Playoffs begin for 224 Ohio schools


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The regular season is over for the 716 schools competing in football but there are still more games to be played for 31 percent of them as 224 teams qualified for the playoffs in the seven divisions.

There were 70 schools entering the 2016 season that had never made the playoffs, but that number was reduced to seven: Hilliard Bradley (Division I), Columbus West (Div. II), Akron East (Div. III), Cincinnati Aiken (Div. V), Lakeside Danbury (Div. VII), McGuffey Upper Scioto Valley (Div. VII) and Cincinnati Hillcrest Academy (Div. VII).

Barberton isn’t a first-time qualifier but it had the longest absence between appearances for any school this season, having last earned a postseason berth in 1998.

At the other end of the spectrum, Coldwater has the longest active playoff streak at 20 years, including being in the state championship game the past seven years. Mogadore is second on the current streak list at 18 years. The record for consecutive playoff appearances is 22 by Cleveland St. Ignatius from 1988 to 2009.

With few exceptions, Divisions I, II, IV and VI will play Fridays at 7:30 p.m. Divisions III, V and VII will play Saturdays at 7 p.m. The state finals are Dec. 1-3 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.

FINISHING STRONG

Firelands Conference rivals Norwalk St. Paul and Monroeville put their undefeated records on the line in Monroeville. St. Paul (10-0) edged the Eagles (9-1) with a pair of touchdowns in a 50-second span in the final 75 seconds of the first half in a 14-8 win to claim its fifth consecutive league title. St. Paul has won 32 straight conference games. . Port Clinton won a share of the Sandusky Bay Conference title, the first for the program in 68 years dating back to the inaugural year of the conference in 1948. The Redskins beat Oak Harbor, 28-14, to tie Clyde and Milan Edison atop the league standings. . Dresden Tri-Valley got 134 rushing yards from junior Caleb Craig to earn a share of its sixth consecutive Muskingum Valley League championship with a 7-0 win against Duncan Falls Philo. . D.J. Whiles had a school-record four interceptions as Trenton Edgewood clinched its first-ever Southwest Ohio Conference title with a 49-28 win over Cincinnati Mount Healthy.

Jay Kaufman hit Richie Knowlton for a 27-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and Tristan Ball kicked two field goals to lead Ottawa-Glandorf past St. Marys 13-7. The St. Marys loss created a three-way shared Western Buckeye League championship between St. Marys, Ottawa-Glandorf and Wapakoneta, with all three teams finishing the regular season 9-1 and 8-1 in the WBL. . Jared Huelsman’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Bryce Schmiesing with four seconds left in the game allowed Minster to beat Anna, 27-23, and earn a home game in the Division VII playoffs with a 6-4 record. . Franklin completed its first 10-0 regular season since 1989 with a 45-21 win at Brookville. Ryan Montgomery carried the ball 23 times for 271 yards and four second-half touchdowns for the Wildcats. … Lakeside Danbury (7-3) capped its first winning season in 35 years with a 50-7 win over host Toledo Christian.

FOOT NOTABLES

Toledo Central Catholic senior running back Michael Warren rushed for a school-record 385 yards on 46 carries, and scored the game-winning touchdown as the Fighting Irish (10-0) rallied to beat Lima Senior 35-34 and collect their fourth straight outright title in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference. Central Catholic trailed by 14 in the third quarter. With his third straight 2,000-yard season, Warren now ranks eighth on the Ohio high school career rushing yardage list with 6,919 yards, and is tied for 12th all-time with 95 career touchdowns. . Columbus Grove quarterback Reid Stechschulte carried 28 times for a single-game team record 344 yards, tied a school record with five rushing touchdowns, and added 118 yards and a TD passing in a 46-19 win over Bluffton. . Hamler Patrick Henry’s Donny Johnson set a school season rushing record, finishing with 1,876 yards after gaining 166 yards and scoring twice in Friday’s 41-14 win over Wauseon. . One week after throwing eight TD passes in a game, North Baltimore’s Brady Rader completed 9 of 12 passes for 270 yards and five scores in a 63-6 win over Vanlue. . Zanesville Rosecrans senior Travis Johnston ran 15 times for 130 yards and three touchdowns, returned a kickoff 78 yards for a score and took in a fumble from 11 yards out as the Bishops clinched a playoff berth with a 70-6 win against Bowerston Conotton Valley. . Ironton junior Garrett Carrico ran 25 times for a career-high 213 yards and scored four touchdowns in a 43-28 win over Portsmouth, which got two scores when Luke Purdy and Talyn Parker returned kickoffs 83 and 64 yards, respectively. . Tyce Norman, in his final game, ran 25 times for 124 yards and also tossed a pair of TD passes as host Zanesville snapped a six-game losing streak with a 31-27 win over Marietta . Bascom Hopewell-Loudon’s Zach Kreais had a hand in seven touchdowns in the Chieftains’ 55-21 win over Riverdale, throwing for five and rushing for two.

THAT’S A WRAP

Clarksville Clinton-Massie (9-1) completed its final season in the South Central Ohio League with a 69-13 win over Lees Creek East Clinton. Clinton-Massie won the final 11 SCOL championships. The Falcons also won their last 58 regular season SCOL games, including 39 in a row at home, en route to an all-time league record of 73-2. They will join the Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic Conference next school year.

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