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September 13, 2012Conference play begins and there are a ton of great matchups to kick off the road to league titles. From the teams that can create space between them and their peers and the others who know that this week is a must-win situation to keep the playoff candle burning everyone is going to put their heart and soul on the line this weekend.
A blood, sweat and tears Week 4 appears to be inevitable. The storylines on Saturday and Sunday mornings are going to be about taking care of business and the "would have, could have should have's."
Here is a look at this weekend's Best Bets
CovCath (3-1) @ Beechwood (1-2) - 7:30 PM - As long as CovCath plays to their strengths then they should cruise to victory over their rivals from the other side of the I-75 overpass. All signs point to Colonels quarterback Blake Bir having a big day. CovCath has dominated the line of scrimmage the past two years versus the Tigers as their rushing attack has been the difference in the outcomes. Beechwood is in for a dogfight up front.
Gallatin County (4-0) @ Lloyd Memorial (3-1) - 7:30 PM - Lloyd won the inaugural meeting between the two Class 2A schools, 39-12 last season. Gallatin County has never won more than seven games in a season. The Wildcats junior quarterback Austin Chapmanhas thrown for 979 yards with 15 touchdown passes and only one interception. Lloyd quarterback Dexter Smith has run for 362 yards and thrown for 701 yards and accounted for 10 touchdowns. The Juggernauts are in the midst of a brutal five-game stretch that includes affairs with Walton-Verona, Holy Cross, NewCath and Brossart. Of Gallatin County's four wins none have come against a school with more than one victory on the season.
Holmes (2-1) @ Cooper (4-0) - 7:30 PM - For a second straight week Holmes goes on the road to face an unbeaten team. Nothing should surprise us about Cooper anymore. This is a focused and driven group of Jaguars. Expect them to come out with high intensity on defense that will carry them to another home victory. Holmes should use their athleticism to their advantage in this affair. The Bulldogs have the talent to create matchup problems and exploit Cooper, but they will have to do it by being patient and disciplined.
Simon Kenton (4-0) @ NewCath (1-2) - Saturday, 7:30 PM - Simon Kenton has given up just seven points in three of their four contests. The Pioneers are only allowing 9.5 points per game. Simon Kenton is looking for their fourth 10-win season in the last five years. All four of their wins are against teams from smaller classes. NewCath is giving up 31 points per game. Playing from behind has led the Thoroughbreds to throw for more yards than they have run for this fall. That is not a good recipe for success. NewCath senior running back Dylan Hayes has rushed for 1,830 yards, amassed 2,952 all-purpose yards and scored 33 touchdowns during his career.
Kings (1-2) @ Turpin (3-0)- Thursday, 7:30 PM - Turpin is sitting in the driver seat for this one. The Spartans not only can go 1-0 in the ECC, but a victory would almost surely knock their fiercest rival out of the playoff picture just four weeks into the season. Kings has their backs against the wall. This is a must-win situation for the Knights in order to keep their post-season hopes alive. This will be a contest of extreme intensity.
Centerville (1-2) @ Lebanon (3-0) - 7:30 PM - Lebanon can do themselves a huge favor by knocking off the Elks and continuing their quest for one of the eight playoff spots in Region 4. The Warriors will never be out a game with their deep passing threat Austin Wolf. Centerville needs to establish the run and get ahead early. This is not a team geared to play catch-up football.
Edgewood (3-0) @ Wilmington (3-0) - 7:30 PM - The big tests now lay ahead for these two programs. Both squads have put themselves in a position to make the post-season. A win on Friday night will enhanced those odds immensely. The SWOC is going to be in an up year and grabbing victories against quality Region 8 teams along the way will reap great rewards in the end.
Badin (2-1) @ Fenwick (2-1) - 7:30 PM - Badin showed that it can handle size as they fell by a point to a much larger Edgewood squad last week. Fenwick has a multi-headed monster in their backfield churning out yards. The Falcons pass is set up by their run and it can be lethal with Frank Catrine and Leo Haenni catching passes from Ricky Davis. Catrine and Badin's Austin Rieman are two of the best small-school athletes in Southwest Ohio. They alone will make the game intriguing and entertaining.
