PDT Sports Writer
For the fourth time in as many seasons, Valley will bring its unblemished record into its Week 9 contest with Wheelersburg as at least a share of the SOC II hangs in the balance.
When the Indians and Pirates meet up Friday at Ed Miller Stadium, both squads will carry state rankings into the game in their respective divisions after the latest Associated Press poll was released Monday night.
Once again, Wheelersburg stands atop the Division V polls thanks to a 42-13 win at Minford with a new second place squad in Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. Coldwater, which was second last week, dropped to eighth after the Cavaliers’ 47-14 loss to Division VII No. 1 Maria Stein Marion Local. Findlay Liberty-Benton, Loudonville, Columbia Station Columbia, Columbus Bishop Hartley and St. Clairsville occupy the third through seventh slots while Martins Ferry and Akron Manchester round out the Top 10.
Valley benefited from a Haviland Wayne Trace 27-16 loss to Defiance Tinora and jumped to sixth after the 52-12 win over Northwest in its regular season home finale to boost the Indians’ regular season winning streak to 28 games. The Raiders dropped to ninth while the Rams jumped into 10th place. Above Valley are Kirtland, Columbus Bishop Ready, Canfield South Range, Delphos Jefferson and Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph. Seventh place is a tie between Mogadore and Centerburg.
According to JoeEitel.com, a loss by either the Indians or Pirates won’t hurt them in the long run as they have accumulated enough points to clinch one of the playoff spots in their respective regions. However, a win for either team will go a long way in securing a home playoff spot as one of the four high seeds.
Wheelersburg remains second in the Region 17 computer point projections. Bishop Hartley, St. Clairsville, Martins Ferry and Baltimore Liberty Union have also clinched playoff berths in the region. Locally, West (ninth), Ironton (12th), Piketon (14th), Portsmouth (17th), Waverly (19th) and Northwest (20th) are still mathematically alive.
Valley finds itself in a similar spot as the Pirates do but in Region 21. Bishop Ready, Bellaire and Centerburg are projected to advance to the 11th week of the season. Oak Hill (sixth) controls its own destiny.
The official computer projections from the OHSAA will be released Tuesday.
In the Southeast District, Athens dropped a spot to fifth despite winning and Chillicothe jumped to seventh in Division III while Trimble remains fourth in Division VII. Cincinnati Moeller takes over the top spot in Division I thanks to a 35-14 win over Indianapolis (IN) Cathedral that was coupled with a Lakewood St. Edward 23-17 setback to Cleveland St. Ignatius. New Albany, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary and Kenton occupy the top spots in Divisions II through IV.
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.