Mark it down. Hilliard Davidson, New Albany, Pickerington Central and West Jefferson are all going to take care of business on Friday.

Mark it down. Hilliard Davidson, New Albany, Pickerington Central and West Jefferson are all going to take care of business on Friday.

Those four teams enter the final week of the regular season undefeated at 9-0 and there is a world of difference between going into the playoffs 10-0 or 9-1, especially when that loss comes in the last game of the regular season.

Even though all four of those teams have a playoff berth wrapped up, don't expect any of them to rest their starters. In the grand scheme of winning a state title, the final game of the regular season is meaningless. Each team already has clinched at least a share of its league title, and each is likely to play host to a first-round playoff game.

So why not keep players off the field to make sure the roster is 100 percent healthy for the playoffs?

It's all about bragging rights. Sharing a league title is one thing, but winning it outright is another. More important than that, there's nothing like going undefeated. It's like carrying around a royal flush, ready to trump any argument about who has the best team.

Davidson won the state championship last year and I'm not going to argue they weren't the best team. But Dublin Coffman fans could say, "Yeah, but we beat them. We went 1-1 against them last year."

What if Davidson loses to Hilliard Darby on Friday but goes on to win the state title again this year? Sure, the Wildcats would take it, but the folks in Hilliard that root for Darby surely would be quick to debate whether Davidson is the best team in Hilliard.

When Big Walnut won the Division III state championship in 2007, New Albany took a measure of pride in being the only team to knock off the Golden Eagles that year. Was Big Walnut thinking about that loss after the season? Probably not, but they weren't undefeated.

Being undefeated is special. In the last 10 years, only five of the Division I state champions can say that they finished undefeated. Two of those teams hail from central Ohio in Davidson (2006) and Upper Arlington (2000). Both finished 15-0.

Even though it's hard to win a state championship and even harder to do it while going undefeated, that's not going to stop anyone from trying.

The starters for Davidson, New Albany, Pickerington Central and West Jefferson are going to play on Friday.

Rest isn't as big a deal in high school football as it is in, say, the NFL. The final week of the NFL regular season can be a joke, but in high school football, teams that are in a position to go undefeated often are already rested.

Good teams have one, two or three games a year, at least, where they have a chance to "get healthy," which is coach speak for dominating an opponent so thoroughly that the junior varsity players get significant playing time.

Last Saturday, the day after New Albany beat Delaware 41-3, Eagles coach Mark Mueller said he wasn't worried about resting his players in the regular-season finale on Friday against visiting Mount Vernon.

"We were able to rest a lot of our guys in the second half of last night's game," Mueller said. "We were able to get some guys rest against Big Walnut (a 41-0 win on Oct. 15) and most of our (starters) were out in the second half against Franklin Heights (a 55-14 win on Oct. 8). We're well rested."

So when Mount Vernon plays New Albany, the Eagles will be giving the Yellow Jackets their best shot. Reynoldsburg will get Pickerington Central's best. West Jefferson quarterback D. J. Gray won't be sitting out against Liberty Union.

And, of course, Darby will get Davidson's best, but that's an entirely different animal. Some Davidson students once made a sign to prove that.