The Fort Frye Cadets completed one of their season goals last week as they clinched a share of their first Pioneer Valley Conference championship in 19 years with a dominating 60-14 drubbing of the Shenandoah Zeps.
Saturday afternoon the Cadets (72) will attempt to complete another one of those goals, to reach the post season.
In order to reach that goal, coach Eric Huck and his Cadets will need to come up with a road victory against a very tough Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans team (7-2) and then get a little help from a few of the teams that surround them in the state rankings.
KATIE PARKS Special to The Times
Monroe Central’s Brian Duffy (32) makes the reception as Frontier’s Eddie Salazar (12) tries to break it up during Pioneer Valley Conference football action in New Matamoras last Friday night.
The Cadets come into the game ranked ninth in the Division 5, Region 17 standings, just one spot out of a playoff berth.
Six of the teams ahead of the Cadets have already clinched a berth in the playoffs leaving the Cadets in a battle with the likes of Bellaire, Campbell Memorial, South Range, and Columbiana for the final two spots.
Seventh-ranked Bellaire and 10th-ranked South Range both control its own destiny as both would advance to the playoff with victories.
South Range has a tough battle as they take on fifth- ranked and undefeated Crestview, while Bellaire travels to Martins Ferry to battle the 5-4 Purple Riders.
Campbell Memorial which currently rests in the eighth and final playoff spot appears to have an easier go of things as it hosts Girard, a team with just one win on the season against eight losses.
All the Cadets can do is take care of their own business and let the cards fall where they may.
The Fort has been led all season by the trio of running back Max Alsbach and brothers' Chandler and Spencer Lang.
Alsbach is just 132 yards shy of 1,000 on the season as the senior back has 868 yards on the season while scoring 8 touchdowns.
Quarterback Chandler Lang has had his hand in no less than 26 touchdowns on the season, 13 through the air and 13 on the ground, while Spencer Lang has 1103 total yards from scrimmage with 14 touchdowns of his own.
Rosecrans comes into the game ranked third in the Division 6, Region 23 standings having already clinched a berth in the playoffs.
Even with their playoff spot secured, the Bishops still have plenty of reason to go all out Saturday as a win over the Fort would almost certainly guarantee them a first-round home playoff game.
Last week, Bishop Rosecrans dropped a tough 6-3 decision to Riverview.
Key players for the Bishops include quarterback Adrick Cronin, and running backs Chase Lanning and Luke Lloyd, who missed last week's game with an injury.
Last year in Beverly, the Bishops rolled to a 28-0 victory over the Cadets.
FRONTIER (4-5) at RIVER (6-3) (Saturday 1 p.m.)
The Frontier Cougars will look to play the role of spoilers in the Pioneer Valley Conference as they make the short trip to Hannibal to battle the River Pilots Saturday afternoon.
A River win would give the Pilots a 5-1 conference record and a share of the division title with the Fort Frye Cadets and potentially the Monroe Central Seminoles.
Frontier comes into the game on the heels of a disappointing 46-0 loss to Monroe Central, a game in which the Cougars were out gained in yardage 363-69 by the Seminoles.
Cougar running backs' Taylor Merckle and Jared Howell were limited to just 31 combined rushing yards against the always tough Monroe Central defense.
Frontier quarterback Jordan Jefferson was forced out of Friday's game with an injury after completing 4-of-12 passes for just 10 yards.
One season after going winless, head coach Todd Bradford's Cougars have been much improved in 2012 with victories over Shenandoah (20-14), Bridgeport (25-6), Caldwell (34-29) and Valley Wetzel (40-7).
River comes into the game with three consecutive victories, including last week's big 24-14 conference win over Buckeye Trail, and an outstanding shot at postseason play.
The Pilots come into the game ranked eighth in the Division 6, Region 23 standings and a win over the Cougars would almost certainly secure a berth in the playoffs.
Key players for River include quarterback Cody Caldwell and JB Dotson.
