State football titles and central Ohio typically do not associate with one another.

State football titles and central Ohio typically do not associate with one another.

The numbers support that statement. Since the OHSAA opted for a division format in 1980, there have been 87 state champions in the top three divisions (I, II and III).

The Northeast District, comprised of teams from Akron, Canton, Cleveland and Youngstown, lays claim to the top spot with 42 titles, followed by Southwest District with 18, Northwest District with 14, the Central District with nine, the East District with three and the Southeast District with one.

This weekend showcases the final four in each division. The Central District has one representative in each of the top three divisions. So what are the chances the Columbus area can add to its total? Well, 25 percent if you're going on simple math. And as sportswriters, simple math is the best we can do.

So let's analyze things from a different angle.

•DIVISION I -- Hilliard Davidson faces a big test in its state semifinal against Cincinnati Elder on Saturday, with the winner playing Cleveland Glenville or Massillon Washington.

From 1980-87, the Northeast District and Southwest District battled for state titles year after year until the Cincinnati area teams experienced a 15-year drought from 1987-2002.

Since then, the Southwest District has become virtually unbeatable in the top division, winning five of the last seven state titles.

History may be on the Central District's side this year. Davidson was one of the teams to temporarily stop the Southwest District's streak in 2006, as the Wildcats knocked off Mentor 36-35 in double overtime for central Ohio's second Division I title this decade. Upper Arlington won the first in 2000.

Davidson has not changed its ball-control, grind-it-out style from the state-title team. That year, the Wildcats beat Cincinnati Colerain 10-6 in a semifinal.

The Wildcats are coming off a 22-7 win over previously undefeated Dublin Coffman last Saturday. Their backfield was intact for the first time in more than a month, as running backs Rico Butler and Spencer Delande returned after missing five games because of injury and quarterback Jake Trubiano was finally 100 percent after dealing with the flu.

Yet, the most underrated aspect of the Wildcats is their defense, which has allowed only one touchdown in each of their three postseason games.

•DIVISION II -- Marion-Franklin has been in the postseason the last six seasons, but Friday will be the Red Devils' first appearance in a state semifinal. They will play Cincinnati Winton Woods.

Mentor Lake Catholic and Maple Heights play in the other semifinal.

Marion-Franklin is looking to become the second City League team to win a state title. In 2004, Brookhaven won a Division II state title by beating Avon Lake 42-21 in the final. Last season, Eastmoor Academy lost to Aurora 21-10 in the Division III final.

Winton Woods is in the Southwest District, which is not nearly as dominate in this division. A Southwest District team has won two of the last three titles, but only five since 1980. The Northeast District is tops with 11 titles, followed by the Northwest with 10.

Marion-Franklin has momentum and quarterback Vernon Reed on its side. The Red Devils entered the postseason as the eighth seed in Division II, Region 7. Proving doubters (and Harbin rankings) wrong, they knocked off undefeated Louisville 14-7 in the first round and OCC-Capital Division co-champion Olentangy Orange 36-25 in a regional semifinal before earning redemption from a season-opening loss by beating Brookhaven 31-24 in a regional final last Friday.

•DIVISION III -- This is where central Ohio has had the most success with five state titles, thanks, mostly, to DeSales and Watterson. The Stallions, who have been in the playoffs every year since 1994, won titles in 1985, '97 and '98. Watterson won in 2002, with the last Central District champion coming in 2007 when Big Walnut knocked off Licking Valley 17-10 in the final.

DeSales beat Watterson 24-10 in a regional final last Friday. The Stallions face Cincinnati Wyoming in a state semifinal Friday, with perennial powers Youngstown Mooney and Steubenville matching up in the other semifinal.

Only two state champions have come from Wyoming's district, Southwest, since 1980. Mooney's district, Northeast, rules Division III with 17 titles during that span. Mooney has six of those 17 titles, with the last coming in 2006.

On Sept. 4, Mooney beat DeSales 21-14. Since then, DeSales has won nine of 11 games. The Stallions are averaging 41 points in the playoffs.

So, what are the chances a central Ohio team wins a title in one of the top three divisions? Who knows? How's that for analysis? But there is a 100 percent chance of excellent football the next two weeks. So, enjoy.