By David Fong
MIAMI COUNTY — And then there was one.
After three weeks of high school football, only one local team, Bethel, remains undefeated. Not only are the Bees unbeaten, but they also are largely unchallenged through the first three weeks of the season, having outscored opponents by an average score of 57.3 to 17.0 and played all three games under a running clock in the second half.
For some perspective, at this point last season, five teams — Troy, Tippecanoe, Bethel, Covington and Troy Christian — all were undefeated after the first three weeks of the season.
Can Bethel keep it up? Time will tell.
Here are previews of tonight’s local games (minus the Troy-Fairborn game, which was featured earlier this week):
Trotwood-Madison (3-0) at Tippecanoe (2-1)
After jumping up two weight classes to take on Division I Northmont last week — a 44-12 loss for the Red Devils — Tippecanoe plays a fellow Division III opponent this week. Things likely won’t get any easier, however, as Trotwood may be the best Division III team in Ohio.
Last week, Trotwood defeated Pickerington Central, a Division I state semifinalst a year ago, 28-19. In last year’s meeting between the two teams, Trotwood defeated Tippecanoe 43-6.
Troy Christian (2-1) at Lucas (2-1)
Troy Christian is in for a long trip this week as it hops on the bus for two-plus hours to head northeast to Richland County to take on Lucas.
Such is the life of an independent school.
The Eagles have been on a roll since dropping the season opener to Dayton Christian (2-1), postings victories against winless Bradford and Northridge. Both of Lucas’ wins have come against 1-2 teams East Canton and Centerburg, while its lone loss came against 3-0 Northmor last week.
Northridge (0-3) at Milton-Union (1-2)
Milton picked up its first win of the season last week with a 29-13 against previously undefeated Northwestern. The Bulldogs will look to keep things rolling this week as they host winless Northridge. The Polar Bears have lost by an average score of 46.7 to 14.3 so far this season.
In last year’s contest between the two teams, Milton defeated Northridge 35-0.
Miami East (2-1, 1-0) at Fort Loramie (2-1, 1-0)
It didn’t take Cross County Conference newcomer Fort Loramie to make waves in its first week of CCC competition, as it knocked off defending conference champion Covington last week. This week, Miami East — the CCC runner-up last season — travels to Fort Loramie to take on the Redskins.
Miami East rebounded from its loss to Lehman in Week 2 with a 49-0 thumping of National Trail last week. Fort Loramie’s only loss of the season came in Week 1 to undefeated Minster, the Division VII state runner-up last season.
It’s not even the second half of the season yet, but it’s hard not to look at this game and think it could have serious CCC and playoff implications down the road.
Ansonia (1-2, 1-0) at Bethel (3-0, 1-0)
As noted earlier, Bethel is the lone remaining undefeated team in Miami County, having blown past Northridge, Dayton Christian and Tri-Village. The one thing the Bees cannot afford at this point, however, is a letdown. Last season, Bethel was 3-0 at this same point. The Bees would lose their next three games in a row, however, then close with four wins in a row to finish the season 7-3.
Those three games in the middle of the season would prove costly, however, as Bethel would finish ninth in its region, missing the Division VI playoffs by one spot.
Covington (0-3, 0-1) at Tri-County North (2-1, 1-0)
Statistically speaking, no local team has faced a tougher stretch to open the season than Covington. The three teams the Buccaneers have lost to in the opening three weeks are a combined 8-1 — and possibly would be 9-0 had two of those teams, Minster and Fort Loramie, not played one another, thus ensuring a loss for one of them. All of which means Covington finds itself at 0-3 for the first time since 1991.
It doesn’t get much easier for Covington this week with Tri-County North on the schedule. The Buccaneers may need to win out to keep its playoff streak, which dates back to 1998, alive.
Piqua (1-2) at West Carrollton (1-2)
Piqua struggled to move the ball last week in a 21-7 loss to Franklin. The Indians will look to get the offense back on track this week against a West Carrollton team that won a total of six games the past five seasons combined. In last year’s meeting between the two teams, Piqua led 42-6 at halftime and cruised to a 63-6 victory.
Lehman (2-1) at Ridgemont (0-3)
After dropping a 27-21 overtime heartbreaker to Fort Recovery in the season opener, Lehman has been on a roll, beating Miami East 31-14 in Week 2 and Graham 51-34 last week. That has the potential to be bad news for winless Ridgemont, which has lost by an average score of 35.3 to 8.7 in its three games this year.
Bradford (0-3, 0-1) at Arcanum (0-3, 0-1)
Bradford’s struggle continued last week in a 21-6 loss to Mississinawa Valley, which ended the Blackhawks’ 31-game losing streak. The Railroaders will look to get things back on track this week against Arcanum, which also is searching for its first win of the season.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong