs
By JIM WALKER
Tribune Sports Editor
In the words of the late Al Davis, “Just win, baby.”
That’s what the Ironton Fighting Tigers and Chesapeake Panthers must do the final two weeks of the season to qualify for the Region 15 Division IV postseason playoffs.
Ironton (4-4) is currently sixth in the region and will qualify by beating Simon Kenton and Portsmouth, but the Fighting Tigers will probably be on the road to start the playoffs. Ironton’s first round looks like a trip to either Amanda-Clearcreek or Coshocton.
There is a chance Ironton would go to Martins Ferry, but only if the Purple Riders upset St. Clairsville this week.
Chesapeake (6-2) is fifth this week but the Panthers will slide a notch or two even with the win because they play 1-7 South Point.
However, the Panthers can get a lot of points next week if they can beat Coal Grove (4-3).
St. Clairsville (8-0) leads the region while Johnstown-Monroe (8-0) is second. Both have clinched a playoff spot and a home game.
St. Clairsville is at Martins Ferry on Friday and host winless Union Local next week. The Johnnies will win their final two games against East Knox (1-7) and Northridge (3-5).
In third place is Coshocton (7-1) who could take a big step up, but the Redskins are big underdogs this week as they face unbeaten defending state champion Bishop Hartley. The Redskins final game is against River View (1-7).
Amanda-Clearcreek (6-2) is fourth and should beat Bloom Carroll (2-6) this week, but next week the Aces host unbeaten Logan Elm and they will be an underdog.
Martins Ferry (7-2) is currently seventh in the region but probably needs at least one win in their final two games. Besides St. Clairsville, the Purple Riders play their season finale on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 29, at rival Bellaire (4-4) in a game that Martins Ferry is a slight favorite.
Meigs (5-3) has quietly moved into playoff contention. The Marauders should beat Vinton County (1-7) this week and face a pivotal game at home next week against Alexander (6-2) in a game that is considered a toss-up.
On the bubble waiting for someone to stumble or to get the right things to happen are Indian Valley and Wellston.
Indian Valley (5-3) has Tuslaw (4-4) and Tuscarawas Valley (4-4) to play and should win both, although Tusky Valley is not a lock.
Wellston (4-4) can only get in by winning its final two games, especially this week when they host unbeaten Athens (8-0). This forecast is very doubtful for the Rockets.
Symmes Valley (7-1) is currently fourth in Region 23 of Division VI and the Vikings figure to make the playoffs.
However, the Vikings chances of hosting a home game rest in their final two games against fifth place Portsmouth Notre Dame (7-1) and 10th place South Gallia (6-2) in their final two games.
The official Ohio High School Athletic Association playoff ratings will be released Tuesday afternoon.