• 43°

Playoffs won’t be settled until final games are played

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

And coming down the stretch it’s … anybody’s guess.

As always, the final week of the season will determine who and where teams will play when the Ohio High School Athletic Association postseason football playoffs begin next week.

Most teams have secured a playoff spot, but there remains uncertainty what positions they will hold when the smoke clears after Saturday’s games.

There are a few teams who still have a chance at making the playoffs depending on the outcome of other teams ahead of them in the computer ratings.

In Region 15 of Division IV, the qualifying teams should — in order — be Johnstown-Monroe, St. Clairsville, Coshocton, Martins Ferry, Amanda-Clearcreek, Chesapeake, Ironton and Gnadenhutten Indian Valley.

The final group of eight could change in the event Coal Grove beats Chesapeake or if Meigs wins and Indian Valley loses.

If Martins Ferry is upset by Bellaire on Saturday, Ironton could jump up one spot to fifth. Amanda would stay fourth even by losing to favored Logan Elm. However, Amanda could vault to third with a win.

Coal Grove can keep its playoff hopes alive by beating Chesapeake. The Hornets currently sit at No. 13 but can take a major leap this week if they can get some help.

Hillsdale, Liberty Union and Wheelersburg are all ahead of the Hornets but could very easily lose. Centerburg should win but won’t get many points since the Trojans play 2-7 Utica.

Smithville is currently eighth but plays winless Chippewa and will probably only get a maximum of 11 points on the second level and 4.5 on the first level. It will be close, but the projection is Coal Grove would have a 15.9 average and Smithville a 15.6 total.

The other key games for Coal Grove are Norwayne vs. Hillsdale, Wheelersburg vs. Portsmouth West and Liberty Union vs. Grandview Heights.

In Region 23 of Division VI, Symmes Valley has locked up a home game and will be the No. 1 seed with a win at South Gallia on Friday.

This week’s computer ratings will be released Tuesday afternoon.

The final official ratings and playoff pairings will be announced on Sunday afternoon. The top eight teams in each of the four regions of the six divisions qualify for the playoffs.

Teams are paired according to their finish in each region: eight at one, seven and two, six at three and five at four.