All the calculating and hopeful figuring by high school football staffs around the state came to an end Saturday night, and the Ohio High School Athletic Association made it official Sunday with the release of the final computer ratings and 2013 playoff pairings.
Led by its champion, Central Catholic (10-0, 7-0), the Three Rivers Athletic Conference will be sending three teams to the postseason in three different divisions.
The Fighting Irish, the 2012 Division II state champions, produced the highest computer average of all Division III teams at 36.302, and the sixth highest average for any Ohio team regardless of division.
The second-ranked Irish, winners of 15 straight games, are the No. 1 seed in Region 8 and will host Defiance (6-4) in a first-round game Friday at Gallagher Stadium
All playoff games in divisions II, III, IV, and VI are scheduled for Fridays at 7:30 p.m., and all games in divisions I, V, and VII are set for Saturdays at 7 p.m.
All first-round games are played at the home fields of the higher-seeded teams, with No. 8 seeds playing at No. 1s, No. 7s at No. 2s, No. 6s at No. 3s, and No. 5s at No. 4s in divisions II through VII.
The other two TRAC teams to qualify were runner-up St. Francis de Sales (8-2, 6-1) and third-place Whitmer (6-4, 5-2).
St. Francis is the No. 7 seed in Region 4 of Division II and will travel to Avon (10-0).
Whitmer, the 2012 Division I state runner-up, earned the No. 14 seed in Region 1 of the OHSAA’s new D-I format, which utilizes two 16-team regions (north and south) instead of the four eight-team regions used by the lower divisions.
The Panthers open on the road against a familiar foe in No. 3 seed Hudson (9-1), which lost to Whitmer 39-28 in the second round of last year’s playoffs.
The Northern Lakes League has two teams in the playoffs, with champion Perrysburg (8-2, 7-0) earning the No. 6 seed in Region 4 on D-II and a first-round matchup at Akron Ellet (10-0), and Napoleon (6-4, 4-3) taking the No. 6 seed in Region 8 of D-III and playing at third-ranked Sandusky Bay Conference champion Sandusky Perkins (10-0).
Arguably, the most competitive region in all divisions statewide is Region 12 of Division IV, where four of the eight teams are ranked among the top eight teams in the Associated Press state poll.
The marquee matchup Friday has two-time defending Northwest Ohio Athletic League champion Bryan (10-0, 8-0), the No. 5 seed, playing at two-time defending Northern Buckeye Conference champion Genoa (10-0, 7-0).
Bryan is ranked No. 2 in the state poll, Genoa No. 3, and both teams have been unbeaten in the past two regular seasons.
Elsewhere in Region 12, NWOAL runner-up Wauseon (9-1, 7-1), the state’s eighth-ranked team, will play at Wooster Triway (8-2), and NBC member Lake (8-2, 5-2) will play at top-seeded Caledonia River Valley (10-0), Ohio’s fourth-ranked D-IV team.
Oddly enough, the City League finale between Woodward (2-8) and host Waite (2-8) on Saturday determined who would host between Genoa and Bryan. Because Waite defeated Woodward (41-6), and Genoa had beaten Waite earlier in the season, the Comets picked up enough points to edge Bryan out of the No. 4 seed.
In Division V, the NBC’s third qualifying team, Eastwood (8-2, 6-1) earned a No. 4 seed in Region 16. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they host perennial power and defending D-V state champion Coldwater (8-2) of the highly competitive Midwest Athletic Conference.
Since 1998, Coldwater, a 19-time playoff participant, has won three state championships and been runner-up in five other seasons.
Blanchard Valley Conference champion Liberty-Benton (9-0, 8-0), Ohio’s second-ranked D-V team, is the No. 2 seed in Region 16 and will host Huron (7-3).
Thanks to Friday’s loss by Patrick Henry to Wauseon, Toledo Area Athletic Conference champion Northwood (8-2, 7-0) was able to hold onto the No. 8 seed in Region 20 of Division VI. The Rangers will travel to play top-seeded Green Meadows Conference champion Tinora (9-1, 7-0).
In the OHSAA’s new Division VII, Hicksville (6-4) of the GMC will play at No. 2 seed McComb (8-2) of the BVC, Arlington (7-3) of the BVC will play at No. 3 seed Fremont St. Joe (7-3) of the Midland Athletic League, and TAAC runner-up Edon (8-2, 6-1) will play at No. 4 seed Tiffin Calvert of the MAL.
Southeastern Conference Red Division champion Bedford (10-0, 5-0) will have a rematch with the team they defeated to earn that title on Friday at 7 p.m., when the Saline Hornets (9-1, 4-1) come to the Kicking Mules’ home field for a Michigan, Division 1 second-round game.
In Division 8, Whiteford (8-2) will play host to Detroit Allen Academy (7-2) on Friday at 7.
Contact Steve Junga at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 419-724-6461 or on Twitter@JungaBlade.