Last year in New Matamoras, the Pilots downed the Cougars 27-8.
BELPRE (3-6) at WATERFORD (2-7)
The Belpre Golden Eagles will look to make it three wins in four games when they travel to Waterford Friday night to battle the injury ridden Wildcats.
The much improved Golden Eagles got a huge game from Manny Tullius in last week's 54-14 victory over Tri Valley Conference foe Miller.
The sophomore running back rushed 18 times for 272 yards in the game with three touchdowns .
Quarterback Tavian Miller also had a nice game against the Falcons as the freshman rushed for a pair of touchdowns and passed for another.
Eagle head coach Greg Adams has seen his Eagles come up with victories on the season against Southern (48-13), South Gallia (21-6) and Miller.
Waterford's season has been decimated by injuries as the Cats have lost several key players to season ending injuries.
Head coach Tom Tucker would like nothing more than to conclude the 2012 season with the Wildcats third victory of the season.
Last week, Waterford went on the road and returned home with a heart breaking, 20-14 overtime loss to the previously winless South Gallia Rebels.
Wildcat running back Hunter Munjas had a big game against South Gallia rushing for 132 yards on 22 carries and a pair of touchdowns.
Quarterback Devon Patterson completed six-of-16 passes for 90 yards for the green and white, 79 of those yards going to Austin Cunningham.
Last year in Belpre, the Wildcats drilled Belpre 46-7.
CALDWELL (1-8) at SHENANDOAH (0-9)
The Shenadoah Zeps will host the Caldwell Redskins Friday night in the battle of Noble County.
Both teams are wrapping up difficult seasons and would like nothing more than to knock off their County rival in the season finale.
The 2012 season has been a struggle to say the least for Shenandoah and first-year head coach Kaleb Lawrence.
The Zeps dropped a hard fought 20-14 decision to Frontier in their season opener, but have not come within 31 points of a victory since.
Among the bright spots for Shenandaoh has been the emergence of running back Michael VanFossen, who rushed for 162 yards on 23 carries in last weeks 60-14 loss to Fort Frye.
Though Caldwell may have just one win on the season, the Redskins have played much better football in the second half of the season.
After defeating Barnesville 25-7 in Week 6, the Josh Perkins-led Skins dropped games to both Frontier (34-29) and Fort Frye (35-34) on games that were decided on the very last play of the game.
Last week, the Redskins dropped a 26-13 decision to 2011 West Virginia State Champion Wheeling Central.
The Cadets love to run the ball right at their opponents and Shenandoah can expect to see a healthy dose of running backs Andrew Minosky, Caleb VanMeter and freshman Bricker Lori.
Last year in Caldwell, Shenandoah nipped the Redskins by a final score of 20-14.
FEDERAL HOCKING (6-3) at TRIMBLE (8-1)
The Federal Hocking Lancers will try and keep their slim playoff chances alive when they travel to Trimble Friday night to battle a very tough Tomcat squad in the TVC Hocking Division finale.
The Lancers, though still mathematically alive, would need a win over Trimble coupled with a whole lot of help from teams ranked in front of them in the state playoff rankings.
Federal Hocking is currently ranked 14th in the latest Ohio Division 5, Region 9 rankings, with the top eight teams moving on to post season play.
Federal Hocking has one the area's toughest defense as the Lancers are allowing just over 12 points per game on the season.
Last week's hard fought 25-24 loss to Eastern could prove to be the crippling blow for Federal Hocking's post season aspirations.
Fed Hock trailed 25-9 to Eastern with just over nine minutes to play before rallying for 14 fourth quarter points but still came up a few points short.
Quarterback Kyle Jackson completed 11-of-23 passes for 145 yards and a score against Eastern, while Delbert Crum carried 26 times for 162 yards to lead the Lancers in rushing.
Trimble's only loss on the season came at the hands of the undefeated Wahama Wildcats (25-12) way back in week two.
