When it comes to high school sports, northwestern Ohio has some of the strongest fan support in the state.
The local team obviously draws the most interest in this rural-rich, small-town area of the state. But there are also some games every week that coaches counting Harbin points and fans lining the fences and packing the stands from schools across the area will want to check the morning paper for, just to see “Who Won?”
Here’s a look at a few of them.
Mohawk (8-0) at Wynford (5-3)
Usually it’s everybody else in the Northern 10 Conference chasing Wynford for the league title. This time, Mohawk is in the catbird seat, or the hot seat, depending on point of view. A win earns Mohawk at least a share of its first league championship since winning a Midland Athletic League title in 2010. A loss opens the door for Seneca East (7-1, 4-1 N10) to possibly slip in and grab a share of the crown as well. Seneca East hosts Colonel Crawford (5-3, 3-2 N10) Friday and is at Buckeye Central (0-8, 0-5 N10) in Week 10. Mohawk, which fell 7-0 to Wynford last season, finishes regular season play against Upper Sandusky (3-5, 1-4 N10).
Ottawa-Glandorf (4-4) at Wapakoneta (7-1)
No. 1-ranked St. Marys Memorial has set the bar pretty high in the Western Buckeye League. Outside of a surprising 27-26 squeaker over a 3-5 Lima Shawnee team, the Roughriders have won every other game by an average of 40.3 points. You can expect the unexpected under the Friday night lights in the WBL, though, and this game is a perfect example. For the second straight year, key injuries threatened to derail O-G’s playoff plans. But the Titans knocked off Defiance 9-7 in Week 7, then last week on a wet, rainy night blanked a Kenton team (31-0) that is annually one of the more potent offensive teams in the league. Now O-G, just three spots and less than one full Harbin point shy of a playoff spot in Region 18, faces a bigger (Division III) more successful (7-1) Wapakoneta team that hopes a Week 10 showdown with St. Marys might earn them a share of the league title. Fueling the head-to-head comparisons for this game is the fact Wapakoneta’s lone loss was by a 15-10 margin to a Kenton team O-G shut out last week.
Wauseon (3-5) at Patrick Henry (5-3)
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Patrick Henry has rattled off five straight wins after an 0-3 start to the season. The Patriots enter Friday’s game with Wauseon not only tied for first place in the Northwest Ohio Athletic League, but they’ve also climbed to seventh in the Division VII Region 26 computer rankings. A win over Wauseon would not only solidify Patrick Henry’s playoff chances, it would also create a Week 10 winner-take-all matchup with Liberty Center with the NWOAL championship on the line, providing Liberty Center (8-0) is not upended by Bryan (6-2) this week.
Columbus Grove (5-3) at Allen East (4-4)
Like Patrick Henry, Columbus Grove overcame a winless start (0-2) to put itself in contention for a league championship. The Bulldogs have not won a Northwest Conference football title since 2005, and if they hope to earn one this season they will have to do it on the road, at Allen East this week and at Bluffton in Week 10. Allen East fell out of a four-way tie for the NWC lead with last week’s 36-22 loss to Convoy Crestview. The yin and yang of this matchup is the fact that Grove has allowed the second fewest passing yards in the Northwest Conference (740) while Allen East, behind quarterback Tyler Clum (108 for 220, 1,910 yards, 21 TDs) and four of the league’s top six receivers, leads the league in passing.
Van Buren (3-5) at Liberty-Benton (4-4)
Continuing with the phoenix rising from the ashes theme, Liberty-Benton has won four straight after an 0-4 start. The Eagles will be looking to continue that winning streak against a Van Buren squad that has averaged 41.5 points in back-to-back wins over Hopewell-Loudon and Riverdale. Though neither team currently boasts a winning record, Liberty-Benton and Van Buren have arguably played the two toughest schedules on any school in the BVC. L-B’s four losses have come to teams that are now a combined 25-7; Van Buren’s five losses have been to teams that are 33-7 overall.