County teams left out of final poll
No Columbiana County team is in the final Associated Press high school football poll for the third straight season, but Southern Local made a good case for it this year.
The Indians completed the first 10-0 season in school history in dominating fashion, outscoring their last five opponents a combined 281-13. The haven’t played their starters in the second half of the last five games.
Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference champion Southern was one of seven teams in Division VI with 10-0 records, four of them in Region 21 that includes the Indians and Springfield Local. Gibsonburg went 10-0 and didn’t make the playoffs in the tough Region 13. Gibsonburg would have qualified for the playoffs in the other three regions.
The Indians lead the area in scoring offense (45.4), scoring defense (8.3) and scoring margin (+37.1).
Southern will travel to third-ranked Glouster Trimble (10-0), just north of Athens, for a first-round playoff game at 7 p.m. Friday. Defending state runner-up Trimble has given up only six points all season.
The last Columbiana County team to appear in the final poll was Lisbon, which was 13th in Division VI in 2016.
Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference champion Springfield finished second in the Division VI state poll, matching the highest final state poll ranking in school history.
Springfield also was second in Division V in 1999. It’s their fourth top 10 state ranking — also finishing ninth in Division IV in 1993 and 10th in Division IV in 1987.
The Tigers have won 15 straight games and 24 of their last 25 heading into Friday’s playoff opener. Springfield will host Western Reserve on Friday for the second time in three weeks. Springfield defeated Western Reserve, 35-14, on Oct. 25.
In Division IV, Indian Creek (9-1) is ranked seventh and Poland (8-2) is 12th.
Indian Creek has won seven games in row after a 14-13 loss to Indian Valley. Indian Creek defeated East Liverpool, Beaver Local and Edison this season.
The Redskins will host Hubbard at 7 p.m. Saturday. Hubbard dropped a 36-13 decision at South Range in the regular-season finale.
Poland (8-2) has won seven in row after losses to Boardman and Howland. The Bulldogs will host Struthers for the second week in row on Saturday. Poland escaped with a 14-12 win last Friday.
Toronto (8-2) finished 11th in the Division VII poll. The Red Knights lost 26-15 to Wellsville in the season opener and 44-7 to Oak Glen on Oct. 11.
The Red Knights will open the playoffs Saturday by hosting Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas.
Two other area teams are in the playoffs — Salem in Division IV and South Range in Division V.
Both will play at 7 p.m. Saturday as Salem (8-2) travels to Cuyahoga Falls to take on Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (7-3) and South Range (7-3) hosts Bellaire (7-3).
See page 2B for the complete state football poll.