As tough as Federal Hocking's defense has been this season, Trimble has allowed only an unbelievable 45 points on the season, with 25 of those coming in the loss to Wahama.
The Tomcats, who have already clinched a playoff berth in the post season have not been scored upon in a remarkable 24 straight quarters.
Last year, Trimble easily handled the Lancers 32-0 in Stewart.
MAYSVILLE (8-1) at MORGAN (2-7)
The Morgan Raiders will close out their 2012 season Friday night at home against a very tough Maysville Panthers squad in McConnelsville.
The Raiders dropped a tough 35-26 decision a week ago against conference rival Crooksville in a game that was not decided until the final quarter of play.
Justin Head rushed 18 times for 168 yards and three touchdowns against Crooksville to pace the Raider offense and has now accumulated over 1100 yards and 10 touchdowns in the 2012 season.
The Raiders own victories on the season over Union Local (21-0) and West Muskingum (34-13).
Maysville comes into the game ranked third in the Divison 3, Region 11 standings and a win over Morgan would not only clinch a post season berth, but more than likely secure a first round home game for the Panthers.
Maysville has won seven straight games on the season including last weeks 14-12 victory over a very tough Philo Electrics squad.
Maysville downed the Raiders 38-7 last year in Zanesville.
BUCKEYE TRAIL (4-5) at MONROE CENTRAL (6-3)
Last week the Monroe Central Seminoles put themselves in great position to claim at least a share of yet another PVC championship with a 46-0 victory over the Frontier Cougars.
This week the Noles of head coach Jay Circosta will look to finish the deal when they host the Buckeye Trail Warriors in Woodsfield.
Monroe Central's season appeared to be in jeopardy after losses to both Fort Frye (27-0) and Magnolia (35-15) dropped its record to 3-3, but three straight wins over Shenandoah, Barnesville and Frontier by a combined 136-0 have the Noles back at the top of their game.
MC is still mathematically alive in their quest for a playoff berth, but the 12th ranked Seminoles would need a win and something similar to a miracle to find a way into the postseason.
Quarterback Kory Lafferre continued his outstanding season last week against Frontier as the signal caller ran for 110 yards and a pair of touchdowns and passed for 157 more.
The Warriors are heading in the exact opposite direction as the Seminoles as they have dropped their last three game to Fort Frye (24-21), Shadyside (27-0) and River (24-14).
Last year the 'Noles downed the Warriors 42-0 in Lore City.
RAVENSWOOD (2-6) at ST. MARYS (7-1)
The St. Marys Blue Devils will try to secure a home playoff game in the upcoming West Virginia playoffs when they host Ravenswood Red Devils in what figures to be a lopsided affair in St. Marys.
The Blue Devils come into the game on quite a roll, winning six games in a row, while Ravenswood has lost six straight.
St. Marys is coming off of a 38-0 shutout win over South Harrison in a game in which the Blue Devils had four players rush for 70 or more yards.
David Gray (14-137 2TD's), Noah Spitzer (11-70 TD), Derek Barnhart (8-76) and Andrew Cosper (9-70, TD) all had productive games for the Devils.
Last year the battle of the Devils went to Ravenswood by a final score of 47-26.
PARKERSBURG CATHOLIC (4-5) at GILMER COUNTY (2-6)
The Parkersburg Catholic Crusaders will look to get back to the .500 mark on the season when they travel to Glenville Friday night to take on the Gilmer County Titans in LKC action.
The Crusaders had their post season hopes dashed last week when they lost a hard fought 7-0 defensive struggle to the Williamstown Yellow Jackets.
The Crusader possess wins on the season over Pocahontas County (20-14), Calhoun County (63-0), South Harrison (21-13) and Valley Fayette (37-14).
Key players for Catholic include quarterback Payton Sturm, running backs Mitch Davis and Charles Schriner as well as receiver Nick Roedersheimer.
Last year the Crusaders downed the Titans 56-20 in Parkersburg.