As the football season draws to a climax, so do the area games this weekend portend climactic outcomes relative to the post-season. Here’s some suggestions we’ll make for you if you want to get out and see one for yourself. They say…the weather will be beautiful!
Back on Week 1 of the football season (which seems like about a week ago), I took the time to highlight some of the better opening games around the area – non-conference games that were equally competitive, giving a glimpse of the relative strengths of favored teams in the GWOC, the Cross County Conference, the Central Buckeye Conference, and the Southwest Buckeye League.
Fast forward seven weeks and we stand on the threshold of the final trimester of the regular season, with some teams having played as we thought they would play…but better, others have exceeded expectations.
And if you’re a reader of the www.Joeeitel.com website you’re no doubt checking records and remaining schedules to see how your team, or your league, might stack up in the playoff hunt and a game in Week 11.
That said, this week, Week 7, has some very interesting matchups considering league titles and that chance to extend seasons with a playoff bid; and we’ll share suggestions on games you might want to see if you can pry yourself away from outdoor chores and what’s forecast as a beautiful October weekend. Games we’d see ourselves…..!
1) To get things off right, consider Miami East at Covington on the Thursday night game televised by Fox, out of Dayton. Cross County Conference football doesn’t usually generate much drama because typically no one can compete with either Covington or Miami East. But this isn’t typical because when East and Covington play each other it is good football and there IS drama. Covington is ranked #1 in Region 28, Division VII, and is unbeaten, but barely. The Buccs’ defense has struggled to keep opponents off the scoreboard and Troy Christian (4-1) came within an two-point conversion on the game’s final play of beating Covington two weeks back. East is 5-1, ranked #7 in Region 24, their lone loss coming to Milton on Week 1 (20-14). And the Vikings might just be the best Division VI team in the area that no one’s talking about. They’re young, they have athletes, and they’re improving because they well-coached by the venerable Max Current. This is not the same grind-it-out triple option Covington team of the past; new coach Ty Cates spreads the field and throws the football. And East has always featured the full menu of offensive options. Fun game, at Covington, on Thursday. Get there!
2) St. Henry at Anna on Friday night…a game that pits a pair of teams with 4-2 records trying to keep pace with Marion and Coldwater at the top of the league; but realistically, trying to finish with at least a 7-3 record, get some help outside the MAC, and qualify to play on Week 11. Anna got flattened last week, 41-0 by Marion, while St. Hank sits just outside the top eight at #9 in Division VI, Region 24, with plenty of incentive. If they can win Friday, plus two of their remaining three against Marion, St. John, and Ft. Recovery, anything’s possible. For Anna’s part, you can say the same as their remaining games after this weekend are with Parkway, Coldwater, and Minster. 7-3 would be a marked improvement for both teams, but one of them has to win Friday to have a shot. We suggest this one highly, and the concessions off the grill at Anna are among the best.
3) Sidney @ Tipp on Friday…and frankly this game is probably interesting only to their respective partisans. Both are coming off embarrassing performances last week, and both need to win to have any hopes at all for the post-season. Sidney is 3-3, Tipp is 4-2, but more…Tipp is trying to prove that they can indeed play with the bigger, faster competition of the GWOC after leaving the Central Buckeye Conference last season. They looked suspect against an impressive Troy last Friday, but Sidney has injury issues at quarterback and could be susceptible. A win would make Tipp 5-2, with remaining games against Piqua, Greenville and Butler. This is one they need to win. Sidney simply has to win to resurrect their season after a disastrous start and the loss of starting quarterback Andre Gordon. And then backup Jack Feazel broke his ankle two weeks ago. It’s football, what can I say!
4) And finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include 5-1 Troy Christian in our best games list, at home on Friday against 4-2 Tri-County North; and how about two CCC games of interest in the same night? North is much bigger and has more depth than TC, but so, too, was Covington and the Eagles came oh-so-close to knocking off the #1 team in the region. But fittingly, because they did play Covington so tough TC is ranked right behind them at #2. North can run the ball and put more than 250 rushing yards up last week in a losing effort to Covington, but Troy Christian can both run, and throw, the football and that’s how they almost beat Covington. No hangover from that game, either. They promptly went on the road last week at Ansonia and beat the Tigers 48-0. Should they win Friday they would finish, in order, with Arcanum, Miami East, and winless Mississinawa. Two of those three are absolutely winable and at 8-2 TC makes the post-season, easily. North probably won’t bring that many people to Troy, so there’s a good chance you’ll have your choice of seats. I would expect this to be a very entertaining, and maybe surprising, football game.