Raiders take second spot in first AP poll
The South Range football team isn’t in a league this season, but the team is making a name for itself on the state level.
The Raiders were voted the No. 2 team in Div. V by the Associated Press in the opening high school football media poll of the season.
South Range, with quality wins over Western Reserve, Springfield and Akron Manchester, garnered three first-place votes only trailing Pemberville Eastwood.
South Range hosts Zanesville on Friday night.
No other area teams cracked the poll. Shenandoah, which beat Southern 28-0 on Friday, was ninth in Div. VI. Defending Div. VII state champion Warren JFK (2-1) is eighth in Div. VII. The Eagles enterain Crestview (2-1) on Saturday night at Mollenkopf Stadium in Warren.
In Div. IV, Steubenville (3-0) leads the pack, while Poland (3-0) is fifth and Struthers (3-0) 16th.
Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference play opens on Friday night with United at East Palestine; Southern at Toronto; Leetonia at Columbiana and Wellsville at Lisbon.
The non-league performance of EOAC members will have significant implications for those teams wanting to make a run at a playoff appearance.
The league went 11-13 against its out-of-conference opponents with eight of those wins coming against teams with no wins. The total out-of-conference record of teams the EOAC members beat was 5-28 (with Edison, Malvern and Bridgeport counted twice since those teams played two EOAC schools).
The EOAC was 1-4 against Div. IV opponents; 2-0 against Div. V opponents (Edison); 5-5 against Div. VI opponents and 3-4 against Div. VII opponents.
It’s likely that if one of the conference’s four Div. VI schools (Southern, East Palestine, United, Columbiana) would want to crack into the final eight of Region 21, it will have to run the table. There’s not enough computer points out there for any margin of error since there were hardly any non-league wins of significant value.
It will be a little easier for the four Div. VII schools (Lisbon, Wellsville, Toronto, Leetonia) to make a run at the playoffs, but again there isn’t a lot of wiggle room. Lisbon and Toronto will have the best chance, but that will require sweeping the Div. VII opponents in the league and also picking up one or two wins over a Div. VI EOAC school.