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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Football: Playoffs Clinched & Wooster Week

Big weekend for the Rider football team. A 32-21 win over Clear Fork (story, pics) locked up Orrville's 20th playoff berth, and with arch-rival Wooster coming to town for the 99th meeting in series history, it will be a busy week of practice and anticipation at the corner of Ella and Mineral Spring St. 

Let's break it all down...
Clear Fork Game
As mentioned in the Mansfield News Journal article, the Orrville "jinx" lives, although it's not so much a jinx as just being the better team.  This one was a hard fought win, at a time when the Riders needed it the most.  Our big time players made big time plays, which is the way it should be when you need a win late in the season.

20 playoff appearances....let that sink in.  Our first playoff appearance was in 1980.  So, we've made 20 appearance since 1980.  Twenty appearances in thirty years.  Quite a tradition.  Our 20 appearances are easily the most in the county.....but just for posterity, here's how the other county teams stack up.

Orrville - 20
Smithville - 11
Dalton - 9 (including 2009)
Waynedale - 8 (should be in if they beat Northwestern this week, would give them 9)
Triway - 4 (including 2009)
Northwestern - 3
Wooster - 3
Rittman - 2
Chippewa - 1
Norwayne - 1 (still alive in Region 17, might get #2 this year yet)

We sit 4th in Region 14 right now, and would play Ottawa-Glandorf at home if the playoffs began this week.  A win over Wooster would cement that 4th place standing, and should jump us to 3rd.

One of my readers, calling himself "Riders Harbin Man" left his projections in the comment section of an older post....I'm listing them here so more people see them.  Here's how he projects things to fall after week 10...

1: Galion
2: Triway (assuming Copley loses to Revere)
3: Orrville (assuming Lex loses to Ashland)
4: Genoa
5: Ottowa Glandorf
6: Milan Edison
7: Clear Fork
8: Eastwood
The one variable is if Lexington beats Ashland, in that case, Orrville and Clear Fork would each move up a spot, and we'd play Milan Edison in the first round.
My projections don't exactly mirror that of my fellow Rider's how I have it shaking out.  I assumed every team in the top 8 wins, and that every game that involved 2nd level points was won by the team with a better record.  Here's what I got...
1.  Galion - 24.4167
2.  Genoa - 21.4889
3.  Triway - 20.95
4.  Orrville - 20.7
5.  Milan - 18.7389
6.  Ottawa Glandorf - 18.5778
7.  Clear Fork - 16.6389
8.  Eastwood - 15.1

Again, this assumes that both Copley and Lexington lose, if either of those teams win, Orrville would leapfrog Triway into 3rd place.  If both would happen to win, Orrville would jump all the way to 2nd (and have a 1st round rematch with Clear Fork).  My projections have Orrville playing Milan Edison in the first round. 

In my projections, Milan and Ottawa Glandorf are only separated by 0.2 points, same with us and Triway, so there's still plenty to shake out...but it's nice knowing you're in.

A win over Wooster would accomplish several things....

1) A home playoff game.
2) No worse than 2nd place in the OCC. A Lexington win over Ashland and an Orrville win would result in a co-championship.
3) Five straight wins over Wooster.
4) A 7-3 regular season, after an 0-2 start. Credit to the kids and coaches for never quitting.

So..while we've got the playoffs locked up, don't think for a minute that we'll be taking our foot off the gas this week. Quite the opposite I'd hope.

More on this game later in the week.

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