First place in the OCC-Cardinal Division will be on the line when the Dublin Jerome football team plays host to Olentangy Berlin on Friday, Oct. 25.
Both teams are 4-1 in the league and coming off road wins Oct. 18. The Bears rallied in the closing seconds to edge Dublin Scioto 32-29, and the Celtics turned in a dominating performance in beating Hilliard Bradley 43-14.
While the winner will clinch at least a share of the league title, the game also will have postseason implications. Jerome is 6-2 overall and was projected to be fourth in Division I, Region 2 this week while Berlin is 5-3 overall and was projected to be in the eighth and final playoff spot in Division II, Region 8.
The Bears finished 1-9 overall and 0-7 in the league last fall in their inaugural season.
"Our kids have done a great job of keeping their focus from week to week and have given themselves an opportunity in Week 9 to have a meaningful game," Berlin coach Mark Nori said.
In Week 8, the Bears and Irish combined for 47 points in the second half. Jacob Moeller's 27-yard touchdown pass to Corey Hill with 16 seconds remaining provided the winning points.
Johnny Spinner rushed for 233 yards and a touchdown on 37 carries, and Moeller passed for 236 yards and two scores.
"Berlin is disciplined," Jerome coach Bob Gecewich said. "They play hard. Their defense is really good. They have a strong rushing game and the quarterback is good. I said in the preseason they were going to be good and they are."
Jerome bounced back from its first league loss - a 28-7 setback against visiting Delaware on Oct. 11 - to defeat Bradley.
"When we focus on us and take care of our things, we have a chance," Gecewich said. "When we don't, we can't compete."
Ryan Miller passed for 101 yards and a touchdown and ran for 60 yards and three scores. Preston Everett added 77 yards rushing and a touchdown.
"Jerome is a well-coached team," Nori said. "They have athletic guys that can move the football and are fast and aggressive in all three phases."