Its final ranking may depend on mere “chance.” Where No. 15 Fort Loramie, 3-6, winds up in this region’s Division VII computer playoff race after Friday night is anyone’s guess.
Anywhere from eighth to 17th, believe some local gurus of www.JoeEitel.com, the Ohio high school football rankings website.
Seventeenth, you say? Probably not. But if so, that ends the Redskins season, since the top 16 schools play week 11.
Eighth, you say? That’s a whole different story. The mathematicians have crunched the numbers and their “conjecture” based on “expected game results” is pretty clear. If the “road warriors” of Fort Loramie upset powerhouse Lima Central Catholic (8-1) on Friday, the Redskins could very well finish eighth, host a first-round contest, and play the number nine school, perhaps Fayetteville or Ansonia.
LCC is ranked No. 2 in Ohio in the latest D-VII Associated Press state poll. Marion Local is first.
This positive playoff scenario for Fort Loramie depends, in part, on Friday victories by many of the eight clubs LCC has beaten and on Sidney topping Xenia.
All of that could take place. Fort Loramie thumped Sidney two weeks ago, 24-14, in a storm-delayed contest that was scheduled three days before the game. Then, Sidney performed extremely well and stunned Stebbins, 35-20, after the Indians had blown out Xenia, 42-7. Sidney would seem to be a decided favorite versus the Buccaneers.
The Yellow Jackets, No. 13 in the southwest region of D-II, are in the playoffs for sure and may be able to avoid a first-round tilt with a loaded club like Kings, Piqua or Anderson. Win or lose on Friday, Sidney most likely travels on Oct. 29.
Anna, No. 9 in D-VI, probably plays away, as well, in week 11. Popular computer rankings forecaster Bruce Monnin predicts the Rockets hit the road for Cincinnati to play Gamble Montessori.
The OHSAA has set D-I, D-II, D-III and D-IV playoff brackets for Fridays in October and November. D-V, D-VI and D-VII compete on Saturdays. These Friday and Saturday contests kick off at 7 p.m. State championship games are in Canton on Dec. 2, 3 and 4.
JoeEitel.com computer rankings, which determine round one pairings for Oct. 29 and 30, will be finalized after games this weekend. Regional quarterfinals are played the first weekend of November.
Those exploring JoeEitel’s current and projected D-VII data note that Fayetteville and Sciotoville, two schools the computer has ranked between Fort Loramie and that coveted eighth spot, can benefit the Redskins by failing to pull off large upset wins. Only about 3 1/2 computer points currently separate the Redskins from eighth. A fall completely out of playoff contention is even closer.
Obviously, the big battle at Lima Stadium on Friday night has extremely significant playoff implications. LCC, if it loses, can slide from first to third in its northwest region of D-7. The No. 15 Redskins, with a loss, could trade places with Tri-County North and get parked at No. 16 opposite No. 1 Marion Local in a first round clash.
By the way, a Marion Local-Fort Loramie playoff meeting on Oct. 30 has been foretold by the “crystal ball” of several forecasters, including Monnin. Two seasons ago, in a regional semifinal at St Marys, the eventual D-VII state champion Flyers nipped the Redskins, 24-21. Most spectators were on their feet for the thrilling fourth quarter and overtime.
No school wants an opening rounder with the Flyers, who in 2021 have downed MAC foes St. Henry, Versailles, New Bremen and Coldwater, plus a strong McComb team, ranked ninth in D-VII by the AP. New Bremen, the defending state champs in D-VII, edged LCC in a state semifinal last November.
So what is LCC’s outlook on the coming weekend? “We are not taking Fort Loramie lightly,” LCC’s eighth-year head coach Scott Palte stated firmly. “It may be the best 3-6 small school team in Ohio. For certain, that Loramie record is very deceiving.”
Redskins need to win a close one
The Redskins have dropped three games, barely, by five points total. They have played “very good football” in the second and third quarters of most contests, according to fourth-year head coach Spencer Wells.
“Inconsistent firsts and fourths,” Wells emphasized. “We need a solid initial twelve minutes versus LCC, and we can’t allow any big chunk plays… none.” The Redskins defense has permitted an average of seven or eight yards from scrimmage in defeats this season, Wells detailed.
“Despite several poor starts, we have still managed third and fourth quarter leads,” he said. “We have to kick off the game ‘hot’ at LCC and leave little to chance.”
After a season opening 20-13 setback to rival Lima Shawnee, LCC has streaked to eight straight victories averaging 37 points per contest. Only three of the eight triumphs are over clubs with winning marks on the season. But the D-VII Thunderbirds have flown past three D-IV schools, a D-V program and a pair of D-VI’s.
ScoresBroadcast.com is on the scene in Lima for Friday night’s play-by-play coverage. The pregame segment is at 6:25 p.m.; kick-off, at 7. WMVR, 105.5 TAM FM, simulcasts what could be a playoff, play-in game for the Redskins. Featured at halftime are highlights from the Fort Loramie girls state semifinal triumph in basketball last March.
Tonight’s listeners to the football action can anticipate a high-scoring affair. LCC sophomore quarterback Carson Parker, stepping in for the outstanding senior Evan Unruh who is injured, has tossed the football for nearly 500 yards in less than three games. He has run for another 375 yards. Workhorse tailback Keiron Bailey is toting the pigskin at nearly six yards a clip.
Small but shifty Quintel Peoples has snagged 25 passes. Big play receiver Traves Hoyle is averaging over 25 yards per catch. Only two offensive and two defensive linemen go both ways.
For Fort Loramie, quarterback Caleb Maurer and split end Logan Eilerman have set football program passing and receiving records. Sophomore Will Holland, who cracked the 100-yard rushing mark last week, has emerged in the offensive backfield.
Coach Wells highlighted recent superb performances by numerous players including Owen Pleiman, Isaac Raterman, Gabe Meyer and Calvin Hoying. Damon Mescher expects to provide a key role on defense versus LCC. Since the injury to kicker Aden Bolin, the Redskins have excelled at two-point conversions.
After tackling their seventh of ten games on the road on October 22, the independent Redskins would love to play a home contest, sooner than later. They do not want to wait until the Minster Wildcats fray next August to get it. Instead, they would prefer the reward for a Friday victory at LCC, which could be a contest in the lair of the Redskins on Saturday night, Oct. 30.
One thing is for sure. Fort Loramie must shake the first period doldrums and start fast at LCC.
To win, they can’t chance a thing, any longer.