We may not have reached the "must-win" portion of the season for most high school football teams, but nearly every team in central Ohio is now at least beginning its league schedule.
In other words, even games that feature two teams with losing records could have meaning from an emotional standpoint. Other games over the coming weeks will be followed from a playoff-point perspective.
Here are five things to watch in Week 6:
1. Gahanna and Reynoldsburg will have their biggest tests to date as they try to prove how far they've come.
Although neither the Lions nor Raiders were out of the playoff race last fall until the season's final two weeks, Gahanna finished just 5-5 while Reynoldsburg went 6-4.
The Raiders take a 4-1 record into their OCC-Ohio Division opener Friday, Sept. 29, at Pickerington North, a Division I playoff qualifier last year that also has won four of its first five games this season.
The Lions have lost 14 games in a row to Pickerington Central but will play host to the Tigers on Sept. 29 in a matchup of 4-1 teams.
The OCC-Ohio contest could be the week's most intriguing matchup.
2. How much of an impact will lineman Rodas Johnson make in his first game for DeSales?
The Stallions were Division III state semifinalists a year ago but are 3-2 after having lost their past two games.
Johnson is a junior who sat out the season's first five games because of the OHSAA's transfer rule after he came over from Olentangy in January.
A four-star recruit with scholarship offers from 18 schools, including Notre Dame, Penn State and Wisconsin, he figures to contribute immediately on the offensive and defensive lines as the Stallions look to make another playoff push.
3. Can Westerville South be a factor in the OCC-Buckeye title race?
Olentangy Orange and Olentangy are 5-0 and 4-1, respectively, as OCC-Buckeye action begins Sept. 29.
Westerville South went 1-9 last year but appears to be much improved now that senior running back and Ohio State recruit Jaelen Gill is back after missing most of last season with a leg injury.
Gill has 11 touchdowns for the Wildcats, who take a 3-2 record into their league opener at home against Olentangy.
4. The LCL-Buckeye should begin to get sorted out. It's looking like it will be a three-team race for the LCL-Buckeye title, and two of those teams will face each other Sept. 29 when Licking Heights plays host to Granville in a matchup of 4-1 teams.
The Hornets have made consecutive playoff appearances and figure to be in the mix again in Division II, Region 7, while the Blue Aces are coming off back-to-back 5-5 finishes but are hoping to break through in Division III, Region 11.
The league's other top team appears to be Licking Valley, which improved to 5-0 with a 57-20 win over Northridge on Sept. 22 as coach Randy Baughman earned his 300th career victory.
5. A marquee matchup for the OCC-Capital will take place Sept. 29 when New Albany visits Canal Winchester.
The only team in the OCC-Capital with a winning record is Canal Winchester, which beat Westland 24-14 on Sept. 21 to improve to 3-2. New Albany, which is the defending league champion, is 2-3 but has lost to teams that are a combined 13-2.