Anna, Minster collide on Friday

For a couple area high school football teams, like Anna and Minster, which collide in this Friday’s game five for both squads, “secondary points” may be first on their minds.

You see, the computer system which ranks members of the Ohio High School Athletic Association on the gridiron, focuses on a school’s wins and its victim’s records, AND on the “success” of teams a school has beaten.

Take Anna, for instance.

The impact of Anna’s victory versus Indian Lake in the opener is measured in both first- and second-level points. This “secondary” value will build over the course of the season as the foes the Lakers have beaten continue to win and be successful.

Basically, first-level points reward a school for a victory based on the opponent’s record, its opponent’s accumulated computer points to date, and also its size, or the division, in which the opponent competes.

Division VI Anna, 2-2, has won one less game than D-VII Minster, 3-1, but is reaping the benefits of “playing up” and taking the season-opening triumph over D-V Indian Lake. The Lakers then reeled off three wins in a row and “played up” last week, downing D-III Tecumseh, 35-28, giving even more computer strength to Anna’s first-game victory. Powerhouse Bellefontaine plays Indian Lake this Friday.

Thus, the computer’s calculation for games through Sept. 8: 18.5 second-level points spanning four contests for Anna compared to only 3.5 so far for Minster. The Wildcats own three wins against schools that have only a single triumph, in total, over a dozen games played. One of its victims, Fort Loramie, owns that single victory, but it was versus winless Covington.

By virtue of the better overall record, Minster has produced 12 first-level points to Anna’s eight. However, the second-level points make the difference, boosting the Rockets to seventh in D-VI Region 24. Minster is ninth in the D-VII Region 28.

Yes, there’s still a lot of football to be played. The second half of the regular season begins a week from Friday. But given that the top eight teams in the playoff-qualifying field of 16 in each region earn first round contests at their own stadiums, this week’s Anna at Minster tilt may very well have “home game” implications.

Minster does not play Coldwater this season, but will in 2024. Thus, the Wildcats are clear favorites in their next five games before finishing at Versailles, which was ranked first in this week’s initial Ohio high school football poll in D-VI. A triumph over Anna keeps Minster on track for an 8-2 campaign, a lofty top four ranking in its region, a playoff home game for sure, and a big surge in both first- and second-level computer points.

Anna has Versailles and Marion Local remaining on its 2023 schedule. An upset victory at Minster coupled with a 4-2 finish would likely enable the Rockets to host at Booster Field in round one of the postseason.

And keep an eye on Parkway and Delphos St. John’s, which currently have two wins apiece and tangle with both Anna and Minster later. The Panthers and Blue Jays will be sources for first- and second-level points that Friday’s Anna-Minster loser will certainly need to remain in the hunt for a home field playoff berth in week eleven.

You may recall that, just four years ago, Anna rolled to a spectacular 14-1 season and a D-VI state championship, winning its final four contests at neutral sites, including the state title tilt in Canton. Oddly enough, the Rockets did not host during the 2019 playoffs.

In the tourney opener, Anna whipped Minster by 26 points on the road, in the only one of five tournament clashes that the Rockets didn’t win by at least 30 with a continuous clock being enforced.

That year, in each region, only eight schools — not 16 — advanced to the playoffs. Schools ranked first, second, third and fourth played at home. Minster was fourth, and hosted Anna, which was fifth. Thus, the Rockets, despite posting a 9-1 regular season, traveled to kick off the playoffs.

In 2019 at the end of the 10-game slate, Minster — then a D-VI program — held a slight edge over D-VI Anna in second-level points, according to the computer, and eked out the Rockets in the D-VI northwest region rankings.

Sure, the Rockets would have loved a tourney opener at Booster Field in 2019. But it didn’t matter. Anna won 10 straight that season on the road and at neutral locations.

That Anna team was very special; it overflowed with size, team speed, and 25 talented seniors, and was extremely well-coached. So, fifth place in the region and a not-so-hot, second-level, computer points count didn’t matter either.

In 2017, a strong second-level point total lifted four-loss Minster to a fourth place spot after ten games and a first round playoff date at home versus Fort Loramie.

Minster went on to claim a state title that season, two years before Anna earned the crown.

There was a time many years ago in Ohio high school football when “secondary points” might have more logically referred to a touchdown, or points, scored by a member of the defensive team’s secondary or a player occupying a position behind the line of scrimmage, like a linebacker or cornerback, for instance.

Today the secondary points may be the difference between advancing to the postseason and not playing at all after Week 10.

In the case of past experiences for Anna and Minster, the second-level success — or how well their beaten foes performed — helped to determine if Anna or Minster was at home or away in week one of the playoffs.

Friday night’s Anna-Minster outcome may go a long way to concluding the same thing in late October this season.

The Rockets-Wildcats clash on Friday is covered on starting at 6:25 p.m. Both head coaches, Nick Marino of Anna and Seth Whiting of Minster, are featured in the pregame segment.

Keaton Metz, Anna’s new athletic director, is interviewed at halftime. Metz completed high school at Wapakoneta and is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford.