One final push for the playoffs

Pymatuning Valley's Devin Ray, right, looks to run after taking a handoff from quarterback Ryan Croston (15) on Friday night during a home game against Toronto last Friday. The Lakers host Mathews Friday in a game to determine the Northeastern Athletic Conference champion.

It’s now or never for high school football teams who hope to play in Week 11 this season.

The regular-season concludes on Friday.

There are still numerous scenarios which can help or hurt teams, especially with the top 16 in each region now advancing to the postseason.

The 448 schools to make the playoffs will be announced on Sunday by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

In Ashtabula County, Conneaut, Lakeside and Pymatuning Valley are in contention to keep playing based on the latest OHSAA computer ratings.

For those who aren’t moving on to Week 11, the final game is a chance to send the seniors out on a positive note, defeat a rival or could provide a glimpse of the future.

Let’s look at Friday’s matchups:

LAKESIDE (4-4)

AT EDGEWOOD (2-7)

The Dragons are ranked 15th in Division II, Region 5, which is currently a playoff spot. Lakeside put together a solid 55-0 win over Orange last Friday. The Dragons are seeking their first winning season since going 7-3 in 2005. The Warriors, who haven’t scored in four straight games, have struggled this season. They are playing for the future and to knock off their crosstown rival, like they did in 2019. Edgewood quarterback Tony Hall has thrown for 644 yards. On defense, Troy Peterson has accounted for 85 tackles, including 17 for loss, and nine sacks.

GENEVA (3-6) AT CHAGRIN FALLS (4-5)

The Eagles have dropped two straight since blanking Edgewood on Oct. 1. Geneva QB Wyatt Fuduric has attained 724 yards and eight touchdowns rushing. The Tigers, who are currently on the outside looking in with a playoff spot (rated 17th in Division IV, Region 13) have lost three of their last four games. 

BEACHWOOD (1-5) AT GRAND VALLEY (0-7)

The Bison are on a two-game losing streak. The Mustangs saw some positives in the first half against Crestwood with a 7-7 tie last Friday. Crestwood then took over in the second half to post a 26-7 win. Casey Turner gained 75 yards and scored a touchdown for GV.

CONNEAUT (4-5) AT FORT LEBOEUF (6-1)

The Spartans put themselves back in the playoff hunt with a convincing 49-14 win over Titusville last Friday. They are currently ranked 13th in Division V, Region 17. Conneaut running back Zack Rice is 82 yards away from 1,000 on the season. QB Kiefer Mandagelo provides a solid run-pass threat. Fort LeBoeuf has outscored its last three opponents 165-21 in three wins. In a 55-14 win over Corry last weekend, Adam Lichtinger and Tristin Harris each eclipsed 100 yards rushing and combined for four TDs.

MATHEWS (6-2) AT

PYMATUNING VALLEY (5-3)

This one will decide the Northeastern Athletic Conference winner. The Mustangs have blanked their last four opponents, and scored 36 or more points in those contests. The Lakers, who are ranked 14th in Division V, Region 21, are seeking a third straight conference title for the first time in school history. Robert Verba leads PV with 605 yards rushing, 238 receiving and six sacks.

LAKEVIEW (0-9)

AT JEFFERSON (3-6)

The Bulldogs check in with 17 points scored in their last four outings. QB Nate Fox has rushed for 397 yards and passed for another 360. The Falcons are seeking to stop a six-game losing streak. QB Grant Hitchcock has passed for 1,323 yards and rushed for 900 with 13 TDs on the ground. A four-win season would be Jefferson’s best mark since going 5-5 in 2016.

FAIRPORT (2-5)

AT ST. JOHN (0-9)

The two NAC schools will finish their home-and-home series at SPIRE. Last Friday, the Skippers posted a 22-6 win. Fairport’s Josiah Cooper ran for 150 yards and scored a TD. Heralds QB Jeff Watson has thrown for 818 yards. Devyn Mercilliott leads the county with 98 tackles.

MADISON (0-9) AT

GARFIELD HEIGHTS (3-6)

The Blue Streaks are seeking their first win since Nov. 1, 2019. Carson Alley paces Madison with 581 yards rushing. The Bulldogs have tallied 32 or more points in their last three outings.

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