PREP FOOTBALL FORECAST
Salem at West Branch, 7 p.m. Saturday
The final game of the area’s regular season football slate will feature two teams playing for pride. Salem (5-4, 1-4) went unbeaten in its non-league schedule, but struggled in its Eastern Buckeye Conference games. A win over the Warriors (6-3, 3-2) would go a long way in erasing some of the disappointment. West Branch, meanwhile, seeks to break out of a two-game skid and get some measure of revenge resulting from Salem’s 40-point win a season ago.
Southern at Leetonia, 7 p.m.
Southern Local (8-1, 5-1) can clinch at least a share of its first league title since 1977 with a win. Leetonia (4-5, 1-5) has something to play for as well. If the Bears pull off the upset, they’ll qualify for the playoffs in Div. VII, Region 25. Southern should be in regardless of what happens. The Indians are looking at the sixth seed in Div. VI, Region 21 if they win against the Bears. It’s too early to tell who will be the Indians’ first round opponent, but Norwayne and Rootstown are the top two candidates.
United at Lisbon, 7 p.m.
United (7-2, 5-1) can wrap up a share of its first league title since 1999 with a win over rival Lisbon. The Eagles, however, are eliminated from playoff contention in the stacked Div. VI Region 21. The Blue Devils (3-6, 1-5) have endured a disappointing season but still have a chance to vault themselves into the Div. VII Region 25 playoffs if they manage to pull off the upset. The Blue Devils have been held below 10 points in each of the last five weeks.
South Range at West Geauga, 7 p.m.
South Range, a state semifinalist a year ago, didn’t hit that same level of play this season with a much more challenging schedule. The Raiders (4-5) close out a two-year run as an independent with the 3-6 Wolverines. Next season it’s off to the Northeast 8 with the likes of Poland, Struthers, Hubbard, Girard, Lakeview, Ashtabula Jefferson, Niles and Hubbard.
East Palestine at Columbiana, 7 p.m.
The defending Eastern Buckeye Conference champion Bulldogs (5-4, 4-2) won’t be the equation this time around but they may be able to prevent Columbiana (5-4, 5-1) from winning a share of the title. This would be Columbiana’s first league title in an eight-team league since winning the Tri-County League outright in 2003 (the Clippers did win the ITCL White Division in 2015).
Wheeling Linsly at Crestview, 7 p.m.
As it shakes out, this is not a must-win for the Rebels (5-3) regarding its status in Div. V, Region 17 as the team has done just about enough to qualify for the playoffs. However, if Crestview wants a shot at a home game a win over the Cadets (4-3) it is necessary. It’s hard to gauge how good the Cadets are. The team won four straight to start the season including an impressive win over Mogadore (the Wildcats only loss to date), but has lost its last three and even had a canceled game thrown in there. Coupled with a West Virginia bye-week, the team was off for two straight weeks at one point in the season.
Minerva at Carrollton, 7 p.m.
Minerva (0-9, 0-5) is on the cusp of its fourth straight winless season. Carrollton (4-5, 2-3) has made a little bit of noise in the Eastern Buckeye Conference but just never got over the hump.
Springfield at Waterloo, 7 p.m.
Even with an 8-1 overall record and 5-1 mark in the MVAC, the Tigers are likely to find themselves on the outside looking in for the playoffs. Springfield currently sits 10th in Div. VI Region 21 and needs a win plus plenty of help to make it to week 11. If the Tigers win and Lowellville pulls a shocker over McDonald, they could still share the MVAC title. Waterloo (2-7, 1-5) blew out Sebring last week, but has failed to crack double digit point totals in each of its other conference games.
Jackson-Milton at Western Reserve, 7 p.m.
The Blue Devils (7-2, 4-2 MVAC) lost each of their key conference games this season and are eliminated from playoff contention. They hope to close the season on a high note against Jackson-Milton (4-5, 4-2). The Bluejays have reeled off three straight wins over Waterloo, Lowellville and Mineral Ridge.
Mineral Ridge at Sebring, 7 p.m.
Both of these teams will be playing for pride at the end of rough seasons. The Trojans (0-9, 0-6) put a season-high 14 points on the board in last week’s loss to Waterloo. Sebring has been shutout six times this season. Mineral Ridge comes in at 1-8, 1-5 with only an 8-0 win against Waterloo. The Rams suffered a tough one-point loss last week against Jackson-Milton.
Wellsville at Toronto, 7 p.m.
Toronto (3-6, 2-4) lasted two seasons in the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference and rival Wellsville (2-7, 1-5) will send them off in the season finale. Wellsville and Toronto will continue the series next season, but it will not be as part of a league. As for what comes next for the Red Knights, the team has games with Edison, Wellsville, Leetonia, Bridgeport, Barnesville, Weirton Madonna and Steubenville Central scheduled for next season with a few more spots to fill.