DARKE COUNTY – The 2012 football season will end tonight for most of Darke County’s football teams.
Only Bradford (7-2, 6-2 Cross County Conference) is assured of a playoff game while Versaill1es (5-4, 4-3 Midwest Athletic Conference) has a chance to make the postseason. However, the Tigers are big underdogs as they are 14th in their region with just one game to go and only the top eight teams in the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s computer points qualify for the playoffs.
Ansonia (1-8, 1-7 CCC), Arcanum (3-6, 2-6 CCC), Greenville (1-8, 0-4 Greater Western Ohio Conference North Division) and Mississinawa Valley (0-9, 0-8 CCC) all know tonight is their last chance to play this year as they each have been eliminated from the playoff race.
Ansonia at Tri-County North
It’s been a long season for Ansonia, which is completing its first non-winning year since 2004.
The Tigers can end the year on a positive note, however, tonight against Tri-County North (6-3, 6-2 CCC). The Panthers are in the playoffs already, according to www.joeeitel.com, but the Tigers have had success against them in the past. Tri-County North won last year’s game 28-18, but Ansonia has won four of the last five meetings between the teams.
This season has seen Ansonia look to several young players including freshman Cody Burnfield, who is one of the Tigers’ top rushers and tacklers in his debut season on the high school team.
Arcanum at Covington
Covington (9-0, 8-0 CCC) already has wrapped up its third straight CCC title, and now the Buccaneers will try to cap off their third straight undefeated regular season. Standing in Covington’s way is Arcanum, which could end its season on a positive note by spoiling the Buccaneers’ perfection.
Arcanum has won two of its last four games after breaking a four-game losing streak that stretched from weeks two through five. The Trojans are coming off a 41-20 loss to Bethel (4-5, 3-5 CCC).
Covington has scored at least 41 points in each of its eight CCC games this year and put up 70 or more in the past two games against Ansonia and National Trail (6-3, 5-3 CCC). The Trojan defense, led by players such as Chase Gostomsky, will have a tough challenge tonight.
Last year Covington beat Arcanum 34-0. Covington has won the last seven games between the teams, with Arcanum last winning in 2004.
Bradford at Twin Valley South
Bradford knows its season will continue beyond week 10 as the Railroaders already have secured a playoff berth. They will try to build some momentum for the postseason tonight.
Projections from www.joeeitel.com and www.jjhuddle.com have the Railroaders likely looking at a week one playoff game on the road regardless of what happens tonight against the Panthers (3-6, 3-5 CCC), but a win could help the players gain confidence as they get ready for their first playoff appearance.
It was just three years ago, when the current seniors were freshmen, that Bradford went 1-9 for the third straight year. Now players such as Josh Hoelscher are helping to move Bradford into a new era.
Last year Bradford beat Twin Valley South 29-15. The Panthers last beat the Railroaders in 2009.
Greenville at Sidney
Greenville and Sidney (3-6, 0-4 GWOC North) will resume their rivalry tonight and rekindle the battle for the Little Brown Jug.
Reunited in the Greater Western Ohio Conference, the teams will compete tonight with the Little Brown Jug on the line. The traveling trophy, modeled after the trophy in the Michigan-Minnesota college football game, was introduced into the rivalry in 1956 and will make a reappearance tonight after a absence of more than 40 years.
Both Greenville and Sidney enter tonight’s game giving up big rushing yardage with Greenville giving up 268 yards a game and Sidney surrendering 226.
The Green Wave defense will have to step up to shut down the Yellow Jackets this week. Among the players who will look to help the Greenville defense come up big is Reece Jones, who has 40 tackles on the season.
Greenville and Sidney did not play last year.
Mississinawa Valley at Bethel
Mississinawa Valley is looking for its first win of the season and has one more chance to get it tonight as it travels to Bethel.
Bethel has won its last two games against Darke County foes Ansonia and Arcanum and has won three of its last four. The Bees have a chance to get to .500 tonight with a win against Mississinawa Valley.
Mississinawa Valley will look to slow down the Bethel offense, which has scored 49 points in its last two games. Among the players leading the Blackhawk defense tonight will be Preston Deeter, who has a couple sacks and recovered a fumble already this season.
Last year Bethel beat Mississinawa Valley 56-0.
Versaill1es at St. Henry
Entering the final week of the regular season, Versaill1es needs a lot of help to make the playoffs this year.
To have any shot at the postseason, the Tigers have to beat St. Henry (6-3, 4-3 MAC), who already has clinched a postseason berth and now is fighting for a home playoff game.
To beat the Redskins, the Tigers would have to break their two-game losing streak that saw them lose to Delphos St. John’s (6-3, 5-2 MAC) and Minter (7-2, 5-2 MAC) after winning their previous four games.
Among the Tigers who will try to come up big against St. Henry for Versaill1es to get a win is Jacob Wenning, who is second on the team with 59 tackles this year.
Last year Versaill1es beat St. Henry 55-28. St. Henry last beat Versaill1es in 2009.