Lima Senior’s football team is in an unfamiliar position this week.
And that’s a good thing.
After a few years spent eking out a few wins here and there, the Spartans are eyeing a playoff berth entering the final week of the regular season. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.
Like many area teams, Lima Senior enters Week 10 – against Toledo Whitmer, which visits Lima Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Friday – needing a victory and some help to advance to next week’s playoffs.
Following the final week of the regular season, the Associated Press and the OHSAA will announce playoff teams and their opponents at 2 p.m. Sunday.
The top eight teams in each region make the regional quarterfinals, except for in Division I in which the top 16 teams per division make the playoffs. This postseason, Divisions II, III, IV and VI will play at 7:30 p.m. each Friday while Divisions I, V and VII will play at 7 p.m. Saturdays.
The postseason begins Nov. 8-9. The top four teams in each region earn a home game to open the playoffs. After the regional quarterfinal round, games are played on neutral fields.
Lima Senior (5-4) has not been to the playoffs, or finished a season with a winning record, since the 1999 team finished 6-5.
“We’re talking about finishing the season the right way,” Lima Senior coach Mike Fell said. “We’ve had a successful season. We’ve accomplished quite a bit, but coming off a tough loss last weekend, we want to finish the right way.”
The Spartans are 10th in the Division II, Region 6 computer ratings. Vandalia Butler is eighth (6-3) but has a tough matchup when it plays host to Trotwood-Madison (6-2), who finished last year as the Division II state runner-up. In ninth is Cincinnati Glen Este (5-4), which also has a tough matchup when it travels to Winton Woods (7-2, third in Region 6) on Friday.
According to Fell, if Butler and Glen Este both lose and the Spartans win, Lima Senior will make the playoffs. However, Whitmer (5-4, Division I state runner-up in 2012) also has a playoff berth on the line, as it sits 17th in Division I, Region I.
“It’s up to us to win,” Fell said. “We want to have a good week of practice and come out and play as hard as we can Friday and let the chips fall where they may.
“It should be a great crowd (at Lima Stadium). I would hope everyone is excited. The team’s done a great job and they have something to shoot for. It should be a great night to watch the Spartans play.”
Wapakoneta (8-1) is third in Region 10 and has clinched a playoff spot, according to joeeitel.com, a web site that accurately tracks Ohio football computer ratings. The Redskins travel to Shawnee (2-7) on Friday and are in line for a home playoff game.
Also in Region 10, Celina (7-2) is ninth with a chance to make the postseason with a win over visiting Elida (4-5) on Friday and some help. Trotwood-Madison (6-2) is 10th in the region and would leapfrog Celina should the Rams win Friday against Butler.
In Region 12, Kenton (9-0) is second and has clinched a home game to open the postseason. The Wildcats are currently in line to face Wauseon (8-1), which is seventh, but plenty of shuffling can happen in the final week.
Coldwater (7-2) is fifth in Region 16 and controls its own destiny, needing a win at Fort Recovery (3-6) on Friday. Should the region remain the same after this week, the Cavaliers would travel to Pemberville Eastwood (7-2), which is fourth in the region, to start the playoffs.
In Region 20, Delphos Jefferson (8-1) is third and has clinched a playoff spot. The Wildcats could be the host team for a playoff game, and could grab a share of the Northwest Conference title, should they beat host Spencerville on Friday.
Also in the region, Crestview is fifth (7-2) and Ada (7-2) is sixth. Both have clinched a playoff spot. LCC (7-2) is seventh in the region and controls its own destiny, meaning the T-Birds need to beat visiting Ada on Friday to get into the postseason.
In Region 22, Minster (6-3) is ninth and has a shot at getting into the playoffs, but needs a win at Delphos St. John’s (5-4) on Friday.
In Region 24, Leipsic (7-2) is the top seed and has clinched a playoff spot. Delphos St. John’s is ninth in the region behind Mohawk (4-5). Pandora-Gilboa (10th, 6-3) and Perry (12th, 3-6) still have an outside shot at the playoffs but need victories and a lot of help.
In Region 26, Marion Local (9-0) is third and has clinched a home playoff game. The Flyers, who won the Division VI state title the past two seasons, play host to New Bremen (0-9) on Friday.