PDT Sports Writer
Winning helps perception as that was the case for the Valley football team.
Days after knocking Wheelersburg from the ranks of the unbeaten as well as the top team in the Associated Press Division V poll, the Indians jumped to fourth in the latest Division VI poll that was released Monday night. The 10-7 win by Valley also garnered a first-place vote for the team that has a 29-game regular season winning streak.
The Indians are one of five teams to get at least one first-place vote in the Division VI poll. Kirtland retains its No. 1 ranking as Columbus Bishop Ready and Canfield South Range stand between Valley and the Hornets.
Following Valley in the polls are Delphos Jefferson, Mogadore, Centerburg, Defiance Tinora, Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph and Haviland Wayne Trace. Last Friday’s win over the Pirates also secured a home playoff game for the Indians, who are second in Region 21 according to projections from JoeEitel.com.
After spending most of the season atop the Division V mountain, Wheelersburg fell to fifth in the statewide media poll but retained one first-place vote. Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy assumes the spot formerly filled by the Pirates as Findlay Liberty-Benton, Columbia Station Columbia and Columbus Bishop Hartley take the second through fourth positions. The Division V poll is filled out by St. Clairsville, Coldwater, Martins Ferry, Loudonville and a tie for 10th between Richwood North Union and West Jefferson.
Despite the loss, the Pirates only fell to third in Region 17 and will host a playoff game should they beat West in Friday’s regular season finale. Wheelersburg was not the only top-ranked team to fall as Cincinnati Moeller (Division I) and New Albany (Division II) each suffered their first setbacks of the season as Cincinnati Colerain and Zanesville fill the respective slots. Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (Division III), Kenton (Division IV) and Maria Stein Marion Local (Division VII) are the other top-ranked teams.
Friday night will be a big night for local teams with hopes of making the playoffs. Minford — which is 10th in Division IV, Region 14 — hosts Valley. A Senator win over the Pirates with some outside help will put West, 10th in Region 17, in one of the final playoff berths. Portsmouth is in the same scenario with the Senators but the Trojans, 13th in the region, are in need of more assistance if they beat Chillicothe in the home finale.
Ironton’s chances of clinching its 31st playoff appearance in school history are simpler with a win at Raceland (KY). The Fighting Tigers are currently eighth in Region 17 after their 20-14 win last Friday over Oak Hill. The Oaks can clinch a berth in the Region 21 playoffs with a win over Green.
Notre Dame clinched its first playoff berth since 2007 thanks to a 39-21 win at Symmes Valley. The Titans — who are in Division VII, Region 26 — are expected to be on the road to start the playoffs.
The home loss did not help the Vikings’ chances of making the Division VII, Region 25 playoffs. They are 10th in the region and need aide should they beat Buffalo (WV).
Northwest, Piketon and Waverly (Region 17), East and Green (Region 25) have all been mathematically eliminated.
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or email@example.com. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.