Written by Tom Ramstetter
A rematch between perennial Division I powers Colerain and St. Xavier in Region 4 will highlight the first weekend of the Ohio state football playoffs that begin Friday and Saturday in pairings released Sunday afternoon by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.
Colerain (10-0), Turpin (10-0) and Clinton-Massie (10-0) earned No. 1 seeds in their divisions. Colerain will host No. 8 St. Xavier (6-4) in Division I Saturday at 7 p.m. Division II Turpin will host No. 8 Tippecanoe (8-2) in Region 8 and Division IV Clinton-Massie will host No. 8 Madeira (9-1) in Region 16 Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The matchup between Colerain and St. Xavier is a rematch of a 31-28 Cardinals win on Sept. 7 at St. Xavier. Colerain kicker Zac Gehner was good on a 39-yard field goal with 31 seconds remaining to win it.
St. Xavier holds a 7-3 advantage in nine games between the schools since 2005 and a 4-1 edge in playoff games in that span, including a 28-15 win last season in a Region 4 semifinal at Nippert Stadium. The Bombers hold an 18-8 lead in the all-time series.
Colerain easily reached the playoffs, but St. Xavier narrowly qualified after trudging through a brutal schedule. The Bombers’ other losses came at the hands on Associated Press Ohio Division I No. 1 Cleveland St. Ignatius and No. 2 Lakewood St. Edward, and Kentucky Class 6A No. 1 Louisville Trinity.
“The goal every year is you want to win your first game, you want to win your league title and you want to get into the playoffs,” St. Xavier coach Steve Specht said. “We achieved the third goal. I’m excited for our kids and I’m excited for the community. I don’t care who we’re playing, we’re just excited that we have an opportunity to go to the second season.”
Also Saturday night in Region 4, No. 2 Springboro (10-0) will host No. 7 Lakota East, No. 3 Moeller (7-3) will host No. 6 Huber Heights Wayne (7-3) and No. 4 Elder (7-3) will host No. 5 Sycamore (9-1).
Division III and V games will also take place Saturday at 7 p.m.
McNicholas (7-3) is the only local team to qualify in Division III, Region 12. The No. 5 Rockets will travel to No. 4 Gallia Academy (8-2).
In Division V, the top five seeds in Region 20 are all 10-0, including No. 2 Summit Country Day. The Silver Knights will be the only local participant in Region 20 and will host No. 7 North Lewisburg Triad (8-2).
Division II, IV and VI will play Friday night games.
Along with Turpin in Region 8, No. 2 Winton Woods (7-3) will host No. 7 Edgewood (8-2), No. 3 Mount Healthy (9-1) will host No. 6 Trotwood Madison (8-2), the defending Division II state champions, and No. 4 Franklin (9-1) will host No. 5 Northwest (8-2).
Norwood, Batavia, Fenwick and CHCA join Clinton-Massie and Madeira as local teams in Division IV, Region 16. No. 4 Batavia (10-0) will host No. 5 CHCA (9-1) and No. 3 Norwood (9-1) will host No. 6 Fenwick (8-2).
No locals qualified in Division VI, Region 24.
The state tournament will conclude with state final matchups in Divisions II, IV and VI Nov. 30 and in Division I, III and V Dec. 1 in Stark County.