Seedings, First-Round Pairings Announced For FB Playoffs


Posted on 10/1/2020 at 9:39 p.m.

St. Xavier No. 3 In Region 4; La Salle Set To Defend DII State Title
The seedings and first-round pairings for the revised Ohio High School Athletic Association State Football Tournament were announced Thursday afternoon.  For the first time in state history, all football teams have been awarded entry into the the postseason and the teams were seeded by a vote of coaches in each region that was conducted earlier this week.  The first round is set to begin next Friday, October 9, with the final weekend of the abbreviated six-week regular season scheduled this weekend.
The adjustments were made to the playoffs because of COVID-19 in the summer.  Under normal circumstances, the top eight teams in each region normally qualify for the playoffs based on a computer points system known as the Harbins.  The OHSAA offers state championships in even divisions based on male enrollment of schools.  This season only, teams were offered the opportunity to participate in the playoffs regardless of their record, but also could opt to not participate if they so chose.
Here is a look at each of the four seedings and first-round pairings of the four Greater Catholic League South Division schools.  Elder, Moeller and St. Xavier compete in Division I, Region 4, which comprises 16 schools this season, while La Salle is in DII, Region 8 – in which the top seven seeds will receive first-round byes..
St. Xavier – The GCL South champion has a perfect 3-0 league mark and a 3-2 record entering the final game against Cleveland St. Ignatius this Saturday.  The Bombers were voted the No. 3 seed in Region 4 behind Lakota West and Princeton., which enter play this week with 4-0 and 4-1 records, respectively.
St. Xavier’s only losses are to a pair of unbeaten and highly regarded teams from Greater Indianapolis, Cathedral (6-0), the top-ranked team in the Hoosier state and Brownsburg (6-0). Both losses are by a combined nine points, including one by three and the other in overtime.
Coach Steve Specht’s team, the last GCL South DI team to win a state title (2016), opens the state playoffs by hosting No. 14 Walnut Hills (1-1) on its campus at 7 p.m. next Friday.  The Eagles, a member of the Eastern Cincinnati Conference, have only played two games to date – including a 35-7 loss at home last week to Elder.
Elder – Despite only suffering defeats to La Salle, 53-52, in double OT, and St. Xavier, the Panthers were voted the No. 7 seed.  Elder, which takes a 3-2 record into Friday’s interstate matchup against Cathedral in Indianapolis, boasts one of the area’s most potent offense led by first-year starter in junior quarterback Ben Hambelton – who has completed 80-of-105 passes for league highs of 1,275 yards and 15 TDs without throwing an interception.
Coach Doug Ramsey will lead Elder, which advanced all the way to the DI state final last season before suffering a close loss to Pickerington Central, will host Greater Miami Conference-member and No. 10 Fairfield (1-4) in the opening round at The Pit at 7 p.m. next Friday.  Last season, Elder opened with a 42-17 win against West, while the Panthers defeated Fairfield, 50-42,  at home to begin the 2015 postseason.
Moeller – While the Crusaders have lost four straight since opening with a non-conference victory against Bishop Hartley from Columbus, you can bet not many teams were looking forward to facing first-year coach Mark Elder and his team in the opening round.  Moeller, which travels to La Salle in its final regular-season game Friday, held a 13-0 lead at Elder two weeks ago and trailed St. Xavier by only seven points, 21-14, at halftime before falling to the two GCL South rivals.
Moeller, which won back-to-back DI state crowns in 2012 and 2013, is the region’s No. 11 seed and, as a result, travels to meet No. 6 Hamilton (3-2) on the road at 7 p.m. next Friday.  Moeller and Hamilton last met in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown in week one back in 2017, with Moeller posting a 42-7 victory against the Big Blue in Hamilton.
La Salle – The Lancers have been nothing short of dominant in the postseason in recent years, evidenced by winning four of the last six DII state championships and posting a 22-1 record in the postseason during that span.  La Salle, which outscored the opposition, 191-53, to win last year’s title, did not qualify in 2018 and advanced to the regional final in 2017 before falling to Winton Woods, 16-14.  The Lancers won three straight state championships from 2014 to 2016.
This season, La Salle was voted the region’s No. 2  seed behind undefeated Winton Woods and, as a result, received a first-round bye in next week’s opening round.  The top seven seeds in Region 8 receive first-round byes.  The Lancers will open their title defense on Friday, October 16 by hosting the winner of next Friday’s first-round game between Little Miami (1-4) and Loveland (1-3), both members of the Eastern Cincinnati Conference.
Here is a look at the pairings for Regions 4 and 8:

Division I, Region 4
Division II, Region 8