Brock Netter, Staff Writer
Week 4 absolutely lived up to its billing.
Countless memories, close games and cooler weather. What a trio.
Here’s something else to ponder: There’s only two weeks left in the regular season. Part of me is happy that the playoffs are so close, but it also means football is nearly coming to an end. Bit of a catch 22.
Conference pictures are more clear, but there’s still some intrigue in the final two weeks.
Before we get there, here’s this week’s SOSA’s Power Rankings:
1. Waverly (4-0)
Week 4 ranking: 2 … +1
Week 4 result: 36-35 win in overtime over Wheelersburg
The Tigers finally did it. It was 14 years in the making, but the wait was well worth it. And now they sit atop the SOC II standings with two weeks left in the regular season. While everyone will remember the two-point try that will ultimately retire Phoenix Wolf’s jersey, the execution of the play was perfect. Haydn’ Shanks threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns, Zeke Brown had two rushing scores and Wolf had a touchdown catch also. But don’t celebrate yet, Minford is waiting in the wings with upset on its mind.
2. Jackson (4-0)
Week 4 ranking: 1 … -1
Week 4 result: 48-14 win over Miami Trace
In a way, I feel cheated because if this was a normal 10-game schedule, Jackson would be playing Wheelersburg on Friday. What a matchup that would be. But nonetheless, Jacob Winters goes out with an injury, and in steps Evan Spires under center without a single thing changing outside of the jersey number. Spires threw four touchdowns, three to Tristan Prater and the other to Treylan Davis, as the Ironmen scored 41 unanswered against Miami Trace. Unreal.
3. Wheelersburg (3-1)
Week 4 ranking: 3 —
Week 4 result: 36-35 loss in overtime to Waverly
I can’t drop Wheelersburg because it lost at the buzzer. The fact remains that the Pirates are still one of the top teams in Southeast Ohio. Derrick Lattimore was an animal, totaling 155 yards on the ground with two scores on 26 carries, while Jake Gregg threw a touchdown pass as well. Although the Pirates currently aren’t the top dog in the SOC II, they should win out with Valley and West left on the schedule before playoffs.
4. Adena (4-0)
Week 4 ranking: 4 —
Week 4 result: 64-32 win over Piketon
Adena might have the best running attack in the area, which says a lot considering how formidable Oak Hill, Jackson and others run the ball. But this Warriors team is special, which is why they’ll win a Gold Ball. Nate Throckmorton is playing out of his mind, and tallied three rushing touchdowns, a receiving touchdown and a pick-six last Friday. It’s unfair what they are doing, and with the amount of steam they’re picking up with the playoffs just weeks away, they’re only going to get better.
5. Paint Valley (3-1)
Week 4 ranking: 6 … +1
Week 4 result: 55-29 win over Unioto
The results on the field show that nearly nothing has changed out in Bainbridge. Paint Valley is still really good and the ‘Cats aren’t slowing down. Cavan Cooper totaled four touchdowns, two passing and two rushing, and Tramel Byrd added two more rushing scores. Makes me wish that Adena-Paint Valley matchup would happen again in Week 6. But nevertheless, the Bearcats aim to keep things rolling with Zane Trace coming to town.
6. Chillicothe (3-1)
Week 4 ranking: 10 … +4
Week 4 result: 35-7 win over McClain
McClain didn’t offer Chillicothe much resistance, but the Cavaliers have found a rhythm and have won their last three straight games. Kam Smith threw three more touchdowns and Joel Barnes had two touchdowns, including an opening kickoff return for a score. While the Cavaliers have feasted on the bottom half of the FAC, now comes the real tests as they face Miami Trace and Jackson to end the season.
7. Oak Hill (2-2)
Week 4 ranking: N/A
Week 4 result: 27-21 win over Minford
The Oaks really seem to enjoy playing Minford as they’ve now won three of the last four contests over the Falcons. Although it didn’t require a field goal at the buzzer, it still came down to the final seconds where the Oaks got the push up front they needed for the win. Conor Dickens had 12 carries for 118 yards and the game-winning score. The Oaks have now put themselves in a position to win a share of the SOC II if they win out.
8. Minford (2-2)
Week 4 ranking: 5 … -3
Week 4 result: 27-21 loss to Oak Hill
Minford drops three spots this week. It was held scoreless in the first half, but scored 21 in the second, and had a chance to win at the buzzer … a la Oak Hill last season. QB1 Elijah Vogelsong totaled three touchdowns, two passing and one rushing. The Oaks chased him out of the pocket a handful of times, but that’s also where he’s the most effective. Minford has the chance to play spoiler and upset Waverly this week.
9. Eastern (4-0)
Week 4 ranking: 9 —
Week 4 result: 41-13 win over Notre Dame
It’s easy to have letdowns following a huge victory, but the Eagles are locked in and focused on the task at hand. They are one win away from clinching the SOC I championship after a 28-point dismantling of Notre Dame. Northwest presents the same challenges that Symmes Valley did, which was a stout and effective running attack. However, Eastern knows how to throw the ball with Wyatt Hines under center, which could be the difference maker.
10. Unioto (2-2)
Week 4 ranking: 7 … -3
Week 4 result: 55-29 loss to Paint Valley
Friday most definitely wasn’t the greatest time to be a Sherman as they gave up the most points they have in a game all season. They were overmatched and out-powered, but Paint Valley is also a really good football team. The good news for the Shermans is that they have the chance to win out and gain some momentum into the playoffs with Southeastern and Westfall rounding out their schedule.