With one week of league play completed in four of the five OCC divisions and three weeks down in the OCC-Cardinal and City League, pecking orders are being established.
The big picture of the high school football season becomes clearer every week, and that will be the case again this week as league championship and playoff hopes could be riding on a few games in particular.
Here are five things we expect heading into Week 7:
1. The OCC-Cardinal continues to feature several intriguing storylines.
While Dublin Jerome might have been a reasonable bet to lead the OCC-Cardinal through three weeks of league play, that the Celtics would share first place with Olentangy Berlin probably is a surprise to many.
Berlin upended traditional league power Hilliard Darby 16-12 on Oct. 4 to improve to 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the league. Dublin Scioto is alone in third place at 2-1 after squeaking out a 38-36 win at Hilliard Bradley on Oct. 4, and Bradley and Darby are among four teams that stand at 1-2.
Jerome has won three consecutive games since a Week 3 loss to Dublin Coffman and is thriving with a balanced offense.
2. Speaking of Scioto, the Irish play host to the latest Battle of Hard Road this week.
Scioto’s three losses have come by a combined 19 points, and two of them saw the Irish allow second-half comebacks after leading at halftime.
Scioto was outscored 12-3 in the fourth quarter at Bradley and won on Declan Farrell’s 39-yard field goal into a stiff north wind as time expired, and now the Irish get to play host to rival Worthington Kilbourne on Friday, Oct. 11. Kilbourne is coming off its first win under first-year coach Mike Edwards, 36-21 over Delaware on Oct. 4.
Scioto leads the all-time series 14-13 and has won nine of the last 11 meetings.
3. Canal Winchester and Groveport likely haven’t met with this much on the line.
The Indians will put a 15-game winning streak on the line Oct. 11 when they visit a Cruisers team whose only loss was to undefeated Olentangy Liberty, 21-14 on Sept. 27.
Both teams are 1-0 in the OCC-Capital. The winner will gain valuable computer points in their efforts to gain a first-round home game in the playoffs, especially Canal Winchester, which is in Division II, Region 8 and would benefit from the Division I points Groveport – which is in Region 3 – can provide.
The Cruisers lead 17-13 in a series that was dormant from 1964 to 2014. Canal Winchester is seeking its third consecutive win over Groveport.
4. Trying to shake off tough starts, Bexley and host Whitehall will square off Oct. 11.
This MSL-Ohio rivalry features two teams feeling some momentum after tough starts.
The Lions and Rams both are 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the league and are seeking their third consecutive wins. Bexley was 2-23 in a 25-game stretch dating from the end of the 2016 season through Week 4 this year before consecutive wins over Liberty Union (21-12 on Sept. 27) and Buckeye Valley (24-13 on Oct. 4), scoring 21 unanswered points to win the latter game.
Whitehall edged winless Liberty Union 20-14 on Oct. 4, seven days after routing usual power Grandview 60-13.
5. Columbus South is preparing for one of the biggest games in program history.
Eleven City League schools, past and present, have qualified for the state playoffs at least once. South is not among them, but the Bulldogs have a chance to earn what would have to be among the biggest wins in program history when they play host to Walnut Ridge on Oct. 11.
Both teams are 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the City-South, tied for first place with Marion-Franklin.
South was projected to be eighth in Division III, Region 11 this week, while Walnut Ridge was projected to be ninth in Division II, Region 8.
The Scots have made the playoffs seven times, all since 1992, and are seeking their third consecutive postseason berth.