In what will be, at least for the time being, the final time the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League fields at least five football teams, SEOAL media predict the Jackson Ironmen will prevail.
A panel of a dozen sportswriters, broadcasters and Internet personnel — with each conference school represented by at least one voter — picked the Ironmen to dethrone the defending champion Logan Chieftains and earn their third conference crown in four years.
The poll was again conducted by The Logan Daily News.
Jackson was selected for first place on 10 of 12 ballots and received 57 out of a possible 60 points. The Ironmen were named runner-up on one ballot and third on another.
Points are awarded on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis for first place through fifth.
Logan (46 points) garnered the other two first-place votes while accumulating six runner-up ballots and four third-place votes.
Portsmouth (35 points) was tabbed for third, receiving four second-place votes, four third-place mentions, three fourth-places and one fifth place.
Gallia Academy (24) ran the voting gamut between second and fifth, receiving one second-place vote, three thirds, three fourths and five fifths. The Blue Devils were picked for fourth, ahead of Warren (18), which had its 12 votes split between six fourth-places and a half-dozen fifths.
Last fall, SEOAL media picked Gallia Academy to defend its 2012 crown, but Logan won its first title (and 26th overall) since 2009 while Jackson placed second and Gallipolis, Portsmouth and Warren all tied for third.
If the order of anticipated finish holds up, the league’s marquee showdown will be Friday, Oct. 10, when Logan visits Jackson for a week-seven clash.
This is the final season for Portsmouth, which leaves the SEOAL after the current school year. Gallia Academy, Jackson, Logan and Warren will remain together in a four-team conference beginning with the 2015 football season.