PDT Sports Writer
With another undefeated regular season wrapped up after last weekend’s 41-31 win at Minford, Valley had the chance to become the first Scioto County team since Portsmouth in 2000 to claim an Associated Press poll championship.
While the Indians have possession of a 30-game regular season winning streak, they finished second in the final Division VI poll that was released Monday evening. Kirtland finished 61 points ahead of Valley for its first-ever poll championship. The Indians received four first-place votes.
The rest of the Division VI poll includes Canfield South Range, Centerburg, Columbus Bishop Ready, Delphos Jefferson, Mogadore, Defiance Tinora, Cincinnati Country Day and Haviland Wayne Trace. As a consolation, the Indians are the top-ranked team Region 21 and will host eighth-seeded Fort Frye when the playoffs open Friday. Also in Region 21, seventh-seeded Oak Hill travels to Upper Arlington High School to play second-seeded Ready in another regional quarterfinal.
After spending most of the season atop the Division V polls, Wheelersburg finished fifth thanks to a 44-23 home win over West. The Pirates are the No. 3 seed in Region 17 and will entertain sixth-seeded Fairland Saturday in a Week 4 rematch.
Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, which jumped ahead Wheelersburg in last week’s poll, maintained the top spot for its first-ever poll championship. Findlay Liberty-Benton, Columbia Station Columbia and Columbus Bishop Hartley finished second through fourth while the rest of the Division V poll includes Coldwater, St. Clairsville, Martins Ferry, Loudonville and Richwood North Union.
Maria Stein Marion Local claimed the Division VII poll championship, its third in school history and all since 2002. Notre Dame’s opponent in Saturday’s Region 26 quarterfinal, Covington, finished sixth in the state poll and is the No. 2 seed. The Titans are the No. 7 seed in the region.
Other local poll champions include Notre Dame in 1967 and 1970, Wheelersburg in 1989 and Ironton in 1986, 1988, 1993 and 2001. Of note, 55 of the previous 194 poll champions through last year have gone on to win the state playoff championship in the same season.
The Pirates’ run in 1989 was the lone local occurrence.
The other 2013 poll champions were Cincinnati Colerain (Division I), Zanesville (Division II), Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary (Division III) and Kenton (Division 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.