While the four Clinton County schools match up in divisional battles, there is still plenty to play for among the rest of the SBAAC teams.
Officially, neither division has been decided.
In the American Division, Goshen has won at least a share of the title but can win it outright with a victory at New Richmond Friday.
In the National Division, Bethel-Tate is in the same situation, looking to claim total supremacy with a win at Fayetteville-Perry.
Other SBAAC games have Clinton-Massie at Wilmington, East Clinton at Blanchester, Clermont Northeastern at Williamsburg, and Batavia at Western Brown.
All games are set to kick-off at 7 p.m.
For Goshen and Bethel-Tate, not only is an outright league title on the line but an unbeaten 10-0 regular season.
The Warriors have clinched a playoff berth but would like to host a first-round matchup. They need a win to have that opportunity for one more game at Jim Brown Stadium.
“It has been a fun ride,” Goshen coach Ryan George said. “Our kids have worked hard and this has been very enjoyable watching this team grow.”
The Tigers, on the other hand, must win to make it to a Week 11 game.
“Getting to 10-0 means a lot,” Jeff Essig, the Bethel-Tate coach, said. “I was fortunate enough to achieve that at Western Brown under coach Evan Dreyer (current Anderson head coach) as an offensive coordinator, but this could be the first for me as a head coach.
“It means a lot for our program. Our kids have the chance to make history each time they take the field for however long we are able to continue to play. This run has also brought our community together. The support of the Bethel-Tate community has been great. I have received many congratulatory e-mails, texts, tweets, and even handwritten letters from alumni.
“One of my program goals was to make Bethel-Tate football matter. Having the opportunity to reach 10-0 would help to achieve that goal.”
Goshen and New Richmond is one of the marquee matchups in the area. The Warriors are 9-0, 4-0 while the Lions are 7-2, 3-1. The game may have lost a bit of luster outside the SBAAC with New Richmond’s big loss to Clinton-Massie (44-14) last week. But George isn’t buying in to that notion.
“We have struggled with them in the past,” he said, noting Goshen’s last win over New Richmond was in 2009 (21-14).
The average score in the last seven Lions’ victories over the Warriors has been 33-12, so Goshen has a lot of ground to make up to end that streak.
Bethel-Tate goes on the road to meet the Rockets.
“It will be their senior night so we expect emotions to be high,” Essig said.
Essig believes his Tigers may have an advantage in conditioning and the fact that Bethel-Tate has several players that play just offense or defense and not both.
“Many of their players will play both ways which may be an advantage for us,” he said.
The last time the Tigers experienced a loss was in the pre-season finale against Gamble Montessori. Senior Cooper Dunn told his Tiger teammates after that game he never wanted to experience that feeling again.
“Our guys took his words to heart,” Essig said. “This season was and continues to be one for the record books. The opportunities set forth each week have shown exactly what kind of team we are. This team will be forever remembered here at Bethel-Tate.”
And, what makes that even more special is the memories are still in the making.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email email@example.com or on Twitter @wnjsports
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