After this week, the high school football regular season will be halfway finished.
The season seems to fly by every year, even with lengthy weather delays that pushed some Week 4 games into the late evening and postponed one -- Walnut Ridge at Eastmoor Academy -- for two days.
The number of undefeated teams in the area was down to 12 before Sept. 22, three fewer than last week. Eight area teams continue to seek their first win.
Here are five things we expect heading into Week 5, the final week before league play begins for four of the five OCC divisions:
1. The Division I, Region 3 playoff picture will become a bit clearer. Or will it?
Four teams in what is shaping up to be a thrilling region -- Groveport, Olentangy Liberty, Reynoldsburg and Westerville Central -- are 4-0. Given that Groveport visits Liberty on Friday, Sept. 27, that number will decrease by one.
Reynoldsburg was outgained in total yards in struggling to defeat one-win Central Crossing 17-15 on Sept. 20, while Central likely quieted many of its critics with a 41-6 rout of a Pickerington North team that had appeared to be righting itself after defeating Olentangy Orange in Week 3.
Five more teams in the region are 3-1, including New Albany, which is in its first season in Division I. Two of those teams face off Sept. 27 as Hilliard Davidson visits Pickerington Central in a rematch of last year's regional final.
2. CCL teams can continue to make the case that their league is one of the area's best.
It's not just that the CCL has two 4-0 and state-ranked teams in Hartley and Watterson and two more at 3-1 in DeSales and St. Charles, but it's how those teams got to where they are that illustrates the league's depth.
Ranked first in Division III last week, Hartley remained on course with a 47-26 win over sixth-ranked Dayton Chaminade Julienne, while ninth-ranked Watterson rallied to beat Dayton Carroll 41-28 and DeSales knocked off second-ranked Kettering Alter 35-31.
Those games were made possible by the CCL's scheduling partnership with the Greater Catholic League. That will continue this week and in Weeks 4 and 5 next season.
3. The schedule doesn't get any easier for Pickerington North, which visits Dublin Coffman on Sept. 27.
The Panthers dropped to 1-3 with their lopsided home loss to Westerville Central and now they must take on a Coffman team that shows no signs of letting up after a 4-0 start.
Moussa Diallo and Mike Drennen probably are the Shamrocks' best-known running backs, but junior Bryon Threats earned his own recognition by rushing for 121 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries and returning a fumbled kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown in a 38-16 win at Olentangy on Sept. 20. All of that came before halftime.
Coffman is averaging 38 points in its past three games, while North is allowing 31.5 points per contest.
4. Olentangy Berlin cleared a hurdle and continues to gather momentum in its second season.
Not only did the Bears earn their first league win by beating OCC-Cardinal Division and county rival Delaware 32-21 on Sept. 20, but at 2-2 Berlin was 10th in Division II, Region 7 entering the week, according to JoeEitel.com, two spots shy of a playoff berth.
Two of the Bears' next three games are against teams that currently are 0-4 in Worthington Kilbourne on Sept. 27 and Hilliard Bradley on Oct. 11. In between, Berlin will face 3-1 Hilliard Darby on Oct. 4.
5. Harvest Prep carries momentum into key MSL-Ohio games the next two weeks.
That the Warriors have won their past three games against teams with a combined record of 3-9 could be tempered by the fact that two of them -- Franklin Heights and Mifflin -- are in Division II while Harvest Prep is in Division VII, Region 27.
The other, Buckeye Valley, is in Division III, Region 11 along with Eastmoor Academy, which edged Harvest Prep 13-12 to start the season.
The Warriors have a chance to assert themselves atop the MSL-Ohio the next two weeks against similar-sized teams in Columbus Academy on Sept. 27 and Grandview on Oct. 4. The Vikings and Bobcats are in Division V, Region 19 and Division VI, Region 24, respectively.
All three teams won their MSL-Ohio openers last week.