By Josh Brown
MIAMI COUNTY — League championships. Playoff positioning. Postseason berths at all. Winning seasons. Even pride.
Everyone has something to play for every week of the season. But in Week 10, that intensity goes up to 11.
Two Miami County football teams have already clinched home games for the first round of the postseason, with two more possibly vying to host Week 11 games. Four teams are fighting to either get or stay in the playoff picture, and three teams are playing for either outright division titles or shares of their league crown.
The stakes just couldn’t get higher across the board.
It starts in Springfield, where the Tippecanoe Red Devils will travel to face Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division rival Kenton Ridge. The Devils come into the night with an 8-1 record, 3-1 in the division, with their only loss being an upset at the hands of Springfield Shawnee in Week 6. The Cougars, meanwhile, are 7-2 overall and fell to 3-1 in division play after Stebbins handed them a Week 9 defeat.
Last year, Kenton Ridge upset Tippecanoe in the final week of the season, knocking the Devils out of contention for the division title and grabbing a share for itself. Tippecanoe got its revenge the next week, though, defeating the Cougars in the opening round of the playoffs.
With the Cougars dropping to Division IV, that rematch won’t be happening again this year — and with Tippecanoe leaving for the Greater Western Ohio Conference next season, this is the Devils’ final chance to leave their mark on the CBC Kenton Trail Division. The winner of Friday’s game gets the title outright.
That’s all the motivation Tippecanoe needs this week — the Devils have already clinched a home game in the postseason, sitting in second in D-III, Region 10. Unbeaten Wapakoneta — which defeated Tipp in the second round of the playoffs last year — currently holds the top spot, with 6-3 Trotwood in third. The Devils do have a slim chance to face another Miami County team, and a future GWOC rival, in Week 11 — Piqua currently sits in 10th and, theoretically, could possibly get into the postseason with a victory at rival Troy and a lot of help.
The Milton-Union Bulldogs may have missed their shot at a Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division title — it would take league-leading Madison to fall victim to an upset at Northridge — but the Bulldogs have plenty to play for Friday.
Currently, the 6-3 Bulldogs (4-1 SWBL Buckeye) hold the No. 4 spot in the D-V, Region 18 playoff race, the final one to host a home game in the first round. With Brookville, CHCA and Coldwater — with only one loss between the three teams combined — already clinching the top three spots, Milton-Union’s only hope to host is to win its Week 10 game at 3-6 Waynesville.
The fifth and sixth teams, Greeneview and Shroder, control their own destiny so far as clinching playoff spots, but if the Bulldogs take care of their own business, it will go a long way towards making sure they remain in Milton-Union in Week 11.
And then there’s the matter of the Cross County Conference title, where two teams control their own destiny but won’t be facing each other.
The Miami East Vikings and Covington Buccaneers both share matching 6-1 records in league play, with the Buccs upending the Vikings in overtime, only to fall to Twin Valley South. And that’s exactly who Miami East faces in Week 10 — the 6-3 Panthers. Both the Vikings and Buccs need only win their own games to claim shares of the title, but with Covington hosting 2-7 Ansonia and almost assured a victory, it seems that South is stuck playing spoiler when it comes to East’s chances.
As for the postseason, the Vikings hold a tenuous grasp on the eighth and final playoff spot in D-VI, Region 22, with 6-3 Bluffton less than one full computer point behind them. The Vikings do not control their own destiny, meaning that even if they win, there’s a chance that might not get in — meaning they only need worry about winning their own game and let everything else fall where it may.
Covington, meanwhile, has already clinched a home game, holding the No. 2 spot in a tumultuous D-VII, Region 26 race. If the season ended today, the Buccs would host Ada in the first round — but with the amount of change in positioning each week has seen in the region, the Buccs need to remain focused on Week 10 and their share of the CCC before worrying about any potential postseason matchups.
Troy Christian fell from eighth to 10th in the region after last week’s loss to Miami East, becoming officially mathematically eliminated from the playoff chase with only a Week 10 matchup at winless Mississinawa Valley remaining. But the Eagles, who won a playoff game last year, are still trying to finish with a winning record this season.
Lehman, meanwhile, climbed to the No. 6 spot despite its 5-4 record after defeating Ridgemont last week. The Cavaliers host winless Waynesfield-Goshen, though, and do not control their own destiny, meaning they need to win and hope no one leapfrogs them in the standings.
The 4-5 Bradford Railroaders, sitting in 12th in the region, have yet to be mathematically eliminated — because there is a mountain of computer points lying on the table for them this week. But Bradford hosts 9-0 Danville in a Saturday game, with the Blue Devils only having given up a grand total of 32 points on the whole season while scoring an average of 52.7 points per game. It would take a monumental upset for the Railroaders to get into the postseason, but the possibility does remain.
And lastly, the Bethel Bees will be attempting to post their first winning record since 2010 when they went 7-3 when they host 4-5 Arcanum Friday. Bethel is currently 16th in the D-VI, Region 22 playoff standings and mathematically eliminated, with a one-point loss to D-V Northridge all the way back in Week 1 likely sealing their postseason fate.
Starting with a one-point Week 7 upset victory over Twin Valley South, which went on to defeat Covington the next week, the Bees have rolled along on a three-game winning streak — but Arcanum comes in having won its last four games, including a narrow 20-18 victory over Troy Christian. Last year, Arcanum defeated Bethel 41-14 in the final week of the season to pull to the .500 mark — meaning the Bees have a chance to prevent the same thing from happening, avenge that loss and finish the season on a positive note.
A note that will be played with the volume turned up to 11.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.