It's tough not to look ahead to Week 8 of the high school football season when matchups between numerous central Ohio powers loom.

There are a few gems, though, that can't be overlooked in Week 7.

If nothing else, under-the-radar contests such as some of the ones examined below will play roles in dictating playoff and league title races.

Should any of the games come close to the thrillers won by Reynoldsburg, Dublin Coffman and Canal Winchester in Week 6, there will be enough drama to offset a few likely blowouts.

Here are five things we expect heading into Week 7:

1. The parity-laden OCC-Buckeye Division will take another step toward deciding its title race.

One of the contests that might not catch your eye at first glance but should be interesting will take place Friday, Oct. 5, when Olentangy Orange plays host to Olentangy.

The Pioneers are 4-2 and have won three games in a row, all in impressive fashion.

The Braves, who have made four consecutive playoff appearances and are in Division II, Region 8 after making the Division I postseason the past three seasons, are just 2-4. The teams Olentangy has lost to, however, are a combined 18-6 and one of its wins came against Holland Springfield, which is 5-1.

Also in the OCC-Buckeye on Oct. 5, Liberty (3-3) visits Westerville South (2-4) and Westerville North (3-3) plays at Westerville Central (3-3).

2. Groveport and Canal Winchester will meet with bragging rights and playoff points on the line.

The teams have split their past four matchups, with Canal Winchester winning 24-7 a year ago.

Groveport went 0-10 last season but is much improved this year and takes a 3-3 record into its OCC-Capital matchup Oct. 5 at Canal Winchester.

The Cruisers will look to upset the Indians, who made a big statement in their OCC-Capital opener Sept. 28 by beating two-time defending league champion New Albany 30-28 to improve to 5-1.

3. Unbeaten London will visit Grandview in this week's featured matchup in the MSL-Ohio.

There are four potential playoff teams in the MSL-Ohio in Whitehall, Columbus Academy, London and Grandview, and the latter two will meet on the Bobcats' home field Oct. 5.

London is 6-0 and averages 56.3 points, with its closest game coming Sept. 28 when it beat Academy 42-27.

Grandview is 5-1 and will try to bounce back from a 46-13 loss to Whitehall on Sept. 28.

4. The improved OCC-Central features a pair of matchups that could be closer than expected.

Dublin Coffman, which survived tight games each of the past three weeks, including rallying late to beat Marysville 23-17 in overtime Sept. 29 to improve to 6-0, will play host to Central Crossing on Oct. 5. The Comets lost to Hilliard Davidson 31-0 on Sept. 28 but are 3-3.

Upper Arlington also is 3-3 and all of its losses have been by seven points or fewer. On Oct. 5, the Golden Bears visit Davidson, which is 5-1 with its only loss coming in overtime to defending Division I state champion Pickerington Central.

5. Harvest Prep is looking great again this year, but the MSL-Cardinal is not just a one-team show.

The Warriors have won 28 league games in a row and could be on their way to a fifth consecutive MSL-Cardinal title before moving to the MSL-Ohio next year, but Berne Union, Fisher Catholic and Worthington Christian all are teams to watch.

On Oct. 5, Harvest Prep (6-0) will play host to Berne Union (5-1). That same night, Worthington Christian (3-3) plays host to Fisher Catholic (4-1).

All three of Worthington Christian's losses have come against teams that are 6-0, including Harvest Prep, which it led before falling 16-12 on Sept. 14.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek