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Prep games to watch: City League title up for grabs in Week 8

  • StartScott06-15

    Start's Legend Tucker leads the Spartans into Friday's battle with Bowsher for the lead in the City League standings.

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  • WhitCentral29-25

    Central Catholic quarterback Troy Durden (10) is second in the TRAC in rushing yards, trailing St. Francis' Malachi Wyse. The Knights host the Irish this week.

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  • SPT-NapSpring06-27

    Springfield's Devin Johnson (10) and the Blue Devils look to get back on the winning side as they host Perrysburg on Friday.

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Last Friday did a number to some of the league leaders in area high school football. Losses to Scott, Springfield, and McComb put them out of the running for conference crowns, at least for the time being.

It also thrust some new teams into the spotlight, particularly in the City League race that now sees Scott and Bowsher tied atop the standings. And wouldn’t you know it, the Rebels visit the Spartans in Week 8. That’s as good a place as any to start Week 9’s prep games to watch.

1. BOWSHER (3-4, 2-0 City League) at START (3-4, 2-0 City League)

Who cares about overall records? Start entered last week’s game against Scott trailing in the standings, but the Spartans came out on top for their 17th straight CL victory when Legend Tucker scored from 2-yards out in the 7-0 win. Tucker finished with only 27 yards on 15 carries, giving him 328 yards and five touchdowns on the season. From the second week of the season through the fifth, Bowsher lost four straight games by an average of nearly 36 points. But the Rebels have turned it on when it counts, winning their last two over Woodward and Rogers to sit perfect in the CL standings. Jordan Jarvis and Marlon Scott have combined to rush for nearly 500 yards for the Rebels.

Playoff picture: Not going to lie, it’s a bleak outlook for both teams. Bowsher currently is 21st in Division II, Region 6, and while the Rebels aren’t mathematically eliminated, it will take something crazy for them to make it to November. Start is 11th in Division I, Region 2, but computer points will be few and far between for the Spartans the rest of the way.

2. CENTRAL CATHOLIC (7-0, 4-0 TRAC) at ST. FRANCIS (4-3, 2-2 TRAC)

There could be debate what’s the more impressive stat for the Irish — the 44 points per game they average, or the 6.3 points they allow per game. How about both? The Irish are one of the state’s top Division II teams, and they haven’t been truly tested yet this year. This could be the game, though, as the Knights bring in the TRAC’s top running back in Malachi Wyse (1,158 yards, 13 TDs). Last week, Wyse gouged Lima Senior for 211 yards and a trio of touchdowns. Central brings in its own top running game, with quarterback Troy Durden rushing for seven TDs and averaging nearly eight yards per rush.

Playoff picture: Simply put, Central Catholic controls its own destiny. The Irish are top-ranked in Division II, Region 6, and unless they stumble in the final three games, that status shouldn’t change. For St. Francis, these next two weeks will make or break its playoff hopes. After facing the Irish, the Knights travel to face Whitmer. Currently, St. Francis is tenth in Division II, Region 6, but a pair of wins would jump the Knights considerably.


Springfield's Devin Johnson (10) and the Blue Devils look to get back on the winning side as they host Perrysburg on Friday.

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3. PERRYSBURG (3-4, 2-2 NLL) at SPRINGFIELD (5-2, 3-1 NLL)

This isn’t the spot Perrysburg figured to be in for Week 8, playing the role of spoiler. But the Yellow Jackets lost their starting quarterback early in the season, and here they are. After dropping their first four games of the season, the Jackets went on a two-game winning streak that was snapped last week against Anthony Wayne. The offensive bright spot for the Jackets — who were held to 49 yards last week — has been Caleb Gerken, who has rushed for more than 500 yards and six scores. On the other sidelines is Blue Devils quarterback A.J. Gucciardo, the NLL’s leading passer with 1,935 yards and 24 TDs; the senior has completed 70 percent of his 180 attempts. Gucciardo and his teammates are smarting after last week’s loss to Napoleon, so they’ll be looking to get back on the winning track quickly.

Playoff picture: Coming at No. 15 in Division II, Region 6, the Yellow Jackets playoff hopes are on a wing and a prayer. Springfield, though, is seventh in the same region, and with a Week 10 matchup against undefeated Anthony Wayne on the horizon, clinching a home playoff game isn’t out of the question. 

4. PATRICK HENRY (4-3, 4-0 NWOAL) at BRYAN (6-1, 4-0 NWOAL)

It was a rough start to the year for the Patriots, who lost three straight to open 2018. Since then, they’ve reeled off four straight wins and are right in the thick of the NWOAL championship picture. In last week’s win over Evergreen, Will Morrow rushed for 171 yards and four TDs, both season bests, to up his totals to 531 yards and nine scores. Meanwhile, quarterback T.J. Rhamy leads the team with 601 rushing yards and another seven TDs. Apart from an opening-week hiccup against Van Wert, the Golden Bears have rolled through six straight wins by an average of 18 points. Quarterback Nate Miller leads Bryan with 1,013 passing yards and nine TDs, adding another 400-plus on the ground.

Playoff picture: While stopping short of saying they control their own destiny, the Golden Bears are in a solid spot, entering Week 8 ranked seventh in Division IV, Region 14. They play teams with a combined 15 wins in the final three weeks, so three wins and Bryan should be in. Patrick Henry actually does control its own destiny, coming in ranked tenth in Division VII, Region 26; the Patriots play two Division IV teams and a Division V team the rest of the way.

5. CLINTON (6-1, 5-0 Tri-County Conference) at WHITEFORD (7-0, 5-0 Tri-County Conference)

Clinton and Whiteford have been on a collision course towards Week 8 all season. The Redskins have rolled through opponents, winning their six games by an average of nearly 30 points, with only a loss at 5-2 Blissfield to blemish their record. The Bobcats have been even more dominant, winning by an average of 42 points per game. Speaking of Blissfield, after losing to Whiteford 48-6 in Week 1, it beat Clinton 42-29 in Week 2. Logan Murphy leads the Bobcats with 611 rushing yards and nine TDs, and Zach Bertz has 10 rushing scores.

Playoff picture: It’s crystal clear — both teams have already qualified for the Class C playoffs.

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