This could be the best week of the season! Three major rivalries and a fourth that is fast becoming one between the title contenders.
Last week Jake made it 6-0 (again) while I had a tough 4-2 week and missed Wynford and Galion games. It brings his cumulative record to 25-3 while mine drops to 22-6. I have something to do.
Without further ado, let’s get to the picking!
Carey at Colonel Crawford
ZH: Man, that’s a tough game to choose. State-ranked teams meet what should essentially win the Northern 10 title in four weeks. Carey’s defense is absolutely stifling and has an offense that can wear almost anyone down over the course of 48 minutes. Colonel Crawford’s offense is arguably the best in the area with a defense (and special teams) capable of making game-changing game after game. I think I’ll have to match the Eagles in this home game just because of their away win last week against a very good Seneca East team. I think that was an outstanding result.
Colonel Crawford 28, Carey 21
JF: I absolutely love this matchup, and if I didn’t have a big one to cover for, I’d consider going to North Robinson to see that as a fan. This is the Northern 10 Conference championship game for sure, and rightly so – these two teams have dominated all year. I think the Eagles are staying close at home, but it’s hard to fight back against the defending champions.
Carey 35, Colonel Crawford 21
Wynford at Bucyrus
ZH: Battle for the Copper Cauldron! In a rivalry that dates back to 1977, Bucyrus led the series 13-8 after winning in 1997, but it’s been Wynford since then. The Royals won their 24th straight game against rivals Bucyrus last season and are aiming to hold the trophy for a quarter of a century. The teams are a combined 1-9, so neither is in particularly good form. I have to make up ground on Jake so I’ll pick what seems like a surprise based on recent history – Bucyrus ending his dreaded losing streak in a close one at home.
Bucyrus 35, Wynford 27
JF: Wow. Another difficult choice. It was always fun to cover this rivalry when I was at TF, but it always seemed that Wynford got better every year. Probably because they were. This could be Bucyrus’ best shot at clinching a win for the first time in almost three decades, but the safe bet is to go with Wynford. And with a three-game lead to protect, I’ll do just that.
Wynford 21, Bucyrus 14
Shelby in Galion
ZH: It is the 119th meeting of these long-time rivals. In the three years since the revival, the Whippets have won two out of three games, including back-to-back by a 79-13 margin while holding Galion to a point each time. Shelby comes in 4-1 after beating four pretty mediocre teams and losing to one great team, while Galion is 2-3, losing to three great programs and picking up one good and one expected win. Which seems like a surprise, I think the Tigers get the job done at home based on the fact that they are battle hardened.
Galion 21 Shelby 14
JF: I watched Galion vs Clear Fork last week and was impressed by the young talent. But I like Shelby’s young talent even more. Because freshman quarterback Brayden DeVito and junior Issaiah Ramsey really make a match, it’s going to be difficult for anyone to stop them. Also, this defense has been without light lately, allowing just nine points in the last two games. Galion suffered some pretty serious injuries to a couple of key players last week, so I’m rolling with the whippets.
Shelby 49, Galion 14
Seneca East at Buckeye Central
ZH: This one is tricky. The Tigers are 3-2 without a signature win under their belt as all three wins have come over teams with losing records. Buckeye Central is also 3-2 with victories over Crestline (0-5), Fremont St. Joe’s (1-4) and Ridgemont (3-2). Both teams were throttled by Colonel Crawford and Carey respectively last week so a rebound game is badly needed. I really feel like the Bucks are the better team on paper, so they just have to win the mental battle before stepping onto the field and ignoring the name on the other team’s jersey. But I have to be on the safe side…
42 Seneca East, 28 Buckeye Central
JF: I think Buckeye Central’s hot start to the season was the result of a combination of 4-11 teams for the year. Since getting into the N10 game for the past two weeks, the Bucks have been outplayed 90-19 and now they’re getting a Seneca East team that was ruled out by Colonel Crawford last week and should be very angry and ready about it to relieve some frustrations . Tiger roll.
49 Seneca East, 21 Buckeye Central
Ridgedale at Crestline
ZH: These are two teams that have struggled mightily with numbers in recent history, with Ridgedale even falling back to 8-man football for two seasons, which the Bulldogs may well need to consider. The Rockets have won this season and have 64 points this season while Crestline has only 16.
Ridgedale 49, Crestline 8
JF: This could be Crestline’s best chance to pick up a win this season and end a 14-game losing streak. But scoring just 16 points this season makes me think the Bulldogs just don’t have the offensive firepower to beat the Rockets.
Ridgedale 35, Crestline 0