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July 23, 2012On paper there are many teams that look good heading into 2012, but it will be how the fare against their peers that will ultimately determine whether or not programs are playoff worthy.
So many schools with high hopes are going to have multiple opportunities to prove themselves. There will be no excuses for those who fail to take advantage of their auditions, but only questions about what could have been. For those how pass their tests it will show a mental toughness that makes them very dangerous in the post-season.
Here is a look at the top battles in Southwest Ohio this fall:
Wyoming vs. Fenwick (Thur., Aug. 23rd @ Sycamore Stadium) - The season kicks off with a highly anticipated matchup between two of the best small-school quarterbacks. Moeller transfer Ricky Davis makes his debut under center for Fenwick. His counterpart, Will Marty, looks to build upon the 2,504-yard and 19-touchdown performance he had as a sophomore for Wyoming in 2011. Despite 15 wins over the past two years Fenwick beefed up a weak non-conference schedule that was a factor of them being shutout of the playoffs during that time.
Turpin @ Withrow (Fri., Aug. 24th) - Both schools enter their opener with high expectations. This is great matchup of contrasting styles. A monstrous Withrow offensive line will look to pound the ball versus the smaller but very athletic Turpin squad. As the season wears on the winner stands to gain huge Harbin points in this affair
Withrow @ Anderson (Fri., Aug. 31st) - For a second straight week Withrow will gauge its character against an ECC foe, The Tigers will join the conference year after next. Anderson looks to solve the mystery of how to close out tight contests. All six of the Redskins losses in 2011 were by seven points or fewer.
Turpin @ Wyoming (Fri., Aug. 31st)- There is a distinct possibility that the loser of this tilt could be 0-2. Turpin has had no problem putting up points on the Cowboys having won the last two years by an average score of 38-17.
Trotwood-Madison @ Wayne (Thur., Sept. 6th) - Dayton's most anticipated non-conference game of the season. Some say that the only hurdle from keeping Trotwood-Madison from a second consecutive undefeated regular season is their matchup at Wayne. The stars are aligning themselves for the Warriors to stop a T-Mad 17-game winning streak. The Rams should cruise through their schedule after week three.
Colerain @ St. Xavier (Fri., Sept. 7th)- Cincinnati's most anticipated non-conference game of the season. Head coaches Tom Bolden at Colerain and St. Xavier's Steve Specht and the kids in their programs have elevated this affair into one of the nation's premier rivalry. The two teams have met eight times since 2005 and the Bombers own a 7-2 edge, including a 4-1 mark in the playoffs. St. Xavier has given up just 9.2 points per game to the explosive Cardinals' triple-option offense during that span. The Bombers have won the last four in the series. Of the eight losses in Bolden's career, six have come at the hands of Specht and St. X.
Middletown @ Winton Woods (Fri., Sept. 7th) - Winton Woods would like nothing better than to spoil the homecoming for former head coach Troy Everhart. The Warriors fell to Middletown by just a fourth quarter touchdown last season at Barnitz Stadium. The Middies must guard against a letdown game after facing St. Xavier and Springfield to start 2012.
LaSalle @ Princeton (Fri., Sept. 7th) - By the time the dust clears in late October the winner of this battle will play a huge role in determining the final few playoff spots in Region 4. The athletes on both sides of the ball will get the matchups that will allow them the chance to showcase their talents. It will be a night for special plays from special players. It will be worth every penny to sit in the stands for this one.
Kings @ Turpin (Thur., Sept. 13th) - This will be the second time the two teams have met in both the regular and post-seasons since 2008. Kings holds a 5-1 edge in the win column over the Spartans. Three of those games have been decided by eight points or less. The Turpin seniors will be playing the hunters not the hunted at home.
Moeller @ St. Xavier (Fri., Sept. 21st) - This is most likely the first of two meetings between the two programs for a second straight year. Moeller looks to retain their GCL South title. The Crusaders staved off the Bombers 27-24 during the regular season last fall. St. Xavier foiled the Crusaders hopes for their first Regional title since 1997 avenging the loss in the playoffs.
Middletown @ Colerain (Fri., Oct. 5th) - Over the past three seasons Middletown is 19-2 in GMC play with both losses to Colerain. Defense has been the difference in both of those games for the Cardinals holding the Middies to zero second half points in those tilts. Colerain held Middletown quarterback Jalin Marshall to a season low 31 yards on 20 carries.
Wayne @ Centerville (Fri., Oct. 12th) - Last year's track meet between the two schools saw the two schools combine for 1,132 yards of total offense and 98 total points as Centerville came out on top 63-35. That victory sealed the GWOC Central title for the Elks. Warriors quarterback Javon Harrison threw for 369 yards, ran for 99 more with three passing and two rushing touchdowns in the loss. Centerville running back Kyle Wenning ran for a career high 179 yards and four scores.
Week 10 Top Games: Take your pick of games in the regular season finale as conference titles will clearly be affected all over the region. The first-ever ECC title will see the outcome of Anderson at Kings affect not only a conference crown, but the Division II, Region 8 playoff positioning. In the GCL North, Chaminade-Julienne and Alter will go at like the post-season is in full force. Northwest has to go on the road to see if they have the mettle to get them a piece of the first SWOC title and playoff appearance since 1991. In what has become an annual ritual North College Hill travels to CHCA as they duke it out for a piece the MVC crown and a favorable seed in the Division IV, Region 16 playoffs. Just south is another small school affair that will be hotly contested as Wyoming heads to Madeira in the CHL. Week 10 is going to see plenty of players, fans and programs run the gamut of emotions on, Friday October 26th.