Clinton County heads into week 10 of the high school football season with three teams with a chance to make the playoffs.
However, all three teams have very different playoff pictures heading into the final week of the regular season.
The following projections and prognostications are in cooperation with Joe Eitel’s website. Any misreported scores, human error in calculations or forfeits could change the projections.
Clinton-Massie is in, will host
The easiest playoff projection to discuss is Clinton-Massie’s. They have clinched a playoff spot and a first-round home game. In fact, they will finish as either the first or second-seeded team in Region 16.
It’s hard to project where they will finish because it will likely come down to second level points between the Falcons and Wyoming. The Cowboys are in second heading into week 10.
Both teams have nearly identical point ranges going into the final week of the season. In all likelihood, second-level points will decide first and second.
There is very little drama in Region 16 besides final playoff seeding. Seven teams have clinched: Massie, Wyoming, Valley View, Waverly, Alter, Dunbar and Indian Hill. Chaminade-Julienne will be the eighth if they defeat unbeaten Alter in week 10.
Otherwise, one of the following teams could sneak in (and potentially play the Falcons in week 11): Unioto, Taft, Mariemont, Fenwick and Madison. Even Reading is mathematically alive, but they would need an upset win and a lot of help.
Wilmington is *likely* in with a win
As far as Wilmington goes, Region 12 may have the most interesting finish of any region in the state. A cursory look at Joe Eitel’s page could send a Hurricane fan into a panic.
Eight teams ahead of Wilmington have either clinched a playoff spot or “control their own destiny,” meaning they are in with a win.
However, if you look closer, this isn’t as bad for Wilmington as it appears on the surface.
New Richmond and Norwood, both 8-1, play Friday for the SBC American Division title.
If New Richmond loses, Joe Eitel’s site says they can’t finish with an average higher than 19.7000. If Norwood loses, they can’t finish above 18.7000.
If Wilmington beats Chillicothe, which they will need to do, they will finish with an average of no lower than 19.9000. Meaning the New Richmond-Norwood loser cannot finish ahead of Wilmington.
That’s not all: Piqua, who is 7-2, finishes with 8-1 Troy. Mount Healthy, 8-1, finishes with 7-2 Edgewood. Belmont, 6-2, finishes with 8-1 Dunbar. Trotwood-Madison, 8-1, finishes with 8-0-1 Wayne.
In the end, I think if Wilmington beats Chillicothe, they will likely get in. I have them finishing at either 19.9000 or 20.5000, pending the outcome of a toss-up game between Greenville and Sidney.
But with so many points being thrown around in week 10, I can’t guarantee Wilmington is in with a win. However, they certainly will have a very strong chance to get in.
Blanchester must win, needs help
That leaves Blanchester, who appeared to have no shot at the playoffs even as recently as a couple weeks ago.
Thankfully for the Wildcats, the final few teams battling for playoffs in Region 20 haven’t done a lot of winning and Blanchester is playing its best football of the season.
This is why only four teams have clinched playoff spots heading into week 10, one team controls its own destiny, and there are nine other teams that still have a mathematical chance at the playoffs.
The reality for Blanchester is this: They’re likely competing for only the eighth and final playoff spot. There is a mathematical chance at getting to seventh, but it’s going to take some big upsets to make happen.
Four of the six teams Blanchester has beaten play each other in week 10. I have Williamsburg over Batavia and Bethel-Tate over CNE (the result of the latter has no bearing on the final points).
The other two teams Blanchester beat are major underdogs in week 10. East Clinton plays Clinton-Massie, and Waynesville (0-9) plays at Milton-Union. A huge upset by either would significantly help Blanchester, as an average of below 12 as compared to one around 12.5 makes a big difference.
Alas, I don’t see either of those teams winning, so I have Blanchester finishing at 11.9000.
If we consider CHCA, Coldwater, Carlisle, Milton-Union, Aiken and Greeneview unreachable by Blanchester, there are several other teams that would finish above Blanchester’s average with a win.
Brookville is in with a win, but they play host to unbeaten Franklin. If they lose, I have them finishing at 12.0500, counting two week 10 wins by teams they have defeated (Tri-County North vs. National Trail and Monroe vs. Preble Shawnee).
If Anna can beat Minster, they will be right in Blanchester’s neighborhood. I have them finishing at 11.6500, with none of the five teams they have defeated winning in week 10. Drew Pasteur of fantastic50.com has Arlington over Leipsic which would move Anna’s average to 12.0000.
Anna won’t finish ahead of Blanchester with a week 10 loss, and neither will Madeira. The Mustangs have lost three straight and now travels to 7-2 Mariemont. They finish ahead of Blan with a win, but it would be an upset.
Versailles and Bethel-Tate, even with week 10 wins, cannot catch Blanchester’s 11.9000 average. Preble Shawnee could, in theory, but I have all six of the teams they have defeated losing in week 10. So I don’t see that happening.
That leaves one final team which provides the most interesting scenario: North Union. In week 10, North Union plays 3-6 Buckeye Valley, who I think they will defeat.
Of the six teams they have defeated before Friday, there is a legitimate possibility that none of them will win in week 10. The toss-up game in my mind is River Valley vs. Marion Harding.
If North Union wins but gets no help from the teams it beat, it would finish with an average of 11.9000. That is the same as Blanchester.
If that happens, the two teams could be tied for the final playoff spot. The tiebreaker is Level 3 points. It is the points earned by the teams you defeated, for the teams they’ve defeated. Entering week 10, North Union leads Blanchester 213.5 to 201.0 in Level 3 points.
So the Wildcats will have life as they take the field for week 10, and it wouldn’t take a chaotic scenario for them to get in. My gut feeling is that Blanchester wins but narrowly misses the playoffs by less than a half-point.
Matt Sexton covers high school sports for the News Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bymattsexton