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Perfect marks mean high praise

COLUMBUS — South Range and West Branch, both coming off big wins to highlight 10-0 seasons, have high rankings in the final Associated Press 2021 Ohio high school football poll.

South Range, a 34-0 winner over previously-unbeaten Hubbard on Friday, remained second in Division V, trailing only three-time defending state champion Kirtland.

West Branch, which survived a 43-42 thriller at Salem on Saturday, climbed one spot to third in Division IV.

Both teams open the playoffs this weekend.

West Branch, the Eastern Buckeye Conference champion, will entertain Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy at 7 p.m. Friday.

The Warriors are averaging 51.7 points and 23.5 first downs a game. Running back Steven Marra has set school records for touchdowns (28) and points (170) in a season, while Nick Wilson has set single-season school records 1,003 yards receiving and 16 touchdown catches.

South Range, the Northeast 8 champion, will host Rootstown at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Raiders have won 24 of their last 26 games — both losses coming to Kirtland in the playoffs.

A pair of Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference champions show up in the poll.

Gray Tier champion Garrettsville Garfield (10-0) is sixth in Division V, while Scarlet Tier champion Springfield is seventh in Division VI.

Springfield, which played in the state title game the last two years, will host Western Reserve in a playoff opener at 7 p.m. Saturday. Springfield has shut out four straight opponents, including a 42-0 win over Western Reserve on Oct. 8.

Cleveland Glenville (7-3) is ranked 14th in Division IV. The Tarblooders will open the playoffs against Beaver Local at 7 p.m. Friday at Collinwood’s field.

St. Clairsville (9-1) is ranked seventh in Division IV and LaBrae (9-1) is 11th in Division VI.

See page B2 for the complete state poll.

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