Despite posting back-to-back perfect regular seasons, talk of making it three in a row isn't likely to surface any time soon among the members of the DeSales High School football team.

Despite posting back-to-back perfect regular seasons, talk of making it three in a row isn't likely to surface any time soon among the members of the DeSales High School football team.

With a schedule that has toughened up significantly, the Stallions are trying to center their focus on simply getting enough victories and computer points to advance to the postseason.

Not that that's been a problem either.

Even in 2005 when DeSales went 6-4 in the regular season, it picked up the third seed for the Division III, Region 12 playoffs and eventually earned a state runner-up finish.

Similarly in 2001, the Stallions were 5-5 in the regular season but made it all the way to the Division III state final where they lost to Mentor Lake Catholic 27-21 in overtime.

For the Stallions to figure out a way to make it three consecutive perfect regular seasons -- and make it deep into the playoffs -- they'll have to get through a schedule that includes newcomers Gahanna (Friday), Youngstown Mooney (Sept. 4) and Cincinnati Elder (Oct. 16).

In the midst of those games will be CCL-Silver Division matchups against St. Charles (Oct. 2) and Watterson (Oct. 9).

Last season, DeSales beat the Eagles 21-17 in the regular season and 20-17 in the first round of the Division II playoffs.

"St. Charles is a good, seasoned team this year, and Watterson is always a big game for both teams," coach Ryan Wiggins said. "If we win enough games, we know we won't have any trouble getting into the playoffs."

Both Watterson and DeSales have moved from Division II, Region 7 into Division III, Region 10. Eastmoor Academy, which was the Division III state runner-up last year, will be among the teams also competing for berths in that region.

The Stallions have experience throughout the lineup, led by Division I recruits Chi Chi Ariguzo (Northwestern) at linebacker and Travis Jackson (Michigan State) at guard as well as Adam Griffin (RB/DB), Alex Vance (OT) and Chris Rock (DL).

DeSales appears to need only to solidify its quarterback and running back situations to be on track for another memorable season.

Watterson, meanwhile,has lost three in a row to the Stallions and is coming off its first losing season since 1991.

The Eagles have few players back with experience, but they should be strong on the offensive line with seniors Craig Freeman and Kurt May and at linebacker with Matt Redfield, Matt Schweitzer and Mark Theado leading the way.

Watterson's new quarterback is Greg Hock, while DeSales is expected to go with Mitch Herbert in its option attack.

St. Charles brings back a bevy of experienced players as it attempts to break into the top two.

The Cardinals, whose last playoff appearance was in 2002, have lost eight in a row to Watterson, with their last win coming over the Eagles in 2000 (10-8).

St. Charles is 3-34 all-time against DeSales and has lost 32 consecutive meetings.

Still, there is hope that this year could be different. Senior quarterback Shane Bauman is back after passing for 1,600 yards.

Last season, St. Charles lost to the Stallions 20-10 and to Watterson 40-34 in five overtimes. The computer points the Eagles gained from the win essentially put them in the playoffs.

"The way I put it (to the players), competitive is not good enough," first-year coach Jeff Pharion said. "We don't just want to be competitive in football games. We want to win.... DeSales is one of the best teams in the state, and if we beat DeSales, then we probably can compete with anybody. And that's what our goal is -- to beat DeSales."

•Hartley will attempt to give Ready a tougher battle in their matchup for the CCL-Gold Division championship Oct. 30.

The Silver Knights managed to get into the playoffs last year despite having two games canceled, and their 52-6 domination of Hartley in the regular-season finale bumped them up to fifth in Division V, Region 19.

They then beat Johnstown (21-17) and Portsmouth West (17-0) to open the postseason before losing to Liberty Union (13-3) in a regional final to finish 8-3.

Ready will play the next two seasons in Region 20, along withformer Division IV-power Coldwater and 2008 No. 1-seed Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy.

Hartley still slipped into the Division IV, Region 15 playoffs despite the blowout loss to Ready in week 10 but fell to Martins Ferry 20-6 in the first round to finish 7-4.