Carlisle (2-1) @ Waynesville (2-1) - 7:30 PM - The SWBL Buckeye kicks off play with a great matchup of Region 16 teams. Waynesville needs to stop the Indians' aerial attack that has helped Carlisle to put up 50-plus points on the board the last two weeks. Carlisle quarterback Levi Boyer has thrown four touchdown passes of 60 yards or more and had a 71-yard touchdown run in three tilts.
Bishop Watterson (3-0) @ Winton Woods (2-1) - 7:30 PM - Winton Woods blew Middletown off the line of scrimmage last week on offense in a huge, emotional win. Avoiding a letdown is something the Warriors want to avert as they have a chance to rack up some quality Level 2 Harbin Points by beating Bishop Watterson. The Eagles are currently ranked #6 in the Ohio Division III AP rankings. All of the Eagles wins are against bigger schools.
Fairfield (2-1) @ Middletown (1-2) - 7:30 - This will be Fairfield head coach Jason Krause's first trip back to Barnitz Stadium since leading Middletown to back-to-back 10-win seasons and playoff appearances in 2009-10. A win on the road in Week 4 and the Indians will equal what they combined to do the past two seasons (3-17). How Middletown rebounds after getting drubbed last week by Winton Woods will be what to watch. It was the first time in Jalin Marshall's career that they have not been in a game. The Middies gave up five touchdown runs of 28 or more yards to the Warriors. They have given up 11 plays on the season of 20 or more yards.
New Richmond (2-1) @ Western Brown (3-0) - 7:30 PM - One of the marquee matchups for the SBAAC American division pits two schools who can ill-afford a loss if they want to entertain playoff hopes. It must be fun playing in the Western Brown offense right now as everyone is getting touches. The Broncos are averaging 46.3 points per game. Junior quarterback Devyn Wood has thrown for 808 yards and seven touchdowns. New Richmond has had trouble keeping teams out of the end zone. The Lions are allowing 35.7 points per contest.
Sycamore (3-0) @ Hamilton (2-1) - 7:30 PM - Hamilton has not lost to Sycamore since 2006. The Big Blue is 3-0 over the Aviators in that span and the two teams did not meet last year. Sycamore quarterback Greg Simpson has ran for at least 127 yards in all three contests and accounted for nine touchdowns (seven rushing & two passing) Hamilton has to contain him if they want to pull out a victory. The Aviators defense has been fantastic with two shutouts and just seven points allowed on the season.
Withrow (1-2) @ Taft (2-1) - 7:30 PM - Withrow has played a very intense schedule. That should start to become an asset from here on out for the Tigers. Taft has some talented athletes capable of making big plays, but do they have enough horses to keep up with Withrow will be the big question that the Senators need to answer on Friday night.
St. Xavier (2-1) @ Louisville Trinity (3-0) - 7:30 PM - Very rarely does St. Xavier play poorly after a loss. In fact the Bombers usually come out more focused that ever the following week. That may be bad news for Trinity whose last loss came to the boys from the Queen City two years ago. The Shamrocks have won 28 straight tilts since that day. Look for them to be in for the battle of their lives as St. X will leave it all on the line.
Lakewood St. Edward @ Elder - Saturday, 7:00 PM - This will be the 10th meeting between the two schools since the rivalry started back in 1996. Elder holds a 5-4 advantage but the Eagles have won the last two tilts in this series. St. Edward is averaging 47 points per game and is coming off back-to-back shutouts. The Panthers passing attack
Lawrenceburg (4-0) @ Franklin County (3-1) - 7:00 PM - Look for a shootout. Lawrenceburg averages 43.5 points per game. Franklin County comes in at 39.0 points per contest. Lawrenceburg sits at #10 in the latest Indiana Class 2A AP Poll and #14 in the Poaches Poll. The top of both polls are dominated by small private schools. Franklin County will show the Tigers the size and depth that they will face the deeper they get into the playoffs. The road to Class 4A sectional & regional championships for Franklin County still runs through the state's top ranked team, Columbus East and conference nemesis, East Central. The Wildcats are 0-3 against those two teams in their last 11 contests. Franklin County has been outscored by an average of 39-11 in those tilts.