CHAMPIONS, RUNNERS, AND A FORTRESS

Shots in the Darke

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Let’s spend some time looking at the regular season high school football champions of area
leagues and conferences in case you haven’t kept up this fall. With the playoffs starting this
week you can expect the usual first-round mismatches, the competitive middle seeding
contests, and the occasional upsets that will leave you (not to mention the losing team’s fans) scratching your head!

In the Miami Valley League, the Miami division ended in a three-way tie among Vandalia-
Butler, Tippecanoe, and Troy while the Valley division was won by Sidney. All of those teams will advance to playoff action—remember that Ohio has seven Divisions based on male enrollment with D-I representing the largest schools on down to D-VII and the smallest schools. Each division has four regionals with the top sixteen teams in each reaching the postseason, seedings based on computer points determined by wins and losses as well as strength of schedule and opponents wins.

The Western Ohio Athletic Association was won by the second-ranked team in the state D-
VII polls, the Ansonia Tigers. The Southwest Buckeye League had a shared title in the Buckeye Division between Valley View and Waynesville while the Southwestern Division was claimed by Bellbrook.

Marion Local won the Midwest Athletic Conference and finished ranked first in the state in
D-VII. Also up in the northern reaches of the MIami Valley, Celina and Wapakoneta shared
Western Buckeye League laurels. From the metro Dayton area comes the champions of the
Greater Western Ohio Conference, the Centerville Elks, while Degraff Riverside took home
honors in the Three Rivers Conference.

It will be interesting as always to see how those league titleholders fare in the postseason
where it’s “one and done”—one bad off-night and even the best of teams can start packing up the equipment for the winter. Stay tuned to MyCountyLink for pairings and game reports
during what local high school football fans will swear is the best time of the sports year!

Kathy and I were over in Columbus this weekend watching the OHSAA 7th and 8th Grade
Cross Country Invitational Sunday as our grandson Tripp’s Granville team participated along
with area boys and girls squads from Arcanum, Bethel, Coldwater, Eaton, Greenville, Franklin- Monroe, Mississinawa Valley, Russia, Tippecanoe, Troy, and West Milton-Union. All in all, 68 girls and 73 boys teams competed on a cool but sunny day. Congratulations to the F-M girls who won their sectional race paced by Anna Yeoman’s ninth place finish, running the two-mile course in 12:58.9! The meet was held at Fortress Obetz on the south side of Columbus which gives us today’s trivia question—what the heck is Fortress Obetz?

Here are some quick thoughts on weekend sports—

In the AFC North the Bengals were enjoying their bye week while the other three teams all
won their games, putting Cincinnati another half-game behind in the standings. The Browns
survived the Colts on the strength of a few questionable calls late in the game, the Ravens
pounded this year’s Cinderella team, the Lions, and the Steelers stole one from the Rams out in SoCal. You have to admit that the North is one tough division that will be super-competitive each week, particularly when all four teams meet for the second time!

THE won a gritty contest over Penn State didn’t they? Holding the Nittany Lions to only one
third down conversion out of sixteen had a lot to do with the Buckeye victory as did having
Marvin Harrison, Jr. wearing Scarlet and Gray! Should be smooth sailing for Ryan Day’s crew until the annual battle with Michigan. Hopefully, the Wolverines won’t steal too many signs in the next few weeks!

Good to see USC go down for a second consecutive week wasn’t it? Next week sees an
Oregon-Utah matchup could go a long way in determining the final champion of the
doomed PAC-12. Oh yeah, don’t forget the Washington Huskies!

Big game in the MAC next week as Miami visits Ohio University in Athens in the annual
“Battle of the Bricks” which will go a long way in determining East Division honors. The
RedHawks’ veteran QB Brett Gabbert suffered a broken leg late in the third quarter of the loss to Toledo Saturday—it will be hard for the Red and White to take down a feisty group of Bobcats without his leadership.

Drove home from Columbus via Cedarville and passed the site of the OHSAA Southwest
District cross country course. For results of the meets in all three divisions, look for coverage here at MyCountyLink to see what teams and individuals advanced to the regionals on the banks of the Miami River in Troy this coming weekend.

Finally, Fortress Obetz has nothing to do with a historical site. The small town of Obetz
purchased the former site of the Columbus Motor Speedway and has developed it as a multi-purpose sports and entertainment complex which opened in 2017. Its bleacher system seats 6,500 people and with standing room for events such as concerts can accommodate up to 20,000. The Fortress designation came about from a writer’s description of the main facility on the site which was constructed of 122 shipping containers similar to those found on cargo ships! Have a great week!!